History - Second Age

1. 1-5AT - Aftermath of the Storm
2. 6-10AT - A Glimpse of Hope
3. 11-100AT - Age of Healing
4. 101-500AT - Age of Dreams
5. 501-1000AT - Age of Discovery
6. 1001-1250AT - Age of War
7. 1251-1500AT - Age of Seafarers
8. 1501-1600AT - Crimson Crusades
9. 1601-1800AT - Age of Wonders
10. 1801-2100AT - Age of Sorrows
11. 2101-present (2245AT)

Note 1: "AT" stands for "After Tempest," a catastrophic sundering of ages. Similarly, "BT" stands for "Before Tempest," referring to the first age.

Note: 2: Ruler Titles by Realm

- Amnar: Rex, High King/High Queen
- Angarath: Archon (enclave ruled by the Order of Palantheon)
- Argolad: Margrave
- Arnon: King/Queen
- Borrea: Patriarch (enclave ruled by the church)
- Calathmar: King/Queen
- Dalgard: King/Queen
- Evoras: King/Queen
- Galandria: Raja
- Haldur: King/Queen
- Khartaka: Padishah
- Loruthiel: Diviner
- Magoria: King/Queen
- Malbornea: Emperor/Empress (sons and daughters of imperial family hold title of grand duke / grand duchess)
- Nolgor: Speaker
- Nurien: Margrave
- Parisol: Chief
- Sarisfel: King/Queen
- Sartane: King/Queen
- Telendras: King/Queen - Valdor: King/Queen - Yorkar: King/Queen
- Windari: Thane (following the Darfin tradition)

Only the events having major impact on a single continent or the entire world are listed under each appropriate age. The written history is heavily based on Belmorean records because of their public and common nature. There is almost no mention of Narachel or Halfar, for those remote locations are extremely difficult and dangerous to reach, thus leaving us mostly tales built on myths and imagination. Even the great southern continent of Solanar poses a problem, for in its vastness, it still has not been explored thoroughly. There are many places still that lay dormant in the mists of secrecy.

1-5AT - Aftermath of the Storm

The end of the tempest revealed Aradea shattered, broken and completely rearranged. Only a handful survived the cataclysmic event launched by the immortal Atars who had once shown nothing but love and affection for the world. All that was now gone, including the great cities of Helberoth, Gildrim and Ristwar, leaving the survivors without shelter and protection.

The tempest claimed most lives of all mortals, leaving small isolated pockets of survivors stranded in the middle of unknown land. Valhars and Drakhars were gone, their cities and cultures suddenly vanished from the face of Aradea, leaving a great void among the crippled nations. Those who were allowed to live struggled immensely, building their tiny hamlets only to have them rampaged by predators, Myrdins or something worse. Despair took over. Every soul lost their aim, trying to make through the days with death vigorously following every footstep. Magic refused to work in the rearranged world as the aether did not respond to uttered words, causing further melancholy among the starving people.

Scattered and leaderless, the nations fought to survive, but it was not until the last year of what is called the aftermath, when the prophets arrived, returning hope to the hearts of people. Nobody knew from where they came, or who they really were, but each struggling group received a visitor clad in robe and a hood that refused to reveal their faces. Each of them carried a single book, a thick tome of writing that held the secrets of the new world.

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6-10AT - A Glimpse of Hope

The tomes, received by every nation, were identical and titled "The Tome of Ages," describing the history of the first age, but also laying down the new principles of aether and how it could be used once more. A selected few from each group had very strong sensations as they came close to the tome, which contained instructions to use Awen, the new language that would only make sense to those with the gift. With this language, after a lengthy period of learning, these gifted people were able to begin drawing their first spells, enchanting objects and build structures with magical qualities. This ability greatly increased their chances to survive as the bulwarks surrounding their hamlets now had spells engraved on them, keeping any hostile creatures away.

Armed with new hope and determination, the nations began to improve their conditions. With ways to defend themselves, the hunted became hunters, and slowly the famine that had pestered them since the last winds of the tempest began to ease. New leaders rose from among the survivors, taking on the massive task of bringing their people out of the depression and guiding them toward thriving societies. By the end of this brief era, their small hamlets had grown into healthy villages, growing in size and influence as their mystics found new ways to apply their rediscovered methods to exploit the power of aether.

The Tome of Ages had all the known information written about the Immortal Atars, the principles of magic, the history of the first age, and it also contained the description of Waning, the prophecized ending of the world. There were ten tomes altogether, and during the coming decades, centuries and millenniums, all the copies of this exceptional book would be lost. Copied fragments of the texts within can be found from libraries and monasteries, but an actual copy of the entire book cannot be found anymore. This is mostly because over time the tome lost its value as the sole source of information. The mystics and other scribes began to make their own records, making new discoveries along the way and gradually ignoring the tome itself. The Tome of Ages became less important, and before the cultural value was truly realized, all the copies had vanished from the face of Aradea.

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11-100AT - Age of Healing

While this period of time has been named after the fact that each nation was slowly healing the deep wounds left behind by the storm that wrecked the world, it did not come without tragedy and sorrow. The villages grew into small towns, and the nations began to spread, claiming new lands and settling at locations away from the origin. Anorans were the most keen nation to wander, and as their population had already been far spread by the end of the first age, more than one group of them survived through the turmoils of tempest, finding themselves from different locations on the remade world. Now, quickly adapting to their new native environments, the separate anoran nations conquered vast portions of the new lands, establishing realms that would become great kingdoms, even empires, one day. The northern Hurons, the subtropical Medlams and the southern Trevlins all thrived in their lands. Darfins remained in their halls of stone, building and mining. The luthani, now stranded on a large island that would be known as Westerdel, continued their dispute that had began in the first age. Eventually, this led to a civil war in around 80AT, causing great migration away from Westerdel, leaving the Luthans as the remaining group to settle the western parts of the island. Each and every faction that departed over a fairly short period of time, felt very strongly yet differently about the future of the luthani. Some wanted to expand their influence through warfare, some wanted to isolate completely to protect themselves, some wanted to focus their efforts into studies and become the leading nation of the world through sheer cultural influence and some wanted to thrive through trade and have active relations with their neighboring kingdoms. The bitter disappointments of the past gave them only one common goal, and that was to build strong defenses against any possible invading force, but unfortunately, that was not enough to keep the arguing factions united.

First, without taking part in the war, left the High Lord Cilderil Flameheart Darathor with his small following, sailing east from the shores of Westerdel. Leading his luthani to the southern lands of Belmora, he marched far inland before settling in a valley that was closed from all sides. Naming the valley Indomiel, Cilderil ordered a large cavern to be turned into a safe settlement where his people would thrive. Isolating from the rest of the world, Indomiel and the city of Dhal would become feared and revered by the outsiders. In the bleak mountains, the nation later known as Cildars, learned the finesse of hiding and ferocity of defending themselves. The ways of Cildars are mostly unknown as they do not welcome visitors to their sacred city. On the other hand, they do not bother their neighbors, so they are left in peace by the surrounding Trevlin kingdoms.

Speaker Raivos Thorniel, also known as Raivos the Cruel, was one of the most renown commanders of the luthani army. He was an opportunist and expansionist, and it was his vision that luthani should take an advantage of the turmoil and conquer the world for themselves. He used his influence among the soldiers to rally them against the ruler, Diviner Meliesand Huruinen, but the two other remaining factions, while terribly discordant, successfully prevented Raivos' attempt to usurp the throne. With a vision to raise an entire generation of warriors, unmatched in the battlefield, Raivos gathered his forces and sailed northeast from Westerdel. He led his followers somewhere to the northern wastes of Belmora, entered the infinite abyss of Everdeep, and found a place to begin his plan. The journey demanded many victims, but, eventually, he reached a location far in the depths of Everdeep and laid the foundations of what would be Arakhnest, one of the most dreadful places in all Aradea. Those luthani, who adapted to the harsh environment underground, would be, in time, called the Arathans, ruthless and grim like their first leader.

After Raivos Thorniel was banished from Westerdel, the rest of the luthani divided in two, and the faction that departed was led by Speaker Gallan Silvertine. They, too, sailed east, and reached the coast of Belmora. There, on a large peninsula growing out from the mainland, Gallan founded the city of Surunost, and the entire peninsula would be known as Nolgor, the home of the Elvars. Gallan and Meliesand continued to exchange letters until the death of Speaker Gallan. Ever since there has been no communication between the two nations.

The rest of the luthani, now known as the Luthans, dwindled. Meliesand's vision of a grand kingdom with great global influence never became true. After Gallan's departure, Luthans wound up in endless debates and arguments about how to move forward, which slowly resulted in a stagnant situation where nothing was being actively proposed and driven. The Luthans dreamed of their former glory, but they were unable to let it go and look forward with open eyes. As a proud and arrogant nation, they turned completely inward and closed their eyes from the rest of the world, which is quite astounding. It was the vision of Cilderil Darathor to live in isolation, but even the Cildars of today are far more connected to the outside world than Luthans.

While the luthani struggled and suffered with their division, other nations began to make first contacts with each other, especially in Belmora where the Trevlins, Medlams and Hurons expanded their territories at ever increasing pace.

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101-500AT - Age of Dreams

There are three keywords that best describe the Age of Dreams: expansion, exploration and trade. The continued expansion of realms, while still rather modest, meant that people became more daring, traveled further and created a whole new group of men and women who would be admired and celebrated for their achievements, the explorers. These brave people went into great lengths to expand the view of the continent, and the world. They mapped out the unknown, found new suitable locations to settle and showed the rest of the population what a little bit of courage and determination could do.

First trade routes were established, and by the end of the age, the grand routes were formed. Later, these would become the basis for new, better designed and partially paved roads that connected major cities and crossed realm borders. At this point, the realms were still forming and the borders were constantly contested as the nations searched for their place in the world. As the population continued spreading, establishing new villages and claiming more land to grow their crops, the original realms became very vast. In the north, Calador was still standing as the only major capital for the Hurons, but new great cities were being built elsewhere, and piece by piece, the anoran species claimed clear majority of all land, but at the same time, their national identities grew stronger. No one spoke of anorans or luthani anymore. Instead, there were the proud and independent nations of Hurons, Medlams, Trevlins, Elvars, Luthans and so forth.

The immortal Atars returned to the lives of people as the first hallows found the connection with their chosen Immortal. While they could not see or touch their beloved Atars anymore, realizing that they were still present in their infinite power ignited great religious gatherings, which in turn began to form small, local congregations who built their sites of worship. Before long, even the smallest hamlet would have a church at the center of the community. While the new world had given great amounts of prosperity and stability, the spiritual needs had been unaddressed until now. It was something what most people craved, and after learning about the work and sheer miracles of the hallows, they gladly embraced it.

By the end of the age, the now enormous realms of Hurons, Medlams and Trevlins began to break apart. They had spread too far, thus becoming too difficult to govern by a single ruler. New leaders rose, assuming the role of a ruler in the distant lands, far from the authority of the capital and the rightful king. Little by little, these self-governing communities began to rely solely on their local ruler, which then became their king, effectively cutting their realm off the original one. This happened within all three major territories, and so kingdoms were formed. There was war, and there was bloodshed, as the capitals tried to hold on to their former lands, but the lack of proper roads and trained soldiers made controlling such vast areas impossible. Most feuds were settled with a trade agreement, which was beneficial for both realms. It was truly a time when hard work and bright wits earned good pay. Despite the border skirmishes, all kingdoms flourished, including the Darfin halls, for weapons and other accessories made of metals were in high demand. It was a time that would never return, a time that truly seemed like it was the grand plan of the Immortals when they made the celestial covenant and launched tempest upon Aradea.

Compendium

Mystics continue to work among people, helping anyone in need with their skills.

Hallows rise, bringing the word of Immortals back to the people. They do not rival with the mystics, but fill the spiritual void left by the tempest, increasing general happiness.

Majority of the most important capital cities were founded. Tristholme of Haldur was erected on the northern shore of Coldtide Strait. Darfins construct the city of Thalas in Windari, their only settlement under the open sky. Berghen was built upon the shores of Lake Evermist in Magoria. Carviel was founded on the northern shore of River Lothien in Calathmar. Riverend was laid on the mouth of River Clearwater, becoming the capital of Dalgard. Silvest was built in the shadows of Silvercrown Mountains, marking the birth of the kingdom of Evoras. The great southern cities of Iskadron, Saladur and Thelmar all rose to mark the beginning of the first empire in the world as the three kingdoms united under one ruler. On Westerdel, the Huron capital of Choralon was built to create a solid foundation for the original Huron nation.

Calador, the only surviving city from the first age, is abandoned as a capital in 227AT as the new capital cities rise in the north. Calador dwindles, but remains a strong and lively trading town.

Darfins begin to build the great fortress of Abandur in Kharazum Pass on the border of Evoras and Magoria to offer a safe haven for trade caravans traveling between the two kingdoms. This would provide the otherwise remote Darfins a perfect trading station as well, for the King's Highway, a secret, underground tunnel is mined from Dunabar to Abandur. The work was initially started in 464AT, but it would not be finished until the Age of Discovery.

By the year 450AT, the southern Belmora had shattered into many smaller kingdoms, detaching from the Empire of Galandria, and as Malbornea's might is increasing with great progress achieved in warfare, it is looking like the power is about to shift within the southern empire.

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501-1000AT - Age of Discovery

The Age of Discovery shaped the continent of Belmora to be how it is still mostly perceived. It was the time of great adventurers, cartographers and warriors, all those who desired to leave their name in the written records of history. It was also about discovering the national identities as dwellers of Belmora as there was little suitable land to be settled without conquest. The wars came. Wars that would break old alliances and form new ones, when bitter defeat only ignited greater hunger for blood, and the realms that stood solidified their borders and took on the shape that they are still holding.

Darfins finished their great fortress of Abandur in 582AT. Originally planned to be a fortified trade post that would serve as a halfway house between Evoras and Magoria, the project expanded as the Darfin hold, Dunabar, had shift in power as Thane Khorak Thunderhair replaced the dying Thane Thrakin Dourmind. Khorak was an ambitious man, wanting far greater influence in the area than what Thrakin had agreed with the rulers of Evoras and Magoria, but since neither ruler was not alive anymore, Khorak ordered Abandur to be expanded into a new mine, which, essentially, meant a new Darfin settlement to be founded in Kharazum Pass. Khorak made plans for expansive underground structure, which spread over the surrounding mountain slopes, creating a wall with eight towers overlooking both ends of the pass. Darfin mystics worked days and nights, carving glyphs of Awen on the blocks of stone used on the walls and gates, aspiring to create a structure that no weapon or time could weaken. Since Kharazum Pass was very remote area for both kingdoms, and it was in their best interests to keep the trade caravans as safe as possible, they never sought an explanation from Khorak, but silently allowed him to finish the massive stronghold of Abandur. The first properly maintained road from Silvest to Berghen was opened, known as the Stonebrook Road, for it was like a river of stone, flowing effortlessly from one major city to another.

During the Age of Discovery, two major orders were born that would consistently shake the balance of power into the future. At first, the mystics of Avoral, unhappy with their conditions within the city, being constantly in battle of favors with the keepers of the town. Avoral had grown into somewhat of a cultural center in the northwestern part of the Huron lands, and as such, the church, the scribes, the librarians, even the jesters and bards were competing for the same resources of money and space. Their leader, Archmystic Almred the Wise, summoned the other archmystics from Silvest and Riverend for counsel. A decision was made that they would gather the closest and finest apprentices and travel south to begin a dedicated place to study Awen. On the peninsula of Angarath, in 713AT, they began to build Palantheon, the City of Towers that would be famous for the miracles they worked there.

The second event occurred roughly a hundred years later when a hallow known as Eldaryn the Unblemished wished to create a place where a traveler could still sense the spirits of Immortals on Aradea. He called for his disciples, and together they traveled to Borrea, which, at the time, was still under the firm rule of Galandria. Emperor Mephistes was a deeply religious man, and utterly delighted by this development. Granting a beautiful lot of land in the verdant Valaghor, he welcomed the capital of the church with open arms. In time, the small chapel, finished in 829AT, named Astaroth, would grow out to be one of the greatest wonders of the world.

In 844AT, King Malargand Uster of Telendras, having glanced at the lush forests of Nolgor ever since he took the throne, attacked the peaceful Elvars, quickly conquering large parts of the kingdom. Speaker Theniel Frondir organized the defense of Nolgor, but his poorly trained and equipped men could not stand against the spearmen of the Medlams. As a last resort, Theniel sent a convoy with an ambassador to Riverend of Dalgard, asking for assistance. King Lougar Dain received the message and decided to honor the ancient alliance stemming from the first age, hoping to secure a better trade agreement and generally closer relation with their forest kingdom neighbor. A new type of an army marched into war that day, reinforced with archers and armored knights on horseback. Once they reached the River Alberran, where the forces of Telendras were camped, laying siege on the city of Surunost, the battle was cruel, bloody and short. Within couple of days the army of Telendras had been annihilated, and King Malargand captured. The kingdom of Telendras paid a generous ransom for their king, and Speaker Theniel and King Lougar began a friendship that carried through their lifetimes. Dalgard and Nolgor have been close allies even since, and with King Lougar's help, Theniel began to develop his army, fitting it to take better advantage of their forest terrain. In time, the army of Nolgor was one of the most mobile and invisible forces in the entire world.

In 937AT, the Hurons of Windari rebelled against their king, Brodalf Blackcrow of Haldur, winning their freedom and detaching the kingdom of Windari from the hands of their lords in the west. The occasion was rather strange as Windari is equally ruled by Hurons and Darfins, but somehow King Deiran Oakley managed to persuade Thane Angwar Ironhand to join him, and together they fought against the armies of Haldur. Rich in minerals, wood and fur animals, Rodalf did not want to give the land up for free. The war raged for a full decade before Rodalf's son and successor, King Thelden Blackcrow granted them independence. Windari, the land of two kings, had a very strong connection to the Darfin kingdom of Othrond in the west, but also, because of their unique leadership structure, they were close allies with Magoria to the east. This made it possible for them to partake and benefit greatly from the trade of shining kingdoms, an era that began only a hundred years later.

The Huron kingdom of Yorkar, in Westerdel, exchanged ambassadors with Dalgard in 791AT, which drove Haldur to do the same a few years later in 794AT, greatly boosting intercontinental trade. Around the same time, fearless seafarers reached the shores of Solanar, the vast southern continent with endless lands to explore. What they were really trying to find was the lost city of Helberoth and the riches and treasures it would hold within, but the adventurers of this time or the times that came after could not unveil the myth of the firstborn. Still, while trying to achieve the unachievable, they mapped out most coasts of the southern continent and met new cultures and nations for the first time, cultures and nations they had never seen in the first age.

Compendium

The enormous stronghold of Abandur is finally finished in 582AT, improving the trade between Evoras and Magoria, greatly influencing the birth of the shining kingdoms in the future.

Palantheon, the City of Towers, the cradle of mystics and magisters, was founded in 713AT by the Archmystic Almred the Wise.

Astaroth, the White City, the holy shrine for all Immortal spirits to dwell, was founded in 829AT by Eldaryn the Unblemished.

Telendras invaded Nolgor in 844AT by the order of King Malargand Uster. After months of quick advancement, Speaker Theniel Frondir sent an urgent message to King Lougar Dain. Dalgard answered the call and drove the forces of Telendras out of the forest kingdom, sealing a lifetime of friendship and respect between the two rulers.

Windari won their independence in 937AT by holding off Haldur in a war that lasted a decade. The kingdom has a significant Darfin population living side by side with the Hurons. It is in the interest of both, the Darfin stronghold of Othrond and the, at the time, powerful Huron kingdom of Magoria to help keep the balance within the kingdom unharmed, for Windari produced incredible amounts of resources for trade.

The continent of Solanar was discovered and mapped by the eager adventurers and cartographers, who bravely faced the unknown waters , hoping to find new riches and lands to claim.

By the end of the first millennium, the strong influence of the still young Church of Ten Flames could be felt everywhere in Belmora. New churches were built as new congregations formed faster than the carpenters and masons could work. The spiritual needs of the people were many, and the church provided, in a humble and supporting manner at first, but which rather quickly turned into demanding and judgemental. Eldaryn's grand vision was tarnished in its infancy as the next patriarchs chose greed over humility. By then, the Church of Ten Flames was already a considerable financial and military, rivaling with kings and emperors. This was made possible through tithes the local congregations began to collect, which quickly filled their chests with valuables, completely obscuring the original purpose.

A mystic, named Maldin the Scribe, traveled to the Circle of the Ancients in 698AT, which is a small yet steep mountain range, shaped like a circle, in the eastern ridges of Evernight Glacier. His journey went unnoticed by the scribes of the world, but the results of his experiment would have major impact on Aradea in the future. He went to build an aethergate, a structure with the most complicated and magnificent web of glyphs ever designed. The entire purpose of the gate was to funnel aether from the infinite space back to Aradea, possibly triggering the use of what was now called wild magic. Wild magic meant ways to manipulate the aether without using Awen. Due to errors in his design, the gate never responded to his triggers, and Maldin and his small expedition were forced to return empty-handed.

Tensions grew in the southern parts of Belmora, and Galandria, grown weak in their arrogance, started losing their grip on the empire while Malbornea kept becoming stronger. Some of the smaller states separated from the empire without much ruckus as they were considered insignificant by the Galandrian court. Sarisfel and Borrea gained their independence, but from these, only Sarisfel would see success in the future while Borrea slowly dwindled away and became unruled wasteland.

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1001-1250AT - Age of War

The Age of War has been named after some of the most world-defining battles and campaigns that were fought during this brief era, and not so much because it was somehow more violent era than the others. There was a lot of good in the Age of War as well, and one of the greatest, most joyous occurrence was the birth of the trade triangle called the shining kingdoms. It was a result of three kingdoms growing close, enthusiastically supporting trade between one another. The shining kingdoms are Windari, Magoria, Calathmar and Evoras. The most peculiar feature of this arrangement was that Windari and Magoria were Huron kingdoms while Calathmar and Evoras were populated by the Medlams. Never before were these two races worked so closely. In a way, the Darfins of Dunabar were a part of the kingdoms as well since their great fortress of Abandur stood in the middle of them all, raking considerable profits from the passing traders.

In the south, starting in 1041AT, Malbornea and Galandria fought a long and bloody war to determine the dominance of the area. While bloated and unmotivated for combat, Galandria did rise again after a disastreous beginning, which nearly led to a complete annihilation of the land. This sudden threat of losing the entire kingdom to Malbornea, the last emperor, Gulbard Shrah, was assassinated, and a new, young King Aldrah Crushak bereaved the crown. This practically saved Galandria from destruction. Aldrah began to modernize the equipment and tactics, but it was too late to save the empire as Malbornea was already the vastly stronger kingdom and easily snatched the kingdoms of Nurien and Argoland for themselves. Galandria won their independence, but at terrible price. Denied of their former glory, Galandria, however, recovered over the years, and by 1065AT, establishing their position as a major trading and military center in the Ghostlight Sea.

During the first millennium, the large island in the southwestern corner of Belmora hosted two kingdoms, Arnon and Sartane. For a long time these two Trevlin nations lived in peace, trading and even sharing their modest armed forces in case of invasion. At the time though, naval warfare was very uncommon due to lack of proper ships. Island nations lived in fairly secured peace. Over the centuries, the northern Arnon grew stronger while the southern Sartane maintained their rural ways, concentrating on agriculture. Slowly the joint army was replaced by the northeners, gaining control of both kingdoms, but in 1077AT, Sartane had had enough. Raising an army of their own, they attacked, killing most of the national guard and declaring war on Arnon. The civil war that lasted for fifteen years, and especially the last battles fought in the western plains of Kindale where the men of Sartane finally won their freedom, was one of the bloodiest in the history of Aradea. The soldiers of Arnon who fleed up to the hills, chased by the weary yet angry southerners, left behind a trail of dead. The pass they used to retreat was later named Silent Vale, filled with mass graves of the fallen. Since then, Arnon and Sartane have opened up trade again, but never again was the other kingdom's military allowed on foreign ground.

In 1156AT, the people of Valdor had grown weary of the heavy taxes the king of Haldur had bestowed upon them. Unable to pay, many citizens had been arrested, their property confiscated, and even executed to set examples. Earl Skarkin Thundersong raised an army from the farmers and merchants, and the usually quiet island of Valdor was quickly purged of Haldur's grip. They knew, however, that more soldiers would come on their large, clumsy merchant ships that usually sailed in the calm waters of Black Strait. Earl Skarkin, together with his own shipwrights, designed a new kind of vessel that would later become the most known of all northern ship types. A longship, able to carry up to hundred men with provisions, powered by wind and oars, would be far more dexterous than the massive merchant ships. A single ballista was bolted on the prow while the crew was appropriately equipped with longbows and oil. As a seafaring nation by trade, the eager fishermen took on the longships and sailed to meet the merchant ships coming from Haldur. None of them reached the shore of Valdor. The Restless Sea was burning, and big parts of Haldur army were burning with them. In less than two years, Haldur, including their current king, Eodan Sleepyeye, realized they would not regain control in a timely manner without vessels to match the incredible finesse of longships. A peace treaty was signed and, eventually, the longship design was shared with all Huron kingdoms, which started a whole new kind of era in seafaring and exploration, but also warfare.

The Myrdins, the largest plague of the first age, returned. The legend of Rishrag the Scarred had already been growing for a long time in the Harrow Mountains. There were rumors of a Myrdin town rising somewhere in the shadowy ravines. The Myrdins population had multiplied at an astonishing rate during the last two hundred years, spreading from the mountains to the forests of Arnlund and Mirlond. The towns of Magoria and Evoras were beginning to have skirmishes with the expanding groups of Myrdin marauders. The Darfin fortress of Abandur, and the heavy military that resided there, kept the area of Ingmire safe and clear, but the increasing number of Myrdins was causing more and more problems, until in 1208AT, the onslaught came. Led by Rishrag the Scarred himself, the town of Dimgart was sacked, the population slaughtered and the houses burned. Thousands of Myrdins fought in the invading army, and Dimgart had absolutely no means to resist the wave of bloodthirsty beasts. The message of Dimgart's fate reached Berghen quickly, causing King Ardavan Mistvale to dispatch his army immediately along with envoys to Evoras, Windari, Calathmar and Dunabar. From these, only Evoras answered, and it was only because a few months later, Myrdins similarly sacked the town of Yarlon. Windari saw that it was not their place or duty to pay the high expenses of sending an army all the way to Arnlund, and the Darfins, while they did not mind the riches, had little interest to meddle with affairs of Hurons or Medlams. Closing the gates of Abandur, they retreated to their halls underground and waited. The messenger from Calathmar brought news of their own outbreak, but instead of Myrdins they fought Trows pouring out from the depths of Everdeep. Even the combined forces of Evoras and Magoria had difficulties to hold back the Myrdins that seemed to pour down from the mountains faster than ale goes down a Darfin's throat. Finally, King Tuirdan Telgrov of Evoras sent an envoy to Riverend, asking help from Dalgard, the strongest military force in Belmora. King Dargan Westwind answered, although he had his own problems at the southern border with Telendras trying to provoke a war after sealing a strong alliance with Malbornea. Together, the three kingdoms began to drive the Myrdins away, one bloody battle at a time. Eventually, they climbed the Harrow Mountains, destroyed the Myrdin settlement there, holding more than two thousand men, and slaying Rishrag the Scarred. While the victory was claimed, it effectively dismantled the shining kingdoms. Windari grew closer to Haldur, Abandur was never reopened as the Myrdin activity would stay high in the area, but the alliance between Evoras and Magoria remained unchanged. While Calathmar was having severe problems of their own at the time, their failure to send any help did not go unnoticed by Magoria. Their relations grew colder, although trade routes remained open.

The king of Telendras, Geldras Melgar, had began to approach Emperor Thoras Alabron of Malbornea, wanting to create an alliance that would give Telendras a great advantage against the northern kingdoms. As a gesture of good will, the two rulers launched a massive construction project in 1202AT that would connect the cities of Sundarin and Semdir with a paved road that crossed the Gateway Strait at the eastern end before the strait opens into the Forlorn Sea. This colossal structure was called Imperion, which was a fortress built on both sides of the strait and connected with a stone bridge that had thirty-six guard towers. This structure gave the two kingdoms power to regulate sea traffic into the Forlorn Sea, which was the most significant trade route in the southern Belmora. It was also an effortless and fast way to move troops between the kingdoms. Encouraged by the new alliance, Telendras began to launch border violations into Dalgard, destroying and robbing smaller hamlets and villages. When King Dargan Westwind sent out his army to stop their advances, they were met with an army of thousands of well-trained Malbornean spearmen and cavalry. Dalgard was not able to push them back, and so the battle trenched across the border. Dargard had the strongest army and more knights than any other kingdom, but their forces were stretched thin with the Myrdin outbreak in the east. King Dargan asked for assistance from Nolgor and Haldur, and out of respect, even Haldur came to aid with a few hundred fierce warriors, but Nolgor came with thousands, and together, by 1224AT, Telendras had been defeated. Despite another failed attempt to conquer Dalgard, a new golden age bloomed in the south as the gates of Imperion were opened for the first time in 1222AT.

Compendium

Power shifted in southern Belmora in 1041AT, when Galandria and Malbornea fought for the fate of the empire. After a lengthy war, Galandria was pushed out, but keeping their high culture intact. Stronger and more focused, the kingdom went on to play a dominant role in the southern politics, while the winner, Malbornea claimed the rest of the lands, becoming the new empire. Holding the lands of Argolad and Nurien firmly in its grip, they would be one of the richest, most stable realm in all Aradea.

In 1077AT, Arnon and Sartane separated into their own kingdoms after long and bloody civil war. Arnon would further assume a feudal society structure while Sartane continued to enjoy the wealth of their lands. Eventually, Sartane would become the biggest exporter of agricultural goods in the southern seas.

Valdor severed its ties with Haldur in 1156AT, seeking independence. After the brilliant design of longships, they easily countered Haldur's further attempts to reclaim the land, thus establishing their own kingdom with the leadership of Earl Skarkin Thundersong, who was later crowned as the first king of the realm.

Myrdins attacked the town of Dimgart in Magoria in 1208AT, then they did the same to town of Yarlon in Evoras, flaring a state of war that went far enough to involve even Dalgard. Eventually, the Myrdin forces were destroyed and their town in the Harrow Mountains was burned to the ground. Causing a lot of bad blood between former allies, the first Myrdin war effectively broke and dismantled the shining kingdoms, souring the relations of Magoria, Windari and Calathmar.

After sealing a strong alliance with Malbornea in 1202AT, Telendras launched an attack against Dalgard in 1214AT, attempting to conquer the Huron kingdom. They came near victory because of Dalgard's duties on their eastern front as they fought the Hurons together with Evoras and Magoria. It was because of Nolgor's involvement that Dalgard was able to prevail. This way the forest kingdom of Elvars paid back Dalgard's crucial aid when Telendras tried to take over their kingdom. Songs and tales mention a man named Rowald Ravenhair fighting among the Dalgard's soldiers, performing miracles such as healing mortally wounded comrades and killing and enemy with one touch. It is the first written record of what was believed to be a paladin, a hallow that had military training. Church of Ten Flames would have many paladins in their ranks only a hundred years later.

Drua Cardoval caused a murmur among the mystics in 1189AT when she released a grimoire depicting a revolutionary glyph structure that nulled all aether reactions within. It was a way to imprison mystics by neutralizing their gift of harnessing the aether for as long as they remained within the aether cage.

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1251-1500AT - Age of Seafarers

Age of Seafarers saw many great achievements by the mystics of Palantheon and other libraries; it saw many incredible miracles by the hallows of Astaroth. Slowly, these two orders began to find themselves in an open rivalry. Somewhere during this age, the mystics began to experiment with new ways to weave the fabric of aether. It is likely that the concept was there much earlier, but the adventuring, wandering mystics appeared in places they had not been as of yet. These druids sought the closeness of Darkmere Wardens, especially, for their endless thirst to preserve knowledge and unveil secrets lined up perfectly with the ambitions of mystics. Binding their spells to scrolls, which could be cast anywhere as long as the druid carried proper ingredients with them. This, naturally, limited the types of spells they could cast, but the great advantage was speed at which they could be chanted. The wandering druids brought mystics back to the people again, creating new tales and legends, earning them many new names among the crowds (magister, spellweaver, stormcrow, croakcloak).

The island of Amnar was discovered in 1287AT. These skilled sailors made landfall in the western coast of Haldur, near the town of Sarn. Recognizing them as Hurons, they were warmly welcomed as they brought a lot of goods to trade from high quality furs to wine. Before arriving to Belmora, the same small fleet of ships had also paid a visit to Arkien, Westerdel. It turned out it was King Odir Strongshank, who had given the Amnarian ship a map of the known world, recommending them to visit Belmora. This move effectively secured the northern seas under Huron control, for no other nation had ships comparable to the fleet of Amnar. Of course, this would change before the end of the age, but none could match the skill and bravery which the Hurons demonstrated with their longships and galleons.

Soon after the introduction of Amnar, in 1311AT, first Hurons arrived to the shores of Halfar. It was the time of high adventure, and every captain wanted to make a name by exploring, hoping to find new shores, new lands. It is, however, a crude understatement to say that Halfar was a mistake. It was harsh, cold, most of the land being everfrozen, and the Darfins who dwelled there did not welcome strangers. The Darfins of Halfar, later known as Forgars, had grown taller, bigger and stronger than any of their now distant cousins, and they had gone mad, feral. Attacking the arriving Hurons with axes and maces, they killed most of the expedition. Only a handful escaped to tell the tale of horror, and it took many years before anyone attempted to make contact again.

The shipwrights remained busy in the southern Belmora as well, building fleets for Galandria, Sarisfel and Arnon. Trevlins of Sarisfel had already reached the Leotars of Khartaka and trade was booming. But the shipwrights were not building just trade ships, they were hard at work making war ships, for now Arnon was trying to shortcut into the same market. A war broke out in 1336AT, and it was the kind of war that the world had never seen before, a full naval strife. Ships were fitted with ballistas, even small versions of trebuchets. Together with these came the invention of an Sarisfelan alchemist, named Ghada Karad, known as liquid fire or immortal fire. It was a type of fire that even water could not extinguish. It burned and burned until the chemical components ran out. Trevlins applied the chemical to ballista arrows and hollow, brittle melons, which they then shot off toward enemy ships. This quickly led to Arnon negotiating a peace treaty where the two kingdoms shared the profits of their newly discovered trade partners.

The continent of Narachel was discovered in 1382AT, when a small fleet of three ships arrived to the northeastern coast. Among the crew, the Darkmere Wardens had their own plans as they had been aware of this continent since the beginning of the second age. Wardens already had an outpost in Narachel, hidden on the shores of the southwestern landmass, which was also the home of Melendar, the sacred grove of the dryads. They wanted to make sure that the explorers would not pose a threat to their ancient allies, but their worries were in vain, for the harsh environment of Narachel kept the population at a minimum. The small outpost town of Toltera was built upon the northeastern coast of Dalashar, and while cartographers mapped most of Narachel, including the dangerous northwestern island of Shadizrain where the lizard-like Sharazins lived, they never discovered Melendar. The strong enchantment that surrounds Melendar played a major part in this, for no mortal could enter the grove without the blessing of dryads.

In 1426AT, the Galandrian sailors made a terrible discovery while sailing down the coast of eastern Solanar. For a long time it was believed that nothing but beastly monsters lived in the vast plains and forests of eastern Solanar. To a degree, they were right. However, after the great Myrdin invasion during the Age of War, even the Galandrian seafarers, were frightened to find an entire realm of Reavens, the further developed descendants of Myrdins. How they managed to escape is unknown. Perhaps they never made landfall, but instead fleed for their lives. The dark kingdom of Ashaba caused a stir in Belmora, invoking heated discussions among the rulers, the church and even Palantheon, the revered university of mystics. It was not known whether the Reavens had developed ships or not, but the rulers of north did not want to take their chances. Despite the Leotars of Khartaka warning against it, the two great southern nations set their disputes aside and joined forces. The united army of Galandria and Malbornea sailed to Ashaba, wanting to avoid future problems, the similar to what the Hurons and Medlams were facing up north where Myrdins ran rampant as soon as one of the kingdoms made the mistake of lowering their guard.

The great united army reached the shores of Ashaba and made landfall near River Nirwe in 1429AT, establishing a large camp that was able to sustain itself. Due to great distance, this was the only way to avoid relying completely on supply ships arriving on time. Ashaba is a vast country, which allowed the Belmoran army to settle peacefully before the Reaven warband happened to spot their scouts. This revealed a hidden Reaven settlement built in a large cave north of Iluari plains. Later known as Chathlan, hosted a population of tens of thousands, which already left the Belmoran army greatly outnumbered. These distant cousins of Myrdins were intelligent, actively developing their means of war as their homeland was savage, filled with beasts that had not been heard of in Belmora. When they realized that strangers had disembarked and invaded their realm, an instant call to arms was made. The Reavens had adapted to a similar nomadic life as the Nosfers of Parisol, and although Chathlan already had such a number of warriors that they could easily defend Ashaba against the Trevlins, they summoned more. They had blades, longbows, spears and javelins, but what was most upsetting for the Trevlin commanders was the fact that, for the most part, Reavens did not even bother to engage in battle. The plains of Iluari had a large population of easily provoked Asterions, a previously unknown giant race of horned, bull-like monsters that seemed to have the intelligence equal to gorilla. Driving these enraged horrors toward the camp, armed with crude clubs, the Reavens simply had them trampled underfoot, pierced with the great horns and beaten down with clubs. After this, it was relatively easy for the Reavens to hack down the rest. Not a single ship returned home. It was only by the Leotar scouts of Khartaka, who were able to send a message to Galandria, telling how terribly their campaign had been finished. No ship from Belmora would see the shores of Ashaba for a long time, but the fear was there, and it was just a matter of time before the leaders of Belmora would make a second attempt to completely eradicate the Reavens they now saw as a horrible threat.

A man named Almric Longrover accepted the sceptre of Astaroth in 1497AT, becoming the new patriarch of the Church of Ten Flames. His grandfather, Falgorn Longrover, was one of the commanders of the united army that sailed to Ashaba. The story his father told him, painted with a lot of descriptions that resembled the very children of Sagriel, ignited a passion that would drive him to begin what would be called the crimson crusades in the times to come.

Compendium

Mystics divided into druids and sages, creating two separate branches that worked very differently. Druids wandered, carried arms and took part in adventures that a sage would never even dream of.

The island of Amnar was discovered in 1287AT, completing the triangle of Huron powers in the north (Amnar, Yorkar and Belmora). With this new friendship came new ship designs that greatly helped to launch the Age of Seafarers.

Halfar was discovered in 1311AT. The Forgars of the island, hostile and vile, nearly destroyed the entire expedition, which left the realm completely isolated for a long time.

In 1336AT, Arnon and Sarisfel declared a war on each other over trade disagreements concerning the kingdom of Khartaka in Solanar. Due to the invention of liquid fire in Sarisfel, the war was short-lived. A peace treaty that secured the trade routes between the two kingdoms was quickly drafted and signed.

The continent of Narachel was discovered in 1382AT, but the unforgiving nature of the land kept it mostly uninhabited.

The realm of Ashaba was discovered in 1426AT, causing great concern among the northern leaders as the entire land was populated by Reavens, the more developed branch of Myrdins who had been thought extinct like many other races that disappeared during tempest.

In 1429, a large army consisting soldiers from Galandria and Malbornea arrived at Ashaba, meaning to destroy the entire Reaven population and rid the world of the greatest threat the northern rulers could think of. Using Asterions as their crushing force, the Reavens annihilated the entire northern army, allowing no man to escape the shores of Ashaba.

One of the most famous patriarchs, Almric Longrover, was granted the sceptre of Astaroth in 1497AT.

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1501-1600AT - Crimson Crusades

Ever since assuming the leadership of Astaroth, Patriarch Almric Longrover began to prepare a military offense in the name of the Atars. His desire was to seek vengeance for the lost Galandrian expedition, but even more so, he wanted to establish the Church of Ten Flames in Solanar to profit from their tithes as well. He was an ambitious man, and history remembers him as the patriarch who completely distanced the church from its humble roots.

First Crusade

Riling the kings and emperors to believe that Solanar was filled with evil that needed to be rooted out, and a new spiritual guidance was required or the souls of people there would be forever lost. Irritated by the fact that all past missionaries had failed to lure the people of Solanar to join the church, Almric was ready and willing to do so by force. Almric was an excellent speaker, convincing each king of their justified holy mission to bring the southern continent under the influence of the holy church. As the power of Astaroth had grown to outshine the earthly rulers, the kings listened and obeyed, sending thousands upon thousands of soldiers and equipment to be shipped across the Ghostlight Sea.

Making landfall in 1503AT, the soldiers prepared a large camp to house themselves while the crew began to build what would be the town of Elemrad. Using the rocks from nearby Kordam Hills, they made an impressive, fortified settlement to host this and many other armies in the future. Conditions in the Kirathi Desert were harsh, but with great effort, and with consistent help from the supply shipments, the town was finished in early 1504AT. Missionaries of the church took small groups of soldiers with them and traveled across the desert to Parisol, where they sought out the city of Zawa. It is noteworthy that Almric never intended to sail down to Ashaba, for he knew very well that Reavens could not be converted, and they would not generate any kind of flow of money, only expenses. Having the united army of Belmora under the command of his paladins, however, meant that he could do anything he wanted and simply ignore the promises he made to the kings. No king in their right mind would dare to rise against the might of the church.

All attempts of the missionaries were bound to fail, for no tribe in Parisol accepted the light of Avareth. They continued to worship their spirits and false deities, and many of the missionaries, in their frustration, resorted to violence. This resulted in some missionaries getting killed while others were banished from Zawa, which would lead to an open conflict a year later. Upon the return of those who were spared, the generals began to prepare the army for a march.

Unaware of the fact that the true strength of Parisol did not rely on the lonesome city, which was nothing more than a place to trade and to gather for religious festivities. Nomadic by nature, the Nosfers of the land, distant descendants of Trevlins, lived in great wandering tribes, always on the move. A group of messengers departed Zawa as soon as the Belmoran army appeared on the horizon, delivering warnings and summons to their tribes. Within a few days, thousands of warriors, armed with javelins and hatchets, appeared to defend their land. Those generals who thought it would be an easy task to conquer Parisol were to be efficiently schooled in the art of mobile warfare. Still severely lacking knights on their horses, the odds for the invading army were diminishing with each approaching group of warriors on their fast horses. The battle raged for days, but it was mostly because the Nosfers rarely engaged in hand-to-hand combat. Instead they made a fast approach, threw their javelins and retreated away from the range of longbows. They used the darkness of night to assassinate sleeping soldiers. They also introduced something that the Belmoran men had never seen before, a blowgun, which, combined with poison darts, wreaked havoc among the crusaders that were now struggling with declining morale.

In 1507AT, after losing thousands of men, the Belmoran generals finally decided to retreat back to Elemrad. The army was at a breaking point and ready to revolt if pushed any further. A large portion of the army was left behind to protect Elemrad and wait for new orders from Belmora. The first crusade was over, and it failed to achieve any of the goals that it was set to accomplish.

Second Crusade

Disappointed and enraged, Patriarch Almric began to summon more men to join his cause, and men answered. It was an honor and privilege to serve in the holy army, to serve as a crusader and bring wrath of the faithful to the pagans. By 1510AT, a new army was sailing to Elemrad, and this time Patriarch Almric decided to join his followers, bringing inspiration and boosting morale to new heights. More paladins, more soldiers, but most of all, more horses. By now, however, the kingdom of Khartaka had heard about the struggles of their northern neighbors, with whom they had rather good relations. A warning was delivered to the kingdoms of Galandria and Sarisfel, as they were the closest countries through their very lucrative trading. Unfortunately, it took almost a year before the letter from King Raukesh Jaghar reached Patriarch Almric, who tossed it aside and ignored completely, for at that point Zawa was in flames. The church was winning the battle. At the same time, a new town, later named Tharkis, was rising at the mouth of Red River. Soon, they would have two great harbors to serve the conquest.

Nosfers did not give up, although losing the control of Zawa for the moment. The town was not important in itself, but it did have great symbolic value to their nomadic society, and they were not willing to yield. Battles kept raging, but with the easily defended location in their hands now, the crusaders were able to hold their position. More men arrived from Belmora to join the victorious campaign, but danger was coming from the south. Ten thousand Leotars marched through Numirien Marsh to reinforce the dwindling Nosfers.

Equally equipped, the Leotars were wielding sabers, spears, longbows and riding the same kind of fast horses as the Nosfers, later recognized as the forefathers of destriers, which would be used widely in Belmora as well. In his arrogance, Patriarch Almric commanded his army to go face the enemy in the plains of Vin'kha against the advice of his generals. He wanted to set an example of what would happen if these pagans rose against the church again. What he did not know was that Leotars were seasoned experts in the art of warfare. Forced to fight off Grecidians, the magnificent four-armed giants, coming from Rha, the vicious Reaven warbands crossing the Broken Mountains and penetrating far into the west, and the zealous Zirloks of Astur, the Leotars were constantly tested in battle. While the Belmoran soldiers were battle-hardened, they had not witnessed the kind of fierceness Leotars brought in their wake. Together with the Leotars came the remaining forces of Nosfers, flanking them with longbows and javelins. Piece by piece the might of Belmora was broken that day. Patriarch Almric Longrover, arrogant enough to ride with the army, fell that day, shot dead by a Khartakan archer.

The death of Almric Longrover crushed the spirit of the Belmoran army. The remnants of it began to retreat toward Zawa, but the army of Khartaka continued pushing, and soon the crusaders were driven away from Parisol altogether. Unaware of the two towns built on the northern coast of Solanar, the Leotars and Nosfers did not bother to chase them any further. Once Zawa was freed, King Raukesh ordered his army to turn around and return home.

Third Crusade

Patriarch Garven Asterion, also known as Garven the Golden, accepted the sceptre of Astaroth in 1513AT, following Almric Longrover. Burning with hatred for the pagans and deeply embarrassed by the humiliation of defeat, he set out to correct the mistakes of his predecessor. During the first two crusades, the Belmoran soldiers brought some of the fast Parisolian horses back to their homelands and began to mix them with the large draft horses to combine their strength and speed, which would eventually create the modern destrier, the trusted companion of every knight.

While beginning to grow weary of sending men to die in the foreign lands, the rulers of Belmora were still very much subjugated by the church, thus afraid of divine punishment if they refused to obey the patriarch's order. Soldiers came, nobles came, paladins gathered, and, as generous rewards were offered for those who joined the fight against pagans, even mercenaries came. It took Garven over a decade to muster enough troops, for he was adamant that, besides outdated and incompatible tactics, Almric's problem had been the numbers. Finally, in 1527AT, a hundred ships departed the shores of Belmora. They sailed all the way from Haldur and Dalgard, from the misty shores of Magoria and Calathmar, and the glittering waters of Sarisfel and Galandria, all steering for Elemrad and Tharkis. From these two forts, Tharkis was considered to have a better tactical advantage as it allowed completely different direction to attack, effectively surrounding Zawa from both sides. With all the new information about Khartaka's warm relations with the northern nomads, Garven was still willing to seize Zawa. He had two reasons for this: Both Belmoran footholds were located relatively close, and he did not believe, despite having the largest army yet, to have much success against the Leotars or Reavens. As Solanar remained mostly unexplored, it would have cost a lot of time, and even more gold, to possibly discover alternative places and routes to achieve their goals. Besides, Garven wanted revenge. For him, Zawa was the only target. Whether he really cared about Almric's original vision of converting the continent and bringing the people to the Holy Lightbearer or if it was bloodlust from his part, the records of history remain vague. In any case, Garven followed in Almric's footsteps by personally assuming the leadership of his army. First he had to take Zawa, then the rest of Solanar would follow.

In 1530AT, the Belmoran army attacked Zawa with fire and steel, using liquid fire to burn Nosfers alive, hacking them down with their spears, halberds and new two-handed swords that easily penetrated the inferior armor of the enemy. Now, after seizing Zawa, the Belmorans swept across Parisol with their newly discovered speed that was the first generation of destrier horses. Chief Mobash Vin'zur sent a message to King Ildram Jaghar, the son of Raukesh, but, unfortunately, the Leotars were tangled in a conflict of their own as the Reaven warbands had increased in number, demanding swift action from the young king. So, Garven the Golden accomplished what Almric had not been able to do, and for the next decade, Zawa remained in the hands of the church. Garven gave the Nosfers two options to choose from: convert to a child of Avareth or die. With the success of his campaign, he made a mistake of thinking that the absence of Leotars was because of fear. Holding similar grudge for Leotars as he did for Nosfers, Garven ordered his soldiers to march south against the warnings of his generals. He would conquer the entire western Solanar, and there was no force powerful enough to stop him.

Fourth Crusade

After receiving a message from Garven, Cardinal Eoras Emberling, an extremely ambitious man, who had reached the rank of a cardinal before completing his 30th cycle, began to assemble a new army. Exhilarated by the news of victories in Solanar, the rulers of Belmora mustered new forces from their thinning ranks, blinded by the newly found glory in the battlefield. It became, once again, an honor and privilege to fight for the holy church in their crusade to punish the pagans and bring them under the eternal light of Avareth. Finally, in 1534AT, another six thousand men boarded the ships to sail toward Tharkis and Elemrad.

The army of crusaders, which was now nearing fourteen thousand men, marched south in the summer of 1536AT, determined to conquer the kingdom of Khartaka. While the Leotars had mostly ignored the invasion of the third crusade, they were certainly aware of the enormous army now approaching the borders of their homeland. Strategically, one of the worst decisions any leader had ever done, for not only were they fighting in foreign territory, unknown and unfamiliar, the Reaven warbands that had previously been entangled in skirmishes with the Leotars now came after easier prey. Squeezed in between two hostile forces, the crusaders quickly found themselves outnumbered and unprepared. Casualties were terrible. The remnants of the great army retreated back to Zawa, but they were too weakened to keep their foothold as Nosfer uprisings grew greater and more violent. By the end of 1539AT, the crusaders left Zawa and headed back to their coastal forts. Patriarch Garven Asterion returned to Astaroth, broken and humiliated.

The defeat weighed so heavily upon his heart that in the spring of 1540AT, Garven's body was found hanging from the chandelier in his residence in Astaroth. He was succeeded by Eoras Emberling, who was an easy choice for the cardinals as he had always been Garven's favorite. Unfortunately, they failed to sense the urgent need for a change. Almost immediately after receiving the sceptre of Astaroth, Eoras launched one more crusade, the first one that did not enjoy staunch support of the rulers.

Fifth Crusade - March of the Ragged

Without the backing of Belmoran rulers, Patriarch Eoras was unable to assemble the kind of might that his predecessors had done. The amount of young, healthy men was dangerously low in any case, so even if they wanted to, it would have been difficult to come up with any kind of considerable force. Consisting of elderly men, zealots and mentally compromised outcasts, the fifth crusade was launched in 1547AT. Instead of splitting the already small army, Eoras ordered them to head for Tharkis, for it had much shorter route to Zawa.

Leaderless and aimless, the ragged crusaders reached Tharkis and began the long march across Kirathi Desert. Without any kind of deeper knowledge of the terrain, they picked the shortest route, passing the hidden Cildar settlement of Kharast much too close. These feral luthani allowed no stranger to wander through their territory, coming out at night and causing great havoc in the camps. By the time they reached Zawa sometime in 1548AT, the army had shrunk down to mere hundreds, standing no chance against the now alarmed Nosfers.

Patriarch Eoras Emberling was assassinated in the winter of 1549AT, finally ending the crimson crusades, allowing the entire Belmora a sigh of relief.

Great Famine

Population depleted by the lengthy string of war efforts, Belmora suffered from famine throughout the next decade (1550- 1560AT). With starvation came diseases like jigglecough and spotfever, spreading in the local communities like wildfire. Together with the outbreaks of physical illnesses, the mental disorders became more common as well. Belmora paid a heavy toll for the ambitions of three patriarchs, creating a tear between the people and the church.

Eoras Emberling was followed by Arvon Thelnariel, the first Elvar patriarch, who would earn the nickname "Arvon the Redeemer," for he was a kind and humble man. Dispatching all available paladins and hallows to help the sick, Astaroth slowly regained faith of the people, but they would never follow the patriarchs as blindly as they once did.

It took another decade before Belmora was finally standing firmly, but the crimson crusades left behind a changed world. Gone were the unquestioned power of Astaroth and comforts of old alliances. From this point forward every soul and realm would take care of their own first, which resulted in general coldness between kingdoms, although trade recovered to a degree. New generations grew suspicious and wary, and with them the world became unstable and unpredictable, inciting violence as the primary way to solve disputes. War became a common state, and instead of wisdom of heart, the kings ruled with strength of steel.

Compendium

First crusade was launched in 1502AT by Patriarch Almric Longrover. The effort was considered a major failure as the Nosfers of Parisol defeated the crusaders with help of greater mobility.

Second crusade followed in 1510AT, bringing Patriarch Almric himself to the southern continent. Seizing Zawa and the surrounding lands, it looked like Belmora would finally reach its long arm south and open new places for the people to settle. This, however, did not become reality as the kingdom of Khartaka decided to meddle. Lending a hand to their northern neighbors, the two nations united and drove the crusaders away. Patriarch Almric fell in the last great battle, crushing the morale of the soldiers, who were already terribly outnumbered.

Third crusade was initiated by Patriarch Garven Asterion, who worked tirelessly to achieve the same advantages that the Nosfers and Leotars had, thus balancing the strength of his army with the enemy. The journey began in 1527AT, and it was the most successful crusade of them all. It looked like Garven's army could create a strong foothold at the heart of Parisol.

Fourth crusade was arranged and launched by Eoras Emberling, a trusted cardinal of Garven, and the sole purpose of it was to reinforce the existing army in Solanar. In his greed for power, Garven wanted to conquer Khartaka, taking control of the entire western Solanar. Underestimating the strength of his enemy, Garven faced the army of Leotars and lost. This, effectively, started a downward spiral as the now inspired Nosfers came out to join the battle. After returning home, Garven took his own life by hanging himself to one of the grand chandeliers in his residence.

In 1540AT, after Garven's death, Eoras Emberling became the next patriarch, and while Belmora was tired of war, now openly resisting the orders of Astaroth, Garven assembled a fifth army. Leaderless, consisting lunatics, mercenaries and elders, the fifth crusade barely scratched Zawa as their main force was destroyed by the feral Cildars living in Kirathi Desert. Eoras was assassinated in 1549AT to make way for more peaceful patriarch, which the dwindling continent finally got as Arvon Thelnariel accepted the sceptre of Astaroth, bringing the church momentarily back to its humble roots.

A great famine ravaged Belmora throughout 1550-1560AT as there were not enough men to work the land. Outbreaks of different lethal diseases wreaked the nations. Arvon's order for paladins and hallows to travel the land and help where they could was a gesture that did not go unnoticed, and slowly their trust in the church was partially restored.

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1601-1800AT - Age of Wonders

The famine that Belmora suffered in the wake of the crimson crusades left the entire continent crippled and vulnerable. If it was not for the extended efforts of the church, Darkmere Wardens and Traders Guild, the continent could have collapsed under the constant pressure from Myrdins, who saw the signs of weakness and abused them as much as they possibly could. This also sparked multiple attempts of invasions from the less suffered southern kingdoms. While Galandria and Sarisfel answered the patriarch's call each and every time, Malbornea and Telendras remained much more conservative with the summons. Now, they suddenly found themselves the greatest powers on Belmora, and it was too difficult for them to not take advantage. In 1606AT, Telendras, led by King Hultar Kellen IV, attacked Dalgard, aiming to conquer the strongest kingdom of Belmora and claim that revered title for themselves. Immensely weakened by the hardships of that time, Dalgard could not resist the relentless enemy, pushing further and further north. Quickly approaching Dainsland, an area that was considered sacred by the Dalgardians, King Morgran Seafoam sent an urgent message to Nolgor, hoping the ancient alliance still meant something to the forest kingdom, and it did. Knowing very well that if Dalgard was to fall, the next target on Hultar's list would be none other than Nolgor itself. Dispatching a majority of their army, the extremely mobile and agile Elvar soldiers flanked the Telendrasian army from the sides, slowly melting down their numbers, until they were no longer a match for the men of Dalgard. Once again, the old alliance of these nations had saved them from demise.

Resources were scarce in the north and east. To alleviate some of the problems, Arvon the Redeemer sought advice from the mystics of Angarath, momentarily pushing aside their differences and positions as rivals. This collaboration began in 1612AT with a handshake between Patriarch Arvon Thelnariel and Archon Ildran Dolmarath. This would not have been an easy decision in any case, but both leaders came from the same forest kingdom of Nolgor, which helped them to reach an accord fairly fast. This unusual collaboration continued with the next leaders as well, although as the conditions improved and the realms of Belmora began to stand on their own again, the relations between these two orders gradually faded back to cold.

It did not take too long before the first invention was introduced by Master Theldren Cardoval in 1619AT. He had begun his experiments with a variety of birds, drawing glyphs of Awen on their skin underneath the coat of feathers, attempting to create a structure that would guide the bird toward wanted destinations with a simple phonetic trigger. Thelden began with pigeons, which were already used in their limited capacity, but with the spell involved, all it took to have one appointed person in each location with a corresponding object in their possession. Using a pigeon was a failure as the large wild gryphons residing around the Lake Shirdale hunted them down easily. An albatross worked better, but their slow flight speed was somewhat of a problem. Finally, Thelden tried the peregrine falcon, one of the fastest birds in Belmora. Easily avoiding the gryphons, Thelden instantly realized he had found what he had been looking for. As a bird of prey, the peregrine was free from many of the problems bothering other birds. A variant of this spell was used to have guardian birds that could see an enemy approaching and warn the settlement long before they became visible for the people on the ground.

Another invention was introduced in 1624AT, which would have an impact on warfare in general. Combining the brilliance of Ghada Karad and Paladin Commander Dorai Melbard, a type of land mine was constructed by packing a clay container full of liquid fire and adding a piece of flint that would create a shower of sparks upon pressure. These mines were then buried around smaller settlements that had little means to defend themselves. Myrdins learned quite quickly to leave such hamlets alone, providing much needed peace for the farmers to work their fields.

In 1637AT, Gallath Sharkiel, one of the four archmystics of Palantheon began to build a new type of ship that would not sail the waters but clouds. Instead of sending messages, the airship could move entire groups of people at high speeds, revolutionizing traveling altogether. It took him years to design and draw the glyph structure that was required to accomplish such an enormous task. In 1644AT, the first airship took off from Palantheon and flew to Astaroth in less than two days. Unfortunately, airships never became a common way of transport as it was extremely difficult to build. The Awen structure was so complicated that even the most experienced mystic struggled to produce a flawless copy, which resulted in devastating accidents. Only three airships were ever built, named Stormwing, Nightwind and Skyrider. From those, only Nightwind remained in one piece. The other two crashes horribly because of failing magic due to flaws in the Awen structure. Despite working on improvements his entire life, Gallath was unable to stabilize and simplify the structure enough to allow any form of mass production, which led to abandoning the idea. In his elder days, Gallath turned his attention to animals, taking the concept of peregrine falcon working as a messenger and developing it further. At first, he considered the wild gryphons, but soon realized they were too dangerous to work with. Studying the writings of several famous explorers from the Age of Discovery, Gallath believed that the giant bird of prey, known as vermilon, found in the island of Kilroghan of Narachel, could be the answer. At the time, in 1663AT, Gallath was already too old to take on the adventure, so he sent his apprentice instead. In the spring, 1664AT, a single galleon departed the village of Untamar, carrying the young apprentice, Mirasha Maldorn, eager to do her master's will. Gallath died while waiting for his apprentice to return.

Later, in 1671AT, Mirasha Maldorn did return, on the wings of a fiery bird! The bird that resembled a great eagle, yet one that flew with the finesse and silence of a grey owl. Feathers like a perfect mixture of molten lava and gold, she caused a great stir in Palantheon. Along with her own bird, known as Firefeather, she brought an entire flight of prime vermilon birds. Unfortunately, after the failed experiments with airships, the people outside of Angarath were not willing to accept this new way of travel, but the mystics who needed to travel long distances welcomed these noble creatures with great enthusiasm.

Arvon the Redeemer died in 1672AT, at the very high age of 152, which was exceptional even for Elvars. He alone created a legend of Avareth's blessing as he carried the burden of healing Belmora after the disaster that was crimson crusades. Arvon was succeeded by Luthar Riversong, a young, humble Huron cardinal, who had the blessing of Arvon. While the tribunal was not entirely agreeing with appointing someone so young, the weight of Arvon's word was overwhelming, thus Luthar became the new patriarch and continued the work of his predecessor. Hallows continued to perform their miracles, healing the sick and wounded. Paladins wandered the lands, helping to defeat Myrdins and other threats that endangered the lives of commoners. These acts of kindness seemed to close the wounds of soul as well, for the church was becoming more and more popular once again.

Luthar's greatest achievement was the founding of Temple Guard, the military branch of the faithful. While the realms of Belmora were now recovering, and each of them began to have formidable armies once again, Luthar knew it would be extremely difficult to rely on outsiders after the mistakes Almric Longrover and his immediate successors had made. Having a strong defensive force right in Astaroth meant more security in the otherwise desolate lands of Borrea. His humble wish was to have an army ready and willing to defend Astaroth, but also any loyal kingdom of the continent from imminent threats. Consisting mostly warrior monks, assembled from the southern regions of Belmora, and led by the holy paladins, the Temple Guard quickly became one of the greatest military powers in Belmora and Aradea. The official first day of the order was Luthar's proclamation of protection in 1687AT, followed closely by the beginning of building the Temple of Sacred Flame, the future headquarters of the new order.

In 1718AT, the kingdoms of Dalgard, Haldur and Valdor signed the Pact of the North, which brought the three kingdoms very close, closer than ever since the dwindling of Calador that marked the end of the northern empire. As a result of this new alliance, a new order of knights was established as an independent force, detached from the armies of each kingdom. Mimicking the Temple Guard, the Knights of Three Crowns, also called as the Crownsmen, was born to serve the people first and foremost. At first the order was funded by the kingdoms, but it would later gain great wealth by inventing a form of banking, securely loaning and transferring funds in the area of its influence. Temple Guard would, in return, mimic this brilliant form of business in the south. These two orders were never friends with each other, thus Belmora never saw a continental banking system, which, by many traders, was considered a shame.

What happened at the lonely town of Kristholme in 1763AT would mark the banishment of a hallow, the first of its kind. One of the glorious paladins, serving in the ranks of Temple Guard, Fron Skyfire, a hot-tempered Huron, arrived to Kristholme with his company. They stayed, got drunk and at some point in the night, Fron got himself into a fight with one of the local thugs, who turned out to be nothing but an honest farmer. In his heated rage, Fron killed the man, then passed out on a stack of hay behind the stables. In the morning, Fron was faced with an angry group of townsfolk, looking for justice. The city guards were hesitant to engage with a known paladin, but it turned out they did not have to, for Fron was deeply ashamed of what he had done. Promising the people to right his wrongs, he approached the mangled body of a man. Cutting deep wounds on his arms, legs and finally his throat, Fron prayed fiercely, begging Avareth to undo his grave mistake. Avareth answered, and the man opened his eyes, receiving a cry of joy from his mourning wife. Fron, however, was restrained by his own men after witnessing his sin of soul-stealing. He was thrown into jail, bleeding profusely. An inquisitor was summoned from Astaroth, but before the law of the church could reach him, the farmer's wife helped Fron to escape. The woman tended his wounds and was somehow able to save his life. Fron left the farm as soon as he was well enough to ride, heading south where the hand of church was the shortest. Only a week later, Myrdins came from the Grey Mountains and destroyed Kristholme. The farmer, once resurrected by Fron, was killed, again, by the Myrdin marauders. Fron traveled all the way to Solanar, where, in the town of Tharkis, he ended up founding a military order of his own, known as the Crimson Pilgrims. Dedicating the latter half of his life to repay Avareth's great mercy, completely unaware of the events that took place in Kristholme after he departed, Fron lived in the desert, helping Tharkis and Elemrad to better establish themselves as independent city states.

Compendium

Telendras saw their chance against the weakened northern countries in 1606AT, attacking Dalgard. Without the help of their old ally, Nolgor, Dalgard would not have been able to stand against their southern neighbor.

In 1612, Arvon the Redeemer and Ildran Dolmarath agreed to work together in order to alleviate some of the hardships faced by Belmora in the aftermath of famine. Druids, paladins and healers began to wander around in numbers never seen before, bringing many miracles in their wake that greatly helped the nations to recover.

Enchanted peregrine falcon was introduced in 1619AT by Theldren Cardoval, offering a new kind of fast method to deliver messages between kingdoms, noble houses and local townships. It was a revolutionary way to harness the power of Awen to serve the people.

In 1624, a kind of land mine was developed by using clay shells that were filled with liquid fire. The sole purpose of this explosive weapon was to ward off the ever eager Myrdin warbands around smaller hamlets and villages.

In 1644, Gallath Sharkiel's enormous task to build an airship came to conclusion as the first ship departed Palantheon and landed in Astaroth only two days later. Unfortunately, the Awen sequence for such a spell was so vast and complicated that only three ships were ever built. From those three, only one survived as the other two crashed due to critical flaws in the spell structure. During his latter days, Gallath studied possibilities to use one of the large bird species as a mount, and finally, in 1671AT, after Gallath himself had already passed, his apprentice, Lady Mirasha Maldorn returned from the continent of Narachel with an entire fleet of vermilons, domesticated and enchanted to serve as mounts.

Arvon the Redeemer died in 1672AT. He was succeeded by Luthar Riversong, whose greatest achievement was establishing the military wing of the church, known as Temple Guard. Having paladins acting as commanders, the guard quickly grew into one of the most powerful armies in Belmora.

The Knights of Three Crowns was born in 1718AT as a result of the pact made by the kingdoms of Valdor, Haldur and Dalgard. Rivaling with the Temple Guard as an equal force, the Crownsmen swore an oath to protect the northern wastes in the name of Avareth.

The fall of Kristholme in 1763AT marked the first banishment of a hallow. Fron Skyfire, a paladin of the Temple Guard, got into a fight in Kristholme, ending up killing a farmer. In his guilt and shame, Fron made a blood sacrifice so grand that it nearly claimed his life, but Avareth answered his prayer and the farmer lived once again. Meddling with the dead, however, was vastly frowned upon, for it was considered stealing souls from their rightful keepers. Fron escaped before the inquisitors of the church captured him. Eventually, he founded a new order in Tharkis, Solanar, known as the Crimson Pilgrims, taking on the task of protecting the remaining footholds of Tharkis and Elemrad.

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1801-2100AT - Age of Sorrows

Where Age of Wonders was, in many ways, a new golden age for Belmora, Age of Sorrow saw the continent, as well as the rest of the world, to descend into turmoil.

While the situation in Westerdel had been calm for many centuries, most issues in Yorkar being internal stirrings rather than international conflicts, 1809AT saw an unexpected insurrection into the Huron territory by the Luthans of Loruthiel. No one knows how this happened, for Luthans remained dormant ever since their great division. It is believed that the current diviner at the time, Xhareth Linderfel, was a deeply disturbed personality with an unprecedented gift of speech, rallying his nation against the Hurons, who he saw as the sole reason for their isolation. As soon as King Teledrin Ambrion received the news of thousands of Luthans pouring in through the Ungolien Pass, he dispatched the main force of his army. The result was very ugly, for Luthans had nothing modern among their equipment. It was a clash of two armies that had nearly two millenniums in between them. The Luthans were slaughtered. Throughout the entire summer of 1809AT, the forces of Loruthiel kept coming, until in the fall, King Teledrin ordered two walls to be built to block the Ungolien Pass. Still today, it is one of the most impressive landmarks in Westerdel, and the skeletons of Luthans that were crucified on the walls as a warning, are still there, reminding the future generations of the insanity that took place there.

Reavens sailed north on their black ships in 1841AT, making landfall in Harmahad, near the town of Paladrin. Led by the most famous Reaven ruler, Zater Darkhand, they somehow had a massive force of Myrdins waiting for them. A strange kind of pact between Brodalf and Krishag the Scarred, the leader of the Myrdins of Harrow Mountains, was forged, forming the largest unified hostile force since the Age of War. Their horde was spotted by Calathmarian scouts, but it was too late. The town of Paladrin was ransacked and destroyed. This began a race where Calathmar was sending several peregrines to ask for help and prepared to defend Carviel, for the unified army of Reavens and Myrdins was now moving toward the capital of Calathmar. The Temple Guard of Astaroth and King Jefryn Winterfall of Magoria answered the urgent call. The Battle of Carviel raged for weeks. The Trevlins of Calathmar defended their capital fiercely, desperately trying to buy enough time for the help to arrive, and on the eleventh hour, when the walls of Carviel were mauled into rubble, the Temple Guard arrived with paladins, knights and archers, beginning to turn the tide. However, it took a few more days before the forces of Magoria joined the battle as well, effectively saving Carviel from the Reavens. Both, Zater Darkhand and Krishag the Scarred, died in the battlefield.

Rowald Hamleth, lord of the House Hamleth,controlling the town of Saegras in northern Amnar, had been testing the patience of Duke Aradwan Moorlan of Castellon, the proud capital of Amnar. Wanting the crown for himself, Lord Rowald had caused a series of skirmishes around Rivermouth Marsh, waiting for the right time to seize Castellon and claim the throne. Finally, in 1889AT, he had gathered an army worthy of war, and over seven thousand men marched across the Rivermouth Marsh and through the Gorgan Moor, heading straight for the capital. Unfortunately for him, Duke Aradwan, the acting rex, had spies in the court of Saegras. Anticipating the attack, Aradwan Rex had called upon strong alliances with Dolmart, and even Arrakith, bringing heavy reinforcements close to the capital. When Lord Rowald approached with his considerable army, he suddenly found himself facing overwhelming odds in the rocky moors of Gorgan. The entire army of Saegras was destroyed, including Lord Rowarld himself. Thousands of bodies bleeding upon the blooming heathers turned the streams of Gorgan crimson, cursing the land with a touch of death. It is said that, still today, restless souls roam the moors of Gorgan, howling for redemption they would never receive.

The underground Darfin kingdom of Othrond was the first one to learn the approximate location of the Arathans when they received an army of most unexpected and undesired visitors from the depths of Everdeep in 1938AT. Having been tested for nearly two thousand years in the harsh environment of Everdeep, the Arathans of Arakhnest, led by Anax Celdrax Cordolan, the current ruler of Arakhnest himself, attacked the outer bulwarks of Othrond. Thane Eradur Gemvex called his entire guard to defend the city, but Arathans came with overwhelming numbers, with fighting techniques that far surpassed those of Darfins. They came with allies: Trows of the upper layers, enslaved Trulgars and some unknown, winged figures that appeared to ascend straight from the pits of underworld. These strange, demonic warriors were using magic that was not written, but commanded without tools of any kind, striking fear and wonder among the Darfin defenders, who had no means to stand against them. It was clear the Arathans had tapped into something previously unknown source of power. Othrond was lost that day, the Darfins choosing exile in a situation where their only options were to either die or run. The winged creatures were chronicled and described carefully, calling the Gargoyles, for they resembled the statue figures that often guarded the roofs of noble houses.

A new kind of disease began to spread in southern Belmora around 1951AT, particularly tormenting the proximity of Iskadron. The local population called it mindhaze, for it began with absent-mindedness, then progressed into near coma-like condition, until it broke out into absolute rage before the person died, but death brought no comfort. Turning into wandering dead, the victims continued to spread the disease to anyone they were able to bite. It took a long time before, in 1953AT, a paladin named Cora Windrider tracked the source of the disease to a destroyed hamlet of Soras near Iskadron. The entire place was swarming the dead. Setting the hamlet on fire, Cora and her small group of soldiers discovered that fire does destroy the diseased. There was a circle of complicated Awen written on the ground, capturing the whole hamlet inside its area of influence. Spending weeks to copy the spell on parchment, she then rode to Palantheon, seeking answers from the archmystics. The spell was quickly identified as one of Master Mirgal Belorn, a troubled sage, who had caused a lot of stir in the city with his rather controversial studies of undeath and possibility of eternal life, which went harshly against the sacred code. Together, with the help of Archmystic Leandre Skywing, Cora went after the twisted mystic. They found him in the hamlet of Rivas, preparing another similar kind of spell. He was imprisoned by using an aether cage and taken back to Palantheon where he was tried and sentenced to death. The mindhaze, however, prevailed, causing occasional outbreaks among the southern realms. There were rumors that some of those who became undead evolved into liches over time. Hiding from daylight, they carefully grew the numbers of their ranks for whatever sinister purpose. These rumors were never proven true, and, eventually, faded into tales told by the mug of ale.

The surviving Darfins of Othrond reached Thalas in 1939AT, camping and settling at the outskirts of the city. After arriving to a safe haven, Thane Eradur launched negotiations with the Darfins of Windari to reclaim Othrond, but while he received support for his cause, he did not have enough men until 1958AT. The politics of Windari were complicated due to being a home for both, Darfins and Hurons. In the end, however, Eradur successfully recruited thousands of Darfins, and even a few hundred eager Hurons to go with him. Eradur was an old man by the time they marched back across the White Mountains, the same path they had arrived decades earlier. Their surprise was great when they found Othrond nearly abandoned. There were no Arathans in sight, just a poorly managed outpost of Trows, which were easily driven off. The city was partially in ruin, but Eradur knew that his folk would be more than up to the task of restoring it back to its former glory. Eradur's oldest son, Glowar Gemvex, ordered massive gates to be built across the main tunnel leading down to the Everdeep. All other tunnels were allowed to collapse in order to secure the city from future attacks. The gates of Glowar were made from finest steel. An intricate glyph pattern was carved on it to prevent rusting and further strengthen the structure. Gargoyles never appeared again in Othrond, and the later scholars deeply doubted their existence, although they remain as a note in Darfin chronicles.

The rivalry between Astaroth and Palantheon escalated into a state of cold war throughout the 21st century, distancing these two orders from each other. As the church had dominant global power, the mystics of Palantheon were bestowed a near outlawed position in most realms. Palantheon traditionally had very little interest in world politics, so they accepted their new position without arguments and continued to focus on studies of aether and the language that binds it to all things. People still worshipped the Atars, mostly Avareth and Galadin, for those two Immortals were accepted by the church. The others were becoming heresy, bringing harsh punishments for those who refused to alter their views. The inquisition reached its pinnacle, becoming the most notorious justice in the entire world.

In 2031AT, Malbornea attempted to annex the city of Iskadron, planning to extend the borders of the empire further east. However, this proved to be a difficult task as Iskadron had created a unique position for itself. Being the only city and center of population besides Astaroth in all Borrea, the kingdom that never was, Iskadron acted as a major trade hub on the shores of the Forlorn Sea. While facing an army that was thousands upon thousands of men stronger than their own guard, Iskadron quickly gained the support of Evoras and Calathmar, both sending enormous amounts of troops to defend the city. Their motive was to keep Malbornea at bay, for neither wanted a known expansionist empire right behind their borders. It was in every Medlam realm's interests that Borrea remained uncontrolled. The war of Borrea raged from 2031AT until 2059AT when a shift in power suddenly brought it to an end. Emperor Cultar Embrel died after battling a lengthy illness, and was not succeeded by any of his younger songs, but his eldest daughter, Empress Maribel Embrel. Her reign would be short, unfortunately, but in her time, Malbornea saw great growth internally, becoming one of the wealthiest realms once again. One of her first decisions was to stop pouring funds into a war that had yielded absolutely no results in over two decades. Peace was restored and Iskadron retained its independence.

Compendium

The forces of Loruthiel invaded Yorkar in 1809AT, beginning the short war that would cause King Teledrin of Yorkar to build the famous walls across Ungolien Pass.

In 1841AT, a Reaven raiding party landed on the eastern coast of Calathmar, wreaking havoc in the city of Paladrin. Assisted by the Myrdins of Harrow Mountains, the Reavens began a race toward the capital city of Carviel. Fortunately, the Temple Guard of Astaroth and King Jefryn Winterfall of Magoria swiftly answered to Calathmar's call and the Reaven army was destroyed.

The Kells of Amnar suffered a civil war in 1889AT, when Rowald Hamleth of Saegras attacked the capital city of Castellon. A battle was fought in the Gorgan moor, and Lord Rowald's army was completely annihilated. It is said that the restless souls of men who died that day still wander the misty moors.

The Darfin realm of Othrond was attacked by Arathans in 1938AT, conquering it for the next two decades, sending the resident Darfins into exile. The Darfins returned in 1958AT only to find Othrond mostly abandoned. Reclaiming the city for themselves, Thane Glowar Gemvex ordered steel gates to be built in order to protect them from future attacks.

A new, strange disease emerged in Iskadron around 1951AT, turning innocent people into savage undead. In 1953AT, a paladin named Cora Windrider investigated the cause of the disease. Her journey took her to Palantheon, seeking advice from the archmystics, for she had discovered Awen glyphs written on the ground around the location of outbreak. It was quickly determined that the disease was handiwork of Master Mirgal Belorn, a disturbed mystic, who wished to find the keys to immortality through undeath. Mirgal was captured and sentenced to death by the authorities of Palantheon.

21st century was the time of great decline in relations between Astaroth and Palantheon. Eventually, the situation progressed to where Palantheon chose to isolate themselves from the world while the church took more and more dominant role in the world.

In 2031AT, Malbornea attacked the independent city of Iskadron, hoping to expand the borders of their empire further east. The war that followed lasted until 2059AT, when Malbornea finally withdrew. The firm support of Calathmar and Evoras helped to defend Iskadron, and the city was allowed to retain its unique, independent position as the main trade junction of the Forlorn Sea.

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2101-present (2245AT)

The current age has been riddled with hardships, illnesses and war. From the deep gorges of Harrow Mountains came Bolgraks and Trulgars alongside with Myrdins, spreading terror throughout the time. As the Darfin chroniclers had made accurate records of the fall of Othrond, depicting Trulgars as terrifying images of man, crawling on all four and having a jaw and teeth of a great saberfang, capable of easily crushing a skull, it was easy to recognize these new creatures now roaming the slopes of Harrow Mountains. Apparently, some Trulgars never returned back to the dark depths after their successful conquest of Othrond. Instead, they sought new lands outside, ending up in the mountains where nobody would know of their existence before their numbers were too great to be simply squished.

An entire series of conflicts took place from 2123AT to 2159AT, entangling the continent of Belmora into state of war. The initial spark triggered when Telendras invaded southern Evoras, conquering vast areas before Dalgard stepped in to stop their advances. However, the conflict did not end there as Calathmar invaded Evoras from the east. Both central kingdoms of Belmora, Dalgard and Evoras, had always been a target of greedy rulers from the neighboring kingdoms, for their rich soil, deep forests and high mountains offered plenty of valuable resource. A cold peace was achieved when the current ruler of Malbornea, Emperor Hati Davare, after learning of Telandras' scheme to turn their eyes upon south once their ambitious plan to conquer central Belmora was secured, decided to teach King Sorokan Malnrar a lesson about the price of treachery. Telendras had been seeking chances to become an empire for centuries now, but despite having had strong alliances formed at multiple points in time, they had never achieved that goal.

In 2158AT, the Darfins of Abandur left, retreating back to the halls of Kharaban. Traffic in Kharazum Pass had declined since the most lucrative, rushing river of trading to a weak, dwindling brook that rendered the underground inns and ale houses useless. At the same time, the amount of precious minerals had been drying at an alarming rate, so it was an easy decision. The spells woven into the very stone of the sturdy walls would keep the fortress standing for ages to come, but the hassle and racket were dead and gone.

Up north, the remnants of House Vindare clung to power without a strong figurehead upon the throne of Magoria. The kingdom had been on a decline, suffering from their remote location, and with the Kharazum Pass retaken by Myrdins and other roaming monsters, the entire kingdom found themselves on the verge of collapse. King Jaran Vindare, a young fool with a gift of speech, managed to convince the people to believe that the real reason behind their sorry state was in fact the neighboring kingdom of Windari. Rallying his men to war, his plan was simple: take Windari, take their resources and build new fortune by taking advantage of the new, wealthy neighbors. In 2139AT, the forces of Magoria stormed the western border, invading deep into the ravines and hills of Windari. What King Jaran did not bother to think about was that Windari had never been alone. Almost at any given time in history, they have had powerful allies, trade partners and sheer family ties to other royal houses, for their unique structure of mixed Huron and Darfin governance not only secured strong support from Haldur and Dalgard, but also Othrond and Hrundir, which effectively left Magoria in between two Darfin forces. It was not difficult to foresee the winner of this conflict, yet it lasted for years due to great distances and the plain vastness of northern territory. But, finally, in 2143AT, Berghen was conquered and a new king was appointed, for Windari had no interested in the remote and poor country that had once been one of the great powers of eastern Belmora. King Holmir Istvale took the crown, following the conqueror's demand, and a peace treaty was signed with swords drawn.

In 2138AT, Belderan Althier was chosen to become the next archon of Palantheon. While still serving as a keeper of stone, one of the four archmystics, Belderan had discovered the ancient writings of Maldin the Scribe, taking them under a keen review. As an extremely talented and well studied sage, Belderan was able to pick out flaws in Maldin's original glyph structure, and slowly, one glyph at a time, he began to correct it. His work continued with the becoming an archon, and only accelerated when Alustarian the Bright took the seat of Astaroth 2141AT. It had become a true rarity for a hallow to achieve such position of power, but Alustarian was well liked, revered member of the church, and the people were accepting his leadership with cheerful hopefulness. Belderan wanted to restore the fame of Palantheon, and with wild magic he could do that and much more. Quietly, Belderan recruited more mystics to work on his ambitious project, thus along came Asarlin Margreth, Zethran Sharkiel and Belgrin Steelfinger, and suddenly pieces began to fall into their places.

Setting up a private chamber beneath the Althier Tower, Belderan instructed Belgrin, who was one of the finest Darfin sages of his time, to begin work on the actual gate structure. The work was to be done with a brimidian tipped quill, and brimidian was to be used as the primary material to shape the gate structure. It was incredibly expensive to ship enough brimidian from the mines of Kharaban, but Althier family had deep pockets, and at this point, Belderan's ambition knew no limits. Belderan's apprentice, not a particularly talented young man called Raghtar Tarathiel, who had been involved from the very beginning, worked intensively together with Belgrin to shape the gate into its final form. At first, Raghtar had shown little interest toward the entire project, but then, all of a sudden, something changed. He worked with such tenacity that Belgrin was able to begin on other parts of the gate. Three parts were created; the first one was naturally the quill to create the most complicated glyph structure the world had ever seen, the second part was the actual main structure with a brimidian base and an oval arc rising from both sides to connect at the top, and the third part was a key, a conduit that would amplify the flow of aether into the gate itself. From many different objects, Belgrin chose a sword, for it allowed plenty of space for the lengthy Awen strings.

Finally, in 2143AT, the newly constructed aethergate was ready. Belderan summoned his carefully assembled crew to begin the activation of the most enormous spell a mortal had ever attempted to cast. The sword, the key part of the gate, was set in its designated slot beside the actual gate structure. Called Miradar by Belderan, the sword was a stunningly beautiful showcase of Belgrin's craftsmanship. Forged from the purest brimidian, the blade retained a partially translucent, dark red hue of the metal it was made from, and the glyphs carved on both sides of the blade only appeared when light properly reflected from the smooth surface. The chanting of the spell took hours, drawing immense amounts of aether from the very air, channeled into the gate by the ever weakening mystics. The sword amplified the flow, charging the gate with raw magical power. When the aether reached a critical level, the door between realities cracked and darkness entered Aradea. A shadow of a winged monstrosity attempted to break through, and only the quick action of Zethran Sharkiel saved the world from immediate doom. While Belderan and Asarlin struggled to close the gate, Zethran ran for the sword, pulling it free from the stand it was attached to, effectively stalling the opening. Gazing upon the sword that was now black as midnight, only the glyphs shining brightly like a blood moon, he ran away to keep it away from whatever was trying to come through. At this point, Raghtar revealed his true intentions by trying to stop Zethran and reclaim the blade. He wanted the creature to arrive, and as it was later revealed, he had been secretly working to betray them all by altering the spell structure to allow a Gargoyle from another world to latch onto the amplified stream of aether. When the Gargoyle could not manifest himself physically, finding that without the sword, the gate could not remain open, but merely work as a conduit between the worlds, it targeted Raghtar, storing himself in the apprentice's body and bringing a sliver of wild magic along, turning Raghtar into the most powerful magical being in all Aradea. At the same time, the Angarathian natives attacked Palantheon, conquering the City of Towers, chanting the name of their new master, Raghtar! The darkness was already spreading as small wisps of dark mist gathered above the city. There was too much going on at once for Raghtar to pose a threat to Zethran as the other mystics continued to fight with their dwindling power to seal the gate. However, it was easy for him to stop the pointless resistance by killing the remaining mystics. Belgrin, Asarlin and Belderan, they all met their end that day. By the time he was finished with his former master and his accomplices, Zethran was already flying away on board of Nightwind, the only remaining airship from the glory days of Palantheon, heading for Astaroth to warn the church and the world of what had gone down in Angarath.

When the Temple Guard rode toward Angarath, in the spring of 2144AT, in order to fight this new threat, the sky was already covered in dark clouds that only seemed to thicken as time went by. The sun still peeked through, but it was just a pale image of her former self, and soon the golden, warming light would be gone. The paladins and soldiers of the church faced a new enemy as they entered the barren vale of Gholmgor, which is the main entrance to Angarath. Thousands upon thousands of warriors they had never seen before. Winged, yet clearly unable to fly, they bore distinctive reptilian and wolf-like features upon their muscular bodies, moving astonishingly fast on all fours, but stood up to fight with hook-tipped blades that could cause massive damage to their enemies. These otherworldly warriors would be later identified as Garkins, and they were the first creation of Raghtar Tarathiel after he proclaimed himself as the overlord of the world and became known as the Ironcrown, for he loved to make public appearances wearing a simple crown made of iron, which represented his strength and power. Temple Guard fell that day. Only a few wounded soldiers were able to escape, carrying an alarming warning back to Astaroth, for the Garkin army was ready to march.

They did not have to wait longer than fall, 2144AT, before the forces of Angarath arrived to the gates of Astaroth. Patriarch Alustarian had prepared by calling reinforcements from Calathmar and Evoras, but there was no army in Belmora that could have matched the power of the Ironcrown. By now, the size of his army was nearing twenty thousand Garkins, and it kept growing at a rate that should not have been possible. At the front of his army rode Raghtar himself, clad in robes, as dark as the clouds above. And so it happened that on eleventh day of Sagrist, Astaroth fell. There were no survivors. Men, women, children, even the animals, brutally slaughtered without a glimpse of mercy. Despite his victory, Raghtar was not completely satisfied, for Zethran was nowhere to be found, and neither was Miradar, the sword, the key to his ultimate domination. To further mock the failed power of the church, he used his new power to raise the corpses of Alustarian the Bright and his cardinals to serve him in undeath. Alustarian became a lich known as Arghan the Fallen, a terrible shadow, a remnant of the glory of Astaroth, and his cardinals became the Dusklight Riders, the most horrifying force under Raghtar's direct control.

Ironcrown's political influence became dominant in the southern Belmora very quickly, creeping northward as the years of darkness slugged on. Raghtar was aware that he was not powerful enough yet to take the entire continent, so he continued the breeding process to produce more Garkins, which involved female hosts of angarathian native origin. Garkins were all male, thus they could not reproduce naturally, but needed fertile surrogates to increase in numbers. In the meantime, Raghtar engaged in aggressive political play, attempting to weaken his adversaries through intimidation. Together with the spreading darkness, which by 2160AT covered the entire continent, his position was quickly solidified as the most influential ruler that had ever lived.

Around the turn of the century, in 2197AT, Raghtar ceased making any public appearances as it seemed like his body was slowly falling apart. Rumors began to swirl that Raghtar Tarathiel had actually been dead ever since the aethergate was cracked, and that it was the Gargoyle using his body as a slowly decaying vessel for himself. Instead of appearing in person, he began to use viceroys to represent himself. First one was Viceroy Gharn, a galandrian councilman, who was a fierce supporter of Raghtar's cause. He served from 2204AT till 2239AT, and was replaced by Viceroy Velnard, a brother of Vreth the Flayer (Delnariel). He has served the Ironcrown to this day as his speaker and sole representative.

The world is slowly dying, withering away in darkness. Immortals have ceased to answer the prayers of hallows; magic has grown weak. In 2226AT, Ironcrown declared all practice of spellweaving forbidden, launching a continentwide purge of all mystics, destroying every grimoire that could be found. As the generations changed and elders died, the legend of sun began to turn into a myth. Life became a struggle as crops refused to grow, and as the forest vegetation was rotting away, even the kindest of animals turned into predators. Famine became constant, bringing illness and death in its wake. This is the reality in present day (2245AT).

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