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Volume I: Empires Clashing (-30,000 to -9,000)
By A Learned Sage
-30,000 to -15,000
Empyrean Arelis Eipoth - "Golden Age" The dimmest recorded fragments of Empyrean activity on Auberean date from this period. These fragments seem to indicate that the Empyreans were not native to the planet, but came for some specific purpose. Although there are few references to this period, Yalain sages refer to it as "The Golden Age." It was during this time that the Falatacot, the most ancient Empyrean race currently known, made their magical discoveries deep in the swamps of Dereth (which they called Killiakta, the Isle of Woe).
Empyrean "Dericoi Eipoth" - Age of the Dericost Although uncontested in the rule of its continent for thousands of years, the Kingdom of Dericost truly rises to prominence with the arrival of the Falatacot refugees, who flee the island of Dereth due to global cooling of Auberean. In exchange for sanctuary in Dericost lands, the Falatacot share their worship of the Old Ones and their magical knowledge. They specifically share their knowledge of blood, death and entropy magics.
While most Falatacot practice their magic within ethical bounds, the Dericost know no such bounds. Soon the Dericost nobility comes across the darkest of the Falatacot refugees' rituals which hold out the promise of eternal life. The Dericost are not aware that these magics involve the death of the physical body and the tying of the person's spirit to its decaying form. Once the initial shock of this discovery wears off, the Dericost find this an acceptable price to pay and many of the nobility transform themselves into undead. Among the first is a figure called His Eternal Splendor, along with those in his inner circle, Lady Aerfalle and Lord Rytheran.
-10,000 to -9,000
Empyrean The Millennium War The Dericost Kingdom reaches the height of its power approximately 5,000 years after the arrival of the Falatacot refugees. Although generations of the Kingdom's subjects have lived and died, many of those who originally accepted undeath are hidden in a great cavern beneath the Kingdom's seat of power. This vast cavern is called Vasmora and is carved from the permafrost below the Plateau of Gelid. From here, His Eternal Splendor rules the Kingdom, using the living nobility as puppets. To maintain his control over the living, His Eternal Splendor keeps the rituals of necromancy secret for millennia. Fear of true death is inculcated in the hearts of the living nobility from birth and becomes a powerful tool for His Eternal Splendor. Through this manipulation, the subjects of the kingdom are kept ignorant of the fact that it is an undead caste which truly rules over them. The living nobility still enjoy many privileges and advantages, as long as these do not conflict with His Eternal Splendor's decrees.
However, as the numbers of undead increase, so does their arrogance, and for some the idea of hiding from the living seems contemptible. A schism develops until the undead divide into two opposing sects. Those who feel they should rule openly begin calling themselves the Lords of the World ("Latzimestal" in the language of the Falatacot), while those loyal to His Eternal Splendor and to the ideal of maintaining the status quo take on the name Winds Out of Darkness ("Filinuvekta").
The situation reaches its climax when the living King Sarvien II is transformed into an undead and proclaims, after his conversion, that he will not step aside to allow a new living ruler to take the throne. Previous challenges to His Eternal Splendor's rule had been swiftly swept aside, but Sarvien II's political maneuvering with other disaffected undead allows him to resist the forces loyal to His Eternal Splendor. Sarvien is also aided by the Winds' unwillingness to expose themselves to the living. Since the Lords have no such compunction, Sarvien II reveals that an undead caste rules Dericost, of which he is the King. All resulting unrest in the Kingdom is put down, and Sarvien sets his sights on expanding the Kingdom. The Kingdom of the Haebrous to the east and the Empire of the Yalaini to the southwest become Sarvien's targets, and his forces invade these lands. This action sparks a period later referred to as the Millennium War.
After nearly 1,000 years of conflict, the Haebrous and Dericost lands are devastated. As the war turns against them, the Lords decide they have lost the blessing of the Old Ones and that the remaining Falatacot are to blame. They set about exterminating the few Falatacot still in the Kingdom. Throughout the war, His Eternal Splendor and the other Winds watch the Lords without interfering, but finally the Winds abandon Vasmora in disgust at the Lords' failures and excesses. The Winds create hidden fortresses in other parts of the world, notably Dereth. This sets the stage for the combined forces of the Haebrous and Yalaini to push their way to the foot of the Plateau of Gelid.
The final battle opens with the Haebrous warrior Leikotha and the combined armies of the Haebrous and Yalaini attacking the living and undead armies of the Dericost. With Dericost attention occupied by the assault, a Falatacot woman who had escaped the Lords' purge leads the Haebrous king, Jailne, and the Yalaini empress, Alaidain, through the trackless tunnels of Vasmora into Sarvien's palace. In a pitched battle, the Haebrous and Yalaini forces destroy Sarvien and his Lich advisors, but the struggle costs Jailne his life. As Sarvien passes into true death, he utters a prophecy from the Book of Eibhil, known as the Fivefold Curse:
As we were sent by the Darkness
The Darkness shall send again
An avenging star
A light to bring darkness
The Darkness shall send then
A power to bring destruction
For Alaidain's blood shall be
The death of the people
And then Darkness shall send yet again
And once more, and the Darkness shall win.
With the Haebrous and Dericost kingdoms shattered and their lands ravaged by war, Empress Alaidain assumes rule over the remnants of these kingdoms. The Seaborne Empire of Yalaini now spans the globe. The majority of the surviving undead Lords flee Gelid and most take up residence in Dereth.
Empyrean "Vacari Eipoth" - Age of Contentment With their lands largely untouched by the war, the Yalaini initiate a worldwide rebuilding program. Their influence will eventually cause the Haebrous to lose their unique cultural identity, although the Haebrous will always be known for their stoicism and cynicism. The living Dericost nobility are marched away in chains from the Plateau of Gelid to reservations in the Haebrous lands, but the victors are kinder to the common folk of the Dericost Kingdom and allow them to remain in their homelands. Yet all Dericost, no matter the station of their ancestors, remain scorned by the ruling Yalaini classes and never truly achieve equality in the Empire.
Although the Yalaini deliberately expunge knowledge of the dark magics accumulated by the Dericost nobility, it cannot be completely destroyed since Sarvien spread detailed knowledge of these rituals throughout his ranks during his rule.
The next 6,000 years are nonetheless a time of peace and subsequent Empyrean generations look back on this period fondly.