Rocky Roads: The Mountains of Grinadier
History of Alyssia
I. Ancient History:
In time before history, Alyssia consisted of one large continent. All of the common races lived in harmony and massive cities grew in the land. It is said that the common races were much more powerful in these days. It is also said that this power eventually led to their destruction.
As populations grew, conflict began. No longer were there vast stretches of land for the taking. If there was land to gain, it had to be taken from someone else. Greed reared its ugly head and the harmony of Alyssia was broken. Alliances were made and eventually, two High Kings came to rule the majority of Alyssia.
One kingdom was named Celedon, from which the current country gained it’s name. It was ruled by the benevolent High King Aldren Goldhart. Aldren ruled with justice and compassion, but was merciless in destroying the evil he found within his kingdom. High King Aldren was an avid worshipper of Taryn. He wielded a powerful holy sword known as Halmar Evilbane.
The other kingdom was named Albordine, and was ruled by the High King Firedorn Darkspur. He openly worshipped Malum and “encouraged” his followers to do the same. Additionally, he employed thousands of humanoids in his armies and ruled with an iron fist. His power was consolidated in the Scepter of Malum, a powerful artifact.
It is unclear how the conflict began, but it was obvious that two such diametrically opposed kingdoms would eventually clash. The result was what is now called the War of the Heavens.
II. The War of the Heavens:
The kingdoms of Celedon and Albordine marshaled their armies and fought numerous battles, with neither side gaining much advantage. High King Firedorn then managed to call forth Malum to the material world and he brought his ten servants, known as the Torments. In response, High King Aldren sought the aid of Taryn, and Taryn entered the fray with his servants. Although there are no records, which chronicle the actual battle of the gods, there are numerous stories involving the servants in battle.
Both the servants of Malum and Taryn fought, killing hundreds of thousands of enemy ranks. The Torments were able to call on both Demons and Devils to aid them in battle, while the Celestial Gold Dragons were able to summon celestial beings and good dragons to their cause. The result was a tremendous amount of power unleashed upon the land and the common races and humanoids alike were almost destroyed.
After a year of epic battles, only two of the deities’ servants remained on both sides. In the final battle, High King Firedorn battled the final two dragons and High King Aldren fought the final two Torments. There was little left of either sides’ armies.
High King Aldren fought valiantly and was almost able to banish the two torments to their hellish home. He had critically wounded both of them, but he had suffered grievous injuries as well. Further, all of his comrades and bodyguards lay dead, with the exception of his longtime Elven friend, Ilion Ironbow. As the torments charged the last time, High King Aldren prepared to defend himself. Unfortunately, when they neared, Ilion chose that time to betray his liege and he shot High King Aldren from behind with a tainted arrow. Although the arrow did not kill the king, the betrayal arrow weakened the king to the point the Torments were able to dispatch him easily. It is unknown to this day what caused Ilion to betray his king and friend.
On the other side of the battlefield, High King Firedorn fought ferociously against the dragons. He too, had lost most of his guards, and stood virtually alone against the servants of Taryn. In a final act of desperation, he protected himself with as much magic as he could muster and did the unthinkable…he destroyed the Scepter of Malum. The resulting blast banished one of the Celestial Gold Dragons back to the heavens, but Firedorn had underestimated the power of the explosion and he was destroyed as well.
III. The Great Cataclysm:
There were no victors on this field of battle, but the heartache for all races was only beginning. Immediately following the death of the two leaders, Alyssia began to be torn apart. The earth itself began to erupt and the sky began to churn. Volcanoes rose up and spewed forth lava on the land. Earthquakes shook the land almost non-stop, and the continent was split into three separate continents. The great cities that stood as testaments to mankind’s prowess were reduced to ruins. This turmoil continued almost non-stop for years.
It is unknown what caused this destruction, but it came to be known as the Great Cataclysm. Some people theorize that the power unleashed by the destruction of the artifact was the cause. Others surmise that Malum and Taryn themselves entered the battle, tearing apart the very fabric of the universe. Still others believe that the Greater Gods used their power to put a stop to the fighting of Malum and Taryn. Whatever the reason, the annihilation was devastating.
In an effort to find safety, the common races sought refuge from the cataclysm and migrated to the smallest of the newly formed continents, which was now called Balrul. As time progressed, the continents separated even more and Balrul was pushed further from the Northern and Southern Continents of Alyssia. Balrul suffered the least damage and life began to progress normally once more for the survivors.
IV. The Middle Ages:
The people of Balrul prospered and new kingdoms rose. Much of the magic that was wielded in the ancient days was lost, but the people worked hard to forge a new world and great strides were made.
Some survivors of the Great Cataclysm never fled to Balrul, but stayed in the harsh lands that were now the Northern and Southern continents. It was a difficult life and only the strong survived. Almost all signs of civilization were destroyed, but life continued.
The Northern continent became very mountainous and humanoids prospered in the environment. Orcs, goblins and their cousins found conditions very livable. Giants and their type prospered as well. All types of creatures that were able to live below the ground did well. Humans also found ways to survive, but they became barbaric creatures living in clans and tribes spread out throughout the land. No human communities existed beyond the small tribes spread throughout the land.
The other common races fared no better, with the exception of the Dwarves. As an underground race, they too flourished, although they were at constant war with their humanoid enemies. Elves, too, survived, building strong defensible communities within the densest of the forests. Gnomes and Halflings allied with the Elves and survived with their assistance. But all common races faced constant warfare with the humanoids who ruled the land.
The Southern Continent was turned into desert, and therefore did not draw the legions of humanoids as the Northern Continent did. Humans survived in nomadic tribes that raised domesticated animals and traveled constantly in search of water. Eventually, in the South, a kingdom began to form around the largest sources of water and later became the kingdom of Falak. There were no constant wars on the Southern Continent. Instead, the humans fought against enemies who came in small numbers, but were usually more powerful. Very few of the other common races exist in the South. There are a handful of them and they have all adapted to the nomadic life of the desert.
V. Modern History – The Re-Colonization:
After almost 3000 years, the continent of Balrul began to get overcrowded and people began to explore, seeking the fabled lands their forefathers left behind. These stories were nothing more than myth by then, but there were many who believed in the old lands.
The movement of the continents during the Great Cataclysm had isolated Balrul from the other continents and terrible storms ruled the waters between the continents. All initial explorers died attempting to find the old lands. Nevertheless, in the year 2,893, in a ship led by Cordin Berleev, the Northern Continent was rediscovered and landing was made near present day Southshore. Unfortunately, the savage humanoids made survival impossible, and Cordin quickly fled the lands returning to Balrul. Cordin began with 6 ships, but only one ship survived the return. Nevertheless, news of the discovery spread throughout Balrul and the lure of the fabled lands proved to be tempting, despite the tales of riches in the long lost lands.
Following the rediscovery of these lands, numerous ships tried to duplicate Cordin’s attempt, but none were successful. Many returned with tales of un-navigable waters. However, a very charismatic leader, who was sixth in line for the throne of Taragon and had no hope of ever ruling anything, decided to risk the trip. His name was Prince Macon Hegelyn and he was able to convince several thousand brave immigrants to go with him. He set out with 200 ships, but the armada met horrible storms which destroyed over half the fleet. Only 65 ships survived the journey. Some of the ships returned to Balrul with tales that all of the Prince’s fleet was destroyed.
When Prince Macon Hegelyn landed, he led his followers to victory over numerous enemies and established the country of New Celedon, in honor of High King Aldren’s once powerful kingdom. Over the years, the term “New” was dropped and it was later known simply as Celedon.
No one else wished to make what was then considered a suicide trip. Cordin Berleev, who should have been seen as a remarkable sailor, was viewed with suspicion, as people thought the entire Hegelyn expedition had perished. Perhaps there were no fabled lands people thought. Cordin Berleev was imprisoned and sadly died in a lonely dungeon.
The only other people to attempt the trip were led by the Pirate Lord Samon Oberon. He had plundered one too many ships and his fleet was pursued by a much superior force. Rather than face certain death in a battle between the fleets, he chose what he called uncertain death and followed Cordin’s directions. Although half his fleet of 22 ships were destroyed, the rest were able to make it to the old lands and he settled on the islands situated between the Northern and Southern continent. It is said he brought a huge treasure with him.
Following Oberon’s expedition, no other people came from Balrul. Although a few ships have tried to return, none have been successful.