THE AGE OF MAN
The Five Great Empires of Man
Though these were not necessarily greater than other empires to follow or the few that had risen and fallen before them, these were the first human nations to arise from the ashes of the Great Wyrm War.
In 26 DC the Agean Empire had its beginnings on the Avalin Peninsula and the nearby islands. With this unified approach, and with the help of magic, the humans there prevailed over the fleeing dragons and brought about the end of the cyclops kingdom of Thadonia. The Agean Empire would rule over these lands for 400 years, until the fall of Cosimo the Great, when the lands were divided amongst his generals.
Also in 26 DC the people of the east coast of Gar-Sanya formed the second empire on these lands (following the fall of Garin). The new Empire of Sanya (along with the earlier Garin) gave the continent its name. Here an intelligent king sought the help of the strange ‘spirit’ dragons and with their help the people were able to defeat the many gem dragons that had settled in the area. This empire continued until the 53rd DC, forming the basis of Shan culture to this day.
Following the victory over the orok, a human city-state during DC 28 in central Djana was established, and soon began to unite others to its cause. Within time the city-state grew into the Kingdom of Nirobaan, which conquered all who opposed them with their bronze weapons. Following their experience with the orcs, the people of Djana were very sceptical of using arcane magic, so Nirobaan prevailed with better weapons and better training. The empire’s expansion was soon to meet the borders of another growing empire in the north of Djana.
The beginnings of the Kingdom of Nyaat remain clouded in prehistory, when their people came to the world and populated the mighty Ahagin River. However, it was around DC 29 when the Rise of the River People gained recognition, for it was during this time that they expanded their borders from the lands immediately surrounding their river home. With their skill in magic and soldiers armed with bronze, the Nyaatans pushed westward and settled around the great inland sea to dominate all of northern Djana.
They ruled there for around 500 years, then in DC 35 the two mighty kingdoms of Nirobaan and Nyaat clashed on the shores of the great inland sea. For many years the two great armies spilled the blood of the enemies upon the sea’s shores. The constant fighting almost ruined the two nations and eventually they fought each other to a standstill. At the end of the war both kingdoms retreated back to their central homelands, leaving behind a devastated land and poverty-stricken people. A few greedy magic wielders soon took up this vacuum of power and the region was under the influence of a greater evil.
Towards the end of the Great Wyrm Wars a strange alliance between humans and giants gave rise to possibly the greatest empire known to man. The city of Thundara was the first great city of Gar-Sanya. Sitting at the mouth of the Malo River, the city dominated the lands for leagues in every direction. The lands controlled by the city slowly expanded, becoming a small country in its own right. The Thundaran Navy was the scourge of the ocean, plundering the coast from the frozen north, to the warmer southern lands. Backed by their might, and prospering from the wealth they brought in, Thundara expanded outwards across the continent, capturing more and more territory.
However, their expansion almost led to their doom, as they expanded south-east to the great Takanda. The giant clans that ruled the lowlands roused themselves at the approach of the humans, and united under the banner of Clan Hazara, they went forth to do battle with the humans.
With their orc allies, Clan Hazara successfully pushed the humans back to the walls of their city, but there their advance ground to a halt. With defences the likes of which the giant-kin had never seen before, the city of Thundara resisted their best efforts to lay siege, and with fresh supplies being brought in by sea, a stalemate was reached. The giant and orc armies, having no navy themselves, were unable to stop the Thundaran fleets, however they blockaded the Thundarans from their huge forests and land areas and, despite the best efforts of the navy, their time was surely limited.
After laying siege to the city for some years, the ruling family of Thundara and the Chieftains of Clan Hazara finally came to a truce, and thus during DC 29, was written the Treaty of Hazara-Thun. The Treaty gave control of the lands around Thundara over to the giants, but the humans would still have the power in the city, and would settle disputes among the tribes. This document still forms the backbone of the Empire to this very day.
With their giant allies, the newly formed Empire of Hazara-Thun was able to continue its expansion across the continent, until they controlled the entire northern realm.
The Rise of the Necromancer Kings
Some 1400 years (in 49 DC) after the completion of the war between Nyaat and Nirobaan in northern Djana, a vile group of rulers establish themselves as the rulers of the inland sea. These rulers were later called the Necromancer Kings for several of them employed undead servants and even several of the kings themselves were known to be powerful undead.
For 400 years these evil kings oppressed their subjects (or killed them and had them raised to serve them in death) and ruled as corrupt dictators. Then, in the later years of DC 53, a hero arose amongst the Djanan people. It is believed he was an only survivor of a slaughter by one of the Necromancer King’s. It is also said he was a cripple. Whatever the truth, the hero, often called the Lame Lion or Crippled Champion, led seven others who became known as the Seven Lucky Leaders to victory over the Necromancer Kings.
Each of the leaders came from a different part of Djana and each had differing talents that contributed to their combined might. But The Crippled Champion and his minions must attribute a good deal of the victory to the iron weapons that were used. Most areas of Djana were still using bronze and it is unknown where the secret of iron was learnt. Suggestions include dragons, dwarves or people of western Djana in modern day Matusuland.
Nevertheless, the Necromancer Kings were destroyed and as an affront to the living and in a final act of revenge their lands were also denied life. The verdant forests became wastelands of blowing sands almost over night and the great inland sea dried as quickly, leaving behind the vast desert of northern Djana, known today as the Great Zambir Desert.
Most kings were destroyed, though it is believed one of the greatest, Nebt Bhakau survived the purge, returned eastward and possibly still exists today.
Following the rapid fall of the Necromancer Kings, many other people of note were killed or exiled in surrounding lands for being in league with the undead rulers. One such person was the Nirobaan noble Uruk Kigal who fled to one of the Crescent Isles to continue his vile religion and practices. Some say he fled to an isle that previously had an ancient cult of the undead and that he re-established the Cult of Worms there.
The Fated Kingdoms
Some regions of Cellworld took longer to recover from the terrible wars that had wracked all continents. In the central lands of Cardan, where some of the fighting had been the fiercest, a large area in the east surrounded by mountains (excepting the eastern coast) was cleared of giants and dragons. This area became known as the Heartlands and it was only a matter of time before a great realm would arise here. During DC 41, some 1600 years following the ending of the Great Wyrm Wars, the people of the Heartlands united under one king at the birth of the Exalted Kingdom. It was a kingdom of high chivalry and ordered altruism that was to protect all people from the remnants of evil that existed on its borders. The knights of this kingdom were welcomed in all lands and strove hard to make all of the Heartlands a safe haven for good. Not all people liked the rigid ideals of the Exalted Kingdom however, and hordes of asheni humans (those dwelling to the west of the Heartlands) often raided deep into their eastern neighbors’ territory.
To the south, following the collapse of the Agean Empire, a new power arose. The Avala Empire soon controlled all of the Avalin Peninsula (much bigger in these times) and it didn’t take long before they spread in all directions. The well-trained armies that fought in units called ‘Waves’ took the mountainous region of Relvoor and pressed on into the Heartlands. Great armies clashed as the Empire of Avala progressed northward into lands held by the Exalted Kingdom.
At its height (around 45 DC) the Avala Empire reached midway through the Heartlands (to a region known today as the Dalelands). However, the Exalted Empire pressed back hard, and with greater magics, the efforts of the knights and a complement of northern barbarians, the Brymori of the Heartlands once again controlled all the lands bound by mountains. But the damage had been done. The battle lines were drawn for another great war. This time it was to be humans fighting their own (see the Invoked Devastation below).
In 47 DC, a group of wizards from Hazara-Thun came upon an ancient keep in the middle of the Takanda Mountains. Searching within the keep, they discovered a portal that led them to a place obviously not located within the mountains, with even more remains of an ancient, and obviously abandoned city. They eventually learned that the place they had found had been constructed by the chessan duar, and featured portals that led to various locations across the surface of Cellworld.
After studying the city for several months, they decided that there was nothing that posed a threat, and they soon began the process of restoring the city, and the beginnings of the great Academy of Lellinor was formed. The Academy was seen as an ideal location for study, not only of the chessan duar, but of magic and history from across the world, using the portals to explore and learn from various cultures and locations that would otherwise have been extremely difficult. The finding of this locale was such as significant event, that all Gar-Sanyan nations counted time from its discovery. The unified calendar of Lellinor Reckoning was established.
In the years since its inception, the Academy has divorced itself from it’s original Hazaran founders, and now considers itself a completely sovereign entity. The Council now rules the city in its own right, their laws enforced by the elite Sentinels, soldiers recruited from across the world, that have sworn allegiance to the Academy.
In the 66th year of 47 DC a giant, hovering suit of plate armour appeared suddenly over an island mountaintop in central Kazari. The fact that before its arrival there was no island, lake or mountain caused many to panic. It was unknown what the armour represented. The armies of Kazari together with a few mages and priests launched an assault upon the armour, fearing invasion from a new source. No attacks (even of the most powerful magic) had any affect upon it. Theories abounded, as to what the armor could be: a deity, a dead deity or some great wizard’s trick. But the suit remains and in time earns the name “The Watcher”.
Mages, priests and sages stay to try and learn more about the watcher and the town of Watchton if formed.
The Invoked Devastation
Following their defeat in the Heartlands, the Avalins decided that it was about time the northern Brymori were shown who the real contenders for the domination of Cardan were. Whilst the Avalins had a great number of trained soldiers, it was widely known that they only had precious few who had undertaken the study of arcane magic since its secrets had been shared by the elves during the Great Wyrm Wars. It came as a huge surprise however, that there were large numbers of Avalins that somehow had mysteriously learnt the Secret of Magic, and they decided to surprise their northern counterparts with their power.
The magic they wielded, however, was not the wizardry practiced by the Brymori, but instead their eldritch masters were magisters and sorcerers. To further intimidate their northern neighbours, the Avalins led the Brymori to believe a vengeful dragon had taught them the Secret of Magic (as dwarves and elves made their home in the Heartlands).
The people of the Heartlands, fearing the unknown might of the Avalins, went on the counter offensive and hit them with more power than could be believed possible. Furthermore, hearing that dragons had been involved, the elves joined in the destruction, using high magic to totally annihilate the Avalins. The dwarves led Brymori troops through the mountains and huge war galleys rounded the coast to attack by sea. Such was the destruction of the Avalin Peninsula that much of it sank beneath the waves, (including the great city of Avalis), Agea was separated from the mainland, and much of the lands remaining were turned into barren wasteland of twisted terrain and abhorrent weather. Wild and dead magic regions dotted the landscape and continue to affect magic cast within them today.
The victors of the short war took over and stayed on in many of the eastern coastal regions, especially in the lands between The Heartlands and the Avalin Peninsula; the Land of Relvoor. The Avalins surrendered and killed or exiled any of their own surviving magisters and sorcerers - who took the blame of the population for bringing this destruction to their lands.
Although completely devastated, with much of its lands lost, the Empire of Avala continued to rule, though it declined significantly over the next few centuries, until it finally collapsed in 56 DC, some 600 years after the Invoked Devastation.
Still, in the lands of the Avalins, those who wield destructive arcane magics are reviled and blamed for the state of their lands.
The Rift Clan War
Perhaps the Avalins had the last laugh though, for in the years following the Invoked Devastation several power groups fought amongst themselves in the Exalted Kingdom.
Towards the end of 50 DC King Alectaron III was to take the throne but the free-loving people of the southern Heartlands preferred his twin sister Ailisa as a ruler. The Exalted Kingdom was already in turmoil due to the harsh rule of their father and his son looked set to follow in those footsteps. Thus, the southern clans revolted and the Rift Clan War began and raged for the next 11 years.
At its conclusion, the Exalted Kingdom reverted back into many smaller lands and kingdoms. The two main antagonists in the war established the two kingdoms of Chandalaya (in the south under Queen Ailisa) and Brymoria (in the north under King Alectaron III). Brymoria continued to follow the edicts and past glories of the Exalted Kingdom, even being brazen enough to name their land after the name given to all dwellers of the Heartlands.
At the Rift Clan War’s end it was a new age. Kingdoms started to focus their attention not on their neighbours, but on distant lands. Coinciding with this new Age of Discovery and the fall of the Exalted Kingdom was the development of a new calendar, the Common Year, by which most dates are now referred to on Cardan and beyond.