For 5000 years, since the end of the Age of Shadow and beginning of The New Age of Dawn, the peoples of Eddlun in the world of Elderith have lived in relative peace. Prosperous nations and the gentle guidance of Aed have sheltered and nurtured a once blighted world back to health and, until The Great War, all was well.
Enter the Dwarves of Thaldaros. Long had they been sequestered in their secret halls under the great mountain of Thaldor whose depths they delved in their endless search for unknown treasure. They cared not for the worries and doings of the surface dwellers and, truth be told, few on the surface cared much for them either.
Seventy five years ago everything changed. The Dwarves, sending forth envoys onto the surface world, announced a discovery unlike any other. Deep in the darkness below their subterranean realm lie deposits of a most curious mineral. Blue like the sky and always warm to the touch, lam stone‘s never before seen properties promised to revolutionize the world by providing a means to reshape matter to fit the whims of any one with the skill and will to see it done. To the nations of the surface world the Thaldosian’s offered an endless supply… for a price.
The nation of Gramlik, long the only surface allies of Thaldoros, were quite excited by the offer… so excited they could not come to an agreement over how to approach this offer. Their gnomish and halflings leaders’ endless arguing sent the Thaldor envoys looking elsewhere.
The nations of kyne (humans as we know them) greatly disliked the Dwarves with whom they shared their western borders and would consider no alliance with them. Not even for trade. Many of the Kyne nations even showed them outright hostility.
The highland elves, in their snowy mountain homes, greeted the Dwarven travelers with great fanfare and friendship… lavishing upon them praise and welcome. Then, with the greatest of courtesy and not the least bit of explanation they declined the dwarves offer.
It was then that the Dwarves turned to the last among the surface dwellers who they would ever have considered. The Thaldosians felt no real animosity for the Kinder Races and their nation of Durendark. They simply thought them beneath their interest. It was here, however, standing in the great halls of The High Palace in the great fortress-city of Merallynth that their offer was finally accepted… and the price that accompanied it agreed to be paid.
Today many argue if it was truly the Emperor of Durendark who made this agreement or if it was made without his knowledge. Shortly after the Emperor Sato Daisuke lie dead… first of his line to die to betrayal. In what today is called The Lupus Treachery a conspiracy of Lupin leaders and generals betrayed and killed the Emperor for reasons that, to this day, are not entirely clear… though most say whatever agreement was brokered between the Emperor and Thaldaros was to blame.
His heir, Sato Yuudai, was still a child and not yet ready for the rigors of commanding an empire as vast and powerful as Durendark. A counsel of advisers and ministers was formed to rule in his stead. Owing to the power and military might of the kugar nation they maintained a significant majority on this counsel and it was this single fact that would turn what should have been the great moment of enlightenment for the world of Elderith into the source of one of its darkest chapters.
As Thaldaros and Durendark developed the technology and capabilities afforded to them by lam stone they shared their discoveries and technology with rest of the world. However, the kugar held a very special hatred for the kyne… and so it was that they used their new found political might to sabotage the kyne’s access to lam stone and the technology it made possible.
At first the kugar worked subtly… but as their efforts to undermine the kyne went unchallenged they grew bolder. High taxes on exports to and from kinnish lands combined with similar restrictions in trade agreements with Durendark’s trade partners amounted to an embargo on alchemical goods to kinnish lands.
It did not take long for the consequences to become apparent. As the rest of the world leapt into an industrial age the kyne remained agrarian and locked in the past. In just 30 years the once prosperous nations of kyne became third world nations with little political or economic power.
Driven together by necessity and galvanized by increasing hostility from Durendark it should not be surprising then that they would turn to the only power left to them: their vast militaries. For the first time in thousands of years all the nations of kyne acted as a single entity.
An allied army of kyne poured across the border between kinnish lands and Durendark burning and destroying as it went. Though technologically inferior by any stretch of the imagination the kyne made up with it in shear numbers. At first it looked like the kyne may have landed a decisive, first blow.
In many ways this was exactly what the kugar wanted. Freed to leave the unfamiliar tools of political intrigue behind and embrace their preferred calling of martial combat, the kugar rallied Durendark to total war. The result was brutal. The effect of technological disparity in war had never before been seen in the lands of Eddlun and the before the onslaught of Durendark’s engines of war the kinnish armies could do nothing but break and run.
It was, ironically, the Thaldosians who would come to the rescue of the kyne. Seeing the bloodthirst of the kugar, knowing where it must inevitably lead, and knowing that it was lam stone that had upset the balance and made such possible, the Kings of Thaldaros made their offer again to the kinnish leaders, this time with an added offer to ally with them militarily in the war and break their existing treaties with Durendark and its allies. Desperate, the kyne leaders accepted and, once again, the tide of battle shifted.
The kugar would not be denied their ancient vengeance, however, and seeking to counter the alliance between the kyne and the Taldosians they reached out to their own ancient allies of Rilna. The Woodland Elves answered and soon their rangers, soldiers, and wizards joined the front lines of Durendark’s forces… only to met by other Woodland Elves fighting on the side of men. It was then that the world learned that Rilna had been sundered in civil war into the nations of Ka’Rilna and Tha’Rilna only a few decades before and each had joined the war on opposite sides.
And so The Great War was joined. It would drag on for 40 more years with neither side making significant headway… but in the end the Allied Forces of Durendark would defeat the Alliance of Men.
In the five years that have passed since an uncertain peace has settled over the world. The elves of Ka’Rilna and Tha’Rilna have returned to their homelands. The Dwarves of Thaldaros, bloodied but still strong, have likewise returned to theirs. The human lands, home to the majority of battles during the war, lies mostly in ruins… its peoples and nations each a shattered remnant of its former self. And Durendark, victorious… but at a high cost, has set itself the task of forgetting the war and its many horrors.
It is here, in the lands of kyne along the border of Durendark, that our story begins.