30,000 – 1,000 Years Ago
30,000 years ago – For the first time in the long and storied history of Wyrmshadow, the world was without its creator. Asmous the Foul had failed in his quest to conquer Wyrmshadow, but the scars he left behind when he fled back to Infernia are still felt today. The war against Asmous and his dark legions had left a terrible toll on Wyrmshadow, the Legendary Wyrm was lost, the race of Humanity had been brought to the brink of extinction, and the Elder Ancients no longer had the power or influence necessary to safeguard the world from future threats sure to come form Infernia. In desperation, the Elder Ancients fled to Arcadia and contemplated how best to go on with their sacred work. It would be another 500 years before they came up with a solution, and in that time, the peoples of Wyrmshadow began to drift into chaos and disorder.
- 29,500 years ago – A noble Ilrasi Elf named Oerne Delovys stumbled upon a horrific scene, a pack of wolves in the northern Ilrasi Wilds were being tormented and abused by a band of Gnolls as they marched south from the deserts of the Muhari Duskdunes. Oerne managed to stave off the Gnolls, who had him greatly outnumbered, long enough for the last of the wolves to break free from their tormentors. As the last moments of his life faded before his eyes, Oerne’s eyes reopened in a wholly different realm. For the first time, a mortal being was transported from Materia to the realm of the Ancient Elders, Arcadia. Along with Ahlar Drae, a Dwarven warrior, and Raelok Moonstrong, a Weren Avite shaman, Oerne was among the first three mortals to be chosen to serve as the mortal hosts of the memories, powers, and responsibilities of the three Ancient Elders. Oerne became Oen, the first God of Nature, Ahlar became Draelius, the first God of Justice, and Raelok became Rael, the first God of Death. In abandoning their immortality, the Ancient Elders ceased to exist as they were, but became something greater than they could ever have otherwise hoped to become. From that time going forward, they were the Elder Gods of Arcadia, and through their continual connection with new, mortal hosts, they would attain the perspectives and life experiences of the exemplary individuals they chose to serve as their future hosts, becoming much more than the sum of their parts, and learning to adapt with the changing demands of the evolving world of Wyrmshadow.
- 29,442 years ago – Monsters plague Wyrmshadow from coast to coast, byproducts of the war between Asmous the Foul and the Legendary Wyrm. The demons had multiplied and cross-bred at alarming rates, and news begins to reach the ravaged, weary kingdoms of Wyrmshadow that a powerful being was at work in Muhar, organizing the scattered fiendish hordes and plotting some sort of dreadful war of attrition to keep Wyrmshadow weak until Lord Asmous’s eventual return to claim his ultimate victory.
- 29,438 years ago – A Rakshasa calling himself Photep Azrahl enslaves the Sarazhani Dunefolk and declares himself the Red Emperor of Muhar. Azrahl’s army is said to be comprised largely of the walking dead, mummified zombies created from the remains of a hundred thousand victims of the war between Asmous the Foul and the Legendary Wyrm six-hundred-years earlier.
- 29,434 years ago – The mummified Army of the Red Emperor is defeated at the edge of the Sylverwood by a combined force of Humans from Imperia, Dwarves from Dragonstone, Draoish Elves from Neverdawn, and Hafhie from Yonsalyre. The Red Emperor turns his wrath against his Sarazhani slaves, closing his borders and turning Muhar into a city of wanton, sadistic torture.
- 29,433 years ago – Among the Sarazhani slaves, downtrodden and devoid of hopes for freedom, a hero rises. A Sarazhani boy takes the oppressive Rakshasa to task for their many atrocities against Wyrmshadow. As his insurrection gains more and more followers, the rumor begins to spread that the boy us the Ra’Hazul (literally, Fire-Winged God).
- 29,432 years ago – In a magnificent display of power, the mighty Ra’Hazul rallies his fellow slaves and succeeds in driving the Rakshasa slavers deep into the deserts, liberating the exotic city of Muhar and declaring it as their own. The Gods in Arcadia recognize that Ra’Hazul is their fellow Ancient, the Phoenix, born anew. Not content with mere freedom, the new Photep Ra’Hazul begins to amass a mighty army to march north, from whence the Infernal invaders had come centuries earlier. Once again, a Muhari army met the Northern Kingdoms on the field of battle. However, with the Phoenix in command of Muhar’s forces, the armies of Imperia, Yonsalyre, Neverdawn, and Dragonstone are decimated.
- 29,431 years ago – Imperia is conquered by Photep Ra’Hazul on the first day of the new year. Word spreads throughout all of Wyrmshadow of atrocities wrought by the great Muhari invaders, and forces from all over the world descended upon Imperia, rallying to help rid the Human kingdom of its insidious Muhari conquerors. However, the rumors of atrocities were unfounded, spread by agents of the Archdemon Fa’Zael, who had been entrenched in the Imperian Royal Family for centuries, and was using the city as a surreptitious base of operations. Imperia was a hotbed for Infernal influence in Materia. As the site of the original Hellryft, Imperia was an ideal place from which the archdemons could unleash havoc and chaos on a vulnerable world, hoping that, through attrition, Wyrmshadow would not be so prepared for the next Infernal invasion force. Now, with the resurrected Phoenix in Imperia, the demons entrenched there were forced to either flee back to Infernia or, as the archdemon Fa’zael decreed, turn the tables on the Muhari insurgents. Fa’Zael and her agents began to spread word of atrocities this invading Muhari Pharaoh had begun to visit upon the innocent humans of Imperia. Demons within the royal families of Shidima took notice and played along, famously declaring that “All Humans are Imperian”, then building and launching the most advanced and impressive naval force of the time to sail to the aid of the invaded people of Imperia. It was, however, a clever ruse meant to gain Pharaoh Ra’Hazul more enemies than he could keep track of.
- 29,429 years ago – In a moment of weakness and confusion, Photep Ra’Hazul is assassinated by the Archdemon Fa’Zael, who had taken the guise of the Photep’s infant son in order to lure him into dropping his guard. As he dies, in his throes of pain and anger, Ra’Hazul unleashed a wave of unstoppable power, incinerating all of Imperia and the surrounding lands, killing not only every Human there, but also all the Demons, including the treacherous Fa’Zael. In light of this event, the Archdemon Testament decides to retreat back to Infernia to plan his next strategy without fear of such threats as the Phoenix posed. The Gods determined that the Phoenix, in razing Infernia, fulfilled his purpose. They knew that he would return again one day to face another such threat to creation, and silently prayed that they would never have to face the wrath of the Phoenix themselves.
- 29,400 years ago – In order to prevent the mounting numbers of dead from becoming everliving blights upon the world, Rael, the God of Death, began to pull the souls of the dead up from Materia to join the Gods in Arcadia immediately at the moment of their deaths. It was not the original intention of Arcadia to serve as an eternal haven for the souls of the demised, but soon, it becomes apparent that this is the best solution. The undead problems on Materia begin to diminish almost immediately, and the faith of the people below begins to grow substantially. The Gods discover that the faith of the peoples of Wyrmshadow proferr great power to the Gods. Realizing that there is much to be gained in intervening on behalf of the Materians and making their presence more widely known, the Gods begin to take a more hands-on approach to their duties. As a result, more and more Materians begin to have faith in the gods, and the gods reaped the benefits of the world’s newfound faith.
- 29,330 years ago – The God of Nature chooses a new host for his powers, memories, and responsibilities. The new God of Nature is a former Hafhie druid named Dunlow Draefis. Dunlow becomes Aefis, God of Nature.
- 29,300 years ago – To aid them in maintaining control of both the residents of Arcadia and the overwhelming task of watching over Materia, Aefis recommends that each god hand-pick souls among the Arcadian risen to be elevated to new, more powerful states of being. These new beings would be the first of the Angels. As divine spirits, these Angels would carry out the will of their respective Gods both in Arcadia and beyond. Among the Angels there were several groups selected according to their chosen role. Each of these groups, called a Chorus, was populated by the souls of the Materian fallen who had fully come to terms with their worldly demise and, out of genuine desire to be of service to the Gods and those they left behind in life, volunteered to become angels. The Cherubim, for example, were charged with ensuring new souls arriving in Arcadia were made as comfortable and welcome as possible. They were known by the peoples of Materia as Angels of Mercy. They were also responsible for encouraging the peoples of Wyrmshadow, whose numbers had dwindled so much over the past few ages, to be fruitful and multiply. These angels served directly under the God of Nature and were led by the Archangel Nysael. The Seraphim were in charge of carrying out the will of the God of Justice, maintaining order both in Arcadia and Materia. They would come to be known as Guardian Angels by the people of Materia, though to their enemies they were also known as Avenging Angels. They were responsible for delivering the will of the Gods unto the people, aiding those who protected the innocent, and helping those who punished the wicked. These angels were led by the Archangel Belthazar. The Sephirim were bound to the God of Death and carried out the duties of finding the fallen souls of Materia and escorting them safely to their new home in Arcadia. They would come to be known as Angels of Death, though due to the negative connotations carried by death, many in Wyrmshadow would not soon believe them to be angels at all, but Demons. It was a distasteful reputation, but one for which the God of Death had long since grown accustomed. “There is no evil or good in death. It is simply a voyage that we all must make” is a quote from the God of Death early during the Age of the Gods, and one that aided the Sephirim in carrying out their depressing, morose duties. These angels were led by the Archangel Kimaela.
- 29,000 years ago – The Phoenix returned in the form of a Yuan-ti called Raal Sunscales. Raal destroys a Hellryft on Nou Gravai by sacrificing himself, diving into the volcano Urakorat and igniting a massive eruption, but only after ensuring that his Yuan-ti brethren had evacuated to a nearby island for shelter.
- 24,220 years ago – The two-headed Dragon, Inzaeus, hatches. Inzaeus would go on to become Wyrmshadow’s most powerful prophet.
- 20,000 years ago – The Gods of Justice, Nature, and Death had each gone through many dozens of new identities, and with each new mortal risen to play host to their powers, responsibilities, and memories, the Gods gain new insights and a greater understanding of the roles they play as protectors and nurturers of Wyrmshadow’s fragile existence. In order to further aid them in their management of the many races of the world, representative angels from each race would be chosen, elevated as Lesser Gods, and allowed certain powers in exchange for their aid in serving the faithful. Thus, the three Gods of Justice, Nature, and Death would come to be known as Elder Gods, with a pantheon of Lesser Gods beneath them. Unlike the Elder Gods, the Lesser Gods would remain immortal, yet due to their doctrine to work more closely with their worldly subjects, they would not need the added perspective that the Elder Gods required.
- 17,400 years ago – Onaga the Gray is born of a Black Dragon father and a White Dragon mother.
- 12,000 years ago – A ten-thousand year era of unparalleled peace reigns in Wyrmshadow as a consequence of the presence of the Lesser Gods on Materia. The remnant forces of demons are forced into exile, the numbers of monsters roaming the world diminish, and in the absence of outside threats, trade, commerce, art, and exploration begin to thrive in Wyrmshadow.
- 8,800 years ago – The two-headed Dragon, Inzaeus, peers into the future and foretells the Duskreign Prophecy for the first time.
- 2,000 years ago – The Phoenix rises once again, this time in the form of a small, Human child named Visay. Visay is so powerful that she traverses the realms and enters Arcadia itself of her own volition and by her own power. She calls the Elder Gods to task, and try as they might, they cannot force Visay to leave Arcadia. Visay informs the Elder Gods that they must rescind the Lesser Gods to Arcadia, allow faith to blossom in the absence of proof, otherwise their own powers would continue to diminish, the balance of the world would be forever tainted, and reality itself would tear itself asunder. She tells them that though their direct impact on the people must come to an end, they can still act through the people, lending priests the power to heal and abolish evil as if a funnel for their divine power. She says that the time of the Gods has come to an end, that the Age of the Phoenix was about to grip the world, and there was not a thing the Gods or Angels could do about it but sit back, watch, and answer the prayers of the faithful… from a distance. With that, Visay collapses and dies, her body erupting ablaze, rendering her unto ashes on an unnatural wind that blows them down to Materia, where they turn into a rain of red-gold glowing feathers that falls for a period of three days. This event would hence forth be known as the Dawning of the Phoenix.
- 1,989 years ago – The Archangel Belthazar and his father, the God of Justice, argue over the ramifications of the Phoenix’s demands. Belthazar feels strongly that it is the right of the Gods, and their responsibility above all else, to decide how best to nurture and protect order on Materia. The Phoenix’s ultimatum flew in the face of that right and would greatly hamper their ability to fulfill their responsibilities. Belthazar contends that the Phoenix is merely a tool designed to help right a world gone wrong, and that a God listening to the Phoenix would be akin to a blacksmith listening to his hammer. To his mind, the Phoenix’s demands were preposterous. Belthazar had always advocated a more hands-on approach to the defense of Wyrmshadow and the protection of its myriad peoples, whereas the God of Justice saw the wisdom in a more measured, cautious diligence. The Phoenix was right, according to the God of Justice, that the influence of the Gods was so powerful as to require respectful discipline in its use. Otherwise, even with good intentions, those powers might be abused and inadvertently tear apart what they had finally built. Hubris, he knew, was the constant danger inherent in possessing the powers of a God. Belthazar’s pleas fell on deaf ears, so in his frustration, Belthazar leaves his post as the Archangel of Justice, allowing that distinction to fall to Lacan. Belthazar enlists the aid of several other like-minded Seraphim to abandon Arcadia and descend to Matertia against the wishes of the Gods.
- 1,965 years ago – Lacan, the Archangel of Justice, descends from Arcadia to attempt to reason with Belthazar. Belthazar, in turn, attempts to sway Lacan away from his loyalty to what Belthazar refers to as “Ineffectual gods, forsaking their work at the say-so of their tools.” Belthazar was determined to prove himself right, that with divine power comes the right and responsibility for direct control of the faithful. Lacan attempts to take Belthazar by force, and the former Archangel of Justice killed his successor in a vicious battle that badly weakened Belthazar. Knowing that he would be hunted down by the Gods after having slain one of his fellow angels, Belthazar infused himself within the soul of a mortal on Materia, and would continue to leap from one mortal host to another, his presence unknown to his hosts, and his location a secret even from the Gods themselves. This is a dark presage of events yet to come, as Belthazar would become perhaps the most heinous villain in the history of Wyrmshadow.
- 1,954 years ago – Empress Diahn II of Imperia receives a visit from a ten year old boy, who delivers a message that would alter the course of history. The message was an ominous list of races and the curses that Asmous the Foul had levied aganst them. These “Ten Curses of Asmous” were obviously devised to weaken and distract the peoples of Wyrmshadow in preparation for another invasion. Since it has been so long since the previous invasion, few take the threat seriously enough. That is, unfortunately, until these Ten Curses of Asmous began to manifest among the people.
- 1,951 years ago – The Weren of Freel are the first race of Wyrmshadow to feel the effects of the Curse of Asmous. The curse read: “Forever more a disease of infection and rage will ravage your people, and as you spread this disease, create more Infected Weren, your friends in the rest of Wyrmshadow will come to shun and despise you. This is the Curse of Asmous.” The Weren witness a growing number of Infected among them, the disease spreading like brushfire. Whenever the Weren Infected caught the light of a full moon, their bite was capable of spreading the disease to the other races of Wyrmshadow, and their uncontrollable rage would render them incapable of halting their berserk attacks. Soon, even the non-Infected Weren are mistrusted by the peoples of Wyrmshadow, and it is decided to make a mass migration back to Freel, the large tropical island Southwest of the continent, and leave the other races to their own devices. This element of Asmous’s plan would seem to have worked splendidly, as the Weren would have been a formidable force to be reckoned with when the time came to invade Wyrmshadow once more.
- 1,949 years ago – The Dwarves of Kordoth are the next race to fall prey to the Curse of Asmous. Their curse read:“In silent depths your people will be lured, drawn by fate, pushed by a growing resentment and mistrust of the other surface races. You will have within you an unnatural fear of the sky and the open air of the surface world, and your people will cower and hide in the ‘Neath. You will forsake your allies as enemies, isolate yourselves, and breathe not the idea of return. This is the Curse of Asmous.” At first, the Dwarves scoffed at the curse, but five years after its first utterance by the boy messenger to Empress Diahn II of Imperia, the Dwarves began to feel the change within them. They delved to greater depths in their subterranean expeditions, and soon small pockets of Dwarven civilization began to form deep within Wyrmshadow. Eventually, the Dwarven kingdom of Kordoth was all but abandoned for a new frontier in the dark depths of the ‘Neath. Indeed, when the time came for their aid to be called upon by their once close allies, the Dwarves would answer only with silence, hoping that the surface world would forget about them and leave them in their comfortable isolation.
- 1,948 years ago – The third of the Ten Curses begins to affect the Gnomes of the Great Northern Wastes. This curse read: “Every child of every child of the Gnomish blood will feel their vitality slipping sooner and sooner. Parents will bury their older children, grandparents their older grandchildren, until the last of the gnomes dies at birth. This is the Curse of Asmous.” This curse, like many of the others, would not be taken seriously until it became apparent that it was true. Every new generation of Gnomes witnessed their life expectancy dwindling. Eventually, without miraculous intervention or drastic solutions, the Gnomish race would soon cease to be.
- 1,946 years ago – The Year of Riots claims seven-thousand lives in Imperia and a further four-thousand in other cities around Wyrmshadow. The global economy is devastated by the loss of trade partners like the Dwarves and Weren, and Empress Diahn II is held responsible for the Curses, as she was the one who sent forth the words as they were spoken to her by the mysterious boy eight years earlier."
- 1,945 years ago – A cult of demon loyalists is formed by the Archdemon Orius. Calling itself the Cult of the Black Lion, the diverse group is comprised of a circle of twelve members from different races native to Wyrmshadow who saw the Curses of Asmous as a sign that only those loyal to Asmous would live and thrive when he made his eventual return. Each member of the Cult of the Black Lion goes on to prosper greatly while others around them suffered. To combat this threat, the Archangel Belthazar seeks out a noble and heroic Human champion to be his White Lion, and whose pledge to defeat the Black Lion cult would extend to future generations of his own bloodline, just as the demonic gifts bestowed upon members of the Cult of the Black Lion would be passed on to their descendants.
- 1,944 years ago – On the tenth anniversary of the delivery of the Ten Curses of Asmous, Empress Diahn II is poisoned by her own son, Olwen, who crowns himself Emperor Olwen I. Diahn’s loyal Emerald Knight, Sir Gustav Rance, forms an army to topple the newly crowned Emperor, claiming to have been the boy’s true father and, thus, that Olwen held no true claim to the throne. Maese Reyann, the Archbishop of Erandius (then God of Justice), declares for Sir Rance while Knight Commander Verandia Melquine, the General of the Imperian Armored Forces, rallies behind the Emperor. A great war is fought between the secular Loyalist Army of Olwen and the Divine Army of the Emerald Knight. The First Imperian Civil War would last nine years.
- 1,943 years ago – The Elves of Quae Elfien would be the fourth race to suffer the Curse of Asmous. Their curse read: “The Elves of Quae will see their people fraught with dissent and discord, fragmented, segregated, and unable to see their bonds through the veil of their arrogance and hypocrisy. The one race will become two, then four, then perhaps even more, until naught remains of the once noble race but squabbling, neutered folk ripe for the slaughter. This is the Curse of Asmous.” This curse comes true almost immediately, as the Draoish Elves develop an oversensitivity to daylight and a predisposition to distrust one another. The aquatic elves that once lived in concert with their surface cousins also see themselves drawn further from their kin, eventually being led beneath the waves altogether. Even the High Elves and Wood Elves begin to squabble in dissent, whole swaths of the once inseparable folk segmenting to form new, smaller civilizations where a once great empire stood. The Quae Elves themselves became extraordinarily prideful and purist, shunning the Drao and exiling them to the Underdark.
- 1,941 years ago – The Orcs were already a cursed race, having been hewn from captured, tortured Elves into ferocious beings bred for war and conquest. However, when Asmous the Foul retreated to Infernia after his battle with the Legendary Wyrm left him mortally wounded, the Orcs turned on their former Demon masters, naming them cowards without honor and declaring themselves Bastard Children of Wyrmshadow, no longer slaves to Demons or their ilk. The Orcs were thusforth regarded as strange, yet honorable folk, and had earned a few friends among the other races of Wyrmshadow in the intervening millenia. The fifth Curse of Asmous afflicted the Orcs thirteen years after the curses were spoken to the late Empress Diahn II of Imperia. The curse read: “Those of Orcish blood will see your honor useless, as the whole of the world will revile you as monsters and savages. No matter your deeds, cause, or words, no matter your achievements or merits, you will forever be relegated to fodder for crusaders and ‘heroes’ of the other peoples of Wyrmshadow. You will sour on this honor code you have foolishly clung to, come to hate the other races of Wyrmshadow as much as they you, and when the time comes, you will offer yourselves unto my service again gladly. This is the Curse of Asmous.” This curse was another that seemed immediately clear to be true. The orcs are mistrusted and mistreated, and despite an orc’s most heroic deeds, they are hated and feared for their differences. Eventually, their care for such things as honor sours and, as a race, they begin to revert to the very savage behaviors their stereotypes seemed to propagate. There are exceptions, including the small pockets of Or’Krannah and On’Dontii orc clans that attempt to maintain some semblance of civility and ethical purity. However, as Asmous willed, the Orcs would serve his dark will once again, whether they wanted to or not.
- 1,940 years ago – The Zardians begin to suffer their own Curse of Asmous. Their curse read: “Zardians, offspring of the Sau, those who would become the wretched Dragons of Wyrmshadow, you shall share in the burden of your cousins and taste the wrath of Infernia. You will lose your intellect and revert to savage barbarism, even cannibalism. You will be naught but animals, beasts to be hunted, monsters to be destroyed by the other races. Such is the fate of all whose blood, no matter how distant, interferes with Infernal manifest destiny. This is the Curse of Asmous.” The Zardians suffered an unfortunate, unfair curse on a people who had never directly challenged or threatened Asmous or his Infernian invasion force. The lizardfolk known as Zardians were indeed cousins to the Dragons in that they shared a common ancestor, the Sau. However, unlike the Dragons, many of whom were born and bred for war and conquest, the Zardians were always agrarian pacifists, keeping to themselves and remaining neutral even throughout the Infernal invasion. However, after the curse, a majority of Zardians become truly mindless killing machines, devoid of logic or remorse, seemingly made just to ravage the land and sow chaos for their neighbor races. There are rare exceptions who manage to maintain some rudimentary sense of right and wrong, but for the most part, Zardians would be barbaric monsters for all of time to come.
- 1,938 years ago – The Dragons would be the next to feel the impact of the Curse of Asmous. They had been so critical in repelling the demons in their last invasion, and as such, they held a special place of hatred in the black, twisted heart of Asmous the Foul. Their curse read: “Dragonkind will be cursed triple-fold. They will see their gods fall in vein, both at once, and be swept up into a vacuum of disbelief and chaos. They will see their egg yields stemmed from the hundreds to tens to ones, until the laying of a fertile egg is something not occurring but once in a hundred years. The air of Wyrmshadow will become as poison to them, slowly decaying their body like the ravages of age does to mortals, forcing them to flee to their pathetic Draconia and watch helplessly as Infernia conquers their precious Wyrmshadow. This is the Curse of Asmous.” In some form or another, all of these curses would eventually come true as well. The egg yields dropped severely in just the first hundred years, dragons bearing a scant percent of their former numbers. The trend was staggering enough, but the poisonous nature of Wyrmshadow’s atmosphere was even more cruel. Those dragons who had chosen to remain on Wyrmshadow when the majority of their kin had migrated to Draconia began to feel the impact of aging for the first time. Before this, once a dragon reached adulthood, they aged a single year, if not less, for every thousand that passed. Now, Dragons, like the cursed Gnomes, were dying within a century of birth, and that trend, too was worsening. It was believed that within 2,000 years time, even a week in the atmosphere of Wyrmshadow would be lethal to a Dragon. The only curse that had not come true was the death of their ‘gods’, by which it was thought that Asmous meant Tiamat and Bahamut. Since the Dragon King and Queen were safely in Draconia, it was believed that no harm could come to them. That belief was, unfortunately, quite wrong.
- 1,935 years ago – Sir Gustav Rance slays Emperor Olwen I, a man proven by law and magic to have been his trueborn son, to prevent the wrong man from claiming the throne of Imperia. Gustav throws himself on his sword, the guilt of prolicide (slaying his own offspring) too much for him to bear. Gustav would go on to become the next God of Justice, Stavius. The throne of Imperia is vacant with no rightful heirs for the first time since the days of the Hero Asvhar. The Imperian Parliament is founded by the wealthiest and most influential figures in Imperia, from both sides of the Imperian Civil War, to safeguard the empire until a new monarch could be named. Knight Commander Verandia Melquine is named the Steward of Imperia.
- 1,934 years ago – The eighth victims of the Curses of Asmous would be the druidic Nasnoi. This race of sentient plants, seedlings from the Great Tree of Nas’Nos, were ill prepared for the gravity of their curse. However, it would not be the curse that they suffered from in this year, but the sudden realization that the curse would hold to be true, and that as a result, the race of Nas’Nos was doomed to eventual extinction. Their curse read: “The people of Nas’Nos, caretakers of the Great Tree, will see their civilization wiped from Wyrmshadow in one, great sweep of Infernal fury. There will be no survivors, and your Great Tree will topple over you. The lush valleys you over which you dote and covet will be rendered into a bleak, dead land from which no life may spring again. The seas in which you ply your trades and sun your skins will be made a roil of unending chaos, an evertide where none may enter and survive. Your lives, and your legacy, will be forfeit, and there will be naught you can do to stop it. This is the Curse of Asmous.” Unfortunately, the curse warned of a single event causing all this chaos to unfold. There were no slow-developing signs that Nas’Nos or the Nasnoi living there under the shade of their Great Tree were in any danger. However, it was on this year that the two-headed Dragon, Inzaeus, a renowned seer of the future, predicted that the Nasnoi were doomed to die within a thousand summers, never to rise again. The Curse was ignored by the Nasnoi, even as the other races showed signs that there was something to fear in the threats delivered by that ten-year-old boy to Empress Diahn II twenty years earlier. Now, with Inzaeus’s prophecy coinciding with the ill tides of the Curse of Asmous, the Nasnoi begin to fret and fear for their futures.
- 1,931 years ago – The ninth race of Wyrmshadow to fall prey to the Curses of Asmous was Humanity. Their curse read: “Humanity worships its heroes, places them on high peaks to bask in their pathetic ideals of glory and virtue. Your heroes will let you down, humans, until you no longer believe in their ability to save you. Then, you will watch as your heroes become your villains, subjugating you, killing you, to sate their anger at you for your lack of faith in them. You create your own heroes, and they shall be your undoing. This is the Curse of Asmous.” This curse did not threaten that the Fiends would directly cause harm or foul to humanity, but that it would somehow see some of its own turn against them and bring them to the brink of destruction. Like many of the curses, this one seemed to develop into a slow mistrust among humanity. The recent Imperian Civil War had left Humanity shaken to its core, and without a monarch on the throne, fears of future wars led many Humans to abandon their greatest empire and seek isolated pockets of civilization throughout Wyrmshadow. Called the Great Imperian Exodus, the Humans leaving Imperia ran afoul of the Ilrasi Elves who held power in the southwestern forests of the Anzelwood. The Ilrasi Elves could not benefit from their old allegiances with the Draoish Elves of the north and the Quae Elves of the south, leaving them to choose between fighting a lengthy war against the Imperian deserters or abandon the Anzelwood altogether. They opted for the latter option, much to the chagrin of the Faefolk of the Ilrasi Wilds, who depended upon the strength and protection of the Elves of Sud Ilras, and had to abandon their ancestral homes to the Humans as well. These rifts, between Elves, Faefolk, and a fractured Human race, were all a part of Asmous’s plan to weaken Wyrmshadow for his return. So far, his plans were working perfectly.
- 1,900 years ago – Saleos Aldamar is named Emperor Aldamar I of Imperia.
- 1,729 years ago – Understanding that the Curses of Asmous were nothing to be trifled with, Archangel Belthazar took particular notice of the tenth and final curse, which was levied against the Phoenix itself. The curse read: “The returning hero, the champion of Wyrmshadow whose sacrifice bears no consequence because of your eventual resurrection. I, Asmous, swear to solve this problem as well. I will bring your death, your true, permanent, and ultimate Oblivion. You will not rise to see this world I have taken from you, nor to see yourself victorious in its defense once more. You will perish, and your world will be rightly mine for the taking. This is the Curse of Asmous.” Belthazar knew the value of the Phoenix as a tool for the protection of Wyrmshadow, and apparently, Asmous had learned that lesson as well. It was on this year that Belthazar began to court the enigmatic scholars known as the Luminati, whose research into the mysterious, unknowable powers of Creation would better enable him to execute his plans: to capture the Phoenix and somehow force its obedience to his will. On this year, Belthazar discovered a Luminati mystic who was able to grant true sentience to magical spells. Belthazar challenged the mystic to create a Living Polymorph, a Nameless agent who could act as Belthazar’s enforcer, protector, and assassin in the centuries to come.
- 1,499 years ago – Gretchen Koslov, the descendant of Knight Commander Verandia Melquine, poisons everyone in attendance at a state banquet in Imperia, slaying Emperor Aldamar and nearly every member of the Imperian parliament that favored the Aldamar Dynasty’s rule. She framed a wine steward for the crime and generously accepted when a session of the Parliament declared her Empress Koslov I.
- 1,200 years ago – While journeying west on a yearly trip to the Storm Coast, Emperor Koslov XIX falls under attack by rebels from Anzel who had rallied behind Lorus Aldamar, a descendant of the Aldamar Dynasty whose ancestors were slain by the treacherous Gretchen Koslov. Capturing the Emperor and his Emerald Knight, Lady Gladys the Gallant, Lorus Aldamar presented the Emerald Knight with irrefutable evidence that Koslov’s ancestor, Gretchen, was solely responsible for the murder of Emperor Aldamar. Lorus offered to dual Koslov to the death, with the prize being not the throne, but the loyalty of the Emerald Knight. Lady Gladys agreed to the terms, and Aldamar soundly defeated Koslov, famously declaring the lands upon which Koslov XIX perished as Vengeance Valley.
- 1,198 years ago – Emperor Lorus Aldamar passes away a mere 18 months after his victory in the Battle of Vengeance Valley. The crown of Imperia falls to his son, Gaven, an infant ten months from his mother’s womb.
- 1,180 years ago – Emperor Gaven Aldamar celebrates his eighteenth birthday by revisiting Vengeance Valley, the site of his father’s victory over the former Emperor Koslov. Gaven has a statuary built, including thousands of life-sized warriors cast in stone black and white, each statue representing one of the soldiers who fought and died on either side of the battle. He did this to help bridge the gap between him and those who yet remained loyal to the lost Koslov Dynasty, not wanting to see his reign end in similar fashion.
- 1,174 years ago – The Phoenix is born unto Wyrmshadow once more. This time, the Phoenix takes the form, of a Nasnoi child whose powers seem poised less for war and conquest than any iteration of the Phoenix that had come before. As this child grows to become the great Phoenix King, the most powerful druid who ever lived, it becomes apparent that this incarnation is meant not to conquer the world, but to heal it from its slow decay. Ryndrik Woodsong is born in Sud Ilras, the only son of King Raedryn Woodsong and the crown prince of the Ilrasi Elves.
- 1,161 years ago – The child now known to all historians as the Phoenix King, but whose original name has been inexplicably forgotten, makes his presence known to the whole of Wyrmshadow by projecting his words of peace and coexistence directly into the minds of every living being on Wyrmshadow. The Great Tree in Nas’Nos, already an amazing spectacle to behold before the Phoenix King’s coming, grows so large in size that its shadow casts out across the continent to the Western Coast upon the morning. Under the protective umbrella of this tree grows every fruit and vegetable, on the fields below grows every wheat and grain, the lands surrounding flourish every form of animal and plant life the world has ever seen. Predatory animals coexist with their prey, and the once endangered species of the world begin to grow in numbers, migrate outward into the wilds, and replenish the world of all that it had been drained over the past millenia.
- 1,101 years ago – The Phoenix King of Nas’Nos, who many throughout Wyrmshadow once believed to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, shared a new message with the world introducing his plans for a future without war and suffering. In order to bring the peoples of the world back together, the Phoenix King began to revolutionize the creation and distribution of mana in a form that could be used to bring food and drinking water, medicine and life-giving warmth of shelter to all the peoples of Wyrmshadow, all on the condition that aggressions cease, bonds form between the races, and a new age of cooperation and enlightenment begin in earnest. At the behest of Prince Ryndrik, despite the vocal reservations of Galruk Daehne, the Mad Heirophant, who sat at the head of the Ilrasi Council of Seven, Sud Ilras became the first nation to accede to the Phoenix King’s conditions, rescinding its sovereignty in exchange for a place in the Phoenix Empire. As a result, a great era of peace and prosperity began in the Ilrasi Wilds, and to the chagrin of the Council of Seven, the loss of the Ilrasi monarchy served only to aid the Elves and Faefolk of Ilras in reaping the great benefits of citizenship in the Phoenix Empire.
- 1,099 years ago – Queen Hestrea of Quae Elfien and King Typhus Akuis III of Merus Akuai accede their soveriegnty to the Phoenix Empire, and as news reaches the far corners of Wyrmshadow that Quae Elfien and Merus Akuai enjoyed immediate and tangible benefits once they joined the Phoenix Empire, the Shidiman Empire, the Gnomes of the Great Northern Wastes, and the Free Peoples of Anzel all declared for the Phoenix King as well.
- 1,095 years ago – Emperor Percival Aldamar of Imperia declares that he will not ever rescind the sovereignty of Imperia, but that he would be willing to sign a pact of peace with the Phoenix King. The Phoenix King denies Emperor Aldamar, claiming that even the smallest seeds of separation could sprout into a great divide that would tear all he had accomplished apart. Before the end of the year, Emperor Aldamar accedes the sovereignty of Imperia to the Phoenix King. The Phoenix Empire is now a global entity, the only hold-outs being the Draoish Elves, the Dwarves, and the Weren of Freel.
- 1,050 years ago – From a hidden fortress high in the frigid mountains of the Rohn Highlands, a man calling himself Pavanoth begins to spread his influence throughout Wyrmshadow’s deepest recesses. Pavanoth wishes to sow discord in an effort to buy time for the demons to complete their weapon for destroying the Phoenix King. Pavanoth is in reality a guise for the Archdemon Testament, who fears this newfound solidarity of the peoples of Wyrmshadow would once again spell disaster for the coming invasion force, unraveling all the progress made since the Curses of Asmous began to strangle the races of Wyrmshadow into weakness, desperation, infighting, and submission. Pavanoth allies himself with, of all people, the fallen Archangel Belthazar. Belthazar’s interests are in somehow capturing the Phoenix King and harnessing his powers for himself. Despite the fact that the Phoenix King is beginning to overcome the very problems Belthazar sought this power to confront, the Archangel obsesses over the idea that such power does not belong in the hands of someone so unpredictable as the Phoenix. “What about the next disaster, or the following one,” Belthazar thought. “Does Creation itself hang in the balance while this Phoenix hero decides its fate?”
- 1,048 years ago – General Thranos of Idrahaal, the human guise of the Dragon King, Thoron, learns of a plot against the Phoenix King and begins to take steps to unravel this plot before it is too late. Thranos enlists the aid of a small, yet fearless group of heroes, the Dragon’s Shadow, to seek out the details of Pavanoth’s plan and stop them. For their parts, the Dragon’s Shadow would seem to have succeeded, learning that Pavanoth planned to capture the Phoenix King on behalf of another party whose identity they never got a chance to identify. They foil the plan, preventing the Phoenix King from being captured and exiled into some sort of a pocket dimension. They are hailed as heroes and showered with praise and applause. They are then, one by one, assassinated by the very people they loved most, at least by Belthazar’s Nameless servant, who had taken the form of said people in order to lure his prey to their deaths. Nameless is positioned to replace one of these Dragon’s Shadow heroes in a position of power, working directly with the Phoenix King, waiting for another chance to capture the Phoenix.
- 1,014 years ago – The Fall of the Phoenix King
Unexpectedly, the ground beneath Nas’Nos trembles and erupts forth from beneath, a massive swath of Fiends pouring forth from within. Deep underground, unbeknownst to the Phoenix King and his vassals, Testament had completed construction of a new Hellryft. Though the force of demons crossing through the Hellryft was massive, it was not a full invasion force. Rather, these demons would act as escort to Testament’s weapon to destroy the Phoenix King once and for all: Oblivion. The demons beat a path straight to the Phoenix King’s palace, carved into the trunk of the Great Tree of Nas’Nos. However, the Phoenix King’s allies were many, including the Dragons Tiamat and Bahamut, having brought the whole of the Dragon race back from Draconia at the Phoenix King’s request. These two mortal enemies were bound in a common goal: defending what the Phoenix King had built, and protecting the Phoenix King himself.
The Battle of Nas’Nos was epic, the greatest seen in Wyrmshadow since Lord Asmous’s battle with the Legendary Wyrm. From Elves to Dwarves to Gnomes and Men, all races of the world united beneath the shade of the tree in defense of their Phoenix King. Even in strife, he brought the peoples of Wyrmshadow together. For a time, it appeared that the demons would fail. That was before Oblivion itself emerged from the Hellryft. Oblivion was an enormous creature; Tiamat and Bahamut, the largest creatures in Wyrmshadow at the time, were simply dwarfed by Oblivion. The demonic weapon was as powerful and deadly as it was gigantic. Within moments of its arrival, every living being within two square miles was dead, the closest of them vaporized. Oblivion had about it a bizarre heat, a radiation aura that no mortal creature could withstand. It was slow, but not unintelligent, as it picked off Dragons and other flyers attempting to pelt it with their breath weapons and other assorted ranged attacks. When it was within 100 miles of the Great Tree, Oblivion broke into a sprint.
The quakes caused by its every footstep tore mountainous chunks off the continent and poured them into the seas. Within a day, millions lay dead in its path, and it seemed that there was nothing that could stop Oblivion from completing its mission and destroying the Phoenix King. That was, except for the Phoenix King himself. Tiamat and Bahamut were joined in Nas’Nos’ defense by all the Lesser Gods, descended from Arcadia the moment Oblivion began to pick up speed. The Elder Gods had been studying Oblivion’s patterns and noticed a kind of tether-like trail of energy leading back from Oblivion to the gaping Hellryft from which it sprung. Demons and monsters continued to pour forth from the Hellryft, and it seemed that they were at their most powerful when within a kind of zone of influence. The Hellryft itself was a living being, a kind of sentient conduit for Infernal power, and it was devoting every bit of energy to Oblivion.
Tiamat and Bahamut rushed off to close the Hellryft, bringing their Dragon children with them. The God of the Dwarven Might, H’Ruyn XXVII, rallied his people to tunnel water channels beneath Oblivion’s path, hoping to soften the ground at its feet and slow its progress. The God of the Human Strength, Cordd, gathered the armies of Imperia and Idrahaal to stave off the lesser fiends blazing a trail for Oblivion, acting as cover for the God of Elven Wisdom, Corael, whose elves operated the massive trebuchet erected by the God of Gnomish Ingenuity, Qaehlys. Indeed, all the races of Wyrmshadow and their Gods united, but it seemed that nothing would halt the progress Oblivion made toward the Great Tree. The Phoenix King himself stepped forth, drawing upon the mana flowing from his Great Tree just as Oblivion had from its Hellryft. He grew in size to match that of Oblivion, sprouting golden flaming wings, his shimmering armor casting forth an intense light that temporarily blinded Oblivion incinerated most of the demons between the two. Taking advantage of the opportunity this represented, the Phoenix King lunged toward Oblivion, and the two massive beings whose heads scraped the clouds began their long and deadly battle. All of creation trembled at the power unleashed as these two beings clashed.
Infernia, Arcadia, and all the other realms felt the impact of every blow. Some could even swear that they saw the sky itself shattering in places like a suddenly fragile glass eggshell. The winds whipped around their arms as they lashed out to strike one another, causing tremendous cyclones the world over. Every time one of them managed to topple the other to the ground, volcanoes would violently erupt half a world away, snow shifted from the peaks of distant mountains to bury whole cities beneath them. The Phoenix King cared greatly for all the damage this battle was causing, but Oblivion cared not but for the Phoenix King’s death. Oblivion screamed out in Infernal for more power to crush its foe, and the Hellryft obliged.
Tiamat, Bahamut, Thoron, Reignyth, and all the other dragons in battle with the demons near the Hellryft were forced to cower as it unleashed a searing torrent of radiation toward and into the distant body of Oblivion. Oblivion smiled, spat corrosive blood, and began to grow even larger, even stronger, beginning to dwarf the Phoenix King at his mightiest. One unstoppable blow to the Phoenix King’s head shattered his helmet into thousands of pieces, temporarily blinding him. The next moments of the battle were dominated by Oblivion, whose every strike met its target perfectly, leaving the Phoenix King weaker and weaker by the moment.
Bahamut and Tiamat looked to one another, mortal enemies, yet knowing what sacrifices must be made to ensure the survival of their people and all of Wyrmshadow. Bahamut turned to Thoron, Tiamat to Reignyth, and they transferred power over all Dragonkind to their most troublesome, most precious children. They then dove into the Hellryft together, emerging on the Infernian side, and unleashed all of their energies in a single, concentrated attack. This act of heroism, though fatal to both Tiamat and Bahamut, destroyed the Hellryft and severed Oblivion’s source of power. The Dragons had turned the tide of this battle inexorably in the Phoenix King’s favor. While Thoron, Reignyth, and the other dragons mourned their dreadful loss, they witnessed the Phoenix King smashing Oblivion into the air and retaking control of their battle.
Still able to draw upon the Great Tree for an intense influx of powerful mana, the Phoenix King began to turn the tide in his battle with Oblivion, leveling the titanic demon with his wondrous winged-sword, Exhumalas. However, it was too soon to begin rejoicing, as Oblivion was not stupid enough to lose a source of power while allowing its opponent such a luxury. Oblivion spun from the Phoenix King and dug its clawed hands deep into the Great Tree, uprooting it in one vicious motion and hurling it toward the Phoenix King. As the Tree flew through the sky, Oblivion channeled much of its radiation into it, causing what amounted to a thermal explosion. Nas’Nos was completely obliterated, all nearby onlookers torn apart and incinerated in the blast, but Oblivion remained, and so did the Phoenix King. Rattled, even from their distance, Thoron and Reignyth joined the rest of Wyrmshadow’s leaders in witnessing the final moments of the battle.
Oblivion and the Phoenix King were both mortally wounded from the blast, their bodies a testimony to their fierce battle, their continued efforts to kill one another testimony of their fierce forces of will. Finally, the two managed to stab one another, collapsing into each other and falling to the ground. Their bodies shrunk to their normal sizes, even Oblivion turning out to be an Infernian man no larger than most humans. As the dust settled and the intense heat and pressure of the explosion began to fade, the world’s leaders came to bear witness to the fallen Phoenix King, his eyes vacant, his body limp, his blood, and that of Oblivion, flowing into a single pool at the center of the great crater their battle had formed. Nas’Nos was now a Deadland, much as Asmous had predicted, and it was believed that all the Nasnoi were wiped out in the explosion as well. All these kingdoms who had sworn fealty to the Phoenix King saw little reason to continue their allegiance in his absence. This was especially true after an artifact was found, seemingly forged from the very blood of the Phoenix King and Oblivion.
It was a sword, long and straight in the blade, molded from a single piece of metal whose surface seemed to be a constant reflection of a clear, starry night’s sky. The blade was dubbed the Night Sword, and it would become the most coveted artifact in Wyrmshadow’s storied history. Within a year, with hordes of demons still roaming the world, monsters infesting the land, the leaders of the world’s nations became so obsessed with claiming ownership of the Night Sword that a great world-wide war would soon erupt. The fragile peace the Phoenix King had fought to create was lost. Oblivion had won, and Testament rejoiced.
However, there was one thing preventing Testament from celebrating a full victory: The Night Sword. It was believed that within the Night Sword was the power to return the Phoenix King’s stolen ability to reincarnate. Knowing that agents of his former partner Belthazar would be in search for the sword for this reason, Testament began his own quest for the Night Sword in earnest. Eventually, after over a decade, the War of the Night Sword ended when the blade was inexplicably lost to all the kingdoms of Wyrmshadow. Neither Belthazar nor Testament had recovered the sword, but rather, the weapon was recovered by the two-headed Dragon, Inzaeus, who had long ago foreseen this series of events and foretold the doom of the Nasnoi.
- 1,013 years ago A child falls to the sky under mysterious circumstances at Saldrek’s Field in Greenmeadow, Anzel. The child, a boy of seven years, knows only his name: Grail. His injuries seem mortal, but they heal remarkably quickly. He is adopted by Saldrek and raised as his son, not knowing until he reached adulthood that he was in actuality an Angel who was torn from Arcadia by Belthazar for some unknown purpose. Elsewhere, a nine-year-old Nasnoi, perhaps the last of his kind, washes ashore in Shidima, thousands of miles from his ruined home. He is adopted by the chieftain of the village where he was found, but the taint of demonic blood brought fiends into the village, and the child, named Garou, is sent to live in the seclusion of a ninja colony high in the Mountains of Kodama. In Freeport, Anzel, an amnesiac Human named Regult Martok awakens to find himself indebted to Viscount Hayd Koskoval, forced to work as a sellsword and pirate in order to repay his substantial debts for the medical treatment he received in Koskoval’s hospital. These three men, Grail, Garou, and Regult, were victims of a plot by Belthazar and his allies, Simone Delial (the only other Nasnoi left alive but for Garou) and Orrus Gaultaire (a Human from the West Freelands, the same region that Regult originated from).
- 1,003 years ago According to the Legend of the Night Sword, Regult Martok rises from nothing to do battle with a fallen angel, and the prize for his victory is the Night Sword itself. However, the truth of matters is far more interesting, as told in the Wyrmshadow campaign: The Night Sword. To learn more about this important era in the history of Wyrmshadow, please feel free to read about the adventures of Regult, Garou, Grail, and their allies as they attempt to unravel the myriad machinations of the Archangel Belthazar and his Order of the Three.
- 1,002 years ago Regult, Kasai, Caenus, and Canaga may have escaped from the Order of the Three, for the time being, but after a few months of relative peace and quiet, the heroes were once again forced into action. Pavanoth, the human guise of the archdemon Testament, had discovered that Regult Martok was now the bearer of the Night Sword. Once more the heroes were accosted by a host of demons and the mercenaries and bounty hunters employed by them, and Regult was forced into a nomadic lifestyle. Like Garou before him, Regult moved from one town to another, learning to live and survive off the fat of the land, his friends Caenus and Canaga in tow. Soon, Regult and Kasai began to fall deeply in love. Regult’s recovered memories of his fallen wife made him desperately miss the embrace of a woman, and Garou’s death at the hands of Belthazar had a similar effect on young Kasai. The two found comfort and companionship with each other, and before long, Kasai repeated the same Shidiman marriage ceremony that she and Garou had years earlier. Though life on the move was strenuous, it was made less so due to the company they kept.