The First Era (200 BCE - 0 BCE)
In the beginning, there were three major groups of Atlians on the continent of Athera:
- The Purelakers made their homes in the west, around the life-giving waters of the Purelake. A generally peaceful people, these farmers and traders worshipped the great tree Kairos growing at the lake’s center.
- In the east, a brutal nomadic people called the Vantians inhabited the deserts. These hundreds of small tribes were soon rallied under a mighty warlord, Karag Eastwind, who claimed the world belonged to them by divine right.
- A mysterious order of arcanists called the Shen inhabited the southern forests and coastal islands of Athera, worshipping the goddess of balance, the Tainted Mother.
Amidst the basic religions of these three groups, a strange new sect began to manifest. These religious cultists worshipped Arkayos, the God of Chaos, who was said to control the thread of reality itself. The Arkayo railed against the supposed sins and missteps of the Atherans, and preached that Arkayos would soon manifest himself on Athera to destroy this “failed experiment.”
The First Summoning of Arkayos
Growing concerns over the rise of the Arkayo reached a breaking point when all three civilizations began to see an alarming string of kidnappings and disappearances amidst their people. It was said the Arkayo were searching for the “mortal conduit” for the manifestation of their god. A worldwide effort to track down and weed out the dangerous cult was soon launched.
But the Arkayo had grown substantially in numbers and influence; and on one fateful day, in the southeastern reaches of Athera, they found their vessel. The dark ritual that began that day was so devastating, that it began to tear the very land asunder, creating the Worldscar Ravine. The allied Atheran forces fought their way through the devastation, ultimately defeating the cultists before the ritual could be completed - but not before a good many lost their minds to the dark, chaotic magicks brought forth from the summoning.
The Construction of Drakonfell Prison
With the world safe from Arkayos for the time being, the Atherans continued to track down and arrest the dangerous cultists throughout the world. After much deliberation on what to do with them, it was decided that a grand prison would be constructed at the northern edge of the world to house Athera’s most dangerous criminals. A charter was drafted, designating that (no matter the political state of the world) each of the three civilizations would send a delegation to maintain and guard Drakonfell every seven years.
The Great Migration
The threat of the Arkayo had brought with it much destruction… but it also helped to spurn diplomacy between Athera’s early nations. As the Vantian Empire began to swallow up the lands of the east, the Purelakers realized their people would need to summarily expand throughout the west if they were to survive. And so it was that several groups struck out from the Purelake; one group of scientists founded the city of Devshire in the Galewind Forest, while another group of explorers headed northwest over the mountains, meeting the natives of the Timberlands. A third group of hunters headed east, and settled in the Dunsmoor Hills. The Purelaker merchants that stayed behind became known as Telarians.
The Cirilian Era (1 ACE - 250 ACE)
By the end of the First Era, the Vantians had claimed much of the east - including the Goldwatch Plateau and the small mining town of Cirilia upon it. The Shen feared that after this acquisition, the Empire would turn its sights on the Grey Isles...but were assured by the Vantians that they had neither the intent nor the resources to do so.
The Cirilian Gold Rush
The discovery of gold beneath Cirilia marked the beginning of a new era. Word of the fortunes buried beneath Goldwatch spread quickly, and soon people all across Athera were migrating to the small plateau to start new lives and dig for riches themselves. With the population soaring, Cirilia soon became a booming metropolis and major Atheran trade hub. The Vantians, relishing in their acquisition, quickly imposed a slew of taxes and tariffs to ensure their economic superiority in the region.
Emergence of the Valderkal
The excitement of the Cirilian Gold Rush sparked massive mining expeditions all across Athera. While mining deep into the heart of the largest peak in the eastern Snowglades, excavators came upon a massive tunnel inhabited by an underground race of dwarves. The Valderkal claimed to be an ancient order of paladins whose ancestors built the very land itself. Charged with its protection, the dwarves claimed they had constructed a massive underground tunnel system connecting every part of Atlas - but only the Valderkal were allowed access. To date, no other Atlian has discovered the location of these tunnels, nor the rumored dwarven metropolis at its center, Valderkal City.
The Fall of Devshire and the Construction of The Wraithhold
The city of Devshire in Galewind Forest soon became the bastion of science and technological advancement. The Devshirites’ research led to the invention of much of the industrial machinery used throughout Athera today, and even began incorporating elements of Shen magic into their designs.
But it was perhaps this combination of science and magic that began to have an adverse effect on the land itself; the trees grew gnarled and thick, blotting out the skies above and covering Galewind in darkness. Hordes of monsters swarmed from the west, and the city of Devshire was quickly overrun. From the survivors, the hero Falanir arose - he rallied the remaining Devshirites to fight back the tides of evil, and after a long and bloody battle, they succeeded.
Around the western edge of Galewind (now known as the Wraithwood), Falanir and the Devshirites constructed a fortress from which their people could keep watch, and to this day, Falanir’s ancestors maintain and defend the Wraithhold.
The Era of Revolution (251 ACE - 400 ACE)
The Great Trade War
With the great trade boom of the Cirilian Era, the Shen had expanded their own trade network all throughout the Grey Isles and into the southern Plains of An’she - even settling as far east as the Worldscar Ravine. But as the gold beneath Cirilia dried up, the Vantians began raising tariffs substantially to compensate. Unable to reason with the Empire, the Shen began imposing their own tariffs and sanctions.
Enraged, the Vantians began attacking Shen trade ships and coastal villages in retaliation. After two years of escalating conflict and failing peace talks on both parties, the Vantian Empire launched an attack on the Grey Isles and burned down the Shen capital city of Yi Qui’Shen. This was the first strike against the Shen in the conflict. Outnumbered and facing extinction, the mages rallied in their last remaining city of Port Qi’Shen and launched a devastating blast of magical energies. The unstable magic devastated the Vantian forces, but it also warped and mutated the once-beautiful landscape of the islands around them.
With this great loss, the Vantians and the Shen reached an unsteady peace agreement - however tensions remain between the two civilizations to this day.
The Pirates of Zarakam
The war had attracted cutthroats and mercenaries from all across Athera, hungry to make a profit off their services from either side. Even once a peace agreement was reached, the pirates doubted it would last long, positive they would be called upon to fight again soon enough. Wanting to remain in the south for such an occasion, they sailed far to the southwest to the distant jungles of Zarakam and settled the pirate city of Dead Man’s Cove. To this day, the pirate city remains a popular retreat for Atheran criminals who have faked their own deaths.
The Cirilian War for Independence
After the loss of the Great Trade War, the Vantian colony of Cirilia was feeling a good brunt of the fallout. The economy had collapsed, and now drained of its natural resources, it seemed as if the Empire had begun simply neglecting them. After a delegation sent to Eastwind to request aid was turned away, the people of Goldwatch declared their secession from the Vantian Empire.
The armies of Eastwind surged southward, first striking the Cirilian villages along the Worldscar Ravine before turning south to Goldwatch. As the Vantian forces began marching over the great bridge connecting the plateau to the mainland, the Cirilians sprung their trap - blowing the bridge and sending the attackers plummeting to their deaths.
Cut off from the mainland, a long series of naval battles ensued. In a turning point in the war, the Shen agreed to covertly aid the Cirilians by funding a massive mercenary fleet from Zarakam. Not long after, the Vantians (not wanting to suffer yet another massive loss) ceded Goldwatch. A Treaty was struck, declaring the Cirilians’ independence and offering protection for settlements along the Worldscar Ravine.
The Naurulian Era (401 ACE - Present)
The Obelisk and the Founding of Nauru
Somewhere in the oceans far to the south of the Atheran mainland, the Obelisk ripped the city of Auru into this world, and dashed it across the rocks of a remote island. The survivors crawled from the ruins to discover the Obelisk shattered and damaged… but miraculously able to bring their fallen back from the dead (albeit not perfectly.)
Furthermore, the damaged Obelisk now seemed to be acting as a sort of gateway for otherworldly refugees like the Aurulians. Newcomers were welcomed into the city, and soon their numbers boomed. Quickly realizing the ruins of their old city were beyond repair, and wanting to preserve the unstable magic of the Obelisk, the refugees set off to settle the new island city of Nauru.
Ten years have gone by since the founding of Nauru. The Naurulians have established themselves as a neutral power on Atlas, and their relations with all groups of Atherans seem to be steady… for now.
Thought to be all but eradicated, the Arkayo have begun to make a resurgence throughout Atlas once again. Unbeknownst to the outsiders, the cultists are growing their numbers in preparation for the second summoning of Arkayos. It seems that after generations of searching, forgotten in exile, the Arkayo have finally found the perfect vessel…