T H E H I S T O R Y O F B I L Y M A S
"Once, children, there were no seperate races. Can you believe that?
In that time, even humans didn't exist..."
- Erfel, Tutor in Yyrgrad
It has been noted throughout history that the Elves were the race of lorekeepers. With their greater presence throughout history, rivalled only by the Gods themselves, the Elves have since their creation kept tomes detailing the great changes in Bilymas. It is by the grace of the Elvish people that this tome is available for all to read.
The Age of the Elder Races (1st Age – 2000 PF (Pre Founding)– 1231 AF(After Founding) Bilymasian Reckoning)
“As if they forget our common lineage, our gifts from Setha, they are not of our clan, but of our blood. Yet we stand apart.”
- Blue Falcon, Second Chieftain of Su’un, Master of the Yrch.
Many of the events of the First Age are built from the fragmented memories of the Elder Elves, from times before time was even measured, the Elven historian, Rynn Amigal, has estimated the years between the first groupings of the Elves and the passage of written history, but even his educated judgement is capable of being fallible.
The Elves were the first, born of the blood of Setha, the god of the balance, who sliced his wrist on the Celestial Knife to bring life to the world. Without knowledge, the children of Setha wandered the forming world, and paid heed to the words of Setha, and so they found language, and began to join together in small groups. Hunting was no chore for them, for Setha had gifted them with sharpened sight and hearing, and a natural understanding of the world. They were long-lived then, even before they were cursed with immortality, which makes the reckoning of these times so difficult. The Elves bred prodigiously, and feared no predators, and the western wastes became their domain, the clan groups that were forming turning to the east to hunt, or against their weaker neighbours, for food was scarce in the mountains. The first written records of these times, marking the true beginning of the first, tell of a world of strife between the clans, a loss of a common conscience. We call this reckoning the founding, for these writings date back to the times of the first permanent settlements of the Elves
. As the Elves of the clans grew further apart in their temperament, so did the larger clans begin to move further apart, north, west, south, east, and some even began to delve deeper into the mountains.
Soon only two of the larger clans remained in the western wastes, in the north, the Black Tiger clan, skilled with the bow and tracking, and the more peaceful of the two. In the south, the clan of Red Eagle reigned supreme, skilled in arms and small magicks, eager to take by force from the smaller clans, rather than hunt for themselves. The battles between the two clans lasted for years uncountable, each side adopting the smaller clans in order to gain superior numbers. Six centuries or so after the first writings of the Elves, warning of the strife between the clans, the Elves of the Black Tiger clan forsook their race, and began to prepare for their own migration, to find the eastern shore or to continue to a place where they could live without contact from the other clans. As the Black Tiger clan made their slow journey east, the clan of Red Eagle were visited by Malkior, newly arisen Lord of Chaos. Promising them beauty unbounded and the strength of chaos unchecked, the Lord petitioned for their loyalty. Yet the clan of Red Eagle were not so easily swayed, for the Elves were a free people, owing only their own clan any loyalty. Frustrated by their obstinacy, Malkior moved east, declaring the willing Black Tiger clan as his favourites, bestowing on them beauty and the impulsive strength of Chaos.
However, their newfound strength was also the undoing of the Black Tiger clan, for such was the duplicity of Malkior. The Elves of the east vanished within the Great Eastern Forest. No writings of this time have ever been recovered, Elven legend tells of years of revelry, induced by Malkior, and savagery beyond all measure. Other legends tell of the death of Black Tiger himself, killed in a duel with his eldest son, and upon Malkior’s urging, flayed and made into a cloak. Some even say that the Elven city of Yyrgrad was built with the blood, bones, and flesh of the first settlers. What is known is that when the first armies of White Dragon – for so had the son of Black Tiger named himself – appeared from the eastern forests some four centuries after their disappearance, they were formed anew, hard and savage, and intent on destruction. Malkior had given the eastern Elves great strength; created them anew to bring unbridled chaos to the land, and in doing so, had mocked the Balance itself. The White Dragon clan were beyond redemption, and so Malkior’s brother – Venith, Lord of Order – sought the service of their enemies, the Red Eagle Clan. Malkior’s promises had impressed them little, but Venith was offering something greater, the opportunity to destroy their enemies. With such an offer, the Red Eagle clan swore eagerly. Aided by the servants of their deity, the Knights of Law, they marched east, a force intent on the obliteration of White Dragon and his clan. For years, they battled as they had done in the western wastes, littering the southern plains with their dead. So were they matched in numbers that neither could gain the advantage, ultimately bringing nothing but destruction to their land, as Malkior had so planned.
Their numbers greatly diminished, the two sides broke away for a time, the White Dragon clan fleeing back to Yyrgrad, and the Red Eagle clan building a great number of tombs at the southeastern shore to honour their dead. Their citadel, housing both the living and the dead, was named Su’un. So many had died in the battles that had raged across the plains, including Red Eagle himself, the Knights of Law, unable to sustain themselves in the mortal realm, had returned to their master, and Malkior decided to petition Blue Falcon, son of Blue Falcon. Blue Falcon was no fool, and had seen the effects of Malkior’s will on those who swore his oath. He refused to pay heed to Malkior, and cast him from Su’un. As Malkior left, his laughter could be heard from as far as Yyrgrad. Blue Falcon was not worried, for he could not see any change. But when the next morning came, the screams of agony and fright washed over Su’un, for Malkior had not simply turned them into animals, but monsters. As many of the people saw what they had become, they swore to take their own lives rather than live as monsters, and flung themselves from the towers of Su’un. It is said the streets were red with blood for many years following. For Malkior had stolen their beauty from them. Having no means to strike back at Malkior, the Yrch –as they called themselves, thinking it an adequate name for the disgusting creatures they had become – choose to set upon on his followers instead. Without food or water, they marched for three days from Su’un to Yyrgrad, many naked but for their swords. As crazed from thirst as from their new appearance, they slaughtered hundreds of the elves, including White Dragon, Blue Falcon taking his head as a trophy, before both sides fell to an enchanted sleep woven by Venith.
Malkior had defiled the Balance with his vengeance, and the three gathered to decide his punishment, for what had been done to the people of Su’un could not be undone. Eventually it was decided that Malkior’s own followers should be punished, and so they were. When they finally roused from the enchanted, Setha gathered the Yrch and the Elves, and told them of his decision. The Elves might keep their beauty and their grace, but they would never know the joy of a clean death, growing old and senile but unable to simply lay back and pass away. Only a violent death would be fit for them. In short, Setha had made the Elves immortal. Many killed themselves in the first year of such knowledge, if only to be spared the pain and suffering that would surely follow. The Yrch were spared their fate, living a shorter life span, though they would be vulnerable to disease, they would never have to fear eternal senility.
Of the other clans
Only the Yrch – or, as they came to be known, Orcs - were spared the punishment of immortality, but the other clans were presented new gifts from Setha, Malkior and Venith. The Mountain clans who burrowed deep were given greater night-sight and dark skin to better survive in the caves and tunnels of the west, and called their own folk Silnim, they made their great city under the Celestial Knife. Shunning the other elf clans, they concentrated on the beauty of their stone- and metal-work. The Marsh Elves – calling themselves the Dilnim – of the southwest perished in the final years of the first age, despite their gifts. Legend tells of a lizard-like race that now thrive within the deeper marshes, but sightings were rare, and none now know whether such a race have gone the way of the early Marsh Elves. The Gifted Elves, or the Bilnim, were supposedly the first to use the magical arts, and built their cities to the north and west of the Western Mountains, but inter-breeding among the younger races soon led to the extinction of the purebloods of this race.
Of the Younger Races
In the latter days of the first age, the Elven races of the isle discovered the art of magic, the Silnim and the Forest Elves discovering their talents with flesh-forming. Breeding and manipulating the life-stuff of lesser mammals birthed two new races, in the mountains, the Silnim created the strong and sturdy men known as Dwarves, while the forest folk created the quick-breeding and many-skilled race known as Humans. This marked the end of the First Age.
The Age of Slavery and Revolt (2nd Age – 1232 AF (After Founding)– 1962 AF(After Founding) Bilymasian Reckoning)
"Slaves no longer, we shall rise, I say!"
- Servius I, Human slave, crowned First King of Bilymas
The Elves, being the first race, and the most numerous, despite their losses in battle, had dominion over most of the isle at the beginning of the second age. The Silnim had control of the Western mountains and the lands surrounding, and the Orcs had southern plains. Of the other clans, they had so little land among them that they were hardly noticed by the strongest three clans – for at this time, Orcs were still reckoned Elves, despite their appearance. The Silnim and the Forest Elves, having perfected their magical lore, enslaved their new creations, setting them to labour in the fields and mines of their domains. At the end of the third century of the Second Age, there was a great migration of the Orcs, once claiming all lands from the Great Marsh to the edges of the great forests, the Orcs now pulled back towards their capital of Su’un, holding the south-western plains and those near Mauroth, newly-built city of the dead. Taking this as a sign of weakness, the armies of the Silnim gathered at the eastern foot of the mountains, and began their long march against the Orcish kingdom.
The outer villages of the Orcs were abandoned, cattle driven away, fields left to perish in the summer heat, houses left in disrepair. There was no sign that the villages had been used for habitation in many years, or so the Silnim thought. Leaving a detachment of Dwarven warriors guarding the smaller settlements, the main army of the Silnim progressed, eventually reaching the area known as the Dead Meadows. There they found the true nature of the Orcs disappearance from the outer reaches of the nation. Plague. While the Silnim were not as vulnerable as the Orcs to such a contagion, many died as they made their retreat from the Dead Meadows back to the Celestial Knife and their mountain stronghold. Their Dwarf labourers found themselves immune to the disease, and began their revolt against their Elven masters. In their plague-weakened state, the Silnim found themselves unable to fight against their own slaves, and soon the strongholds of the west were in flames, and the Dwarven peoples migrating south.
The Human Slaves of the East took inspiration from their Dwarven brethren, and entertained the thought of their own freedom for many years, before acting upon it with the burning of Elfgate, 50 years after the Dwarven migration. The Elves, disturbed by the actions of their servants, did nothing at first, and the migration of Humans west began, with much looting of the Elven villages along the way. Only a small number of these slaves made it past the Living Forest, following the coast until they reached the northern end of the Black Fang mountain range. The majority of the migrants were routed in the northern plains, the leaders of the migration chained to a great oak to die in the winter cold. However, the Humans had spirit, and long after the other clan leaders had died, one young warrior, called Hawk, broke free of his restraints, running for a day and a night without rest to the east, with his clan following behind him. Stealing an Elf ship, he sailed east until he reached an island chain, where his clan settled.
The Dwarves, already loathing the Elven races, marched north and east to bolster their Human brethren, finally clashing with the Elves near the village that had come to be known as Hawk’s Cross. The Dwarves were few in number, but they were strong beyond their size, and skilled with the crafting of armour, and matched the larger Elven army blow for blow for many battles, forcing them to retreat east, slowly but surely. At the northern edge of the forest, they found themselves set upon by a large force of Orcs, mounted on the boar-like Kogorath. Pacified by the intimidating appearance of the Orcs, not to mention their larger force, the Humans, Dwarves, and Elves agreed to meet in council with the Orcish Elders. At the Orcish Court, the Yrchbarg, all four races were represented, the Dwarvish Chieftains, Erek Thunderfist, Danak Ironshield and Muiren Goldhelm, the Elven Nobles, Talos, Archaelous, and Silna, and the Human Clan-leaders, Bodrin, Geldenfriez and Servius. After much deliberation the council of leaders came to a conclusion; The Humans were to be freed, the Dwarves were to return to the Black Fangs to their mountain homes and the Elves would cease giving chase to their slaves.
In time, civilisation began to flourish for the Dwarves and Humans. Their cities became large and prosperous. The Humans crowned Servius as their king, for he had lived with the Elves as an aide to the Elven noble Silna and knew of governing. The Dwarves began to trade their wares, becoming prosperous quickly from ores and weaponry while the Humans became powerful, breeding faster than any other race and raising an army in a tenth of the time the other races required. With the death of Servius I, peacefully in sleep aged one-hundred years old, did Servius II ascend to the throne and human agriculture begin to match that of the Elves. By the time Servius II's great-great-grandson, Egrik, ascended to rule, the city known as Bilyroth was almost ready to begin construction.
Thus with the ending of the undisputed reign of Elves did the Second Age come to a close. The races, split in hostility or bound by oaths of friendship, began to carve their own paths through history and soon the humans, able to reproduce faster than any other race, began to rise to dominance. With the founding of Bilyroth, the human capital of Bilymas, was the Third Age of Bilymas truly begun.
Of the Hawk Clan
During these times of upheaval, the members of the Hawk Clan, settled on the newly-dubbed Hawk Isles, began the age of privateering. Raising a settlement dependant on the seas, both legitimate and illegitimate naval enterprises flourished. Hawk, while alive, oversaw all of this, never letting the Elves forget their folly in allowing him to escape by raiding their outposts, villages and smaller water-borne vessels. Spurred by their coastal life, the ships of the Hawk Isles rapidly developed beyond those of the Isle of Bilymas and soon Hawk’s people were taking to the seas in greater numbers, destroying Elven ships until Hawk’s ownership of the seas surrounding Bilymas was almost undisputed. This founding of a legacy was to have great repercussions in history.
The Age of The Searing (3rd Age – 1962 AF (After Founding)– Now (Bilymasian Reckoning)
"And whence did those few and foolhardy venture forth to aid their king. Lo, what a lamentable sight, acre upon acre of scorched earth."
G.Epsil, A Brief History of Bilymas
With the final brick laid in the new human capital of Bilyroth, the Age of Slavery had truly ended. Proud and noble, the humans multiplied prodigiously, much to the dismay of the elder races, who feared reckoning for their previous actions. Seeking to foster new alliances, the Yrch sent forth messengers to the new king, Egrik, offering their hospitality and friendship, which were, at first, recieved gratefully. Three hundred years passed in relative peace, until the gravesites surrounding the capital Bilyroth were filled beyond capacity and seeking a new way to honour their fallen, the humans beseeched the Yrch, who, in turn, offered land inside the sacred necropolis of Mauroth - city of the fallen - to inter the human dead. Egrik III, a foolhardy, arrogant king, decided that only humans were fit to be buried in such a grand city, certainly not the repulsive orcs. Sending a detachment of the royal guard to seize Mauroth and empty the necropolis of all Orc and Elven dead. Egrik III had, in effect, cut away all ties from the Elves and Yrch, who considered such an act to be blasphemous.
However, the Yrch had learnt to be forgiving after all their troubles, and G'nulf, Chieftain of the Yrch clan, rode to Bilyroth with ten of his strongest Kogorath riders to plead with the king to release Mauroth back into the control of the Yrch with no bloodshed. As they entered into the king's court, they were most brutally set upon, and G'nulf's head set upon the gates of Bilyroth for all to see. A frightening declaration of Egrik III's intent for the elder races, the Learned Brotherhood called urgent council with the king. However, their council was ill-timed, for no sooner than they had arrived than the city was set upon by Kogorath Riders and Orcish Mages, causing great bloodshed to the unsuspecting common populace. Upon mobilisation of the Great Army of Bilymas, the human's largest force of arms, the Orcs laid siege to Bilyroth and what later became known as the War of the Searing was begun.
For ten years the terrible siege of Bilyroth continued, the humans surviving upon the food conjured by the most adept of their spellweavers while the Orcish army fed plentifully upon the produce of the Southern Meadows. Alas, Egrik III believed himself of a better breed than his subjects, and hoarded food in his citadel for himself and his advisors, so by the tenth year famine was rife behind Bilyroth's fair walls. On the tenth anniversary of the start of the siege, the peasants revolted, weaving a bloody trail from the Trade Workhouses up to the Imperial Palace, a swathe of death for all who appeared in better stead than they. The entire King's Fourth Detachment, under Knight-Captain Argus Terelli, joined the revolt and stormed the castle by the fires of burning homes. Egrik III, caught off-guard and complacent in his bed, was dragged to the streets, beaten, then hung, drawn and quartered by his subjects before being thrown with his crown from the city battlements in an effort to appease their Orcish foes.
The Orcs, who had by this point abandoned their old name of Yrch, were not appeased. Claiming that the blame was upon the House of Servius, the siege continued unabated with the aim of killing Egrik's son, Cail, and his daughter, Rosaly. Enraged beyond any former level of reason, The Learned Brotherhood agreed in council that the time had come to take the fight to the Orcs. Exiting the city by portals incanted above the Orcish army, The wizards of The Learned Brotherhood rained fiery destuction upon the human's enemy, leaving none alive to return home to their families.
Yet still this was not enough. Decimating the army of Orcs, reducing the Orcish population to almost nil, The Learned Brotherhood carried it's relentless policy of scorching to the Southern Meadows, source of the Orc's nourishment. Razing all in their path, The Brotherhood abandoned all mercy in the face of their campaign, and within a week the entire Southern Meadows was burned to naught more than husks and ash. Seething with rage, all the injustice that had ever befallen the humans bottled and released in a torrent of pain and death, The Brotherhood turned it's vengeful mind to Su'un and the last of the Orcish race.
In desperation, the Orcs retreated to their own capital and Su'un became a veritable fortress within the two weeks it took The Brotherhood to march there. Again, fire scorched the lands, buildings toppled, Orcs screamed and died in their fearful masses and, as they retreated back into the very centre of Su'un, beneath the protection of their final core of Orcish Mages, The Brotherhood prepared a great work, a magical weaving with the power of the Sun and the infinite destructive power of all three hundred of the most powerful arcane minds upon Bilymas. However, as this great work was about to be unleashed, a strange, unknown figure astride a creature thought to be extinct appeared before them. This man, upon the neck of a Greater Dragon, did not identify hmself, but merely waved one youthful, energetic hand. Within moments, the spell which had taken weeks to conjure was dissipated into nothingness and The Brotherhood, for reasons unknown to any but themselves, and perhaps this man, quit the field. Equally oddly, the figure astride the dragon blinked from existance as the Orcs left their city, hardly believeing their luck. It still remains a mystery who this man was, and why he would intervene in such a way.
Since this act, which marked the end of The War of the Searing, four hundred years have passed. Shamed by their actions, The Learned Brotherhood have created their own city, Linroth, the "Learned City". Away from the errors of their vengeful way, The Learned Brotherhood has since split into two factions, The Learned Brotherhood and The School of Elements. The School of Elements has, in the last fifty years, created it's own city, Silroth, the "Magical City", and split away from Linroth entirely. Meanwhile, Elves and Orcs hold an unsteady peace with humans and dwarves, whilst the Orcs particularly have tried to restore some of their lost majesty. Two years ago, the human king, Servius III, exiled his daughter, Kathryn, for a offense none of the populace are aware of, and a year later exactly, Kathryn has declared Dilroth a free state under her rule. Content to allow his daughter her small power trip, King Servius III, twenty-third human king of Bilymas, has given up his lands around Dilroth, but now followers of both factions have begun to wage war upon each other. Those loyal to the King, the people who stand by his line of more than twenty kings of Bilymas, now fight openly in the streets with those who would seek to instate Kathryn as their undisputed queen. Into all of this turmoil, whispers of a dark power at Kathryn's command sweep the land, striking fear into the hearts of the meek and emboldening Kathryn's faction in their attempts to claim more land for their Queen...
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