The Ancient Word
Aberdar is known by its inhabitants as “The Tragic Continent,” or “The First Continent.” It stretches both east and west of its sister continent of Cambria. Aberdar is a vast landmass with diverse topography, from sublime tropical beaches to dense magical forests, to piercing mountains of crystal and beyond. Pre-histories tell a tale of an ancient Aberdar when humans and elves co-existed in harmony, yet precisely how humans came to inhabit Aberdar was fact lost to time. Some say they were born of magic from a fallen elf who was cast out of his house and tried to create beings in his own image for friendship and community but lacked the magical items necessary to succeed. So, in error, he created mundane creatures of flesh that were larger in size and far more changeable in their nature. Other legends say humans evolved from wild beasts or animals, but who really knows the truth.
Elven lore is better preserved. Their sacred scribes tell of a time when the elves walked for thousands of years across an undisturbed Aberdar. They knew every tree by name and called every creature kin. They communed with the sun and stars; they knew the language of the stones and grass, and they heard the ebb and flow of time. And so it was that when the humans appeared that the elves were both curious and apprehensive. Who were these brash interlopers, with their physical strength but briefer lifespans? The elves had differing opinions. The High Elves believed humans to be inconsequential, hardly worth their attention, while the Woodland Elves feared that their impetuous nature would spell doom for their delicate way of life. Whereas, the Druidic Elves were slightly more optimistic and pointed to the fledgling race’s deep soul and eager nature that was as capable of new feats. On occasion, the humans exhibited love and strength far beyond their years. They forged loyalties that transcended blood, and perhaps, with the right guidance, they might grow to harness their passions for the good of all. The words of the Druidic Elves were persuasive, and so, albeit reluctantly, the other elves agreed to mentor the humans. However, the agreement had one important limitation: no human was ever to be instructed in how to connect to the elvish magical arts as the human constitution could not handle elven power.
A Broken Connection...
And so it was that the elves took upon themselves to mentor the humans. They introduced them to art and music. They tutored them in mathematics and astronomy, botany and animal husbandry, and the ways of nature. They aided them in establishing settlements and cultivating the land. The humans absorbed the lessons well, and it was not long before they had successfully spread across the entire continent. In exchange, the humans showcased unique feats with what they had learned, with mathematics, they established architecture, with astronomy they took to the seas, and with art and music, they wrote drama and tragedy. Although the elves would often not admit it, being a mentor gave as much back to the elves as they gave.
The new human clans also took to the outer lands of Aberdar in the ways the more reclusive elves never had. To the north humans quickly learned to mine land for stone and metals, which they used to forge magnificent works. While those to the south discovered near infinite uses for herbs and spices, while also mastering trade and artisanship. The human lifespan gave rise to an industrialist nature the elves had never desired themselves. And so it was, for many hundreds of years the elves and humans lived (mostly) in harmony.
But not everyone was satisfied. Early on, the humans took notice of elvish magic. They beseeched their mentors to teach them their ways, to bend nature and harness the power of the elements. “Have we not earned your trust?” they would ask, but the elves would respond kindly by saying, “No, teaching you our magic would bring the downfall of your kind, we will protect and help you but protecting you means protecting you from a power that is not meant for you,” the elves would say with a parental nature.
For some humans, the elves’ unwillingness to share magic became a source of bitterness. “They are afraid we will surpass them in this, as we have done in all other things,” some would say in hushed tones around the hearth. Others were not content to simply whisper their contempt. A small cabal of humans from the human capital city of Waringham began secretly stealing magical items from the elves, working tirelessly to unlock their secrets and wield new power. Scholars and artificers from across Aberdar joined a new human Guild called Dinistrio (Destiny) to test these objects. Alas, they made little progress in their efforts to master elven magical items, it was far too complex and nuanced. Some of the artifacts even seemed to resist the guild’s efforts to study them as though they had sentience. But the guild’s efforts were not wholly unfruitful; they did discover a less pure form of magic. It was raw and unpredictable, but also very powerful. The elves had always known this magic to be ‘wild magic’ of nature. Wielders of wild magic soon called down lightning and razed the earth; they unleashed fire and shaped water, and while their spells failed more often than they succeeded, the guild was convinced that it was only a matter of time before they had full control over their newfound power.
The magical energies harnessed by the humans rippled across the lands of Aberdar, and beyond. When the elves took notice, they confronted the guild’s leaders, imploring them to cease their efforts. They spoke of the danger of the wild magic, how it could lay ruin to the world, and how it could attract the attention of evil from beyond. But the young human sorcerers heard none of it, they were convinced that the elves merely wished to deny them their rightful power. And so the elves, fearing the worst, chose to sever ties with humanity and retreated to their forests and magical nexuses.
The ‘Second Continent’ of Cambria...
There was one lone elf who loved humanity with all of her heart, as she had long ago fallen in love with a female human, only to see her grow old and die. Her name was Eletha, and she sympathized with the human desire to master magic. After all, she was taught that even the elves had once stumbled blindly along thousands of years ago when their race was too young. It took time and experience to find their way and humanity deserved the same opportunity. On the final eve, before the elves retreated into their woods, Eletha visited the keep of Kristoff Carmarthen, the leader of the Guild of Dinistrio and a powerful human sorcerer himself. She knew his heart was pure and so she recounted one of the elves’ most guarded secrets to him:
Long ago, the elves ventured off Aberdar in search of other lands. Out to sea they discovered, what they named ‘Kambreah,’ a continent full of wild natural magics that were contained in the land itself, far more wild magic than Aberdar ever would have. Unlike Aberdar, where magic was mostly elvish, Kambreah held powerful magic in its forests, caves, and soil, if one knew where to look. The new continent was apparently uninhabited, with only wild animals roaming in its complex landscape. Hoping to protect Aberdar from the potential effects of this wild magic in this new land, the elves created a tower to contain, regulate, and mask the magic. The towers acted as siphons, drawing wild magic from around them and housing it deep within the ground, far from detection, in magic vaults. Between Aberdar and Kambreah, the elves created a network of subterranean ley lines of magic, a masterful and intricate system of channels to protect from the discovery, power, and potential misuse of wild magic should it ever be found and mastered by someone of ill heart. However, noted Eletha, the towers were protected by the elves’ most potent spells. Eletha implored Kristoff to sail to Kambreah, find the towers, and show the elves that humanity does indeed possess the discipline and strength to use magic wisely.
And so it was that a select few of the Guild set upon the seas towards Kambreah, which they soon respelled with their human alphabet into Cambria, earnest in their desire to hone their craft and unlock the secrets of the tower -- what the arriving humans called ‘The Tower of Secrets.’ Within but a few years they had managed to learn much. Although full control still eluded them, the humans were able to focus their magical energies with more precision and adeptness than before, and having access to the tower gave the wielders far more power than they imagined possible. For many generations more and more humans immigrated to Cambria to take advantage of its fertile lands, abundant resources, and magic. Knowing that their actions could lead to disaster, the elves sent one small secret contingent to watch over the fledgling mortals. The elves took refuge in a Cambrian forest known for its natural magic and mystery, a forest the humans were calling Everwood.
While the humans of Cambria prospered in these ancient times, not all believed them to be on a righteous path. Out of the Chaos lands of northern Aberdar arose a general named Malagan who believed that the humans dabbling in magic would soon result in the fall of both continents. He studied the ancient elven texts carefully and warned that the human use of wild magic would only one day attract powerful beasts from afar who would raid, pillage and destroy all of the known world in the pursuit of consuming wild magic. Malagan’s message resonated with some of the human population, many of whom took up arms in his name. The general then began a war to vanish all magic from the known world and would slay all those who opposed him. He also waged a crusade to permanently divide the humans from the elves. He almost succeeded but was finally defeated by the coalition of pro-magic humans and the elves. Although Malagan failed in his mission, he was adamant that his was the prudent course and that history would vindicate him. Malagan himself was given an eternal sentence, frozen in time in a magical mirror. is
The Birth of Bryn Mawr and The High King…
To maintain peace for all, Kristoff, harnessing the power of the magic flowing through the ley lines built Castle Bryn Mawr, the Citadel of Mirrors in the center of Cambria. He then repeated this feat by building a second Citadel of Crystals in Aberdar. Both Citadels would share the same network of magical reflective surfaces that would always speak truths. These Citadels would also be bastions for peace and wisdom. Kristoff purposely enchanted it such that no person of any intent, good or malicious, could be injured or killed as a guest in his citadels, “Any attack by one against another will have the attacker’s own aggression reflected back onto them!” proclaimed Kristoff. The Citadels were an ingenious plan to maintain peace in both realms for eternity, and so, for hundreds of years peace between all was shared.
Upon sensing his own mortality years later, with his own magic failing in its ability to keep him well, the first human sorcerer Kristoff had himself sealed in the magical mirrors of Bryn Mawr where he took on the new title of ‘The High King.’ The High King would be an apparition overseer the peoples of both realms could consult within the reflective surfaces of the magical citadels. However, Kristoff had a brother named Tiernan Carmarthen, who was always jealous of Kristoff’s ability to master wild magic. In an attempt to steer his brother away from dark magic Kristoff imparted some knowledge of magic upon Tiernan in an effort to bring Tiernan to the ‘light.’ Tiernan, however, after learning of Kristoff’s sacred and enteral bond with Bryn Mawr in Cambria entrapped himself in the second Citadel’s crystals in Aberdar, thereby blocking and sabotaging Kristoff from ever appearing before his original people in the first continent.
The Great Schism...
Tiernan soon discovered that he simply was not powerful enough to appear in the Citadel of Crystals in Aberdar as his brother was able to in Cambria, and this was likely for the best as unlike his brother Tiernan sought eternal power. Upon the elves learning of Tiernan’s trapping the High Elves sealed off the Citadel of Crystals making it a ghostly place. Nobody enters the Citadel of Crystals to this day as the peaceful, reflective power first bestowed upon the Citadel by Kristoff is no more. Those foolish enough to enter the Citadel quickly discover that it has been corrupted. They are overcome with an irresistible urge to harm anyone who is seen in the reflected surfaces of the crystals, even themselves. It is now known by the beings of Aberdar as the Crystal Death. However, the true tragedy of Aberdar had not yet begun. Tiernan’s trapping set the stage for the greatest of all disasters.
Hundreds of years passed as Tiernan struggled to free himself from his enchanted prison. His frustration grew and grew as none of his machinations proved successful. Out of desperation, he decided to sever one of the main magical ley lines that happened to run under the citadel to try and free himself with the flowing wild magic. He hoped for combustion to shatter the crystals. But, this act of sabotage too failed and resulted only in leaking a powerful, pure magic essence into the atmosphere, the raw and wild magic that could be smelled by the distant evils the elves and others always had warned of. At this moment ancient history came to a stark close, and a dark middle epoch was born.
The Middle Epoch of Flame
Not too long after the magical ley line began leaking its pure magic into the atmosphere the unfathomable occurred. All at once, the skies filled with immense, horrific forms. Monstrous winged reptilian beasts crashed across Aberdar like a tsunami of fire. The ancient human Kingdoms of Aberdar and Cambria quickly organized themselves, attempting to repel the beasts using their magic. But the creatures only seemed to grow more powerful. They were feasting upon the wild, magical energies and had traced the source to the snapped elven ley line. The elves quickly realized that Elder Dragons had indeed arrived, intelligent beasts that were addicted to consuming wild magic, and these dragons would not cease their pursuit of such magic until the very last drop was consumed. The Elder Dragons had no appetite for elven magic, it’s too pure to grant an Elder Dragon power and exhilaration; to an Elder Dragon, elven magic is tasteless and has no effect on dragon senses.
The Elder Dragons were quick to sense the vast pools of wild magic on Cambria. Their strategy was simple: subjugate Aberdar completely to divide the humans and prevent complete human-elven mobilization. Then, the addicted berserker beasts would turn their gaze on the primary source of wild magic, Cambria. Hence, this is why Aberdar was named the First Continent, or the Tragic Continent -- the Elder Dragons showed no respect for Aberdar’s life and existence, it was a realm to be erased. Whereas the Elder Dragons coveted Cambria, a land of wild magic fit for a dragon feast.
If Aberdar had been united, its inhabitants might have stood a better chance of defending against the Elder Dragon flurry. However, many human rulers blamed the arrival of the Elder Dragons on the elves, “Why are they not attacking your villages? Why do they show no interest in your magical items? Is this just a savage means to extinguish humans from the realm so you can once again walk these lands without us?” The elves pleaded with the humans to listen to them that the reason was that Elder Dragons had no taste for elvish magic as it renders no effect on them. They encouraged the human leaders to wait to see what the elves could grasp from their ancient texts about consumers of wild magic. But the humans chose to not delay, and they took up arms.
An envoy was sent to sea to call for the support of the new Kingdoms of Cambria where much of the human population had relocated, but the trap was already set.
The Sea of Fire...
A dark pact was made when the Elder Dragons decided to first pummel Aberdar. In exchange for the Elder Dragons giving him the power to finally appear in the Citadel of Crystals, the dark sorcerer Tiernan, using the power of telepathy that was inherent only to the crystals within the Citadel, revealed to the Elder Dragons the locations of the elves’ magical ley lines. The elves themselves could not turn them off, as doing so would release an immense power that might destroy the continent. With the knowledge of ley line locations, the Elder Dragons created a ring of fire around the east-west and south of Aberdar, such that no ship could pass. This sabotaged the supporting armies of Cambria from making it to Aberdar to aid the human cause, as they could not sail through the flames. The ring of sea-fire was vast and scorching. The ley lines fueling the fire would soon drain, but there would be enough time for the Elder Dragons to complete their first campaign. Aberdar was alone and entrapped.
The Elder Dragons asked for Aberdarian surrender, which many of the ancient human houses rejected. So the Elder Dragons decided to make a mockery of them -- “How dare these simple creatures of flesh disrespect flame-breathing deities!” the Elder Dragons proclaimed. Castles and villages were scorched from above for which the humans alone had no defense. The human armies bravely resisted their invaders at every opportunity, even when defeat and death was imminent. Meanwhile, the elves could not agree as to whether to intervene or not. As the human forces fell one by one, the Elder Dragons left some humans alive to either curse for all eternity, or have them witness a horror inflicted on something they loved most. The tragedy of Aberdar was sealed.
During the dragon invasion, the elves were politically divided, which was a rare state of affairs but more common ever since humans began to dabble in wild magic. The High Elves voted to battle the Elder Dragons, the Druidic Elves voted to try to entrap them, and the Woodland Elves believed they should simply give over the humans to the Elder Dragons since they were to blame for the widespread peril. Unable to reach a unanimous decision, the elves remained mostly withdrawn from the conflict and safe within their woodlands. Moreover, Elder Dragons could not pursue them as their magic was scentless to a dragon.
With little concern for the Elves, the Elder Dragons hatched a master plan: to create Half-Dragon Half-Human beings to rule Aberdar so the Elder Dragons could focus on discovering and devouring wild magic. Using ancient dragon spells, that were untested even by the aged Elder Dragons themselves, a grand spell was cast on some of the humans who had surrendered in the south, huddled in the dragon’s own gigantic walled castle. The hope for the dragons was to create dragon half-breeds, but the spell failed miserably. Instead of creating loyal and robust dragon people, they created mutated humans, twisted in mind, each whom was graced with an inherent dragon power. These beings were to become known as the ‘Ruthin,’ and they soon became so unpredictable that the Elder Dragons entrapped them in their own castle that towered over the peninsula of Wrexham in the hopes of burning them all alive to rid the world of their mistake. However, once word spread as to the horrors being inflicted on the humans of Abderdar, the elves finally mobilized. With a unified elven army, the remaining humans now joining their side, and Ruthin, their combined forces marched forth to cast out the Elder Dragons from Aberdar. They bravely struck fierce blows to the Elder Dragons and their lesser serpent armies, such that the Elder Dragons began to flee the continent to reorganize themselves for their main assault on Cambria. Aberdar began to stand up again a bit too fiercely to the dragons, so the serpents left the continent to pursue their primary goal in full force… that of Cambria.
Upon their departure, the Elder Dragons left Aberdar a shattered and broken continent, both physically and spiritually. The few remaining human populations cobbled themselves together and set out to rebuild, but it was not long before bitterness and animosity tore them apart. Some have been cursed, others spared simply to witness terrible acts, some even were no longer human. The lessons of the Elder Dragons scarred into the soul of the people, and they began squabbling over lands, resources, and power. Some resorted to practicing dominion over the vulnerable, while others amassed vast armies and made war against neighbors. A few sought to unite the people of Aberdar, but their efforts yielded little success. Aberdar became a realm of indifference. Indeed, to this day the only thing that the various Houses share in common is distrust. The result for the elves was a long-standing tentative peace with the humans, but the elves themselves could not overlook some of their internal differences. It was then that three grand elven Houses were created, each governing themselves but united in a coalition to preserve a semblance of elven unity.
Cambria never had contact again with Aberdar, and what was born of the destruction, carnage, and curses left on the tragic continent would remain unknown to the rest of the world.
Immediately upon the extinguishment of the ring of fire that divided the continents, the new Elven Coalition made a bold, unilateral decision without seeking human approval. A wall of magic would be cast and erected between the continents to both prevent the Elder Dragons from ever being able to return again and to prevent humans empowered by the wild magics of Cambria from returning to Aberdar. To the elves, isolation was the only option for Aberdar. The elves had knowledge of the ley lines, and the High Elves could make this magical wall appear. The wall became the grandest of illusions, and it permanently separated Aberdar from Cambria, as if to each continent that the other simply never existed. By way of the wall of magic two worlds were created.
The Battle for the Sister Continent of Cambria...
After the Elder Dragons had laid waste to Aberdar and were driven out prematurely by the human-elven alliance the armies of Cambria marshaled a stout and strong defense against the blitz of the beasts. Cambria had a large population due to the massive human migration, and there was still somewhat of a cohesion between the major Houses. They had competed culturally and in trade over the past generations but the recent military conflict was never more than a standoff over land rights. Different than Aberdar, which was primarily a continent split between humans and elves, in Cambria various Houses were established to lay claim to resources. This mostly resulted in four significant civilizations, each to the north, south, east and west. If united these Houses stood a chance of victory against the Elder Dragons, simply based on numerical odds their distant brethren from Aberdar did not possess. Humans took up arms immediately in a state of emergency. At the same time, the elves of the Everwood Forest went into a long hibernation, mainly because the humans who ruled Cambria never accepted them. This resulted in bringing the Elder Dragons ultimate victory.
The Cambrians too failed to realize that casting wild magic would only make the Elder Dragons stronger. Moreover, the humans stopped traveling to Bryn Mawr and no longer heard the advice and wisdom of the High King Kristoff who appeared in its magical mirrors, if Cambria was at peace and affluent then what need did humankind have for the ancient High King? The Cambrians had become too bold, too confident, and too blinded by their richness. A cycle that tends to repeat itself in Cambria.
Using magic as a first line of defense the humans suffered terrible losses. The warriors from the north, the Clans of Helfaria, warned against the use of magic but the other Houses did not listen. The Elder Dragons immediately seemed to double, even triple in their power! Leading the first charge the Northern Clans suffered massive casualties, and the peoples of the north never forgave the other Houses for using magic during their assault. A second House called Bronaber, the hardened warriors of the south counter attacked the Elder Dragons and successfully slew rare Elder Dragon twins. This resulted in the ultimate reprisal, once their citadel was taken the Elder Dragons killed every single man, woman, and child of this House, they then raised their Citadel and scorched the earth in the lands to the south turning it into a land of molten rock and fire where nothing could grow. This House was lost to history and the fire lands known as the Krag were born.
Facing loss of half the forces in Cambria the House Lancaster and Ardmore surrendered. Ardmore handed over their royal leadership to call off an Elder Dragon attack, whereas the Lancaster hid their royal blood and handed over all their lush lands. The time of the Elder Dragon rule had begun. The Elder Dragons feasted off Cambria for over one thousand years, and they made the northern Helfarians their laborers, the eastern Lancasters their servants, and the western Ardmorians their administrators granting them a favored status for cooperating with their new dragon masters. These roles cut deep and still cause a divide between the Houses to this day. The Dragons then made their home in the new Firelands of the south, constructing a giant towering fortress called Serpentia.
And so… the Middle Epoch closes... it’s been said that “One knows they are living in darkness when the only light is an Elder Dragon’s fire.” All records of Aberdar were destroyed by the Elder Dragons in Cambria. Sadly, it’s as if it never existed...
Elder Dragon Rule of Cambria
The Elder Dragons ruled Cambria for over a millennium. They never returned to Abedar due to the wall of magic. There was so much wild, natural magic in Cambria that the new continent was the sole focus of serpent rule. The dragon routine would be to feast on the wild magic seasonally and then go missing, oft to some land that was uncharted and unknown to their new human subjects. To maintain order, the Elder Dragons refused to slay some of the finest human warriors that stood up to them in the Cambria campaign. The warriors demanded an honorable death in the face of dragon enslavement, but the Elder Dragons had a different idea in mind -- it was time to re-attempt the ancient dragon spells to transform humans into half-breed Draconians! This time, the Elder Dragons would succeed.
The hand-selected warriors were first entranced to never recall their human identity or past lives, then a magical dragon spell of the highest order was cast upon them to perfection. The warriors were infused with dragon blood and were biologically and spiritually converted into half-dragon half-human beings known as Draconians -- the vision of the Elder Dragons had come true. Stronger, faster, and of more excellent constitution and lifespan than humans the Draconians were the new overseers of humanity. They took the thrones once graced by human queens and kings, reaped the spoils of the lush lands of Cambria, and they instituted new cultural rights that still exist with the Draconians to this day. By losing their past, the Draconians appeared to have inherited a future of the eternal rule of their lineage and kind. Some Draconians ruled humanity with wisdom and grace, while others through terror. The sad joke amongst the humans of Cambria was that one’s happiness was purely the “luck of the draw” of the Draconian ruler’s temper. However, nothing lasts forever, not even the magic of Cambria, and this understanding gave humanity hope to one fateful day riding themselves of Elder Dragon dominion.
The Revolution -- The Great Extinguishment…
Much like it was one individual, a heart-broken elf who once loved a human, that changed the fate of Aberdar, it was too one individual, a High Draconian Mage named Gitrix the Red who changed the fate of Cambria. Gitrix was a child of the Krag, unlike other Draconians that ruled over the more fruitful regions of Cambria, such as the Eastern Planes, or the more resource fertile regions of the Western Expanse and the Northern Reaches, Gitrix was of low birth in the Draconian hierarchy. She was simply one social ladder step above a human. However, she was born with natural magical gifts. Many believed that she was a rare off-spring born of an unlawful union between a Draconian and human that spawned a child of destiny, one gifted with both dragon and human magic. Her natural talents with magic were apparent from a young age, and she quickly overcame her status to become a high sorcerer within the Draconian ranks. However, Gitrix knew two secrets that the Draconian leadership was not disclosing: the Elder Dragons were bent on draining all the magic from Cambria, magic that also kept the Draconians alive. Secondly, she knew that Draconian blood was weakening each generation and it would not be long that the Elder Dragons would displace the current Draconians and replace them with a new Draconian race of fresher young blood. So, as Gitrix saw it, the Elder Dragons had to be dispelled from Cambria for the sake of the realm and even the Draconians themselves.
Gitrix had hoped for a more unified revolution, she knew the Elder Dragons would not leave quietly, and the movement itself may have to resort to slaying them. Additionally, a majority of the Draconians did not believe or heed her message -- it was the humans that did so and saw the opportunity to once again take back their homeland. Gitrix then chose to secretly leave Serpentia. She traveled north to Helfarian where she knew she would quickly find allies. The people of the north had been enslaved by the Elder Dragons and Draconians alike, occupying the lowest status in the realm under dragon rule. However, the industrious northern clans had been long storing arms and had managed to grace the vials of blood of their fallen a millennia ago with rage magic from the neighboring Everwood Forest, which would turn any imbiber into a very powerful warrior possessing superhuman strength, enough to almost match a Draconian in battle warrior to warrior. With Girtrix’s magic and Helfarian armies, she marched to Lancaster where their hidden royal bloodlines finally made their appearance and rose an army that was inspired by their impassioned plea. A message was also sent to the sea peoples of Gulph, who had evaded dragon rule by way of life at sea. Also, messengers were dispatched to the humans of the south living in the harsh Krag, the wyvern trainers for the Draconians known as the Wyndons, to be ready for an assault on the Draconians’ fortress of Serpentia when the time was right.
Meanwhile, there remained one question, one that would likely decide the fate of the movement, would Ardmore, the ‘favored’ human house of the Elder Dragons, join the cause? The people of Ardmore had much to lose if the revolution failed, their lives were not of servitude, but rather administration and they lived more lavishly than their other human kin under dragon rule. To control the human population, the Elder Dragons had wisely chosen one house to be the favored one, as a divided human population was far easier to manage. Ardmore at first did not answer Gitrix, and this became a grave concern.
Gitrix and the human armies timed their strike for the moment days before the Elder Dragons returned to Cambria to feast on magic. This was when the dragons were the least powerful, they would be at regular strength and highly preoccupied with consuming magic and competing for it. All-Out war was the last thing a hungry, and magic-addicted dragon would want. The hope would be a divide in the ruling Elder Dragon authority, using the dragon’s own strategy against them, divided Elder Dragons would be easier to vanquish. The strike was an all-out one. First, the Draconian High Rulers were slain either by human assassins hidden in their servant ranks or by the few bold Draconian traitors who also took up Gitrix’s cause. Most Draconian leaders blood was weakening, and they had become complacent and comfortable, so chopping the head off of the Draconian regional rulers was more easily achieved than anticipated. Also, with the return of the Elder Dragons just days away, most Draconian rulers never would have imagined that a revolution would be attempted. Then the human armies made direct assaults on Draconian barracks. At first, the humans were repelled, and word of the human attacks was reported back to the Elder Dragons who immediately raced back to Cambria to face off the human forces head-on.
When the Elder Dragons arrived, it appeared that every single human who had taken up arms against the dragons would be slain. The Elder Dragons, lead by their leader Vermithrax ‘The Destroyer’ annihilated much of the human forces but at a grave cost, as many Draconians, who were now suffering from weaker blood, were also killed in the battles. Instead of refueling on magic to empower themselves and their Draconians properly, the Elder Dragons overestimated their own power and strength of their armies. The Elder Dragons were so blinded by their addiction to feasting on magic that they acted recklessly. The dragons were less preoccupied in how to repel a well-organized revolution and were more concerned with putting human resistance down quickly so they could resume their Cambrian feast as they had done for centuries.
Following the dragon devastation of the first wave of human armies in central Cambria Gitrix cast her magic to offer a safe retreat for the human troops who then ventured north. Vermithrax and his soldiers pursued the human's armies. Whereas the other ruling Elder Dragons arrived, Nargus, Karakung, and Charis, and none of them could agree on the grave situation at hand. Charis has ceased consumption of magic and believed that humans should be given them home territory in Cambria, as long as they did not take up arms against the Draconians. He also was sympathetic to the Draconians, as children of dragon magic to him it was the duty of Elder Dragons to preserve their future, even if their blood was weakening over time. Whereas Karakung had her own extreme views, she believed all humans should be annihilated immediately. Nargus, always a rival to Vermithrax, left the entire dragon assault for the far reaches of the north, where he intended to create an army of war wyverns and other winged creatures to lay waste to all in Cambria, human and Draconian alike, as Nargus believed only winged creatures should inherit the realm. With such division and short-sightedness amongst the overly-confident Elder Dragons, the human cause stood a chance.
To the north is where a great sacrifice was made -- the Helfarians promised all other humans of the realm that they would make a final stand. A final plea was sent to Ardmore, but it was not answered. On the banks of the northern reaches, the Helfarians made a grand and brave stand, losing all of their soldiers but striking a severe blow to Vermithrax’s forces. This also left the Elder Dragon citadel to the south exposed, where the warriors of Wyndon rose up and smashed Serpentia and breached the fortress walls. Lancaster then mounted a calvary lead attack to the rear of the dragon forces that were racing from the north to recapture their southern capital, and this resulted in much success against the dragon forces. During this critical hour, Vermithrax was distracted from his vital leadership role and became entangled in a duel with Nargus in the north, which resulted in the death of Nargus and the extreme exhaustion of Vermithrax.
The dragon armies and draconians almost re-took their capital. However, they did not anticipate the war’s end was so near. Gitrix visited the High King in Bryn Mawr and made a pact -- she would sacrifice herself and all of her power if the Citadel of Mirrors could spread all of her magic to every reach of the realm to destroy the dragon armies. The High King permitted this sacrifice and Gitrix was able to cast powerful beams of reflective magic that cast the dragon armies own fire back at them. This resulted in the death of Gitrix but gave the humans the turn of the tide in the war. Just before her death, Gitrix reached out to Charis with a vision: he would have to save the Draconians who were now desirous for peace as the human armies would not relent until all dragon-kind were slain.
When Vermithrax finally arrived down to the south, he reorganized his remaining armies. Victory for the humans was still not certain until Ardmore, sensing that their time had come, decided to choose a side and join the human cause. Now, with a united Cambria, the humans began to push out the dragon forces. All dragons were slain and Vermithrax himself, a once powerful and now drained wild magic addict, was killed in a vicious final stand. However, unbeknownst to the other houses, Ardmore made a pact to allow the draconians to escape through their lands, under the protection of Charis who stood his ground to his death to protect the departing draconians. It was at this time that a new Draconian blood clan was founded, that of Ashbridge, who proclaimed Charis and not Vermithrax to be their hero and who saw Gitrix as their founder. The Draconians then were never seen or heard from for 1,000 years, and Cambria was once again a human continent rife with the politics, drama, and conflict that humanity seems to cycle through with such tragic perfection from generation to generation.
The Modern Epoch
[These years encompass the time period in Dragon Thrones I, II and III, all taking place in Cambria].
History of the Dragon Thrones:
“A warning to all those who choose to reign upon a Dragon Throne. The Dragon Thrones are living, breathing beacon of raw magical power, imbued with the lifeforce, the soul of an Elder Dragon. The body of which, each Throne was cast. Such power can be a beacon of hope to the masses, a means to defend your people and bring prosperity to your lands. However, absolute power corrupts absolutely: the minds of those who choose to misuse this, tremendous, titanic, indescribably tempting power... one so great that it can easily warp the most solid of steely minds. And so, for those who do choose to mount a Dragon Throne, wielding their crown upon their brow, do so with only the greatest responsibility, one that only thinks of others before yourself. Great Queens and Kings, High Rulers of the land have fallen victim to their own ambitions, desires, and obsessions when they become comfortably attuned and attached to the unfathomable power of their Dragon Throne. A power so uncanny, otherworldly, and so awesome, it can overtake the minds of those who make their darkest desires a reality.”
High King Kristoff, The High King of Bryn Mawr
The Dragon Thrones were originally the literal seat of power in which the Elder Dragons ruled the world. As they sat, surrounded by their hoards of vast treasures of mundane and magic, their thrones were imbued with their ambitious power. The Human Dragon Thrones were forged out of the corpses of these Elder Dragons giving them control over Dragon magic that they wouldn’t usually be able to harness. It is unknown exactly how many Dragon Thrones still exist in the world to this day. However, the Dragon Thrones in Cambria were created out of the slain Elder Dragons after the wars of the Great Extinguishment, when humankind retook the realm from Dragonkind. Gitrix the Red purposely left the spell books and magical items necessary for human sorcerers to forge the thrones. She hoped to ensure that the Elder Dragons would never be resurrected by dark magic if they were entombed in a throne, and to this extent she was correct. However, human sorcerers simply could not remove the soul and power of the Elder Dragons from the Thrones, so each Throne, situated in the four major lands of Cambria, to the north, south, east, and west have a Dragon Throne that cannot be moved or destroyed. Some may have attempted to destroy them over the years, but their hopes of destroying are always dashed against the rocks of magical reality as the Dragon Thrones always regenerate themselves soon after their physical destruction as the Elder Dragon spirits would not allow themselves to be removed from existence.
Mechanically, after generations of study, the Dragon Thrones are known to wield great, but limited power. Meaning that a Throne can be used to discharge a great force, a force mimicking the wishes of the High Ruler that possesses the Throne, but once the Dragon Thrones power is used it takes time to recharge. Initially, legend and rumor proclaimed that the Dragon Thrones had one extraordinary power inherent to the region in which it sat. Such as the Dragon Throne in the north casting rays and cones of ice, the Dragon Thrones of the west casting wind and storms, the Dragon Throne of the south causing earth-shattering quakes, and the Dragon Thrones of the east casting flame and firey devastation. Over the years those who reigned upon a throne understood that this was simply fallacy -- the power of the Thrones was far more profound, they could create powerful effects that drew from the desires, wants, and needs of the very High Rulers that graced them. To this day, the greatest challenge in Cambria is balancing rulership with the influence of the Dragon Thrones that will always remain in the land.
According to what is currently known, Aberdar is free from Dragon Thrones, as the rule of the Elder Dragons ended in Cambria. However, this is not to say that this continent is not without its own powerful artifacts. Unlike Cambria, which is a realm of wild magic and dragon remnants, Aberdar is a realm of exotic magical and people, and beings, such as the Elves and the magical creatures of the lands. All with their own secrets that those in Cambria have no knowledge of as the sister continents have only just finally been reunited. Reunited by the fall of the magical wall of illusion that separated the two realms. All peoples hope that the Elder Dragons will never return, but if they someday would, this could lead to more Dragon Thrones being forged out of need, or perhaps greed.
During Dragon Thrones I:
The Draconians returned to Cambria, after hundreds of years of banishment, in an attempt to retake their lost lands. There were massive battles on all sides. First, the Vermithrax overran southern Cambria and, despite their sister clan of Ashbridge not taking offensive military measures against the humans, a neutrality pact was signed between them. The human mercenary clan of Yarrow actually allied with the Vermithrax in exchange for gold and the ability to take over new lands. House Ardmore, after having a marriage proposal rejected by House Lancaster, began a proxy war against Lancaster, with each side attempting to overthrow the other by poisoning lands, water, and crops. House Ardmore also was engulfed in a border war with House Helfarian, as the people in the north believed Ardmore was siding with the Draconians to once again become the top human house of Cambria. The wars, political strife, and divisions grew deep, and the Draconians were only becoming stronger until it was realized that the real enemy was a secret sect within the Draconians, The Karakung, that foolishly wanted to raise an Elder Dragon using dark, necromantic Draconian magic, only to slay the dragon and take its sacrificed power upon completion of the ritual. This was something no human or honorable Draconian could accept, and all sides united to take a stand against The Abomination known as the Mega Dragon born of dark magic. Together, Cambria united to save the realm from annihilation and peace, temporary as it was, was had between the Houses.
Together, to save the entire realm.
Dragon Thrones II:
An ancient fear demon was awakened with the fall of the Mega Dragon’s corpse that landed in the north, a terrifying entity that manifested one’s own internal fears, the greatest fears, into an army of apparitions. Each High Ruler of the great Houses of Cambria had to contend with the terror and madness caused by the arrival of the fear demon. Through a series of alliances, the armies of fear were pushed back and finally repelled. Thereafter, a human magical guild from the Everwood Forest named Pembroke, who was lead by a sorcerer who had a human appearance, but was actually a Draconian, issued an edict that all magical practitioners in the realm would have to sign their name in to a directory of magic so all beings who were magical could be monitored by Pembroke.
Additionally, this grand sorcerer also demanded that all those who were magical would pledge to the Pembroke Guild. In response, a sect of young mages refused and took refuge in Lancaster as a series of magical and military battles took place throughout Cambria. Houses and Clans often changed sides depending on how their fortunes in the tide of war were looking. In a final attempt to control Cambria, Pembroke magically transported the Tower of Secrets to the western expanse of Ardmore where a final battle was waged. Pembroke resorted to necromantic magic, a practice that was outlawed in Cambria called The Tree of Death, a secret practice within the tower’s core.
This raised an undead army that would cause the fall of the Guild of Pembroke as well as bring chaos and unrest to the lands. Additionally, with the last of their resources, their jaded and now crazed leader, paid off some of the mercenary armies of the Brothers of Yarrow to defend their Tower in Ardmore. A united army of House Lancaster, Vermithrax and the Helfarians mounted a massive attack against these heinous forces. Ardmore, in its traditional political fashion, once again raised suspicion as they did not join the assault on the Tower that now resided in their own homeland, leading the other Houses to believe that Ardmore was once again hiding its political hand out of opportunism. Ultimately the Tower of Secrets, now a Tower of Darkness, was defeated and the people of Cambria returned to rebuilding their citadels and cities. Even though victory against the evil undead forces was at had, it was won at great cost. Too much magic was used by the greedy Pembroke wild magic users, and when the Tower of Secrets was destroyed, the leylines to Cambria and the access to wild magic for humans and even the Ancient Dragon magic for Draconians was lost. The once colorful continent turned dark, and the Houses started to frantically devise methods to have magic returned to the realm, while others fought against magic and its return. With or without magic, peace returned to the land as the majority of the factions of Cambria worked Together once again.
Together, they defeated their greatest fears.
Dragon Thrones III:
With magic gone, many houses worked feverishly to bring magic back. Magic was seen by most as an essential element for the vitality of the world that they once knew. However, others dissented, believing that magic was ultimately the source of suffering and war between the peoples of Cambria. To the magic naysayers, humans only needed their own reason and ingenuity to prosper, and magic was an evil that should be forgotten.
However, there was one grave outcome following the destruction of the Tower of Secrets, causing the shattering of the prison of mirrors underneath Castle Bryn Mawr that contained the ancient General Malagan. This ancient general from ages lost to time believed that magic should never have been in the hands of humans in the first place. That magic should stay with the elves and magical creatures and away from humans. He believed that if it was harnessed by humans, it would eventually lead to the return of the Elder Dragons for wild magic is irresistible to their insatiable thirst for magical energy.
He believed that he could save humanity if magic itself was eliminated, forever, even if it meant slaughtering all humans who practiced or simply supported magic. Malagan raised an undead army he called the Wyr Marchog. His army rose from the fallen in every corner of the realm. Suddenly, humans and Draconains shared a common enemy and dark battles waged throughout Cambria. Malagan’s forces were initially triumphant, testing the combined strength of the Great Cambrian Alliance. As he began to gain control of key strongholds and territories, the peoples of Cambria struck back with a vengeance.
Malagan desired a quick victory, but he was forced to divide and conquer which became his undoing as he underestimated the faith of the people of Cambria. Together in their conviction, they called upon the physical manifestation of the God of Light, Lord Lucent, who took over the King of Ardmore’s body, who personally stuck down large swaths of the undead horde. After the battle of Yarrow ends in a stalemate, the Wyr Marchog loses its most powerful force, the Dracoliches and its most elite strike teams in an attempt to destroy a Dragon Throne.
As the Cambrians regained control of their lost magics, they began to show Malagan the error of his ways as he was defeated on all fronts. These individuals and houses were successful in restructuring the leylines by using magical beacons and crystals that were recovered through exploration.
Malagan and the Wyr Marchog are forced to surrender their attempt against Cambria and agree to live according to the Cambrian laws. Malagan accepts whatever fate or clemency is arrived at after a tribunal. Until such time, and still in control of his armies, he set out to join the rest of the realm in an attempt at redemption and his secondary objective to right other injustices, namely the enslavement and magical-energy-extraction of captured Draconians at the infamous Trading Post. This lead to a final battle, where the undead joined forces with Lucent himself and the mortal armies to eliminate the last true threat to Cambria: the shapeshifters lead by the Godfather, master of the underworld.
After the battle is won, Malagan took his most loyal forces and journeyed forth to find other dangers to defeat that threatened Cambria. Malagan's various lieutenants all scatter to different parts of the continent, into other houses or to gain their own power with sections of undead armies that existed around the land.
Together, dead or alive, magic returned to the land, and so a great rebirth of Cambria and the world came to be.