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 Narrative History of Kerodil

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PostSubject: Narrative History of Kerodil   Thu Jul 21, 2016 10:40 am

Circa 5400 OE – 2000 OE
The Reign of Dragons, the Myth of Arcanis

Important Notes:
 

A clan of Dragons, exiled from the Dragon Coast clans for their cruelty and barbarism towards humans, arrived on the remote Island of Kerodil. Finding it entirely free of mortal life and unaffected by Kielm’s new order, they created an enclave, where new Dragons, for a time, could be born away from lesser races.

Sadly, this second chance is squandered. In spite of their shared bond, the dragons of this particular clan did not coexist for long. Their arrogance drove them to clash amongst themselves for control of the island, and the precious truminum that would grant them a legacy in their offspring. Many dragons died to each other in these struggles, yet many more were born of the carcasses of their forefathers. With each new generation, the once-great titans inexorably descended to despotism and madness. Each maintained a vice-grip on the small territories that remained, and yearned for an opportunity to devour its kin.

This was the island humans came to, in the form of a lost expedition washed ashore. As legend would have it, it was the tyrant Kasadon whose wings brought forth a typhoon, and with it, Kerodil’s first Men. Kasadon was clever, and unique in his cruelty; it was not enough for him to plot against his brothers from within his lair – he desired lesser beings to torment and enslave. He put them to work in mines, harvesting truminum from depths inaccessible to the wyrm. He bred them, raised them like livestock, weeding out those who disobeyed. Children were pulled weeping from their mother’s breast, raised apart from their families to be perfect workers. Across centuries, humans were subjected to experiments, tortures, mutilation of body and soul. Mere words could never convey the abhorrence of those times.

Inevitably, Kasadon’s brethren heard of this new workforce he was building, and together they conspired to rob him of this advantage. Over many years, humans were stolen, smuggled away and made to multiply. In time, they came to vastly outnumber their dragon masters. Strange and long-forgotten civilizations formed from these early men. Cities of stone were carved into cliff-faces, step pyramids arisen from the wetlands, and monoliths of pure obsidian scattered throughout the land.

As humans began to spread across the isle, so too did other forms of life – for humans could not live as dragons did, by strength of will alone. Their weak spirits were tethered to Aeria by their physical forms, which required raw materials to survive. Kasadon allowed for food and livestock to feed his pets, and so too did his deceitful brethren (excepting the less coherent). As it was fated, magic reached Kerodil, the magic of mortalkind, of the Weave, and life flourished, adopting many forms both new and old. The time these dragons had borrowed was almost at its end.

In spite of their enslavement, their abuse, their unending oppression, the humans found ways to resist. Often it was subtle – a shared smile, a stolen kiss, a hummed tune. But the miners, who spent their days with the truminum, getting to know the substance as intimately as a lover, chanced upon a new way. Beneath the surface, the veins of truminum spread out like roots, and, as they found, were interconnected. This was shown to be true by the rhythm of the miner’s pick heard in distant places, returned in kind by those on the other end. It was a system of communication that grew with each passing day, until language could be shared, then stories, ideas. The obsidian monoliths were not constructed so much as shaped, implanted with knowledge, and specialized for communication. Humanity would never have shrugged off their yoke had it not been for this secret network. Although their dragon masters commanded vast knowledge, their decaying minds never dreamt such pathetic beings could accomplish so much.

The dragons, though they despised magic that was not wholly theirs, continued seeking ways that they might attain an edge over one another. Forays into the study of the Weave were made, with humans as test subjects. Many bodies were destroyed, and souls cannibalized for raw essence, to construct artifacts which might amplify the dragons’ already immense power. These artifacts, of which none(?) remain intact today, were hidden in the inner sancta of dragon lairs, zealously guarded. Just one was all it took to precipitate the first successful uprising – the first of many.

The only record of the first uprising lies in the legend of Arcanis, the first mage of Kerodil. As a young man, he spent his days performing excruciating labors in the mines, and his nights languishing in a filth-encrusted cage, fed a sour stew of meat chunks, blood, and grains. As a child, he had watched his mother and father become meals for the monster that called itself a god. Whenever he was alone, he thrashed in bitter rage, weeping for what he had lost. Only his hatred of his master kept him alive, until the day came when he could no longer obey. He threw down his tools and looked the dragon in the eye, unmoving, expecting a swift end. Instead he was thrown into a deep pit, and a rock was rolled over it by his fellow man. It is said that in that dark place which was to be his grave, he heard a voice from the shadows. This voice told him things which made no sense. That it was not the dragons who were the rulers of this island, but his kind, the humans. That every human, himself included, had great power within them. This power, the voice explained, was stolen away without their knowledge, hidden in the artifacts the dragons so fiercely coveted. It was up to him to reclaim it, and thus restore man’s hope.

Arcanis climbed out of the pit, and pushed the rock aside with all his strength. Dying of thirst, he crawled to his village, and was cared for by a woman. In many versions of the tale, this woman was Kita herself. As Arcanis recovered, he pondered the voice’s words, and what role he would come to play in this. Sensing his plight, his caretaker offered advice. Whatever was spoken between the two can only be guessed at, but as soon as he could stand, he journeyed straight to the lair of his master with unflinching purpose. Long into the night, he braved (or evaded) twisted monsters, deadly traps, and even his own kinsmen. At last his eyes beheld the artifact, magnificent in the rank cavern. As soon as he touched it, great power came upon him. He felt stronger than ever before, as strong as his master. He recalled, with anguished memories, his master’s fiery breath, and so fire came forth from his mouth. He remembered the hardened scales, and so his skin became strong as iron. He knew firsthand his master’s terrifying strength, and so it was that his hands could crush boulders to dust. Before the day arrived, Arcanis lit upon his sleeping master and killed him. As the legend goes, it was Kasadon who, in his hubris, unwittingly engineered his own undoing.

Wise was Arcanis, who feared what he had become. He did not wish to hoard power as his master had, and so he spread it to all of his kinsmen, crying out that they were free. The miners rushed to their monoliths, and the word was spread. The dragons would fall, and mankind would rule itself.

Supposedly, the second of the stolen dragon artifacts was shattered into five pieces and forged into the Telekinetic Blades by none other than Lothe himself, with the help of his disciples. These were distributed to five of the strongest and most willful among them, the first of the order of Battlemages that came to be known as the Sentinels. With these blades, the five warriors cut down their former master, and led the offensive against the others. Piece by piece, through cunning and, failing that, raw brutality and numbers, Kerodil was taken from the wyrms. The ancient beasts did not go quietly. Many artifacts were destroyed in the ensuing war, entire cultures and their records lost in torrents of blood and fire. But at last the day came when the final blow was dealt the final dragon, and its skull was ground to dust and scattered to the winds. The Sentinels five laid down their swords, but swore that they and their descendants would forever guard Kerodil against any that would threaten it. Never again would the island play host to such evil.

And at the end of this tale, as Arcanis lay dying, the voice returned to him. It told him he had done well in freeing the island from the dragons’ control. It said that now Kerodil would belong to new masters. Arcanis took this to mean humanity. He was wrong.

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PostSubject: Re: Narrative History of Kerodil   Sun Jul 24, 2016 12:37 pm

Circa 1999 OE - 1400 OE
The Forgotten Era

Important Notes:
 

The Forgotten are so named for a reason – much of their history is as obscured by time as they were by shadow. They were a dark-skinned people whose home was underground, away from the dangers of the surface world. Having fled godless corruption in the east, their discovery of Kerodil was taken as a sign that their faith had been answered. But the dragons ruled Kerodil, even the dark, twisted caverns beneath. For years they had watched the humans labor in the mines, seeing in them a chance of removing their greatest obstacle. And so, in the aftermath of the war, they emerged from the shadows to announce the construction of a great citadel to their goddess, in celebration this triumph. Desiring no interference, they worked in the mountains, far from trodden paths, piling stones and infusing them with black magic. Their power, though it came from something like the Weave, was noticeably different. And where there is difference, distrust is sure to follow.

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. In this time of rebuilding and recovery for the humans, members of the Forgotten sometimes lived openly among men, helping them reclaim lost lands, and giving them the tools to survive without their caretakers. In time, there was even a mixing of the races (information on these unfortunate pariahs is now found only in fables of the period). Many humans had by then joined the great construction, hoping to solidify the union between the two peoples.

But it was not to be. The obsidian monoliths, the secrets of their construction lost, began disappearing. People could no longer communicate directly, instead turning to rumor and hearsay. Whole communities disappeared or were found slaughtered. Plagues broke out in isolated areas, leaving behind barren fields and rotting livestock. It was supposed that the Forgotten had filled the Dragons’ old role as oppressors, killing or enslaving as they saw fit in order to appease their fickle god, and complete their twisted tower. They and their sympathizers were blamed for the loss of the monoliths, the disappearances, plagues, and every other problem humans then faced. Though these rumors were dubious at best, they were easily devoured by the human populace.

Frightened by the appearance of these mysterious folk, and fiercely protective of their newfound freedom, humanity began rejecting, and even opposing, the Forgotten. Upon the Mount of Betrayal, it is unknown who betrayed whom – if there was any truth to the rumors, or if the humans simply lashed out. Following a confrontation with the Forgotten’s leaders, the Sentinels, a growing order, used the power of the Telekinetic Blades to level the near-complete tower, causing massive collateral damage. The line had finally been crossed. Violence erupted everywhere, and though they had deadly soldiers, the Forgotten were greatly outnumbered, driven out almost as quickly as they had arrived. It is said that the last of them to disappear beneath the ground, with whom  Arcanis himself had once spoken, swore revenge upon all of mankind, promising that they and their descendants would lament this act for all the ages to come.

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PostSubject: Re: Narrative History of Kerodil   Thu Jul 28, 2016 7:43 am

Circa 1399 - 1001 OE
Era of Strife

Important Notes:
 

As is fitting, the warning quickly faded from memory. With the Forgotten no longer guiding them, and the dragons long dead, Kerodil’s humans struggled to find their footing. Gone were order and discipline, structure and civility. Strength was all that mattered, strength of arms, of body, and of magic. Magical practice was kept alive by the Sentinels, followers of Lothe; and the shamanic practices of the surviving tribes. Shamen believed the spells they wove were spiritual unions, their souls dipping into the world’s gestalt essence, which inhabited every rock and tree and creature; in addition, they believed (with good reason) that this ability came easier to some, more “attuned” individuals, many of whom were trained to become shamen themselves. Among the ever-shifting clans arose powerful war-chiefs, some proving as intelligent in statecraft as they were in strategy, wielding godlike power. Magelords, as they came to be known, attained their status through mysterious means, be they natural gifts, ritual sacrifices, divine communion, recovered artifacts, or some combination of these.

Circa 1000 OE - 0 OE
The Age of Arithas

Important Notes:
 

In the mountainous north, the first independent human nation of Kerodil was founded, known to its people as Arithas. Arithans were a hardy people who raised goats and sheep, and annually took up arms to raid the isolated, indefensible villages in the south. They valued the mountains for their hostility, believing those of the south were weak and spoiled by abundance. To them, any reward without struggle was not worth having, and thus, they wrought terrible violence throughout the plains and foothills, earning a reputation as merciless savages. Among them was born Myra, an apothecary and wisewoman. Her early days were spent treating grievous injuries, and preparing those beyond hope to enter the next life. With each warrior whose eyes went still, the despair within her grew. Against the wishes of her people, she packed a satchel and ventured into the treacherous mountains. She stopped in many villages, healing the sick and injured, solving disputes, and raising spirits. When her work was done, she would speak. She told the families of fallen warriors that their suffering was preventable. Arithas had no need for violence, no need to take what was freely given, by nature or fellow man. She envisioned all of the land united in peace, with humans working to solve problems instead of creating new ones. Alas, her words were met with harsh resistance. Powerful figures cast her as a manipulator, a practitioner of evil arts, and a madwoman. Rather than contribute to this “vision” of hers, they argued, she merely wandered about and criticized respected traditions. Eventually she was captured, beaten, and made to drink poison. In her final days she spoke nothing and sat alone in meditation. Even now, her body maintains that peaceful pose, untouched by time within the steadfastness of her temple, as much a memorial as a place of worship and quiet contemplation.

Arithas neither grew stronger nor became fully united. To this day it is a disorganized cluster of small villages and city-states with their own warriors, customs, and cultures. Though Magelords regarded their lands as holding little value, battles were still fought in the foothills, with Arithas ever on the losing side. None will ever know the full extent of what Arithas has lost, nor what it has sacrificed. The stories are dismissed as children’s tales, legends of stone armies and bizarre temples, of fortresses built in reverse, of noble courts dutifully managed by the dead. The oldest and most respected clans of Arithas uniformly deny these rumors, but there are parts of the mountains where none dare tread, for reasons best left unknown.

In the lands south of the mountains, many battles were fought over valuable territory. No Magelord possessed the strength, tenacity, or strategic acumen to take and hold any significant portion – until Inferus and Valos entered the picture. Born within each other’s lifetime, but at opposite ends of the continent, these were the founders of Kerodil’s two strongest nations.

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PostSubject: Re: Narrative History of Kerodil   Sun Jul 31, 2016 4:54 pm

Circa 100-130 MP
The Beginnings of Valen and Inferia

Important Notes:
 

Long ago, in the northern plains, two powerful Magelords were locked in a perpetual stalemate over the fertile land now known as Aurelus. Weary of bloodshed, both opted for diplomacy, meeting each other in person for the first time on neutral ground. These individuals, each exceptional in their own right, could finally see the man – and the woman – behind their legendary rivalry. As fate would have it, the war ended with perhaps the continent's first political marriage. They had but one son, Valos.

Valos, though unpopular as a child, was undeniably capable, a fact which set him apart from his peers. Quiet study of ancient scrolls, meditation, and magical experiments were among the only things that brought him peace, thus he mastered a great deal at a young age. In time, he felt that he had grown more powerful than even his parents. Great was his frustration with his homeland, neither developed nor expanded for decades. In his mind, his family's avoidance of conflict had made them lax, afraid of change. They settled for a city-state when they could have had an empire. Valos grew into an intelligent yet prideful man, a would-be prince who assembled a war band with promises of glory, wealth, and land they could call their own. Though Valos’ force was mainly comprised of peasants, it was rounded out by hardened veterans of his parents’ numerous skirmishes, a match for any fighting force in the land. With this ragtag army, Valos set out to conquer the north in his parents’ name - to make it his birthright.

Outside Aurelus, human civilization was fragmented. Isolated, self-sufficient villages and small Kingdoms were scattered throughout the land, remnants of dragon empires and Forgotten conclaves. From the foothills to the edge of the Valenwood, Valos reshaped the disjointed clans and unstable communities into a unified, militarised structure. Magelords he encountered were either executed or given provisional governorship based on their desire to cooperate. Keeping provincial rulers loyal in the long run meant making certain concessions, however. Power was kept hereditary and strictly regimented, and the management of land was divided among chosen warriors and counselors who swore their loyalty. As promised, many of Valos’ troops shared these spoils. Though, regardless of station, all had to bend the knee to their king, obey a common law, and pay tribute in gold and men when the need arose, in exchange for the security that came with a large standing army and the wealth that newly established trade would afford. Though it was a primitive system, it brought these peoples under common rule as a nation-state to be known as Valen. As word spread of the changes Valos was making, some villages, desperate for the stability he offered (or perhaps afraid of being destroyed), surrendered without resistance. Inspired by his early success, Valos came to believe that all of Kerodil might one day bow to him, Valen’s destined King. He had not yet heard of the happenings in the south.

Inferus’ early life was relatively unremarkable. In his youth he was a warrior, a participant in many battles against legions that competed for the mysterious and oddly intact ruins of Embron. He was not of noble blood, nor did he ever proclaim himself a Magelord. His latent magical ability did not manifest until later in life, after a successful military career. Inferus’ liege lord had built a respectable empire in the south, with Embron as his crown jewel and seat of power. Greed was to be his downfall - by heavy taxation and an alleged treasure chamber unearthed beneath the capital, the Magelord and his fellow aristocrats had purportedly amassed a hoard that rivalled a dragon’s, yet commanded an army both underpaid and underfed. Discontent was inevitable, and Inferus gave it a voice. He had built a reputation as a warrior and leader, and such heroics lent authority to his words. Weary of following orders, and bristling with ambition, he spoke out against his Magelord, rallying loyal subordinates and disgruntled peasants alike. Seeking a clean end to the dispute, the Magelord agreed to duel him in single combat, expecting to easily dispatch the rebellious war hero. To his shock, his own was the life that ended. Inferus emerged from the smoke and flame the victor, his power greater than anyone dared dream. To cement his rule, he executed his former lord’s family, friends, and officials, without exception. Those who hid their allegiances and plotted in secret were rooted out and purged from the ranks. None, it seemed, could escape his wrath and that of his supporters. Roving lynch mobs meted out their own form of justice to the decadent upper classes and those accused of treason, regardless of guilt. After the ropes were cut and the blood dried, Inferus marched on the late Magelord’s holdings and beyond, proving just as ruthless on the battlefield as on the throne, for his extensive combat experience molded him into a brilliant general. He rapidly conquered much of the southern reaches of Kerodil, and decided to push further up – which meant following the river north, through the natural bottleneck of the Valenwood.

By now, both conquerors had heard of each other through networks of scouts and reports from outlying villages, so it came as no surprise to either of them when a terrible conflict broke out in the plains due south of the Valenwood. Valos had marched out a sizable portion of his host in the hopes of securing a bastion against Inferian aggression. Resource-rich Valen had the advantage of both numbers and equipment - for despite its gold, Inferia lacked iron, and civil strife had left its military depleted. Against the odds, Inferus personally led his own forces, comprised of hardened veterans and the occasional magic user, and held his own - for a time. Thousands of lives were claimed in the melee that ensued - enough to stain the Duilos river red. Legend has it that when victory seemed certain for Valos’ hoplite army, Inferus called forth terrible magics and parted the earth beneath his enemies, who were swallowed by the rushing waters. The bloody river had become a Red Lake.

In the wake of the battle, Inferus was spirited away to Embron, his most loyal generals left to defend of the front lines. The brutal conflict had ended in a stalemate. Rumors circulated that Inferus had been gravely injured in battle, but no one understood why this called for such secrecy. If he was indeed alive, surely he would wish to reassure his people. And sure enough, in light of this development, enemies who had long bid their time began emerging from the shadows. Governor-generals and other high-ranking officials began turning up dead, often under suspicious circumstances. Those who once swore fealty to Inferus began changing their tune. It seemed that the fledgling nation Inferus had built was but a house of cards without him. His cult of personality began to fracture from within, and soon Inferia fell prey to uprisings and secession, led by traitors, the ambitious, and those who still held loyalty to Inferus’ predecessor - for his extreme measures had only served to drive such men deep into hiding.

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PostSubject: Re: Narrative History of Kerodil   Sun Aug 07, 2016 4:40 pm

Circa 131-150 MP
The Beginnings of Durender

During this time, the Valenwood played host to countless skirmishes. Battles were fought between scavengers, bandits, sellswords, and soldiers alike. More blood flowed into the Duilos, more iron and bones laid beneath the grass. Neither Valen nor Inferia could gain much ground. In time, a new force was present in the area that neither side had anticipated - deserters, barbarians, and rebels, all united under one name: Vintar.

Fate was on Vintar's side, for both Valen and Inferia were weakened; Inferia by internal unrest, Valen by heavy losses. Through clever hit-and-run tactics, Vintar could disable supply lines, isolate outposts and forts, and subsequently take them in overwhelming surprise attacks. He recruited those he could, mostly impressionable young soldiers, servants, peasants, and the occasional disillusioned veteran. The rest were killed, or sent back so frightened they spoke madness. His second advantage was simply his choice of friend - Tairne Welfyr. What Vintar lacked in diplomacy, tact, and sheer intellect, Tairne had in unparalleled supply. He was, by rights, a genius of his time: an inventor of weapons, fortifications, and practical tools. Vintar was wise to give the eccentric whatever he needed to work. In return for his trust, Welfyr gave Vintar’s men swords stronger than bronze or iron, armor which encased the wearer in its protection, and fearsome devices that hurled spears and boulders with great speed, creations that would later become a mainstay of the north’s military. The last of Vintar’s advantages, and perhaps the most infamous, was his inhuman skill in combat. Often, it was said, Vintar would emerge from a terrible battle completely unscathed, despite never leaving the front lines, where blood flowed the thickest. On the occasion he was injured, he was never known to show pain, fear, or hesitation. And no matter how long and brutal the battle was, he never tired of it. Naturally, superstition took hold, and wild stories of his feats began emerging. Allegedly, he drowned six men sent to kill him as he bathed, caught a sword in his teeth and snapped it in half, and fought six hours straight with an arrow in his head. Regardless of the veracity of such tales, one thing was certain: he never lost.

Inferia’s political situation continued to deteriorate as Vintar sacked bordering outposts and villages. Without a strong central authority, the soldiery began to fracture - generals demanded excessive tribute in exchange for protection, draining the economy dry; undisciplined soldiers would often become drunk and instigate fights with the populace; and in some cases, whole settlements would secede from Inferia under the rule of a particularly ambitious military governor. Soon, even Embron felt the effects of Inferia’s collapsing empire - poverty became widespread, and the civilian population was either in revolt against or protest of the failed government. But this was soon to change, as the people's questions were at once answered: Inferus returned.

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PostSubject: Re: Narrative History of Kerodil   Thu Sep 15, 2016 5:47 pm

Circa 151-200 MP
Durender Joins Valen

Important Notes:
 

It was said that strange, dark magics had been used to restore Inferia’s leader, granting him immense power at the cost of his soul. Starting with Embron, Inferus and his retinue personally defeated the rebels with overwhelming - excessive, contended some - force. When all resistance had surrendered or perished, taxes were temporarily withheld to allow economic institutions to recover. What wealth remained in Embron’s coffers was emptied for this and other stimulus projects, and in the span of a year, things had normalized to the point the accrued debt began to stabilize. As this was happening, Inferus rapidly expanded his influence to reunify the fragmented nation. Hearing of his growing power and ruthlessness, soldiers and insurgent leaders were quick to bend the knee. Those who had remained loyal were rewarded; of the rebels, mercy was shown only to the most effective leaders, who were nonetheless kept on a tight leash, their forces decimated (one-tenth were executed) as a severe warning. Just as before, anyone who retreated was hunted down and slain. In some cases, no hunting parties were deployed - magical constructs of Inferus’ own making would emerge from the shadows to tirelessly seek out and murder the escapees. A new era had begun; Inferus’ apparent resurrection and awe-inspiring power fuelled rumors of his divinity. Within a decade, Inferia had made great strides in returning to its former glory. But there was more work to be done - the lands Vintar had claimed for Durender, an affront to Inferia, would no longer be tolerated.

Under the protection of Vintar, and the meticulous planning of Tairne Welfyr, the fledgling state of Durender saw a golden age of prosperity. The cliffs near the edge of the Valenwood held great mineral wealth, and Welfyr’s invention of primitive water pumps allowed miners and farmers alike to harness the power of the Duilos River as it rushed down the rock face. This innovation led to the falls being named for Welfyr. Their fortune would prove to be even greater when one of their deepest mines broke through into a complex system of caverns, which yielded gemstones, metals, but most importantly, mysterious crystals thought to be the basis of the fabled Dragon Artifacts - Cordonium, as it would later be known. Initially, the substance was written off as useless; it was relatively fragile compared to other gemstones like amethyst or quartz, and had little to no aesthetic appeal, the stones often having a murky white color with almost no luster. As fate would have it, a wandering mystic was passing through the village and came upon a cart full of the “worthless” stones. He was later caught with pockets full of the stuff, and once questioned, revealed Cordonium’s true nature as a stone “entangled within the Weave of the world.” Cordonium could store magical energy, temporarily slowing its constant movement and change. Though intriguing, it was of little use to the largely non-magical nation of Durender, until Welfyr began experimenting with it.

Knowledge of Durender’s discovery didn’t take long to reach Inferia, and so its leader, in his first official public appearance in many years, proclaimed that these mines, having been dug into lands that were once Inferia’s, were being plundered by Durender and any mineral wealth was theirs by right. Durender had no legitimacy and thus any notion of sovereignty was a moot point. It was time for Inferia to go to war - against the thieves, the bandits, and their ilk taking wealth and food out of the hands of starving Inferians. Given the turbulence of past years, Inferian citizens were eager to find a new focal point for their anger. All of the rebuilding had led to this moment: the Inferian Legion would march again.

Valos - not to be confused with Vintar to the south - watched Durender’s development closely. Although he was confident in his ability to take control of the region, he was not as assured of his ability to hold it. The massive losses sustained against Inferia during the initial conquest were nothing if not discouraging, and left Valen in a vulnerable state. To his dismay, some of the installed rulers proved less than helpful in their contribution of troops, and almost seemed to be looking for an opening to establish their own kingdom within the north. Something of a magical arms race took place between fiefs as anyone with magical power was sought out for use in military or even courtly matters. As soothsaying and mysticism became further legitimized, so too did spiritualism and religion. By now several cults had already existed within Valen, specifically: the Myrites, in Presita to the north; the Tyrites, based largely out of Jheran; and the Lothians, who revered the honorable Dragonslayer. There were others, of course, but their numbers were lesser. It was rumored that Lothians were assembling a vast library in honor of the academic achievements of their namesake, among which included the creation of the Telekinetic Blades, the spread of magical teaching, and assistance in setting up the ancient communication network. Although these religious groups were mostly harmless, some, such as the Scillan Triarchy, were extreme. Even if Valos could muster the forces to maintain control over Durender, how could he expect to control his own populace? It did not help matters that his parents interfered with his self-imposed rule, seeking an end to the violence the prince had instigated. Reforms were instituted, control over conquered lands relaxed. Peaceful overtures were made to appease Durender and encourage it to join Valen as a largely independent city-state. Valos himself resented the generous gifts and endless parade of diplomats, and in Durender’s case, he felt the stubborn people would respond with their usual cold silence. Nothing would move them to join Valen willingly. In this, Valos was almost right.

Durender had fallen prey to a run of misfortune, or so it seemed. Mines were found abandoned, shipments of food and building supplies went missing, presumed stolen by bandits. Soldiers and guardsmen were either disappearing or fleeing into the woods. Vintar dispatched scouts, organized search parties, created patrol routes. These returned empty-handed, or not at all. With continuing pressure from the north to allow annexation, the land Vintar had carved out for himself and his people was slowly being eroded out from under him - and Valen was the most obvious suspect. In the midst of these developments, Vintar heard a rumor that Inferia was quietly preparing for war. Its emperor had returned with a godlike status among his subjects, and was pooling the struggling nation’s resources for an all-out invasion of the north. Durender, it seemed, was surrounded by enemies.

Determined to maintain Durender’s independence, Vintar refused any sort of alliance with Valen, and instead prepared his troops for war. Although the legendary fortress was not yet completed, the town boasted substantial defenses, including layers of walls and palisades, guard towers and stationary siege engines. Vintar was confident he and his men could weather any attack from their powerful neighbors, but as they say, overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer. Durender remained safe, but reports came in of villages being destroyed and townspeople burned inside their homes. The attackers left behind ghost towns inhabited by unnatural aberrations.The order was made to evacuate surrounding lands and take refuge inside Durender’s walls, but the messengers were sent back dead, if at all. Innocent people were suffering and dying, and Vintar could no longer protect them. His pride demanded his next course of action - to meet the invaders on an open battlefield, instead of hiding behind walls. Perhaps he knew what was to follow, for he was said to have only taken volunteers to accompany him. It goes without saying that neither he nor his men returned from the battle. Inferia’s improved military boasted war chariots and a column entirely composed of mages. To make up for a lack of quality materials, many of its troops used magically enhanced equipment to great effect. Supposedly, Vintar remained fighting long after his companions had died, even as he was perforated by arrows, torn apart by blades, and scorched by magic. So unnerved were Inferus’ men by this that they continued assaulting him until nothing remained but dust. Durender’s heroic leader was no more, and the isolated fortress-city faced an uncertain future.

And yet, Vintar’s death did not have the intended effect, to Inferus’ chagrin. With the stubborn leader dead, Durender was quick to establish ties with Valen, becoming part of the northern country in exchange for its very survival. Valos would no longer need to lay siege to Durender - instead he had only to break a siege. Sending his troops through the natural bottleneck of the Valenwood was suicide, but he had another way to access the south. The fishing villages to the east, among them the burgeoning harbor of Jheran, had long used boats for transporting goods along the coast. Instead of fish, Valos would transport men and horses, while a smaller company would keep Inferia’s forces distracted at the edges of the Valenwood. Though Inferia also had watercraft, its nearest harbor was on the southwest reaches, too far to intercept Valen’s in time. Inferus, in his single-minded determination to conquer Durender, simply had not anticipated such a move. If this had been the only disadvantage to Inferia’s armies, Valen would regardless have failed. Welfyr had been busy devising uses for Cordonium, and stumbled upon an alloy that resisted both the physical and magical: Tolerum. Given the siege, Durender had very limited resources to work with, but resolved to melt any object made of iron for use in the forging process (the use of the lighter but more unruly Titanium would come later). Plated in Tolerum alloy, Durender’s soldiers could enjoy near imperviousness to attack, making them excellent shock troops and mage hunters. Scorched-earth tactics left the Inferian Legion highly dependent on supply trains, which had a strange propensity to go missing. Valos purposely avoided clustering his troops in tight formation, fearing that Inferus might once more call upon his devastating magics. But although Inferia’s emperor commanded impressive power, in this conflict he was finally outmatched. The battle for Durender resulted in a victory for Valen, albeit a bloody one. Valos’ forces were left severely depleted, making a march on Inferia impossible. For both sides, there was much recovering to be done.

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PostSubject: Re: Narrative History of Kerodil   Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:04 pm

Important Notes:
 

Circa 201-300 MP
The Emergence

As part of Valen, Durender was influenced by its culture and traditions, but retained its own identity. The first Knights of Durender were gifted with Tolerum weapons and armor, and tasked with honoring Vintar’s legacy. The warleader was said to have wandered the land after his apparent death, tirelessly pursuing the task of protecting the people. A monument was erected, which slowly grew to a site of pilgrimage, and then a small chapel in his honor. He was akin to a saint, a man who had achieved legendary feats and inspired all those around him. His death marked a respite from the near-constant warfare and bloodshed that plagued the continent. After Durender’s absorption into Valen, Kerodil’s people enjoyed a lasting peace, a chance to heal and rebuild.

Inferia continued to push itself to greater and greater heights. Inferus sought to use magic where the nation’s resources and technology failed. He formed numerous schools of magic and instituted programs to identify magical talent wherever and whenever it appeared. The ancient, collapsing spires of Embron were slowly rebuilt and reinforced, with some even sporting additions. The capital became a veritable metropolis, replete with industry, commerce, and education. Unlike Valen, however, every stratum was carefully controlled by Inferus and his council of advisors. The Imperial Palace was the product of magical architecture and construction techniques, a structure that dominated even the imposing skyline of Embron, boasting four main turrets which were in fact converted spires. The structure was so large it functioned almost as an independent town within the city, maintained by a host of servants and home to countless political and economic leaders, in addition to Emperor Inferus himself.

Time marched on, and the throne of Valen was inevitably vacated. Valos was crowned King by a Lothian priest, and in his later years, adopted a more moderate approach. It may have been the wisdom of experience, or as some joked, an incantation his dying father placed on the throne. Regardless, he was able to build a Kingdom of people with a shared national identity, yet diverse cultures. No single religion or value system was imposed uniformly across Valen’s towns and fiefdoms, only the rule of law. The somewhat ironic nickname “The Free Kingdom” was aptly descriptive of this social golden age, which resulted in the many differing cultures and political structures present in Valen to this day.

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PostSubject: Re: Narrative History of Kerodil   Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:40 pm

So concludes this megapost. I would like to thank everyone involved in helping me put this together:

Thoro, for being a source of ideas and refusing to let me give up on anything (god damn it)

Pat, for making Olden what it is today (a failure just like him), answering the tricky questions, and letting me shitpost on his forum.

Kain, for guidance on lore matters.

Shout-out to Root, Psyche, Pear, Spadge, PREDATOR, and others I've probably missed for using my lore and contributing to its growth.

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PostSubject: Re: Narrative History of Kerodil   Mon Oct 10, 2016 9:04 pm

Shout out to the God-Emperor of Mankind, too. Can't forget him.
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PostSubject: Re: Narrative History of Kerodil   Wed Oct 12, 2016 3:24 pm

Kain wrote:
Shout out to the God-Emperor of Mankind, too. Can't forget him.

Well, yeah. He's a given.

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