Faylia: Dark Days
History of Faylia
The Dragon Times and Fall of the Draconic Baronies
Before the human nations of Faylia became as they are today, the humans were tribal, nomadic and scattered. The dwarves and gnomes were still deep underground and the elven nations were more isolationist than they are in modern times. Those who tried to exist in communities did so under the watchful eyes of the Dragonlords: countless numbers of both metallic and chromatic dragons. Unlike modern dragons, these interacted freely with and lived among the lesser races, forming their own small domains and baronies. Eventually they were separated by alliances among the good and evil dragons. Good dragons, while normally attentive, worried what the evil dragons were planning and generally ignored their subjects, who fell into abject poverty. Some argue that this was because of the dragon’s innate need to hoard treasure, but the actual reason for this neglect is not clear. The evil dragons, on the other hand, oppressed their subjects in their constant drive to undermine the workings of the good dragons and amass their own treasure hoards, using the populace for magical experiments, sacrifice, and worse.
The conflict escalated in DY 1876 when chromatic and metallic dragons from opposing baronies broke out in full scale battle on the plains of Marae. Countless castles, towers and villages were razed and thousands of humans died in the ensuing battles, although very few dragons perished. This type of attrition between the Draconic Baronies continued for almost a decade until all of Faylia was engulfed in the wars. At this point the elves, who had been content to watch until the war escalated, decided to intervene on behalf of the beleaguered humans and halflings terrorized by a decade of war and centuries of neglect. While dragons fought in the skies above, elven spies from Nu’ath and Levexia planted the seeds of revolution all over Faylia. Over the next few years, evil dragons who returned fatigued from battle found not obedient servants but waiting assassins, and hundreds of dragons were killed. Some good dragons found angry citizens demanding reasons for the wars and their carefully collected hoards dispersed to the populace. With the help of the elves, humans became organized and began to use the arcane arts as wizards. By DY 1894 many of the dragons had either been killed or had come to an agreement with the humans and elves to vacate Faylia and migrate elsewhere, an event known as the Draconic Migrations.
Despite the teachings of the elves and with the dragons no longer controlling them, the human populations did not take long themselves to erupt into skirmishes and wars of their own. After several years more of strife, the remaining good dragons and elves joined with the new brotherhood-arcana to defeat the malevolent forces that had arisen around the Sea of Enet. The entire conflagration ended in DY 1903 with the defeat of Baron Xavier of Dumar. The remaining generals, barons and wizards then convened in secret in Dumar in the ruined castle of that barony.
The Treaty of Oth Dumar and Migration
The first meeting between all the human factions was not to draw up plans for a new future, but to determine what to do with the remaining dragons that had helped defeat the unruly human factions after the fall of the Draconic Baronies. These humans and the council were led by the new wizards, who had renamed themselves the Mages of the Arcane Order and had established their base in Dumar. Their leader was a wizard by the name of Mazmerus. The secret council decided to exclude both the elves and the dragons from any decisions concerning human lands. The Order delivered an ultimatum to the remaining good dragons: to leave Faylia or face serious repercussions. After the last of the dragons left Dumar, the council convened again, without knowledge to the elven kingdoms, effectively leaving them out of the decision making process as well.
It took over a year of meetings to draw up an acceptable treaty, but it was done with little violence or bad blood exchanged between the human factions. After the dust settled, the treaty of Oth Dumar split the human lands into six ‘great kingdoms’, which were to coexist in peace and for the greater benefit of mankind. The six were to stretch from Iderach on the western shores of the Sea of Enet all the way around to Trithage, the eastern most town on that shore. The six kingdoms were Orynth, Hallius, Tyr, Arien, Marae and Orithua. This treaty also specified that the elves (Nu’ath in the Liveoak and Levexia in the Thornling) were to retain their forest homes and that contact would be made with them after the settling of the displaced humans. The Order agreed to take Hallius and Mazmerus was to be the negotiator to all other treaties and conflicts that might arise between the newly formed human nations. Thus the year DY 1904 was the last of its kind as the Order started a new calendar system of ‘Treaty Years’.
Most of the kingdoms designated by the treaty were smaller than those of the current age and kept to the coast. Orynth was given to a prominent general in the dragon wars named Renstant Oryn (hence the name), Tyr to a Baron named Marcus Faren, Arien to the general Bertrand, Marae to the wise Constance of Veneri, and Orithua to the Trithage merchant council, who were determined to start what they called a ‘trading republic’. Following each designation, the leaders built up their country with the help of migrants. Most humans had been displaced by the war and many traveled around to find their own niche in the new world. From the plundered hoards of the dragons, they minted coins with an international standard to weight, distributed wealth, and built temples and cities. Eventually the people settled and the human nations prospered.
Iderach, Dwarves and the 300 Years Peace
After the migrations settled down, the new human kingdoms were able to enjoy the fruits of their labors. The only problem with the new treaty was the territory-defining western city of Iderach. When heralds arrived announcing the decision of the Treaty, the citizens of Iderach, who were equal parts human and elf, were furious. Iderach had been one of the first human settlements to be influenced by the elves during the Dragon Wars and most of its occupants felt a strong fealty towards the elves of Nu’ath. Upon hearing this problem, Renstant Oryn personally went to Iderach (which the treaty dictated as part of Orynth) and stayed a ten-day, speaking to the residents. After making his decision, he rode to Naresti and met with the Elven council, apologizing for the hastiness of his race regarding the treaty and agreed to cede control of Iderach to Nu’ath. The elves, impressed by his manners and fairness regarding the situation, opened a trade agreement with Orynth which continues to this day. With less at stake, Arien made a similar trade pact with the elves of Levexia. These nations were the only kingdoms to make friendly contact with the elves after the treaty was signed.
After a couple of decades settlers were sent deeper into the continent to expand the resource base for a booming population. In the year 56 TY, explorers from Orynth made the first startling discovery of the six nations’ existence: Dwarves had come out of the Underdark and were living in the Burym Hills. Orynth immediately sent emissaries to the new mountain kingdom, and brokered a trade agreement with them as well. A new migration in the east prompted a similar expedition into the Blue Hills. A new race, calling themselves the Terunt, started traveling through Marae and Orithua. These gnomes were well received as they were friendly and had many skills that the human populations were lacking. They spoke of a race called the Tundari, who were great miners and might help the new nations in their building process. Both kingdoms sent representatives immediately and established connections with the new dwarf city of Ironforge. All three nations benefited greatly from the alliance and a new age of prosperity started for three of the human nations that did not have ready iron deposits within their borders.
This prompted a period in Faylian history that is known as the 300 years peace, where the nations prospered, grew in wealth and expanded their borders. Very few conflicts were fought between established countries and even piracy was kept to a minimum. This started to change towards the end of the fourth century TY.
The Orc Migrations and the First Fall of Nations
The first nation to be hit by the new migrations from the northeast was not a human nation; it was Levexia, the Elven kingdom in the Thornling Forest. In 395 TY orcs and goblins began pouring over the northern borders of Levexia and rampaging through the forest. The elves were caught completely unaware by the ferocity of their new foes, and quickly fell to the brutality of the orcish tribes. Tens of thousands of elves were killed within a few short months as the orc tribes took the elven capital at Telenost. Infighting among the warring factions of orcs stalled the advance, giving Arien, Marae and Ironforge time to muster their forces and launch a counter offensive.
After six months of preparation and waiting, the three allied armies decided to meet along the Laori River within the Thornling Forest. When the time came to meet and make camp, only the armies of Marae and Ironforge were present. Ironforge spies near Telenost indicated that now would be the time to strike and the two armies moved against the orc capital. After another month of travel, they reached the ramshackle remains of the once great elven city. After a quick offensive against a surprising few orcs, goblins and gnolls, the leaders of the two armies found slaughter houses with thousands of elf corpses. Disgusted with the sight and angry that the main body of the orc tribes had eluded them, they razed the entire city to the ground. Then heralds from Marae and Arien came with the bad news.
One month before the three armies left their homes, the orc horde moved out of Telenost toward Arien very quickly. Unaware of this threat, the army of Arien had moved along the same route to join with the other two armies along the Laori River. They met the orc horde before arriving at their destination, and had been hopelessly outnumbered and killed to a man. The orcs, sensing opportunity, moved to sack Arien. Finding it mostly defenseless, they slaughtered much of the population and continued to move toward Tyr. The Tyran army responded by sending (unbeknownst to the orc horde) their entire army to meet them on the joining of the Oth Dumar and Marae plains. In the battle that ensued the Tyran army was destroyed but the orcs took heavy casualties. Fearing more of the same within Tyr, they turned back into Arien and continued to Marae. At the same time the Maraen army learned of their mistake and rushed back to their kingdom with the dwarves of Ironforge to meet the orc threat. In a final climactic battle, the combined armies defeated the orc hordes with heavy losses to both sides.
In the aftermath, even though Marae and her allies triumphed the northeast nations were in shambles. Arien was without a leader and completely destroyed, Marae and Ironforge had lost most of their armies and Tyr had lost their entire force. While Marae started the slow rebuilding process and Arien wondered even where to begin, Lord Bertrand VI of Tyr reportedly went insane with the news that his army had been destroyed and lost all his faculties. Tyr also lost any semblance of a leader and without martial law degraded into civil war. By 403 TY, the northern realms were in complete chaos.
The New Order Established and the Tyran Civil Wars
While Marae had the easiest time rebuilding, the other two countries that had lost armies and homes were far longer in recovering. It took twenty or so years for anything in the city of Arien to get established and there was no exertion of any kind of influence over their former domains. So Arien was left in a state of limbo, although the civil war conditions that persisted in Tyr did not spread to Arien. In 436 TY, a new order of monasteries arose in the northern plains of the former kingdom of Arien, centralized at Uren’dur. With the royal line of Arien dead and the nobility still recovering, the new monasteries of Marod gained prestige and a strong following among the citizens of Arien. Eventually the leaders of the monasteries convened with the former nobility of Arien and agreed to form a new government centered at Uren’dar. The Marod representatives petitioned to the council of mages at Hallius to form the new nation. The petition was granted and the new state of Zabrek was created in 478 TY, encompassing all of former Arien and many new lands, including part of the Trevass Hills.
Tyr did not come out of the conflict so easily. With no strong faction to run the government and no army to back it up, the only forces left in the nation were the personal armies of numerous ambitious nobles. In the ensuing civil war the infrastructure sustained serious damage and certain areas were largely depopulated. By 451 TY the country had degraded into chaos, with most of the normal citizens living in fear and having no place to go. The only nation that attempted to rebuild Tyr was Orithua and its merchant council. However due to poor planning, most of the money and goods were lost en-route and many of the council bankrupted themselves. By the time any other nation tried to intervene it was too late. In 466 TY a leader emerged, a dictator who called himself The Redeemer. This also did not last long, as The Redeemer was a cruel ruler and was killed within three years of taking power, plunging Tyr into another civil war. This persisted until 499 TY when the Mages of the Arcane Order stepped in and restored order, installing one of their own to rule while the government reformed.
Years of Conflict, Monster Invasions and the Orc-Goblin Wars
With order temporarily restored in Tyr and the new government in Zabrek succeeding slowly, all seemed well in Faylia. The orcs were relatively quiet and even goblin and bugbear raids had toned down. Ironforge, in response to the threat that had leveled Levexia, had formed a treaty with the dwarves and gnomes in the Blue Hills and Karif’ixen Mountains, creating a new nation that answered directly to Ironforge, which they called Edar. They continued to send scouts and spies into the Thornling Forest to track the movements of the goblin and orc tribes. In the late 5th century TY, the dwarves of Edar discovered that after the initial invasion by the orc tribes the orcs and goblins had bred, creating a new race the dwarves named hobgoblins. These new goblins were not weak to light and much smarter than their goblin and orc parents. While a startling discovery at the time, no immediate threat was seen and Edar continued to monitor the movements of the area the dwarves had dubbed ‘Irlghik’. Because of the rebuilding efforts and new attempts at colonization, both Marae and Zabrek pushed into the lower Thornling Forest, building towns and fortresses as they went.
Meanwhile the elven nation of Nu’ath was having its own problems. Monstrous creatures from the extreme lower parts of the Liveoak began pushing aggressively into the kingdom. Nu’ath reeled from the attack but it was not the organized push of the orc invasion. Nevertheless, much of the lower Liveoak Wood became uninhabitable and many elves were killed, both in attacks by beasts and in the subsequent attempts to push them back. Many rangers (both elf and human) of the Liveoak pointed to the continuing disregard for the well being of the creatures and situation of the forest by the elves as the reason for the beasts’ unrest. Despite the more successful effort of the Nu’athian elves, by 504 TY their kingdom was reduced to half the area that it once was.
Another nation struggling at this time was Orithua. Due to the loss of a large amount of funds from attempting to rebuild Tyr, many were unhappy with the merchant council and their regime. In 511 TY a general by the name of Yentul staged a coup and declared himself the emperor of Orithua, operating out of the capital at Trithage. While not necessarily cruel, Yentul had a reputation of being unpredictable. His reign lasted 17 years until the people of Orithua (who were tired of his unpredictability) ousted Yentul. The remaining major town leaders and military commanders then met in the city of Denro. It was agreed that a monarch should be placed, but many of Yentul’s followers and some of the merchants still held much sway in Trithage. The Council of Denro placed the monarch in the city itself and used the funds previously hoarded by the merchants and Yentul to build a new palace there. In 529 TY King Mikal I was crowned and renamed the country Ruthgar.
Not long after Ruthgar settled, the factions in Irlghik began to get restless. Marae, Zabrek and Edar readied their forces, fearing another invasion. However, instead of moving on the nations of Faylia, the goblins (lead by the hobgoblins and bugbears) turned on the orc tribes and in 534 TY began an intertribal civil war of their own. The goblinoids were much more brutal in their attacks on the orcs than the humans had been in the invasions a century before. The war which at first looked to be a minor conflict became racial extermination war within a year. The dwarves of Edar, seeing the goblins and hobgoblins as the lesser of two evils, sold weapons and armor to the armies of the Goblinoid forces in the hope that they would triumph over the orcs. The tide quickly turned in favor of the more organized hobgoblins, which started a 25 year cleansing of the orcish race. By 559 TY all of the orc tribes had been exterminated and the orcs themselves had been driven to the brink of extinction in Faylia. The hobgoblins established a new kingdom under the control of a King named Hagergn. As a mocking tribute to their ‘allies’ in Edar, Hagergn named his country Irlghik.
Talan, Tyr and the Continuing Conflict
In 561 TY mages from Hallius, whose attention had previously been focused on the conflicts in the northeast, received a message from Dragon’s keep, the northwest frontier fortress. Adventurers traveling through the lands thought unoccupied near the el-Amhar desert found a city. According to the reports, several of the nomadic tribes that had roamed the plains and desert in the upper portions of Oth Dumar had coalesced into a city-state known as Sharhei, which controlled much of the plains and a portion of the Trevass Hills known as the Gold Hills. Along with this new country came a new race known only as the Ilynri, who were vaguely humanoid. Hallius sent emissaries to the ‘new’ city and met with a leader calling himself the Caliph of Talan. The Talanese spoke a completely different language than the rest of Faylia and through protracted meetings with the Caliph and his viziers, determined that the state of Talan was much larger than just a city-state. Hallius officially declared Talan a nation and sent heralds to all the nations. Not many took interest except the dwarves of Gorunn, who immediately established a mercantile and military alliance with the Caliph of Talan, much to the surprise of all the human nations as the dwarves had rarely moved that quickly toward any serious alliance with surfacers.
Tyr might also have taken an interest in Talan (as they almost shared a border at the time), but shortly after the Orc-Goblin Wars started the wizard regent was murdered and Tyr fell into yet another civil war. However, with Hallius’s attention split in too many directions, Tyr was left to its own troubles and war persisted for almost 70 years. In 601 TY all warring factions were finally defeated by a strong band of mercenaries (some rumored to be fiendish) lead by a sorcerer known only as Nahene. Nahene, unlike every ruler since the first civil war, ruled efficiently and terribly over the inhabitants of Tyr, setting a strict code of laws and rapidly expanding across the plains and into the Trevass Hills. Furthermore, Nahene sent assassins to many of the nations of Faylia including Orynth and Marae in an effort to disrupt trade and communications efforts. Orynth nearly responded with a declaration of war, dissuaded only by hard negotiations by Hallius to assuage the two sides.
Nahene’s assassins were thwarted in Zabrek, and the two formed an uneasy truce and fortified the border between them, allowing only certain caravans and emissaries through. Nahene then learned of the wealth of the Gold Hills held by the Caliph of Talan and decided to start a war with the newest human nation. In 622 TY a large force was sent to take the Gold Hills from the Caliph. However, Nahene seriously underestimated the tenacity and size of the armies of Talan and after a three year conflict was driven back into Tyr having accomplished nothing. Hallius, not wanting to provoke an enraged Tyr and having no historical authority over Talan, conveniently turned their heads away from this conflict and concentrated on preventing Tyr and Orynth from going to war.
In Irlghik, the hobgoblin king incited border skirmishes in 630 TY with both Edar and Marae, which slowly escalated to a major conflict that continues to this day, mostly centering on Fort Orcguard and the hills west of Ironforge. Bloodforge has been rebuilt and serves as the center of operations for the goblinoid armies in Irlghik. Tyr continues to be aggressive and Tyr, Zabrek, Talan and Orynth continue to build their forces and fortify their borders, much to the dismay of the Mages of the Arcane Order. Nu’ath started to slowly recolonize the lower Liveoak Wood in 638 TY and tension continues to build over Faylia.