Undeath to Life
A Brief History of Ethelesar
Scribed by Morth the Pretentious
I. The First Age (6000 years, year 1 birth of Agnarok)
Legend says that the hand of an artist drew the land upon the empty waves under the stars. Mountains rose out of the earth, and rivers sprang from their heights to run towards the sea. In the deep south, foggy jungles grew out of marshy land.
None can know how long the world spun before the stars sang at the first dragon waking in the Dragonspine Mountains of the north. They opened their eyes to the wonders of the forming world and watched the mountains and the rivers spread.
Among the first dragons was one called Agnarok, a great and mighty leader of his people, embodying all that was great in that race, and they began to count the years of the world from his birth. They went forth to found the Order of the Shining Scale among the dragons in 563 FA. From them comes the reckoning of these early centuries.
In the year 502 of the First Age (502 FA), the first sarruhk woke in the spreading swamps of the south and called himself Karthak. Of him was born the yuan-ti race. Unknown to either race, in 583 FA, beneath mountains far to the northeast, dwarves emerged from the rocks.
In 1004 FA, Karthak led the Yuan Ti out of the jungles to build the first cities: Set, Thuul, and Amgarth.
Beyond the settled areas in the distant regions of the world, the land continued to change: forests grew, burned down, and turned into grassland, while rivers carved their ways through spreading conifer woods.
Agnarok in 1498 FA formed the race of humans in the Dragonspine mountains to become a slave race for his people and taught them the magics of necromancy. The same year, the dwarven people delved the city of Quail to practice the great works of smithing that they had learned over the past thousand years.
A mere handful of years later, as deep woods grew across the grasslands, the elves began to walk under the stars along a nameless river, and soon a woman named Illana was born among them to lead them.
A shadow fell on the hearts of the Yuan-Ti, and the serpent people boiled out of their cities to sweep across their continent, determined to settle all of it and claim it for their own, beginning with the founding of the cities Tethys and Alassis, followed later by Jask and Angarth.
War erupted between dragons and humans as the slaves sought to free themselves from their masters, a war that would span a thousand years. The records of the Shining Scale tell that at this time of turmoil, the earth groaned and cracked, forming the desert wastelands of Sandsweep in protest of the bloodshed.
Finally, in 3000 FA, the humans felled the great Agnarok and fled south towards the sea. Grieving their fallen hero, many dragons swore eternal vengeance and hatred towards humans and all other two-leggers, while many withdrew into mountain haunts, sickened by blood and vowing to strive for peace. But each faction faded from the events of history, no longer acting as a people or interested in participating in the great events that unfolded after those early years.
The blood of Agnarok seeped into the ground and turned to fire, beginning to burn its way south below the surface after the fleeing humans.
Even to the peoples oblivious to the existence of the oldest race, the rumblings of this event were audible. Theeni, daughter of Illana, rose and took with her many elves to the wooded western shores, where they built the graceful spires of Shalath, home of the high elves. Illana herself gathered the remainder and, calling them wild elves, built the city of Carstra.
One looking back over the span of centuries can sometimes see the irony in how an action that on the surface seems to be so simple, almost meaningless, can profoundly change the direction of the future. On a warm day in the spring of 3004 FA, an elven bard whose name has been lost climbed into a small boat and set out on a fishing trip in the southern ocean. Swept far out by storms, he wrecked upon the shores of the Yuan-Ti nation, amazing them with the discovery of other races in the world. He sang to them of his people and how they lived in harmony with their world, moving their serpentine hearts. They rose up and purified their society, determined to rise above themselves, and the great Karthak ordered the building of boats to seek out these other races.
Illana soon afterwards fell into a trace, a vision coming upon her of the death of Agnarok and the resulting factions among the dragons. She called together her wild elves and taught them the secrets of divination, directing them to build a school in Carstra to develop and pass on their knowledge.
In the winter of 3367, a momentous day must be marked- the birth of the great necromancer, Karsus, among the humans of the south. On the same day, Grogna, warrior of the dwarven tribes, was elected leader of the dwarven people. The Annals of Achak the Red tell that she was beautiful and stern, wise and majestic, in those days as she took the leadership, and the dwarven gods blessed her with a sip from the pool of eternal life.
In the coniferous north, a human named Lupine Half-Mourn left his people, discovering that he was different from other humans, for on the nights of the full moon, he became a wolf. He gathered other humans to himself and through the power of the gods granted them the same ability, and they called themselves lycanthropes. They lived apart from the rest of the world, for normal humans found them repulsive.
Karsus, his life unnaturally extended through both his necromancy and the blessings of the earth, assembled many humans and built the city of Netheril, which became a place of magic and power. But it was not built to last, for beneath the earth, slowly but unstoppably the blood of Agnarok continued to burn its way south.
After several hundred years of preparations and development of sailing techniques, the Yuan-Ti landed a large colony of their kind on the southern shores of the continent, near the humans’ encampments. There, they founded the city of Marast in 3788 FA. Surprised by the discovery of other races beyond the elves in this wide world, they offered a tentative hand in friendship. At home, their brothers built the city of Mindius.
Although none marked it until much later, the islands deep in the eastern ocean felt the changes in the world and were cursed with endless rain, becoming the Monsoon Islands.
In 5000 FA, two thousand years to the day after the death of Agnarok, the blood of the great dragon vomited forth from the earth and rained down upon the city of Netheril, forming a vast lake of fire and slaying many in the disaster. The lay the Shattering of Netheril describes the fire exploding from the earth, staining sky and water and earth with scarlet, raining down upon the humans as they screamed in their homes.
Thus ended the First Age.
II. Second Age (700 years, year 1 the destruction of Netheril)
The second age began as the first had ended- with destruction.
In response to the fire pouring around them, Karsus made a desperate attempt to preserve the city of Netheril, but it went hideously awry. To his horror, as his magic swept over the city, he felt his body begin to crumble away, and he died. With him died every living thing in the city. The tremendous amounts of magic he had poured into his spell recalled him, and the city, to the half life of the undead. He himself became a demi-lich, a creature existing purely of magic and his own skull. The city’s denizens all became undead monstrosities, and the fiery lake hardened into obsidian.
Lupine in the north collapsed with the vision of this disaster. He assembled his brethren and instructed them to disperse and spread lycanthropy to other races, in order to survive.
On that day, too, Grogna had a vision in the fires of her forge. Alarmed by these events, she called up the race of gnomes out of the rocks of the hills to protect the dwarves. She built them the city of Samspat. Deciding it was not enough, she created goblinoids out of the mud on the banks of rivers and gave them the city Uzzites. The mud, however, proved to be an unwholesome building material, and they soon turned on their dwarven creators, making her regret her action. Some fled from the dwarves and founded the city of Lhari in the northeast. Her next attempt was the race of bugbears, but they, too, proved to be intractable. She then founded the city of Thalyn to concentrate on farming and trading with other races, saddened by her failure to create new peoples to defend them.
Among the Yuan-Ti of Marast, the Sarruhk Sondossa woke. He founded the Scales of Order, band of hardy shining paladins, in the year 45 of the Second Age (45 SA) and commanded the city of Marast to raise an army to defend themselves against the hordes of undead on their northern borders. He led some of his people southwest along the coast to found the city of Chinast.
Fleeing in terror from the destruction of Netheril, a number of humans stumbled upon the Yuan-Ti city of Marast. The Yuan-Ti, sympathetic to their plight as well as their pride, left several of their mighty ships unguarded and allowed them to be stolen by these humans. Although they had few sailing skills among them, they limped their way along the coast and struck out to the east until they arrived in the Monsoon Islands. Blessing the sea and vowing to worship her forever for delivering them, they built a city and named it Watatsumi.
Illana called upon the city of Carstra to build a wall and raise an army. Deeply concerned by the development of the undead, she led her people in researching and perfecting war magic.
Back in the Yuan-Ti homeland, the Order of the Forked Tongue formed out of groups of malcontents in the city of Thuul. They began to whisper among their people that perhaps they had the right to conquer these rich new lands, that corruption was the way to power.
On the far side of their island, the races of kobolds and blackscale lizardfolk crawled out of the swamps and built the cities of Kurast and Talsen, further fueling the Order of the Forked Tongue’s whispers of dominance and corruption.
In 150 SA, some of the wild elves, frightened by the continued spread of the blight of undeath, departed Carstra and went up into the mountains, praying to the gods to help them. One night under the stars as they camped around a mountain pool, the blessings of the elven gods came upon them, and they were granted wings. They built the city Ash’thani nearby and called themselves avariels.
The high elves, settled in the far western woods, withdrew deeper into their forests, away from the grassland borders, isolating themselves from the other races. As they did so, they began to delve deeply into the healing arts, dedicating themselves to healing, art, literature, and music.
The Monsoon Islanders began to spread across their islands, founding the cities of Asawa and Dachi. Meanwhile, lycanthropy spread to gnomes, goblins, and bugbears. The avariels, seeing this spreading of what they considered a disease, magically purified themselves and became immune to the bite of a werewolf. Vowing to fight against evil in all forms, they created a society full of light, even their very city’s arches and graceful spires reflecting the light in their hearts.
A great dwarven leader, Tar-un, was born in 167 SA, and Grogna, struck by his valor and purity of spirit, chose him out of all dwarves to be her spouse and comrade. He built the city of Bowers along the coast and reached out to the Monsoon Islanders, beginning trade with them, while Grogna began to trade with the gnomes.
Around the same time, the race of orcs were discovered in the southwestern grasslands, primitive but strong. In the plans of the southeast, the gods made the first halflings to grow out of the grass and the streams.
Sondossa, longing to return to his homeland, set sail for the southern continent and founded the city of Delen. Karthak, too, built the cities Rasah and Zolar. The Scales of Order began to spread among the cities, purifying their race of shadow.
Karthak, still inspired by elven song to speak to other races, gathered up many of his Yuan-Ti people and sent them out across the seas and along to coasts to meet new peoples and see new worlds. A small and hardy band of them even made it as far as the city of Shalath, home of the high elves. These elves, stunned by their bravery in traveling such a long distance, made a record of their adventures and wrote lays for them to carry back to their peoples. Many of these lays have been preserved and can still be heard today in the Yuan-Ti cities. Songs of the Yuan-ti contain many of them.
At the turn of the fourth century of the third age, a magical rift formed at the source of Agnarok’s blood, and devils and demons emerged. Most speculate that these evil beings of flame and death rose out of the rift, but it cannot be confirmed.
In a bizarre explosion of magical energy by a werewolf druid, a new strain of lycanthropy emerged, and the druid became a weretiger. This strain of lycanthropy affected even the avariels, and several of them died on the next few full moons as they changed into tigers in midair. The avariels, unable to accept lycanthropy, tried to purge their blood of vulnerability to this disease but were unsuccessful.
One must note that the worldwide thieves guild was founded in 307.
The orcs built the city of Potmel in the tundra of the north. The dwarven cities of Sola and Powell were built along the western sides of the mountains around the same time, and the book Record of Cities says it was to defend against the encroaching of hostile races on their mountain range.
Karsus, deeming that the time was right, began to go through his armies to select generals to lead them. The first was the Ghoul Lord, Velek, whom he sent to found a Necropolis nearby. Alarmed by these moves, the avariels chose one from among their midst, a noble man named Fintaran, to lead them, and he began to train them as an army.
In 396 SA, disaster struck the yuan-ti. For over two centuries the Order of the Forked Tongue had been dabbling in forbidden magic as part of their agenda to bring the yuan-ti into a dominant position in the world. But one day it all blew up. Magical energy exploded out of control and incinerated not only one building, but the whole city. Dark magic fused with the sheer yuan-ti willpower and the vibrant life of the swamps and jungles around the city, and the Aberration was born- a horrific huge mass of flesh covering what used to be the city, corrupting the land and then consuming it as it spread. Long tentacles even spread out into the sea, converting the fish and even the waves into more of itself.
Across the sea, the Monsoonian daimio Toshi, after a lifetime of strife, conquered his fellow daimios and proclaimed himself Mikado, or emperor, in 399 SA. He championed expansion over seclusion from the rest of the world. He founded the cities of Kugi and Kyoto on another nearby island before he died and his son, Toshi II, took the throne. His son concentrated on naval warfare, as all of their cities were along the island coasts, and began to ply the waters around their islands, contacting other races. Toshi III is credited by the Chronicles of the Toshi Dynasty with establishing a strong trade relation with the dwarves, trading fish and silk and spices to them for metalwork and weapons.
The high elves in their woods finally outgrew their city of Shalath and built two new cities, Tolyn and Leenyis.
As the years of the second age continued to roll into the fifth century, three new branches of humans emerged, split off from those still living in the south central areas around the undead Netheril. Tribes of darker skinned humans migrated into the Sandsweep desert. Another group of humans, the Mesites, traveled eastwards and built their civilizations along the rivers there. At the same time the Scands appeared in the northern conifer woods and tundra, wrapping themselves in furs against the cold and building Forejord and Bjorn there.
The thriving dwarven civilization boomed in those years, and they built the cities of Beertamlin and Chadenhall, each still bowing to Grogna and Tar-un in Quail.
Karsus raised the vampire Shirath and the lich queen Koryn to the rank of general of his army, and each founded their own city, drawing aside their own kind to populate these cities. As these undead continued to calcify their hold on the region and cast their eyes on the surrounding regions, the sarruhk Karthak gathered armies in his cities along the coast to defend his people.
The Abomination in the south spread both in the sea and across the land, forcing the yuan-ti further back into the jungles. Although they tried to fight back against this spreading disease in the very land, they were unable to make much progress for many long years.
Hags in 487 SA began to come out of the great inland sea in the north, and the gnomes renamed it the Hag Sea.
Fintaran the avariel, fearful of the strife continuing to mount throughout the world and hearing that the undead were gaining uncanny supernatural powers, asked for volunteers from his army to send to the defense of their peaceful brethren the high elves in the west. He warned them that it might be centuries before they could return to their homeland. Many took their families with them and settled amongst the high elves, learning from them and teaching them in their turn.
In the fifth century, draconic historians say that the first recorded encounters with a surprisingly large number of races occurred. Many speculate that the magical energies abroad in this period of time from the Aberration and the undead, as well as the magic rift under the bones of Agnarok came to a head and mutated existing races. More religious scholars believe that the gods were unsatisfied with what had gone before and sought to widen the variety of species in the world. Regardless of the why, trolls, new species of lizardfolk, sahaguin, griffins, frost giants, thri-kreen, satyrs, wights, and merfolk all appeared in this short and relatively quiet century. The merfolk even built the underwater city of Atlantis below the southwestern ocean, although few have ever visited it.
In this time, the halfling Cayleigh appeared among her people, in that time still almost entirely farmers and herders. She encouraged them to seek out advancement in the magic and technology, to make their lives better, and eventually, nearly a hundred years later, to finally build the city of Dogorn.
The Normans appeared among the humans of the south along the coast, assisted by the yuan-ti, as the Monsoonians had been assisted at the beginning of the age.
The dwarves, ever enterprising, dug a deep valley and engineered its filling with water to create a large long lake in their mountains to encourage the terraced farming in that area. This feat of engineering even included bringing in species of fish and other wildlife to inhabit it and the area around it. Not satisfied with that, they built the cities of Burma, Bradell, and Thess.
Sondossa, determined the win the fight against the continuing spread of the Abomination, commanded his people to raise armies to fight against it, lining troops all along its borders. In the year 612 SA, Sondossa and hundreds of yuan-ti mages created one of the greatest successful feats of magic in the history of the world: the great force wall, trapping the Abomination between it and the sea and cutting it off from the rest of their continent. Unknown to Sondossa, some yuan-ti remained behind the wall, some part of his armies, and others survivors of the devoured cities, including many members of the Order of the Forked Tongue. These yuan-ti began to mutate, changing into something similar, but ebon dark of heart.
The sub-sentient mass of Abomination, denied further sustenance from the rich earth of the swamps, reached out into the sea until its tentacles broke off and began to float away, drifting on the currents of the waves.
In the north, oblivious to the Abomination and the undead, the gnomes built the cities of Waddlesproket and Tinkertown to be centers of invention and ingenuity, and in the east the Mesites built the city of Ur.
The last races known today finally emerged: the dryads in the southwestern forest, treants, gnolls, and the minotaurs with their labyrinth on the lonely island in the south. The kraken, too, rose out of the sea and began to fight with the monsters fathered by the Abomination.
Karsus looked around him in those final years of the second age and saw the races springing up all around him under the sun, and his heart began to burn within him, lusting for the power to rule them. He began to slowly gather more armies of dark creatures, sending his creatures forth to gather more bodies to raise to undeath.
Thus, in the calm before the storm, ended the Second Age.
III. Third Age (5 years, year 1 the outbreak of war)
The Shining Scale names the first year of the third age as the year that the undead boiled out of their cities and began their assaults on the rest of the world. Koryn the Lich Queen sent her army of undead across the rivers to begin an invasion of the forest of the elves. Unexperienced at warfare and up against an opponent skilled in divination and death magic who had been training for this since the beginning of the second age, her army was utterly crushed by the elves and fled in retreat. Koryn herself escaped. Karsus, enraged by her defeat, sent his own armies to join her along the elven borders and delved into some dark research to assist in victory.
Sondossa returned briefly to the mainland to raise an army to fight the undead, instructing them in undead and aberration hunting. While he was away from the southern island, an order of the yuan-ti lost behind the wall of the Aberration founded the Abandoned, an order that taught that the gods have abandoned the yuan-ti, and so the yuan-ti should abandon the gods.
In their mountain fastnesses, the dwarves felt the change in the climate of the world and responded accordingly. In that year, two new orders were founded among them: Dig Deeper, which focused on delving into the deep secrets of the mountains and following the veins of precious metals as deep as they went, and the Order of the Brewers’ Fist, a monastic order which feels that they must protect their fields aboveground that grow their hops. Armies were gathered in many of the dwarven cities as their society made an abrupt shift towards militarism.
Mikado Toshi XIII, feeling that the time was right, created the Order of the Closed Fist among his people to train them in discipline and rigorous land combat, gathered his naval fleet and set out for the mainland. He constructed the fortress of Shiruto on the shore of the halfling lands before the end of the year. At home, the newly created Order of the Closed Fist gathered thousands of recruits to their militant cause.
Scouts notified Cayleigh the halfling princess, whose life had been blessed by the gods and extended so she could continue to lead her people, that the Monsoonians were threatening her borders, and she gathered an army of her people to defend herself.
At the end of the year, the wild elves retaliated against the undead, marching to the Lich Queen’s city, led by Illana herself. They tore down the walls of the city and sacked it, chasing Koryn away barely intact. They collected much necromantic knowledge so that they could better understand the powers of their enemy, but this plan miscarried, for a number of the elves became obsessed with death, stealing the knowledge and breaking away from the main body of the wild elves. They went into hiding in their midst, studying this knowledge.
In other parts of the world, the Scands founded the city of Helsinki that year, and the Normans built the city of Normandy. Theeni in Shalath ordered her high elves to begin walling their cities.
In the early spring of 2 TA, tragedy befell the yuan-ti: Karthak, one of the oldest living creatures in the world, fell victim to the Abomination. While patrolling the border of the wall, a number of the Abandoned broke over the wall, bringing with them an arm of the Abomination. It slew Karthak, but the armies and mages of the Scales of Order, trained by Sondossa in fighting the Abomination, managed to push them back and repair the breach in the wall. The entire yuan-ti race fell into mourning, for Karthak was the oldest of them, and their progenitor.
The avariels, seeing the warfare along the border of their neighbors’ lands raised their own army, Fintaran leading them. The dwarves, too, continued their arming. Even the gnomes, orcs, bugbears, and goblins followed this trend and gathered organized forces.
Cayleigh, seeing the might of the Monsoonians, realized that her unwarlike people could not easily defend themselves against them. She looked around her at the wide grasslands and saw what could be done. She raised another army and, leaving one behind in the city of Dogorn, led that army and their families out into the grasslands to begin a nomadic lifestyle.
Her departure was just in time: the Monsoonians invaded as soon as the summer broke. However, she underestimated the staunch hearts of her people, for they repulsed the attack utterly. Toshi was undaunted and sent word back to the islands for more hosts to join him as soon as possible. A number of imperial mages came to him, having made great strides in the arts of shugenja magic.
Several new cities appeared that year. The Mesites built Chaldea and Nebuchadnezzar, the Normans London, and the Scands Nordburg.
That winter, the Lich Queen Koryn and the vampire lord Shirath led three armies into the elven lands, armed with ghosts, magical weapons, and their great necromantic skills. The elves defended their city of Carstra with skill, but this time, victory was not so easy. A siege took hold that lasted almost a year.
A few short months later, Toshi ordered his armies into a two-pronged attack. One of his armies, led by a trusted general, invaded the halfling city of Dogorn and took it, subjugating it to imperial rule and taxation. Within short order, the halflings created an underground resistance movement determined to throw off the hold of the Monsoonians.
His other army, led personally, surrounded Cayleigh’s nomadic army. The battle was fierce and hard fought, but in the end, Toshi and Cayleigh met in battle, and he slew her. But the day was not won. His army was forced to retreat by the maddened halflings, stricken with grief and anger at the death of their princess.
Lupine Half-Mourn, having spent the past millennia helping the spread of lycanthropy, looked about the world and saw that cities were strengthening the peoples that built them. In the northern conifer woods, he founded the city of Deep Fang, calling forth lycanthropes to join him to live there.
One day, a band of Scand traders stumbled upon the city, and they fell down and worshiped Lupine, calling him Fenris. Their societies, being somewhat similar in many respects, became close, and in the area around Deep Fang merged together. Fenris created the Order of the Fang to integrate lycanthrope and Scand fighting techniques together, and he raised an army.
In the beginning of 3 TA, the militarization of the dwarven people was complete. Almost every man, woman, and child was armed and ready for combat, and even their farms were full of warriors. That same year, the miners of Dig Deeper struck adamantine in the Quail mines. Their hearts set afire by the strength and lightness of this metal, they poured their miners into the resource, drawing out as much of it out as fast as possible and making adamantine weapons. Some they even traded to the Monsoonians, whose trade connection was stronger than ever. But that winter, catastrophe struck, for they dug too deeply and awoke an ancient evil, sealed up in an adamantine cage. A gate to the netherworld was rift open, and tentacle demons sprang forth, destroying the city of Quail and killing many of the armies stationed there.
Destruction continued for the good races of Ethelesar that year. The siege of Carstra ended with disaster. The elves perverted by the necromantic knowledge started a coup and slaughtered Illana. At the same time, Koryn and Shirath intensified their siege and broke through the walls, destroying the elven army and scattering the people to the winds. They lost many undead warriors in the process, but such a loss is insignificant to such leaders except in that it hinders the continuation of their march.
Fintaran responded to the crushing defeat of his kin by leading his army of avariels down upon Koryn and Shirath, hoping to catch them before they recovered from the long hard fight. But his plans were in vain, and his army was defeated. He himself survived to flee back to his city in disgrace, but many of his people died that day.
Unknown to Karsus, a human mage named Azuth rose in those days. He was a necromancer, but he hearkened back to Karsus’ ideals before he became a demilich at the beginning of the second age. He set himself the goal of throwing down Karsus, leading the human people subject to the undead back into the path of light, and destroying the skeletal hold the undead had on the region. Azuth moved north and gathered some of the remaining necromantic humans to found the city of Spellhold.
At the turn of the year, an earthquake rocked the city of Quail, burying many of the demons. Seizing the moment, many dwarven armies moved in to retake the capital but were initially unable to capture it, and the fighting continued to ring out in the halls of the mountainhome.
Behind the walls of the Aberration, the body of Karthak became filled with its power and rose as its avatar, championing the Abandoned and the yuan-ti behind the wall.
Fintaran, fleeing from his defeat, gathered his people and ordered them to abandon the city of Ash’thani, unable to defend it when their warriors had all been slaughtered. They flew northwards and founded a hidden city, keeping even its name secret from the rest of the world.
Unbeknownst to all but the dragons, the rift in the world underneath the body of Agnarok pulsed with energy, and it reanimated him into a dracolich. He slipped into the rift and disappeared, alarming many of the dragons, especially the Order of the Shining Scale. They set a watch upon the rift and settled down to wait. Rumors say that Agnarok has made a pact with an unknown outsider, but that cannot be substantiated by any reliable source.
Karsus, seeing the gauntlet thrown down by Azuth, strode across the plains to meet with him. They began to blast at each other with terrible magics, each equally matched. It ended in a stalemate at first, with neither magician able to overpower the other. Karsus fell back to Netheril after the clash.
In the west, Theeni and her elves made a great discover in illusion magic. They worked together another great magical working: the shifting wall of illusion around the Lost Forest. They shrouded their woods in a border of illusion, redirecting back out any they did not wish to enter. Even their elven relatives could not navigate it without assistance. These elves had spent the millennia since their birth withdrawn from the world, and Theeni, grieved by the death of her mother, wished to keep it that way. Some sea routes remained open, so that they could continue to trade with the yuan-ti and the nearby merfolk.
Fenris called together more Scands and lycanthropes, and with four large hosts, moved to assault the nearby ghoul city. They failed to break the city in that first year, losing one of their hosts, and the siege continued.
Grogna gathered thousands upon thousands of her dwarves and led them to the offensive, the largest gathering of warriors ever seen upon this earth, and the largest that one will likely see for many more centuries unless the dwarves march to war away from their mountains. This awesome force suffered horrific loss of life, but they drove the demons back into the abyss and reclaimed their city.
Velek the ghoul lord, intrigued by the lycanthropes, raised many of their dead to undeath, adding to his own forces. He and Fenris’ army clash in battle again at the beginning of 5 TA, and both sides suffer losses.
Two armies of undead, led by lesser generals, marched into Mesite territory and took the undefended cities of Ur and Nebuchadnezzar. Survivors fled upriver to Chaldea and warned them of the impending disaster.
Koryn marched her armies into the avariel city Ash’thani and occupied it, calling in more of her people to join her armies in the decimated elven lands. However, Fintaran was not a fool when he abandoned it. He left behind a number of very nasty traps, one of which snared Koryn and sealed her inside the city. Many of the undead fled the area, thinking she was dead.
Karthak the abomination began to found settlements of abominations and twisted yuan-ti. His shattered soul reached out beyond the wall to the yuan-ti still living in their homeland and began to corrupt them. Pieces of the abomination are seen that year to wash up on the southwestern shores of the mainland. Sondossa remained with the yuan-ti on the mainland, maintaining their goodness of heart against the darkness beating against them with the aid of the Scales of Order.
Azuth gained transmutational magic and added it to his necromantic skills. Encouraged by this, he moved against Netheril and assaulted Karsus’ army, which fell to his. But in the duel between the two sorcerers, Karsus, ancient and wicked, prevailed and felled Azuth.
The Monsoonians in Dogorn drafted a number of halflings into their forces and marched on the remaining halfling army left behind by Cayleigh. They joined Toshi and the defeated Monsoonian army and struck against the halflings, this time conquering them and subjugating the whole of their race.
At this time, the desert humans built their city of Blackrock, and the gully dwarves appeared in the dwarven mountains, advancing in religious studies.
The lycanthropes made several discoveries in druidry and conjuration that year. Using this knowledge, they raised two more armies with the Scands and marched the join Fenris. At the end of the year, the siege broke and the city walls fell.
Thus stands the state of the world at the end of 5 TA. Darkness and death have struck since the beginning of the age, and many of the Shining Scale believe that further darkness must come about before the light will be able to triumph.
Karthak, Karsus, and Agnarok have fallen and been raised to darkness, the three eldest beings in the world. Illana is dead, leaving Theeni and Grogna the only remainders of light from the first age.
But all is not lost. Light shall triumph again.
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