Atlas   Rules   Resources   Adventures   Stories       FAQ   Search   Links

Ancient Origins of the Traldarans

by James Mishler

Traladaran History and Heritage-One Sage's Viewpoint, Part 1

Excerpt from Chapter Three (2000 to 1000 BC) of the Book of Ages, by Mystaros (Mortus Libris Publishing, Pandius, Matera)

"During this period Orisis became acquainted with a traveller from the far east, an elderly wizard who went by the name Thoth. Thoth and Orisis became quick friends, despite the Undying nature of the OverKing. Thoth revealed himself to be one of the legendary Stone Folk who was on a great quest: he was searching for the reason behind the slow demise of the Elder Dwarven race. Orisis was unable to help him directly, though he was able to inform Thoth about Dwarven settlements to the north. Thoth eventually continued on to the Dwarven lands in the north, accompanied by his companion, the Dwarf known as Laughing Axe. After a very nasty encounter with the minions of the Vampire-Queen Nennaya-Sherat, the pair finally reached the lands of the Kogolor Dwarves in 1900 BC [Ed.-modern Rockhome]. The elderly sage and his companion were surprised to discover not only Dwarves, but also a race of Humans living in the mountains. The Humans were a tribe of Neathar that had been pushed out of the Northern Plains [Ed.-modern Ethengar] by invading hordes of Oltecs around 2000 BC; they had long been the allies of the Dwarves, and found refuge among them. But the Neathar were nomads, and found the mountains and valleys to be extremely restrictive [Ed.-the Neathar were a mix of several undifferentiated tribes, fused into one macro tribe by the proto-Ethengar invasion. Needless to say, due to early contacts with the invading proto-Ethengar, there was already some Oltec blood in the line of several clans.]

During his time in the Kogolor lands, when he was not investigating the history of the Dwarves, Thoth regaled the Neathar with tales of the rich plains to the south which were dominated by Tamyris, the realm ruled by Nennaya-Sherat. Being a friend of Orisis, who was an enemy of Nennaya-Sherat, and having his own vendetta against the Vampire-Queen, Thoth convinced the Neathar clans to cleanse the plains of the realm of Nennaya-Sherat. In doing so, they would win their own lands, lands that were not unlike those they had left behind a hundred years before. Thoth communicated with Orisis using magical means, and set up a series of meetings whereby the Neathar clans would join with the forces of Orisis in a concerted effort to destroy the realm of Tamyris. In return for his assistance, the Neathar were able to acquaint Thoth with their Patron Immortal, Kagyar, for the Neathar were known as the People of Kagyar. [Ed.-Eventually, Thoth would convince Kagyar to assist the Dwarves, and Thoth would go on to earn Immortality under the sponsorship of Kagyar].

Khypta was taken by the united forces of the People of Kagyar and the forces of the city of Nithus in 1875 BC, and in 1850 BC the allies destroyed Tamarnak itself. Her city razed and her forces shattered, Nennaya-Sherat fled to the Isle of Serpents where abode her ally, Setu-Kha. The People of Kagyar had settled in the plains around Khypta in 1875 BC, and eventually they rebuilt the city, renaming it Khyptahr. Over the years they would eventually adopt many Nithian customs, though they always remained a people apart from other Nithians. They became known to the Nithians as the "Ptahr Al-Dar" ("House of Ptahr" (Kagyar)). During this period Orisis was able to bring Herunak and Djer-Amon into his kingdom, as part of the alliance against Nennaya-Sherat and Setu-Kha. Again, he allowed the people to keep their own faith, and allowed them self-rule of their cities and lands. With the destruction of Tamarnak, Orisis became the single ruler of the entire Eastern Realm."

The Traldar Migration-Some Minor Historical Comparisons and Notes from Mystaros

The "great Traldar migration," as it is known in history and song, was not so great as it is made out to be. Liken it more unto the Norman migration to Angle-Land in your own world of Earth. A fair number, but not great number, of Normans, mostly nobles and younger sons of nobles, migrated to the northern island after its conquest in the year 1066 CE. Similarly, and perhaps more pointedly, in ancient Greece, the Heraclids, proto-Hellenes of the Indo-European group, related to modern Greeks as the Belgae were related perhaps to modern English, migrated south from your Balkan territories into the territories of the Minoans (also known as Pelasgians to your archaeologists, though the latter-day Greeks misapplied this to the pre-Dorian Greeks).

Regardless of comparisons, the fact remains that of those peoples found south of the Cruth-Altan Tepes range following 1500 BC, perhaps one in 50 was of the vaunted Ptahr-Al-Dar, while the remainder were remnants of the ancient Taymoran peoples, who had lived in relative savagery amidst the ruins of their northernmost kingdoms for centuries. One can readily compare the patriarchal Kagyar-worshiping Ptahr-Al-Dar to the ancient Heraclids, and the matriarchal Nyx-worshiping Taymorans to the Pelasgians. Note too, that while the Ptahr-Al-Dar were ostensibly Nithian, the Nithian culture was merely a thin veneer over their ancient Neathar ways-especially among those who chose to leave the ever more restrictive Nithian society.

The vast majority of the Ptahr-Al-Dar dwelt along the seacoast and along the river banks, where they built trading posts and small citadels, as the vast majority of the interior was still held by primitive tribes of Taymorans and things less pleasant. Though the colonists themselves made the long trek to their new land over the mountains and through the forests (a great saga of the day itself), support for the colonists was supposed to come by sea, the cheapest and quickest route. Unfortunately, the various concerns of the growing empire turned elsewhere, as politically the quasi-Neathar Ptahr-Al-Dar of Nithia lost support with the Pharaoh, and the promised development of trade never appeared. The colonists were on their own...

Part 2: Populations of the Dread Sea Coast cs. 2000 to 1500 BC

At the end of the Age of Taymor, when the Sea of Dread swallowed the Damned Empire, there survived but a small number of the original inhabitants of the northern core kingdoms of the Taymoran Empire.

No city survived as such, as the great earthquakes and tidal waves devastated any major settlements. Of the teeming millions (yes - millions - perhaps as many as five million at one time) that once lived in the Empire, perhaps 1 in 100 survived - around 50,000. Even in the days of the Empire at its height, these lands were lightly populated, and regarded as a backwater. The northern plains of the Western and Eastern Kingdoms (modern Darokin and Ylaruam, respectively) were more heavily settled, as the southern face of the Kur'rutu Peaks (modern Cruth to Altan Tepes), a region of densely forested hills, was home to the darkest hidden towers guarded by the grimmest servants of the Necromancer-Kings.

Those that survived the destruction of the Empire, then, were mostly the servants of the northern lords (and of some southern lords, as well, for the many towers scattered among the hills were often the "summer homes" of the various children of Nyx). These were among the least-educated, most oppressed, and heavily superstitious of all the Taymorans - kept so by their dark lords, for reasons of politics or pleasure. But now, most of these peoples were freed from the service of their dread masters, many being lost in the final battle before the gates of the capital city, Colhador-on-Hadas. So they were, for the most part, left without direction, leadership, or any sort of advanced cultural knowledge. Most, that is...

Some few Vampires and Nosferatu survived in the north, as did their Werewolf, Werebat, and other dark servants. Many creations and monsters also survived. The land from modern Athenos to Tel Akbir became a patchwork of primitive tribes, microscopic dark kingdoms, and howling wilderness.

During this time of chaos, to the northeast in the Eastern Kingdom, a new empire slowly arose: Nithia. To the northwest in the Western Kingdom, the most recent addition to the Empire and still a borderland colony by any definition, there, too, chaos reigned. Recently conquered tribes of Oltec and Azcan savages rebelled against the few remaining overlords, and slaughtered them mercilessly, with the assistance of their clerics of Otzitiotl, the Sun-Prince. However, many of the dark lords followers were converts from the native Oltecs and Azcan tribes. These, rather than face extermination at the hands of their outraged brethren, fled north and east, over the Highland glaciers and mountains, and down into the Great Plains, then a rich and verdant field stretching hundreds of miles. These plains were already occupied by disparate tribes of Neathar peoples... primitive, by even the relatively barbaric standards of the tattered remnants of the followers of the Necromancer-Kings. The battles went against the Stone Age savages, rapidly, and the Neathar tribes began migrating south and east, into the mountains and hills controlled by their allies, the Kogolor Dwarves. Within a hundred years the descendants of the Oltecs and Azcans controlled the Great Plains, and the Neathar, reduced in number, licked their wounds in the highlands to the south... where a stroke of luck saved two races, and changed the face of the history of the Known World.

But that is a story for elsewhen, for now we return to the coastlands of the Sea of Dread, far to the south. By 1900 BC things had changed but little for the descendants of the Taymoran survivors. Here a savage village of fishermen survived, there a small tribe of Stone Age primitive scrabbled a bare existence. In some places, darkness warped the land, wolves howled, and pale figures stalked the night, men to then little more than kine. Men worshipped Mother Night, and sacrificed their kings to her, in propitiation. Some fell under the knife, others were given to her sons and daughters.

Further to the south, in the Sea of Dread, among the islands, something stirred...

An excerpt from Chapter Three of the Book of Ages:

"During the final weeks of the Taymoran Civil War the ruler of Nithus [Ed.-the capital city of the Eastern Kingdom] had turned to the ways of Thanatos; he had been opposed in this regard by several of his progeny, which were led by the twin brothers Orisis and Setu-Kha. Shortly after the Cataclysm, the brothers were able to depose and dispose of their master. Orisis ascended to the throne of the OverKing, as he was the popular leader and elder of the twins (though only by minutes). Many of the cities did not recognise his rule, as they had rejected the old ways or were still ruled by minions of Thanatos; thus, the title of OverKing was effectively an empty one. Still, Orisis was the overlord of the eastern third of the Eastern Realm, which included the only remaining city of great note (Nithus) and the rich Delta Kingdom and fertile Lake Kingdom (Payuum). However, Thanatos was still not satisfied with the destruction of the majority of the Taymoran Empire, and he saw a unique opportunity for destruction in the relationship between Orisis and Setu-Kha.

Thanatos was able to convince Setu-Kha that he should take the throne from Orisis, and was able to turn Setu-Kha over to his side, to become a Vampire. Setu-Kha rebelled against his brother in 1950 BC, and attacked the city of Nithus with allies from Tamyris and Nubt. He was defeated however, and he and his servants were forced to flee from the Eastern Realm. He fled to an island in the newly formed northern Sea of Dread [Ed.-the large island, which some call the "Kikianu Caldera"], the legendary Isle of the Serpent where now lie the Isles of Ierendi. He gathered his own allies from the darker realms, notably the Serpentines of Davania, who sent him Lizard Men as shock troops. His servants also brought Makai Slaves from the southern isles, to serve him and his people. Orisis spent the next 50 years rebuilding his kingdom, purging the land of Payuum of its corruption. He also conquered the city of Nubt, and was able to make the rulers of the city of Munak recognise him as their OverKing (though he left their faith untouched... Orisis had become more tolerant in the years following the cataclysm)."

Though he was very careful not to challenge the power of Orisis north of the mountains, in the former Taymoran lands Setu-Kha began a reign of terror. He built cities along the coast, upon the ruins of ancient cities and towns, and gave these petty kingdoms into the hands of his greater followers (leaving the Isle of the Serpents for himself). He attempted to take some of the eastern isles, but was held at bay by the forces of the Meditor and Verdier of Alfeisle. He experienced similar difficulties in attempting to take the western forests of the mainland from the Vyalia. But these were minor setbacks, as he was interested only in regaining enough power to take back what he felt was rightfully his... the Eastern Kingdom.

Meanwhile, the peoples of the mainland absorbed some Makai blood, as the soldiers and servants of Setu-Kha ruled over their lands. Similarly, the Makai of the Isle of the serpents absorbed Taymoran bloodlines, as well. Over all, the clerics of Thanatos and the new faith of Setu-Kha (who already considered himself on the level of the Immortals) ruled, adding elements of serpent-worship to the faith of the native Taymorans. But again, all was merely preparation for the grand even, the conquest of Nithus. This was accomplished in 1800 BC, after Orisis had a falling out with his then patron, Nyx, and Setu-Kha moved in quickly, had him assassinated (and the parts of his body cast to the four corners of Mystara). When Setu-Kha finally obtained that which he had so long desired, he all but abandoned the other mainland territories, drawing away all his soldiers and his lizard men stormtroopers, leaving only a token force on the Isle of Serpents itself. The mainland fell into chaos, as new petty kings (and queens) arose. His victory was short-lived, however, as the Resurrected Orisis returned, and was able (with the help of his old allies, the Ptahr-Al-Dar of Khyptahr) cast Setu-Kha out from Nithus in 1750 BC.

A long-drawn battle then occurred, at sea, in the air, and over the lands in between the Isle of the Serpent and Nithus. The Taymorans were not unaffected by this, and most of the cultural gains they made were lost in the chaos that followed. With the death of Setu-Kha (however temporary it was) and the destruction of the Isle of the Serpent in 1700 BC, the Taymorans were finally left to their own devices, as the new Nithian Empire turned inward, and began its first golden age.

From 1700 to 1500, the Taymorans once again developed on their own. They had adopted some of the ways of the followers of Setu-Kha, notably ship-building, ceremony, and some religion (though most tribes and villages remained staunch followers of Nyx, the serpent, as well as other monstrous beasts that waxed great under Setu-Kha, became a fixed part of Taymoran myth). They spread out to the newly-formed islands, where once stood the Isle of the Serpent, those settlers to further mix their blood with the native Makai survivors. Physically, the Taymorans ranged from swarthy to pale, generally with straight black or dark brown hair and brown or hazel eyes. The northern hill tribes were duskier, with slightly coppery skin tones, having absorbed some Azcan Savage blood from minor incursions that followed the Highlands Disaster in 1700 BC (which reduced the once fertile eastern plains of modern Darokin to a scraggly brush). Slowly, ever so slowly, the Taymorans built up a new civilisation. A few towns even grew, along the coast, and a trickle of trade began again. Some of the more peaceful, less Entropic-oriented tribes (followers of Astertu, Lord of the Moon) even made friendly contact with the Vyalia and Truedyl Elves. Civilisation, of a sort, began to bloom once again.

Then, in 1500 BC, came the Ptahr-Al-Dar over the northern mountains, and brought it all to ruin...

Traladaran History, Part 3: A Symposium in Thyatis, Part 1

Antalians: The First People

Excerpts from the transcript of "The First Valley: A Study of the Antalian Peoples," by Philios Jandarsites-Schmidt of Thyatis, given on Moldain, the 11th of Yarthmont, 872 Anno Coronare, at the Imperial Academy of History, City of Thyatis.

"Fellow Thyatians, distinguished scholars, welcome guests. Thank you ever so much for coming to my little presentation...

Redacted extended welcome and thanks

"As has been known for some time now, scholars have discovered a most unusual tendency toward similarities in the various languages and cultures of our Known World. From the Dunael and Aran peoples of the northern Isle of Dawn, to the Sindhi peoples of the far southwest, in our travels and Imperial conquests we have, again and again and again discovered common words, grammar, myths, legends, and even phenotypes. The list is endless.

"Some, the clergy especially, would have that this is so simply because of the will of the Immortals, and that those peoples who are most like the Thyatians are, in fact, best suited to be a part of our Empire. Especially among the followers of Vanya, this is taught, as part of their 'Manifest Destiny,' calling for the conquest of all the Immortal's Children, that they might be brought together, in one happy family, as it were.

"'Manifest Destiny'! Bah! Poppycock, say I!"

Extensive semi-treasonous polemic against the Imperial Directive redacted

"But politics and religion aside, as a scholar I must say this-these peoples, these greatly disparate peoples, who still have yet so much in common, linguistically, religiously, and culturally, are in fact, descended all from the same, single tribe, of which at one time the Thyatians, Kerendans, and Hattians... yes, even the Hattians, were but singular clans, or even septs."

Redacted uproar, much shouting, cursing, cries of blasphemy from the Vanyan Canon Seats

"Yes, yes, this I can prove! I have, over the last thirty years, poured not only over the great myth cycles and legends of these vastly disparate peoples, but also travelled to many of these lands, even unto the far distant barbarian lands beyond Ocean's End, in the lands beyond the Northern Wolds, where great deer the size of dragons roam, bears white as mother of pearl wander the mountains, and an arc of fire lights the night skies. There, in the land which our forefathers claimed was 'the land behind the winds,' I found the final pieces of the puzzle, dredged up, as it were, from the barbaric past, where it has long been hidden.

"It shall be simplest, I think, to provide for you an historical outline of these peoples, whom I name 'Antalians,' after the style of the northern barbarians themselves. The word is a derivative of the northern barbarians cognates for 'first' and 'valley.' These people, the 'People of the First Valley,' the uttermost ancestors of the Thyatians, Kerendans, Hattians, the various peoples of the Northern Reaches, the Heldanners, the Daro, aye, even the Dunael and the Aran and the Caerda in the east, the distant Alatians, the ancient Traldar of legendry and their descendants, the Traladarans, and far to the west, the Sindhis and Urduks and then back, back to the far northern lands, where the last, savage remnants of the original first peoples survive in barbaric glory.

"There it began, in a long-ago age. From my estimation, at least three thousand years before the crowning of Zendrolion upon the bloody dais. Far to the north, in 'the land behind the winds.' It is easy to understand the name given to that place by the ancient bards, as it is, indeed, a very windy land, from the cold wintry winds in which howl wolves and giants, to the warm summer winds which might all-too-well be whipped up by the wings of a dragon, that mountainous, forested realm, of great grassy meadows and deep hidden bogs, is the original homeland of the Thyatians and all their brother and cousin and kindred races.

"Four thousand years ago, and for untold ages before that, there wandered our primitive ancestors, clad in the furs of beasts, wielding weapons of wood and stone, surviving in the harshest of conditions, the likes of which we, in our sun-dappled lands, can barely imagine, though I myself have braved them. It was then, four long millennia ago, that something happened. These primitive, pristine, barbaric peoples began a long, great march. Why, even the ancient myths do not say. Was it wanderlust? A shift in the climate? Perhaps a population explosion required a movement of nations. Though they were not nations at this time, no, merely simple clans and tribes, who moved with all they owned upon their backs. For even at that time, they had not the use of horse or even ass."

Long segment detailing the opening of ancient tombs, the things found therein, and the questions posed to the dead by the scholar's magic-using allies

"So then, through judicious research, and application of magics arcane and divine, I was able to discover through first-person questioning the nature and spread of these earliest Antalians. They spread out in a great, wide fan, radiating out from a central point somewhere in the Icereach Range, a great glacier-capped mountain range far beyond the Northern Wolds. There, perhaps buried under tons of ice, lies the original home of all our ancestors."

The scholar paused here, expressing intense emotion and disappointment.

"Try as I might, I was unable to find this original, 'an-tal,' or 'first valley,' wherein our ancestors arose. The summers are very short in that land, and even then, in the Icereach, the summers are deadly. And by the time I discovered this, our most ancient homeland, I was well past my physical prime.

"But that is neither here nor there. From this one, single spot, our ancestors migrated outward, and southward. Ever southward. An early branch, several tribes at least, passed over a long-lost land bridge to the Isle of Dawn. From these tribes are descended the Dunael, Aran, and Caerda peoples of that island."

Another long list of burials visited and decadents questioned. Various linguistic and mythological evidence forwarded.

At this point, the symposium took an hour-long luncheon break. When reconvened, the Vanyan Canon Seats were notably vacant, while several Hattian students joined uninvited.

"Thank you, thank you all for returning. And thank those who did not for not returning. As I mentioned prior to our break, the easternmost branch of what I call the 'Antalian' peoples, the Dunael and their cousins, the Aran and the Caerda, drifted off to the Isle of Dawn, and there developed apart from their cousins on the mainland. Of those that remained, three major branches developed. I shall deal with the far western group first, as I am as yet uncertain of the complete lineage thereof, and it concerns us the least at this juncture. These peoples, the proto-Urduks, the ancestors of the modern Urduks and Sindhi, broke off again relatively early from the main trunk of tribes, and migrated far to the west, across the great plateau and through the strange lands thereabouts. Of these peoples I have no personal, direct knowledge, I have merely studied the tomes and scrolls that have come to us through trade with the Far West, of which the language has certain elements that are distinctly Antalian, as well as elements which most certainly are not. Certain myths and legends show Antalian influence, as well. Thus, an Antalian ancestry among the Urduks and the Sindhis cannot be doubted, but in all honesty, I have no way at this time to determine the breadth and depth of that ancestry.

"One of my younger compatriots, a student of mine, is of the belief that the ancestors of the Urduks and Sindhi were a people related to, but distinctly not Antalian. I myself am not ready to accept this theory, but I feel it may have some merit in investigating, thus I mention it here.

The other two macro-branches of the Antalian peoples are those that concern us the most, for it is from these two branches that the three tribes of Thyatis descend. These two groups I name the Western Antalians and the Eastern Antalians. The Western Antalians settled the broad plains that today are the domain of the Ethengar nomads."

Much grumbling and muttering

"No, no, the proof I have for my assertion is incontrovertible! Again, though at great danger to myself and my assistants, and with no small assistance from various tribes (most graciously, the Tokraits) I made a study of the most ancient dolmens and tombs found on the plains and in the hills thereabout. The grave goods we found therein, and the inhabitants we consulted through magical means, were most distinctly Antalian in nature and origins, not Ethengar. In fact, after gaining entry into Rockhome-at first accidentally, not realising we had crossed some ill-defined 'border', and thereafter legally, after much haggling-I discovered that these ancient structures continued into Rockhome! In fact, many sections of hill and meadow, avoided by the native dwarves, I discovered to be ancient settlements of Antalian make, complete with barrows. And there I discovered the first evidence of bronze working!

Exclamations, much hullabaloo, followed by a record of the settlements and graves found, and the goods therein

"And so it was that from the furthest reaches of the western plains and hills of Ethengar, to the very seacoast of the petty earldoms south and east of Vestland, I discovered a new evolution in the Antalian culture-bronze, and the use of distinctive bronze axes."

Here a question was posed by one of the Hattian students, concerning the exact spread of stone versus bronze artifacts from Ethengar to Rockhome and the Northern Reaches, and how that related to the physical structure of the decadents in the graves, and their language.

"Yes, indeed, sir? Ah, yes, Sir Klagen? Theoderic von Klagendorf? Student of Professor Tatziakanites? How good to have you here, sir! Thank you, yes, your question was most welcome, and pre-empted my very own discussion, as that was, in fact, where I was heading. Indeed, I did discover quite a bit of variation overall, however, as I mentioned, the Antalians at this point were divided into at least two different groups, the Western and the Eastern. The Western Antalian groups were, indeed as you suspect, shorter, broader, and tended toward a more mixed range of linguistic variation-as you surmised, from mixing with other local races, of lesser physical stature. Though of course, short and broad is relative, as even the shortest of the modern northerners pales in comparison to our ancestors. But in some cases, exclusively among the Western Antalians, those found in Rockhome, we discovered remnants of a sub-branch, perhaps a clan or tribe, that was almost dwarven in stature, though distinctly not related to modern dwarves, I assure you.

"They were neither as short nor as broad as modern dwarves, nor did they have the extreme bone structure of that race. The divine origins of the dwarves, too, is beyond doubt, even in my most sceptical eyes. I should note, however, that when forced through magical means, the decadents of these barrows were most reticent to impart any information of their own. Perhaps they were a tribe cursed by the Immortals? Fuel for further research, I am sure.

"But yes, to answer your question, already by this point, from the tattered remnants of the remains of the decadents, and the tales from the decadents themselves, it was obvious that local bloodlines were mingling with the Antalian bloodlines in the western group.

"What's that? Yes, the Eastern group did exhibit the maintenance of more traditional goods, linguistic structures, and phenotype. From what I have been able to gather, up until about thirty centuries ago, the Eastern Antalians had little in the way of local competition from other humans, though definitely from non-human races. From paintings on the walls of the barrows it was obvious that they faced giants, trolls, and even dragons during their long march south and east. In fact, it was difficult to keep many of the decadents from bragging about their battles, and keep them on tract with the questions at hand."

A long dissertation on the nature of the Eastern versus Western tombs follows, along with more complaints by the scholar on the intractable nature of the Eastern Antalian decadents, and with much further, pointed questioning by Sir Klagen and his cohorts.

"This is the point, however, between thirty and twenty-six centuries ago, where the histories of the Antalians, Eastern and Western, take an abrupt turn. In the west, a horse-born culture, obviously from the descriptions I received from the decadents, as well as from barrow goods, the ancestors of the Ethengar, arrived in the great western plains, and in a matter of three or four generations pushed the remaining plains-dwelling Western Antalians into the mountains where now can be found Rockhome; the few Eastern Antalian tribes of the plains (and there were a few) were also forced east, to join their brethren. At the same time, or shortly thereafter, in the time-frame of nations, two other movements impacted upon our ancestors.

"From the north came a great horde of humanoids. Yes, I know, many of you will mock me, but I maintain that the ancient fairy-tales of 'King Loricus and Prince Achileus' the 'demons from the land beyond the winds' are no simple tales, but are in fact based upon historical events!"

Much murmuring, which rises and falls as the scholar details various cross-mythic and cross-linguistic comparisons between legends and myths of Thyatis, Hattias, Vestland, and even Ethengar, concerning the two dark lords still used to scare children to bed in Thyatis.

"Whatever their origin, this great horde and its leaders pushed the Antalians, Eastern and Western, further south-and decimated, by the by, the recently settled Ethengars. But at the same time, a far more important development occurred in the east, as the Eastern Antalians along the seacoast were also invaded-by the equally mythical race known as the Thonians!"

At this the entire chamber bursts into riotous discussion, cries of disbelief, and guffaws of amusement. Sir Klagen merely nodded, as his compatriots whispered among themselves. The symposium then breaks for dinner, over the protestations of several scholars who wish to hear the scholar's claims of Thonian existence outside mere fable. Sir Klagen sits at the left hand of the scholar during dinner, as they compare notes-Klagen being infamous for his own studies of the fabled "Thonians."

Traladaran History Part 3: A Symposium in Thyatis Part 2

After the dinner, the room is packed, with even more Hattian students, as well as a mix of local nobles, hangers-on, intelligentsia, and bored military students.

"While that was a most refreshing break, you will have to pardon me if my voice breaks or falls to a hush, as young Sir Klagen kept me speaking every moment I had not a bit of food in my mouth. A most interesting discussion it was, too, and it touched on many things I will here speak of, and much that I will not.

"But again, to the Thonians. Yes, the much-ridiculed Thonians, whose tales of great empire, great feats, and terrible cruelty are regarded in same light as the same fables of King Loricus, Prince Achileus, and the infamous Earthshaker! While I cannot vouch for the existence of the great metal man of myth, just as I have proven the existence of King Lorius and Prince Achileus, or at least, of the once-living beings upon whom those myths are based, I can now prove to you the existence of the Thonians, or at least, a culture so near as to that of the legendary 'Thonians' as to necessitate the use of the name.

"Where the Thonians came from is beyond doubt-in fact, as in legend, they came out of the north. Some believe they came upon the wings of dragons-this I do regard as myth, though again, based in fact. For the Thonians sailed the northern seas, in great ships with dragon-like wings and dragon-prows. Yes, the very same styles that can be seen today in the vessels of the Vikings of Vestland and Ostland. This is no coincidence, for the Thonians invaded that land, long centuries ago, and merged to a great extent with the Eastern Antalians.

"However, though the Thonian bloodline entered the Eastern Antalian line, it was not a foreign line-for as my research has shown, the Thonians were themselves descended from a far-flung clan of Antalians!"

Much loud muttering, a few chuckles, and much discussion followed, until the scholar was able to regain control of the crowd.

The evidence again, as I say, speaks for itself, Or rather, spoke for itself. For it was in the tombs of early Thonian invaders that I got the tale of their own origins. The Thonians that invaded the north-eastern coasts of Brun had travelled far, a great distance from their own land, in the icy northeast, beyond even the isle of Alphatia. These Thonians were descended in long line from the lost First Empire of the Thonians, swallowed in the Great Rain of Fire-they called their surviving kingdom Nentsun. I discovered some references to it in the ancient archives of the Alphatians, left here after the Great Rebellion. When the Alphatians first arrived from their distant home, more than 1800 years ago, they encountered the remnants of the great Thonian Empire of Nentsun-as well as its western counterpart.

"Yes, I said western counterpart. For long centuries we have known that there once stood a great empire where now stand the sandy wastes of Alasiya. I maintain, through records researched and actual, on-site investigation in Ylaruam, that there once stood in that land a great empire, the Western Thonian Empire, built by the Thonians, Eastern, and Western Antalians."

At this several scholars, notably a group from Biazzan, leave in a great huff. The scholar ignores them.

"As I said, the Nentsun Thonians were a resurgent people, recovering from the fall of the First Empire. Their initial invasions were mere raids, but later incursions were wholesale migrations of peoples. Not in any great numbers, mind you, but more than enough, with their superior technology. For these Thonians brought with them the secret of iron. Together with the Eastern Antalians, with whom these Western Thonians merged, they built a new empire on the then-fertile plains of Alasiya. In the west they settled several allied tribes of Western Antalians. This empire grew great and powerful. It was they that brought the ancestors of the Alasiyani to Brun, as slaves, from their original home in the southern reaches of the Isle of Dawn."

Even more scholars file out, finding even this to be too much. The scholar continues listing more and more evidence, barrows, ruins, legends, myths, and linguistic evidence, often gotten at great costs from ancient tombs in desert wastelands, from most reticent subjects. By the end of his listing of evidence, almost half the audience has filed out, leaving fully half the remaining audience to be the Hattian contingent. The scholar sighed.

"I knew well this would be the most difficult, and bitter pill to swallow. But my evidence does not lie. As I noted, the modern Kingdom of Thothia, the last surviving successor of Western Thonia, evinces remnant cultural and linguistic trends from the Western Thonian Empire, even though its peoples are descended from the native and slave races.

"But enough on the Western Thonian Empire itself. What were its effects as to the disposition of the Antalian peoples, Western and Eastern? First, to the Traldar.

"The Traldar are the primary descendants of the Western Antalian tribes. Into their care had been given the western portion of the mainland Empire, that part that is now today known as Makistan, and much of the western Emirate of Alasiya-this, after the dwarves arose from the earth at the behest of Kagyar, whom the Traldar revered as did the dwarves. They expanded to the south from there, and settled the southern littoral of the continent, and the isles thereabouts along the northern Sea of Dread, even unto colonies along the Shadow Coast of the Isle of Dawn. Their great and terrible history is known to all, through the many classics read in academies to the various myths and legends of the Thyatians today. The original founders of the Traldar branch of the Western Antalians settled the lands south of the Altan Tepes, from modern Tel Akbir in the east to Akorros in the west, about twenty-two centuries ago-they were the first, perhaps unintentional expansion of the growing Western Thonian Empire. However, they apparently encountered some setbacks, and...

"What? Yes, yes indeed, Sir Klagen, this setback was indeed very likely in part due to the need to absorb the local native tribes, which were primitive in extremis and most warlike and distasteful, worshipers of dark Immortals of snakes and death. You were quite right at dinner, I must add, that the Traldar did absorb a great deal of this non-Antalian bloodline, and thus while the original leaders and great heroes of the Traldar exhibited classic Antalian features such as blonde and red hair and great height, today their descendants, the Traladarans, are swarthy of skin and dark of hair. Though of course, that is a relative feature, as compared to most Thyatians, Kerendans, and Hattians, and especially the modern Antalians of the Northern Reaches. As compared, for example, to Alasiyani or especially Nuari, they are quite pale, indeed, especially the coastal clans.

"Pardon? Yes, the non-Imperial Traldar were thus only partially of Antalian ancestry, being descended from the already mixed tribes of the Western branch, and then assimilating the local natives of southern Brun. But I have found in my studies that there are few 'pure' branches of the Antalian lines, the modern Antalians and Heldanners being the 'purest,' with the Hattians being a close third, though the Hattians and the peoples of the Northern Reaches have a great deal of Thonian blood-a moot point, Thonians being Antalians by a side-line of cultural diffusion. But I digress.

"Thus, even before the fall of the Western Thonian Empire-and fall it did, I'll get to that shortly-the Western Antalians had already branched off from their Eastern/Thonian cousins as the Traldar. Before I continue with the fate of the Eastern Antalians, I shall detail a bit of the fate of the Traldar. As all know, the Beastmen invaded the southern lands in 1000 BC, long after the heyday of the Traldar, and after the great debilitating Laticean Wars, which divided the Great Houses of the Traldar and reduced their numbers and prosperity greatly. Aye, many now as then believed the Beastmen were the scourge of the Immortals, to chastise the Traldar for their foolish internecine wars. But from that point, the Traldar branched off into four main groups.

"The first and primary group, the most vital, were the Milenians, who followed King Milen to the Southern Continent. There they founded the great and lost Milenian Empire, which had such a great impact on the ancestors of the Thyatian tribes. Today, nearly a thousand years after the fall of the Empire, they are a shattered, barbaric people. I have seen with my own eyes the decadent and barbaric city states of the northern plains of Davania. But there their descendants still survive, in savage splendour-a decadent existence as compared to that of their barbaric ancestors of the far northern lands, but similar in many respects.

"The second group were the Alatians, who, as the name suggests, settled the Alatian Islands, there merging with the natives, distant relatives of the peoples of the southern Isle of Dawn. Pardon? Yes, Theoderic, they did indeed mingle quite thoroughly, as evinced by their deep brown skin, brown eyes, dark hair, and language, which assimilated much of the proto-Thothian tongue. But distant descendants of the Antalians they are.

"Then there were the various Traldar settlements on the Isle of Dawn, which have long since been absorbed by the native Thothian, Alphatian, Aran, Espan, or Amancerian peoples. However, a strong Traldar undercurrent remains in the Alphatian/Thothian peoples of the city-states of Ekto and especially Trikelios, though the latter may perhaps be a further influx of Alatian blood at some distant period of Alphatian rule-the records are messy that way.

"Finally, of course, there remained the Traldar of the mainland. As I discussed with Theoderic earlier, much of the original Western Antalian bloodline apparently failed among the Traldar of the mainland. My belief is that it was due to an influx of semi-Traldar clans from the hills and inland, as the major Antalian bloodlines had always remained in the cities and along the coast. Thus, the modern Traladarans are more a mix of the original Traldar and a marginally-Traldar people, related by blood more with the original native tribes than with the early, invading Traldar. The Traldar of the Isles, which were absorbed during the Kerendan and Hattian drift in the centuries leading up to the crowning of Zendrolion, were distinctly more civilised and Antalian in culture and phenotype than their mainland cousins, which supports this hypothesis. The Minrothians, of mixed Traldar and Alphatian ancestry, proved so vital that the Kerendans and Hattians moved on to the islands that now form Ierendi, and even colonised the interior of the mainland, forming the kernel of the modern Darokin peoples along the banks of the River Streel... but then, again, I am getting ahead of myself.

"But those four branches account for the remnants of the Traldar. Of course, there also remained the Traldar of the Western Thonian Empire, which stood for yet another five centuries following the fall of the southern Traldar. But I shall turn to them last of all, I think.

"The Empire had great success, and spread colonies far and wide, from the isle of Alphatia to the Isle of Dawn, and far across the Sea of Dread, to the nigh-mythical Southern Continent of Thyatian legend. In most lands, the seed of Empire, and the Antalian bloodline, fell on bitter soil, and little remains. We have but a patchwork of historical records to indicate that there were colonies in the Northern Isle of Dawn, and spotty Alphatian records of the colonies in Alphatia-which may have actually belonged to the original Nentsun Thonians to the north and east, I am not as yet sure. But in one place, the colonies held, and thrived. That was on the southern continent, Davania.

"Davania, of long-storied myth and legend, is, of course, no longer a legend, as we learned not so long ago from the Ierendi expeditions of the past century. I was myself able to travel there, to further investigate the legends of the origins of the Thyatian tribes.

"And I found those legends to be very close to the truth."

At this, many of those who were shaking their heads and expressing doubt and mirth at the scholar's words perked up.

"Yes, even to my sceptical eyes, I must say, the legends are mostly true. Did I find the barrows of King Thyatis, King Kerendas, and King Hattias? No. But I did find evidence of the existence of proto-Thyatian, proto-Kerendan, and proto-Hattian occupancy in the jungle-cloaked lands. The poor and backward scholars of the Milenian city states had some ancient records, that spoke of the three great tribes, and the great wars that they had. Some were difficult to believe, at times. But through the mess, and through first-hand investigating, I was able to piece together at least part of the truth. Someday I intend to return there, and find out more, though I have another expedition in mind currently.

"But anon, to Davania again. As mentioned, the Empire colonised many areas, but only on the southern continent did the Antalian people take hold. Not only did they find purchase there, but they grew great, and the colonies grew into three kingdoms.

"The first of those kingdoms, and foremost, was primarily a Thonian/Eastern Antalian settlement. This colony grew into the Kingdom of Hattios, which caused no end of trouble for the Milenian Empire and the other kingdoms over the centuries. The second largest kingdom was founded by mixed groups of Eastern and Western Antalians, with a leavening of Thonians and Traldar expatriates and later, Milenians. The people of this kingdom, whose name has been lost to time-I found its monuments ruined, and all written records expunged, from those carved in stone to those written on ancient papyrus of the rotting libraries of Ilioloosti-were the ancestors of the Thyatians. The third kingdom, the name of which, too, remains mysteriously vanished, was founded by Western Antalians, Traldar, and a massive influx of Dunael and Aran clans-slaves, really-these all together being the ancestors of the Kerendans.

"What's that? Yes, yes there was, indeed, a fourth kingdom, as per the myths, but that kingdom was, in fact, the nascent Milenian Empire. For the Milenian Empire was, at the time of the founding of the three Thonian kingdoms, merely another colony. Over the following centuries, the colonies grew to kingdoms, and then competed for the title of Empire. For it was around that time, about 800 years before the crowning of Zendrolion, that the Western Thonian Empire began its long decline. Civil war wracked the empire. Outlying colonies clashed with the motherland and were extirpated, or simply collapsed, invaded by barbarian and savage tribes. The three great colonies, fully-fledged kingdoms, competed with each other, with the Milenians, and with the forces of the Thonian Empire for dominance on the southern continent.

"The most successful of all was the Kingdom of Hattios. First the kingdom of the Thyatian peoples fell, and the survivors fled back to the mainland, as per our ancient myths and legends, settling in modern Thyatis, where once stood of old a long-vanished Traldar kingdom. That was in the middle of the civil war, in the seventh century before crowning or thereabouts. And yes, Theoderic, as you maintained earlier the Thyatians found there the semi-barbaric remnants of the Traldar, and absorbed even further Traldar bloodlines, as well as evolved the distinctive and amazingly adaptable Thyatian tongue, which combines elements of classical Antalian, Traldar, Milenian, and other languages, in a distinct and highly-adaptable and expandable manner.

"Similarly, about a century after the Thyatian exodus came the Kerendan exodus, as the second of the three original colonies was conquered and extirpated. The Kerendans arrived in several waves in the mid-to late sixth century before crowning-several groups of Milenians arrived with them, too, later in the period. The Kerendans settled along the coast of their current territories, and eventually moved into them on to the plains-like the Thyatians assimilating the local Traldar clans. The peoples of the Duchy of Karameikos are the heaviest of all Traldar-influenced Kerendan groups, having also absorbed no small numbers of Milenians from the last waves. As mentioned before, many Kerendans, and their Milenian cohorts, began to drift west from there, settling on the islands and along the coastline, merging with the local Traldar clans. This, I think, is also part of the reason the coastal Traladarans differ so greatly from their hill and forest-dwelling cousins, though the evidence is still out on just how much Kerendan and Milenian blood the southern Traladarans absorbed. This was around the same period when the Traladaran Traldar began to emerge from their long dark age, and rebuilt towns-again, though, how much was native evolution and how much was from pressure from or assimilation of migrants, I do not know.

"Back on the southern continent, it had finally come down to two contenders-the Milenians and the Hattians. It was then that the last, terrible conflagrations of the overall Thonian Civil War struck, destroying the mainland empire and nearly shattering the Kingdom of Hattios. On Davania, the Milenians made good use of this opportunity, and nearly extirpated the Hattian people. The survivors were few, and like the other tribes before them, they made their way north, where they conquered and settled the modern Isle of Hattias. Unlike their Thyatian and Kerendan cousins, the Hattians either extirpated the native Traldar peoples or kept them as a distinct sub-class of slaves and serfs. Thus the Hattian bloodline remains fairly pure, save for the westernmost branches. After the first settlement of the island, the Hattians found Hattias to be a less than satisfactory home, being rocky and not the best suited for farming. Too, the semi-Hattian slave and serf class quickly began to outnumber the pure ruling clans, and so, within a generation of landfall (set fairly accurately according to legend at 480 before crowning), the Hattians, too, began to drift west. Led mostly by expatriates, especially those who had no problem mixing with other races, these western Hattians settled among the western islands with the earlier Kerendan colonists, and together many of them settled the lands held by Orcs along the River Streel. These peoples, a mix of Hattian, Kerendan, Milenian, Traldar, and even Thyatian settlers, united to form the kernel of the first Darokin clans. I discovered, in fact, in ancient records in Darokin City, that the Eastwind Clan most likely descended from a Hattian/Kerendan settlement of the early fourth century before crowning. This is why, linguistically speaking, the modern Daro tongue has much in common with Kerendan, Hattian, and even Thyatian, as well as Traladaran.

"I could continue on for hours about the various cadet branches of the three main tribes, such as the Espans descended from the Kerendans, or the Amancerians descended from a mix of Thyatians and Alphatians, or even the various Traladaran sub branches in Darokin and Glantri, but the history of those peoples are fairly well recorded. What is not well known is what happened to the Thonians and Antalians of the Western Thonian Empire after the fall of the Empire at the close of the sixth century before crowning. Also undiscussed is the disposition of the modern Antalian peoples of the north.

"The modern Antalians, of course, today form the various clans of the kingdoms of Vestland and Ostland, as well as the ever-feuding earls of the surrounding lands. These peoples are the closest representatives of the classic Antalian type, unsullied by other cultures or bloodlines. The sole exception are the royal clans of Ostland, who, if rumour is true-and I know not, either way-possess a dollop of Alphatian blood, from a long-lost clan of exiled wizards. But today, they remain as barbaric as our ancient ancestors, representing to some the best, and at the same time worst, Antalians have to offer. Their Heldanner cousins to the north, and the three great tribes of the lands of the Northern Wold, too, maintain many of the ancient traditions and ways.

"But as to their long-vanished Thonian and Antalian cousins of the fallen Western Thonian Empire, there are two tales to be told of these peoples, both fairly short-one grim, the other as yet unresolved.

"Of the Eastern Antalians and Thonians of the eastern portion of the Empire, the record is nearly blank. Some scholars believe the royal clans fled, ere the final catastrophe, which literally wiped the eastern cities from the face of Mystara, struck. I do not believe this; I believe that they were lost with their cities, and the few that survived elsewhere were extirpated by the remaining slaves, the ancestors of the modern Alasiyani nomads. How, you ask? How could such primitives have eliminated the flower of Antalian culture? Easily, for the Thonians had done most of the job for them, when they had fallen into debauchery and decadence. I have seen the last remnants of the cities of the eastern portions of the lost empire, and the things I found therein terrified me, in their dark evils and unsubtle inhumanity. My mind... swoons to even think of the things I witnessed therein, and the unholy... maddening creations of that Empire which still remain to this day, against all blasphemous..."

The scholar swooned at this point, and was caught by Sir Klagen.

"Thank you, thank you Theoderic. It's... it's difficult to even think upon such matters. It is as though the very knowledge of them poisons my mind and body somehow. But such were the evils of the empire in its latter days. Even I, who have dared much, would warn all here and any who read of my expeditions, to avoid attempting that which I have done, regarding the long-vanished empire..

"As to the Western Antalians, the last remnants thereof in the westernmost portions of the mainland Empire seem to have survived, at least for a time, fairly intact. Only recently some of my colleagues have discovered old records in Parsa, which indicate the existence of Traldar-style ruins in the sands to the east of that town. The few names mentioned in the passages, 'King Alexander' and 'Cynidicea,' strike me as being of Western Antalian and Traldar derivation, while the name 'Zargon' may well have Traladaran elements. I believe there are great mysteries to be unearthed there.

"I leave early next week for Ylaruam, and have great hopes to discover further historical details of Antalian history at this reputed 'lost city.'"

Traldaran History Part 4: An Immortal's-Eye View of the PJS Papers

A Treatise on the Antalian Theories of Philios Jandarsites-Schmidt of Thyatis-An Immortal's Eye View, by Mystaros

Of course, he was wrong.

He did get some things right, though, and in the broadest sense, he was correct. But, like most scholars and archaeologists, across all planes and dimensions of existence, he was far too certain in his own theories, and could not see, in some cases, the forest for the trees.

Les us review the major fallacies first, shall we?

1) The "Western Thonian Empire." This, of course, is wrong-but also, it is not his fault. With the data he had at hand, combined with the great Spell of Oblivion placed upon the very memory of the Nithian Empire, he made a conclusion that fit the evidence. The conclusion just happened to be wrong. But he had the essence of it right, in the broad. There was in fact, a great empire based out of those lands, and he even was able to determine the general time frame of the empire, and its deeds, and colonies-a remarkable achievement, altogether, considering the very will of the Immortals was against him. But, even though he claimed to be academically neutral with regard to the various races of man, his own prejudices combined with faulty and missing data to project an Antalian origin to the Empire... it never entered his mind that such greatness could be built otherwise. Of course, it did not help that even the racial characteristics of the Nithians had all but been extinguished, overwhelmed by their successors, the Alasiyani.

2) The "Thonians" were no such thing. The "Thonians" from the north, the "Nentsun Thonians" as he termed them, were, in fact, descended from Skandaharians. These Skandaharians simply adopted the name of Thonia, the ancient empire of their own nightmares, as their own, to frighten the Antalian peoples they raided for several centuries around the second millennium before crowning. He was, however, correct in maintaining that there was a Nentsun Empire, and that the Skandaharians were descended from a very early, far-eastern drift of proto-Antalians, the Neathar, really. Interestingly, though he hit the mark on the origin of the true Thonians, he did so accidentally, as the original, true Thonians were also descended from that same early Neathar drift.

3) The "Western Antalians" were not Antalians as we here in Pandius understand them-they were simply another branch of the Neathar, closely related to the Antalians, the differences being that intermingling of Skandaharian bloodlines through the Nentsun. It was this group, which we call the proto-Traldar, which gave the classical Nithians their strongest Neathar bloodline (the secondary and tertiary Neathar bloodlines being through the Thonian and early Neathar components of the classical Taymoran bloodline). As PJS noted, these proto-Traldar, a Stone Age people who reverenced Kagyar, originated in the region now known as Ethengar, and migrated into the Altan Tepes when the Oltec/Azcan ancestors of the Ethengar invaded from the former Western Kingdom of Taymor. There they settled among the Kogolor dwarves, who taught them bronze making, and gave them their distinctive axe style. As noted elsewhere, from that point, they moved south, into Nithia, where they became the Ptahr-Al-Dar peoples of the western empire, and eventually the ancestors of the Traldar. This movement, though, was in a series of waves, which continually refreshed the original proto-Traldar blood, and maintained a very strong Neathar component in the western bloodlines.

4) The "Four Kingdoms" of myth were, of course, the early Milenian Empire and the three Nithian colonies, which were, as PJS noted, distinct in their racial mix, though the "Thonian" element of course, did not exist. The Nithian racial element was all but extinguished after the first hundred years, as the colonies were not, in fact, part of the Empire any longer, but failed, as did many of the Nithian colonies. Left to their own devices, the Antalians of the southern continent formed their three great tribes, the Hattians the most powerful thereof, and history did fall pretty well thereafter as PJS described. He, of course, was unaware of the survival of other Antalian tribes on the southern continent, as he only travelled through the westernmost Milenian city states, so his presentation did not include mention of the Kymrae, who are descendants of the Dunael and Aran slaves, nor does he note the continued existence of the Hattian tribe of the Lost City of Hattios.

5) Further, one last final major point missed in his presentation, was the fact that the proto-Traldar were not culturally unified-the proto-Traldar had been made up of several different Neathar tribes, each with slightly different culture, each with slightly different linguistic developments, each with differing physical types. Thus, the Ptahr-Al-Dar were a very diverse lot, as were the subsequent Traldar peoples, especially when the influence of the various divisions of the latter-day Taymoran cultures were assimilated, and the subtle (or at times, not-so-subtle) machinations of the Hutaaka and the latter-day influx of other post-Nithian Traldar and Oltec bloodlines were felt on the northern tribes in the central Traldar lands.

Part 5: The Founding of the Traldar

The History of the Traldar Territories

The classical mainland Traldar territories, defined as those areas of mainland Brun in which the Traldar ruled, either through cultural, political, or economic dominion, are as follows, in order of original the original wave of conquest or settlement.

First Wave (1500 to 1490 BC): The first wave of the Ptahr-Al-Dar capture the Great Pass through the Altan Tepes at Biazzan in merely one year, rapidly exterminate the local Taymoran populace in the valley, and from there swarm out, in several large groups, across the plains of modern Kerendas. They use their large chariots, pulled by the famous Northern Horses.

Side Note: The Northern Horses of the Ptahr-Al-Dar were famous in Nithia as these were true horses, albeit small, as compared to the asses then typically used by the other Nithians. The ancestors of the Northern Horses came over the mountains of Rockhome with latter-day waves of proto-Traldar tribes. The Northern Horses of the Traldar were the first domesticated true horses in the area south of the Cruth-Altan Tepes range.

By 1495 BC, the first wave of the Ptahr-Al-Dar conquered all the major settlements in the Kerendan Plains as far as the coast of the Sea of Dread, from the mouth of the Rugalov River to the modern City of Thyatis. The local Taymoran kings and queens, and their peoples, had almost no defence against this massive influx of highly-trained, experienced warriors, and had never encountered chariots before. The only places where the Ptahr-Al-Dar were not immediately triumphant were in the hills and mountains, where their chariots were of dubious use. There the simple hill forts of the Taymorans were more than ample to protect them from the Ptahr-Al-Dar.

Side Note: The ancient coastline was, on average, about eight miles south of the modern coastline, and thus many of the latter-day Taymoran and early-Traldar settlement are lost beneath the waves. Some few that remain are those that were, once upon a time, on a river or inlet, such as the modern-day cities of Kerendas and Thyatis.

By 1490 BC, the first wave of the Ptahr-Al-Dar had expended itself. During this time two smaller groups broke off from the main group, one to the west, the other east. Each had tremendous success as, like the Taymorans they had encountered to date, the locals had never encountered chariots, and they swept the rabble forces down like so much ripe wheat. By 1490 BC, the western force had reached modern-day Specularum, where they conquered the largest Taymoran town of the day; this force controlled a swath of land perhaps 24 miles wide from Specularum to the Rugalov (plus the Vorloi Peninsula). The eastern force drove deep into the east and north-east, conquering the entirety of the remaining Thyatian Plain to the Gulf of Kantrium, including the second largest town of the Taymorans, where stands modern Thyatis. Again, only in the hills did the Taymorans resist the invasion, and remain free from the Ptahr-Al-Dar conquerors.

Side Note: The region of forest controlled by the Vyalia was, at this time, smaller than today, and the Vyalia population lower. The Vyalia also had a "non-interference" philosophy with humans in those days, and, though several of the more civilised Taymoran "kingdoms" made trade overtures, when they were swept away by the Ptahr-Al-Dar, the Vyalia were unconcerned. They did, however, make it clear to the Ptahr-Al-Dar that their own forests were sacrosanct, and through communication with the magi and priests of the invaders, reached an accord before blood ever had to be shed.

Thus, after ten years of war and raid, the Ptahr-Al-Dar came to rule a territory about 100 miles deep and 400 miles long. Within that area they controlled twelve median to large-sized towns, numerous villages, and uncounted orchards, farms, pig ranches, and other productive agricultural lands. They held almost none of the hill territories, where the Taymorans continued to thrive, and where many Taymorans of the flat lands fled during the night. Some areas, in between the towns where Ptahr-Al-Dar control was strongest, were in chaos. It was only once the Ptahr-Al-Dar were secure in their control of the towns and outlying areas that the warriors sent for their wives, children, and reinforcements from their home base in the city of Khyptahr, in Nithia.

Inter-wave Period One (1490 to 1480 BC): During the 10-year break between the first and second waves, the Ptahr-Al-Dar had to put down several insurrections on the part of their new slaves and serfs, as well as repel several counter-attacks from the hill territories. Some of the discontent of the Taymorans was resolved by the ancient tradition of marriage, in which a Ptahr-Al-Dar lord (usually a younger son or brother of the prince of the city) would marry a princess of the Taymorans (it was never the other way around, as the Ptahr-Al-Dar were patriarchal). In some cases this did bring the peoples to a closer understanding-in others, it caused even more confusion, as part of some Taymoran religious ritual, "kingships" only lasted for a period of a few years (three to 10), and then the "king" was ritually sacrificed by the "queen." There were no few misunderstandings there...

Side Note: At least at first, the rulers of the "Southern Territories," as they were then called, were on paper subservient to the King of Khyptahr (himself a servant of the Pharaoh at Nithus). Thus, the rulers of the towns, and the adjacent territories, were titled as "Princes," with the ruling prince being the "Great Prince." The southern princes were immune to taxation for a period of 20 years following the first date of invasion-this was, as shall be seen, a major factor in the push behind the second wave.

Of course, the vast majority of the intermarriages occurred among the lower-class Ptahr-Al-Dar warriors, who had no wives or family to bring-one of the main reasons the Ptahr-Al-Dar invaded the Taymoran lands was because of a population explosion, and the need to marry off or otherwise get rid of many younger sons of younger sons. So it was only among the upper and middle classes that the Ptahr-Al-Dar lineage remained pure to begin with. By the time the second wave, consisting of wives, children, and even more young and eager warriors, arrived over a period of 10 years, there were already a whole new generation of mixed race growing up in the towns, which were growing rapidly. Many Taymoran men had been lost in the invasion, and so it was not difficult for even a lower-middle class Ptahr-Al-Dar warrior to afford a concubine or three, in addition to his wife (who may or may not have been Taymoran as well), all of whom rapidly provided the most prolific warrior with many sons and daughters.

Side Note: The Ptahr-Al-Dar had never been the most literary or "fine-culture" minded folk to begin with, and thus within the first generation of occupation, the art of reading and writing began to suffer, without the continual application of Nithian and Addakian influence. Only among the clergy and the very few magi did the literary arts survive in any way beyond the most basic of methods. The clergy and the magi maintained the old hieroglyphic system of the Nithians, while the warrior-princes and their clerks, who kept careful track of supplies and tribute, used a new system of writing, developed specifically for the purpose. Far simpler to learn and understand, it used a combination of glyphs and alphanumerics. The glyphs were used to represent, literally, the object they depicted; a steer's head mean "cattle," a sheep mean "sheep," and so forth, while alphanumerics were used to spell out names and numbers. The system was invented by the magist of the High Prince, and thus, came in time simply to be known as "Traldar Script."

At the end of the first inter-wave period, twenty years had passed since the first invasion. During the preceding 10 years, a whole new wave of Ptahr-Al-Dar colonists, most warriors, but some craftsmen and farmers, had moved in to the new colonies. In addition, a new generation of half-breeds had grown up, schooled in the Ptahr-Al-Dar ways, and hungry and eager to conquer their own territories. With the first turnover of princes due to age and battle deaths nearly complete, it was a whole new, Ptahr-Al-Dar/Taymoran wave that moved out from the core lands and conquered new territories.

Side Note: The most important new colonists were actually not Ptahr-Al-Dar, they were, in fact, from Thothis, a coastal city of Nithia. They brought with them the worship of Nun (Protius) and Thoth. These colonists were ship-builders, who had made the long trip by land, as the Sea of Dread at that time was still untamed and nigh-impossible to navigate. One of the long-term goals of the colonists was to build a fleet along the shores of the sea itself and, using the strong and fearless warriors of the Ptahr-Al-Dar, clear out the monsters and pirates (of Taymoran/Makai/Nithian extraction, followers of the Dead King, Setu-Kha) from their island and atoll lairs. This was a very important factor in building the viability of the colonies, as without trade by sea, the planned grain and raw materials trade would likely fail, as the amount that could be shipped overland would be insignificant compared to that which could go by sea...

Second Wave (1480 to 1470 BC): This second wave consisted of new colonist-warriors from Khyptahr, the mixed-breed sons of the original invaders, and the mostly pure-breed sons of the rulers who, like their fathers before them, led the battle from the front, not the rear. Thus the tales of the great warrior-kings grew, and the cult of the warrior-hero evolved. But that laid the seeds for another time. The second wave drove in three directions: northeast, north, and west.

The northeastern wave went into the Mesonian and Kerendan Hills, where local Taymorans panned the rivers for gold and worshiped the Queen of the Night. This was a difficult, harsh series of battles, as the Ptahr-Al-Dar had to acclimate themselves to battle on foot, rather than stride chariots. It was a harsh 10-year-long series of sieges, fighting hilltop to hilltop, but by the end of the period, most (though not all) of the Taymoran villages had been captured. Those that were not conquered directly paid tribute for their independence, and so they retained their cultural and religious identity, for the nonce.

Side Note: To this day (1000 AC) there are clans in the Mesonian Hills that trace their ancestry back to these independent Taymoran clans. Of course, they long ago became marginally Traldar-ised, so to speak, so they consider their heritage to be Traldar, not Taymoran. But they still follow the old mysteries, and tend to the ancient altars, and tell tales and legends around their hearth that are found in no book of Traldar heroes. It is these people who have, for centuries, kept the Mesonian Imperial Territories from being broken off into domains. The Kerendan hill clans, of course, were exterminated or absorbed by orcish invaders 491 BC (the same hordes that failed to bring down the walls of Selenica).

The northern wave cut a swath through the forests of Traladara, following a route not too different from that of the Kelvin Road. After ten years the Ptahr-Al-Dar had conquered or cowed every Taymoran tribe to the Black Peaks-all, that is, save for a strange tribe which exhibited extreme arcane magical prowess, found in the hills east of Threshold. The Ptahr-Al-Dar, not used to such amazing feats of wizardry (at least, not from Taymorans), set a picket around the territory, to make sure that none escape, but did not proceed further into the territory of that tribe. This group also suffered no small amount of trouble from werebeasts, giving rise to the legends of huge wolves, giant boars, and other creatures fought by ancient Traldar heroes.

Side Note: Of course, the power behind the magic of the mysterious Taymoran tribe was not their own, it was that of the Hutaaka, who had settled in the hidden mountain valleys to the north and west merely a generation before, and watched the expansion of the Ptahr-Al-Dar with no small trepidation. It was during these first encounters, with their allied Taymoran tribesmen taking the brunt of the damage, that the Hutaaka began to develop their long-term plan to blunt the edge of the Ptahr-Al-Dar drive to empire.

Finally, the western wave had the easiest time of all, as the western lands were only lightly held by Taymorans-most of whom heard tales of the fate of their distant cousins to the east, and welcomed the Ptahr-Al-Dar, if not with open arms, at least with begrudging ideas of what would happen if they did not. Here, too, the Ptahr-Al-Dar encountered a race of elves, the Truedyl, or Gentle Folk, and out of respect for the known powers of the Vyalia, left them and their deep forests alone. By the end of the period, the foundation stones of the town of Athenos had been laid (over the top of ancient Taymoran ruins, mind you), and some brave (or foolhardy) explorers hade even trekked into the Malpheggi Swamp, to see if there were any good lands beyond it.

Side Note: The only real difficulties the Ptahr-Al-Dar had in this drive west were in the Blight Swamp and the hilly and forested territories north of there. These troubles were resolved by a small group of Ptahr-Al-Dar noble sons, warrior-heroes all, and began the first cycle of identifiable hero-myths of the Traldar, with their encounter with the hydra of the swamp, the nymphs of the forest, and the necromancer-priests of the hill tribes. The leader of the group even gave his name to the region-Achileus, which through the years has become known as Achelos. Of course, this person is not to be mistaken with Prince Achileus, the friend and ally of King Loricus. The tendency for heroic (and villainous) names to repeat themselves in Traldar myths causes no end of consternation for sages.

So, by the end of the second wave, the entirety of the lands south of the Cruth-Altan Tepes range were under the direct or indirect control of the Ptahr-Al-Dar, save for the two territories held by the Vyalia and the Truedyl. At this point, there were no dwarves or gnomes in the region, and there were as yet no orcs or goblins or other beastmen. There were, however, giants, some of which became the allies of the Taymorans and fought on their side-usually to fall at the axe of a Ptahr-Al-Dar hero. Of werewolves, devil swine, and other such creatures there were plenty, all-too many one might think. The same could be said of the other children of the night, vampires and nosferatu, and their allies, necromancers and death priests. But most fell to the axes of heroes, though far more heroes died trying. Many dark myths of the creatures of the day, and their alliance with the Taymorans, haunt the tales of these early Traldar heroes-though the name "Taymor" is all but forgotten, and the pre-Traldar peoples of the land are known as the "Dirt People" or the "Children of the Night."

First Setbacks (1470 to 1450 BC): It was during this period that the Ptahr-Al-Dar first began to see failures on a regular basis. Crops started to fail, Taymoran populations began rebelling more effectively, the development of a ship-building industry had many setbacks, as did the few expeditions that actually set sail, and the various princes began arguing among themselves over division of treasures and tributes. It did not help that the doddering Great Prince, Hyraksos II, who was 30 years old at the time of the first invasion, would not die, and ever more and more kept making strange proclamations. Many blamed the strange, Nithian pure-blood magist and his acolytes, whom he employed beginning in 1470 BC. The Nithian continually provided unusual oracles and strange advice, and seemed to do his best to cause dissension in the ranks of the princes-most successfully, too.

Side Note: The mysterious magist, who called himself Nemmu-Pflarr, and his acolytes were actually disguised Hutaaka priest-mages of Pflarr, sent to "guide" the Ptahr-Al-Dar in the direction the Hutaaka desired-down and out, until they could be more easily controlled and directed the way the Hutaaka wished. Nemmu-Pflarr kept the old Great Prince under his control, and extended his life through dark magics (even to this day, Hyraksos II stirs in his tomb, far beneath the ruins of his ancient palace). The Ptahr-Al-Dar never learned the identity of the magist or his acolytes, nor the extent of his involvement in their fall-though rumours spread that he was the spawn of a dark Immortal or demon, and several legends grew from there.

The biggest difficulty for the colonists, however, was that try as they might, they could not discover a large, regular source of iron ore. They found copper and tin aplenty, though, and so many common materials and lower-class weapons were produced of bronze, rather than the preferable steel weaponry that was brought from Nithia. Too, the craftsmen of the Taymorans were never very advanced themselves (many tribes and cities were still using beaten copper or stone when the Ptahr-Al-Dar invaded), and so the metalworkers of the ruling race were few and far between. Overall, over time, while the general level of technology advanced as compared to that of the previous latter-day Taymoran civilisation, compared to the Nithian civilisation to the north, the Ptahr-Al-Dar territories were a virtual backwater.

Side Note: Yes, either the Nithians had steel, or they had no access to tin. Bronze is, generally, superior to common, non-carbonised iron. The Bronze Age gave way to the Iron Age only because tin, a very necessary part of bronze, ended up in short supply at the time. But steel, which is carbonised iron, is superior to bronze. Thus, without a source of iron with which to make steel, the Ptahr-Al-Dar would naturally turn to the next best thing, bronze. At first it was a stop-gap measure, but in time, it became a way of life...

Three major crop failures in seven years made for difficult times for the colonists, especially as the King of Khyptahr still demanded his tribute. Then came the first plague, in 1452 BC. Oddly enough, it struck mostly only those with relatively pure Ptahr-Al-Dar blood, secondarily those with mixed-blood, and barely touched pure-blood Taymorans at all. This created huge, gaping holes in the noble structure-though the doddering old fool, Hyraksos II, survived intact, purportedly due to the ministrations of his magist. Several princes closed off their own territories, to try to control the plague, but to little avail-and such actions caused no end of trouble with their neighbours, as well.

Side Note: The pestilence that haunted the crops, and the plague were magically created by the Hutaaka, to put a check on the growth of the Ptahr-Al-Dar, and to create exactly the kind of dissent and difficulty it caused. Unfortunately, later the both would get out of hand, and out of the Hutaaka's control...

Two years later, the plague died down, and it was again safe to travel. Hyraksos II called a Great Conclave of the Princes at his capital (now a haunted and much-storied sea-side hill outside Kerendas). There most-but not all-the princes went to discuss the problems that had occurred over the last generation, and plans to rectify the situation-and get tribute back on track to the King in Kheptahr. But those discussions never occurred, as a great conflagration struck the throne room of the Great Prince in the first minutes of the meeting, and most of the princes and their retinues were slain. Fires raged throughout the capital city (as city it had become), and chaos ruled. When the smoke cleared the next day, the Great Prince was presumed dead with his princes, the magist and his acolytes were also dead (or disappeared), and much of the support structure in the capital city (granaries, the only library in the whole territory, many of the experienced craftsmen and their tools and experience) were gone, wiped out with half the population. The few surviving princes and nobles in the city immediately returned to their own towns and citadels. Civil war broke out.

The Ptahr-Al-Dar Civil War (1450 to 1430 BC): The Ptahr-Al-Dar civil war lasted a whole generation, as city fought city and clan fought clan. During this time, trade with Nithia fell to almost nothing, as Nithia was experiencing its own difficulties, going through the excesses of the latter Pharaohs of the Second Dynasty (the vile usurper Pharaoh Ausar Ranak and his oppositely oriented, far-too-good-for-her-own-good daughter, Pharaoh Ausar Paranmaat "The Rectifier"). Many deeds great and terrible were performed at this time, and most of the history lost, as records were destroy4ed willy-nilly. Several minor waves of Ptahr-Al-Dar joined their southern brethren from Nithia-fleeing the horrible theocratic wars for simple, common civil wars. The plague and pestilence of the early setbacks returned, sometimes in force. Entire villages died out, whole clans were extirpated, and trade ground to a halt. The King of Kheptahr gave up all pretence of controlling the situation, and did his best to keep it contained south of the Altan Tepes-that is, until he was dragged, screaming and weeping, to the Abattoir Pits of Pharaoh Ranak.

Side Note: During the first half of the civil war, the Hutaaka did all they could to fan the fires and stoke the flames. Then, at its height, they began appearing in their natural form among the peoples, first in the villages, then in the towns, as healers and traders, seeking to do nothing more than help the poor, hungry, and maimed. They began preaching peace to the Traldar as they knit wounds, and spoke of brotherhood as they traded their food and other goods for the poor things the Traldar had. Slowly, ever so slowly, the Hutaaka began to earn a very positive reputation among the Traldar, which would suit them well in later days.

Eventually, the civil war wound down, as old princes died and new one arose, as old cities fell and new ones were built, and the Traldar began to build new kingdoms. Each of these was about the size of a modern Thyatian duchy, and centred around one city/citadel, usually on the seacoast or river bank. With the assistance of the Hutaaka in matters architectural, agricultural, and otherwise, the Traldar slowly began to rebuild. Eventually, a low-level peace was reached among the major kingdoms, though minor kingdoms and various free clans (such as hill and forest clans) remained relatively chaotic.

Side Note: It was during this period that the Ptahr-Al-Dar language and identity had finally evolved to a level independent of that of their forefathers. Four and more generations had passed since the first settlement, and much chaos and mingling of races and cultures had occurred. Thus, the Ptahr-Al-Dar became the Traldar, a single, unified word, melded by the differing tongue and half-intelligible languages of the half-breeds and Taymorans. Literature and poetry blossomed across the kingdoms, spread by the Hutaaka, and melded the disparate tongues into a single tongue, though there were many, many local dialects, and the Old Tongue of the Taymorans still was spoken in some forest glades and hilltop citadels. The core of the Traldar language was Neathar, with slight Nithian overtones, followed by large (and in some territories, notably in forest and hill regions, excessive) Taymoran word usage, all mixed together and evolved through the Hutaakan scholastic lens, enforced by the final evolution of the written Traldar script and teachings of the Hutaaka.

Side Side Note: Note that the "reduction of the Traldar to the Stone Age" is a mixing of legends and myths of the decline of the Ptahr-Al-Dar with the actual state of the Taymorans they discovered when they arrived in the area, combined with the further decline (and retrogression) of many heavily Taymoran clans during the Civil War. All these legends were, of course, quite happily expanded by the Hutaaka as self-serving propaganda during the later years of the Civil War and following the final Collapse!

At the end of the Civil War, the Traldar found themselves with many, many warriors eager to prove themselves, but, due to the treaties and alliances negotiated by the Hutaaka, nowhere to point them. So, of course, in what had already become a Traldar tradition, they all moved out and set out for other territories.

Third Wave (1430 to 1420 BC): The third wave of Traldar colonisation set out in four directions: north, northwest, west, and south.

The northern colonists set out over the Altan Tepes, where they founded what would eventually become the city of Selenica. There they encountered savage Stone Age tribes of Azcans, whom they slaughtered in droves. They also had their first encounter with goblins, surviving tribes from the debacle at Chongor almost three centuries ago. They drive these wolf-riders into the mountains to the north and east. Some Traldar begin moving west from there, and settle the hilly lands as far west as Nemiston.

The northwestern colonists cross the Cruth Mountains at Mar and start settling the lands north, along the River Streel, where they are met by the western-moving colonists. Together the two groups push back the Azcan Savages and claim territories along the Streel and Elstrick rivers, until they come to Lake Amsorak. There the bulk of the Traldar settle, and found the city of Akorros. Hundreds continue to the west, along the southern shore of the lake, ever seeking their own new territories-these peoples are lost to memory, though they may (may) have formed the core of the ancestors of the Darine Gypsy folk, who claim descent from just such a group.

The southern colonists set out by ship to claim the islands of the Sea of Dread as their own. Finally, after long decades, and only with the help of the Hutaaka, the Traldar were able to build the ships they had desired for so long. On the islands they would encounter a vast array of peoples, survivors from Taymor, a strange race of albinos, Makai, elves, old Nithian followers of Setu-Kha, many, many monsters, and even a few "lost colonies" of Ptahr-Al-Dar, who set sail generations ago during the first attempts and were lost, with no way to return home. The Traldar settled all the islands, from Hattias in the east to Ierendi Island in the west. Some enterprising groups even set sail for Nithia and places further afield-according to legend, some reached early Sind, and the Shadow Coast, or even the mysterious islands at the heart of the Sea of Dread. But these were merely the first, short steps in the long, long Traldar movement to the sea. The great Traldar Age of Sail would not come for another century, when the deeds and acts of these first colonists were become legend and myth.

Final Setbacks (1420 to 1402 BC): The good times, though, did not last. Eventually, the kingdoms started bickering again, over territory, colonies, and tribute, and low-grade wars again were fought, though often most of these were little more than raids. Many kings (for they now called themselves such, owing no fealty to the King of Kheptahr), began to turn away the advice of their Hutaakan allies, who began to slowly retreat from the kingdoms. They left behind dire warnings with the clergy and the commoners, warning them of the dangerous and deadly times ahead.

Plague and pestilence once again began to run rampant, and whole clans began moving across the land. Hardest struck were the western lands-the Hutaaka claimed that the plagues and pestilence there were caused by the Gentle Folk, who were subsequently raided by the Traldar, and many died. Similar attempts to blame the eastern plagues on the Vyalia failed, if only because Traldar "vengeance raids" against the elves failed to ever return. Contact was lost with the colonies at sea and across the mountains. Slowly, prince turned against prince, and brother turned against brother, and after ten years of strife, the land was again in chaos. Then the Nithians struck

Collapse and Rebirth (1402-1392): While the Traldar had been waxing and waning in the south, the Nithian Empire had been undergoing its own growing pains. The first colonies, those of the Ptahr-Al-Dar, had been obvious failures, and no king would sponsor further such ventures-so the normal outlet for extra population was not available. Thus, the Nithians turned to civil war. From 1421 to 1411 the Pharaoh Ausar Horon, son of the overly strict and bloodthirsty Ausar Paranmaat, had fought against his rebellious brother, Ausar Munes. In the end, the more bloodthirsty and vicious Ausar Munes won, and when he claimed the throne, placed the Temple of Set at the top of the hierarchy, changing his own regnal name to Setu Herkete. After six years of putting his empire in order, Setu Herkete decided to reclaim the lost lands to the south for the Empire. This effort would claim the last ten years of his life, much Nithian treasure, and forge the Traldar into one, united people, after passing them through a crucible of flames.

The attack came in two movements, the primary by land, over the same pass the Ptahr-Al-Dar had arrived almost a century before, with masses of chariots and foot soldiers, and the secondary attack by sea, with several fleet-loads of marines attacking each major port city. At first, the battle went very well, as kingdom after kingdom fell to the Nithians. Then, the fleets began to feel the nibbles of the Traldar raiders at sea, while the supply lines of the land-based forces were continually harried by the combined forces of several Traldar kingdoms. Meanwhile, the mages and priests of the Empire were being met spell by spell by unknown, cowled wizards and priests (the Hutaaka, in disguise). After the first five years of mixed success, the final five years of Nithian occupation came to an astounding and bloody close, as the Nithians were slaughtered, city by city, fort by fort, and driven back into the sea or over the mountains. At times, the Hutaaka fought side-by-side with the Traldar, openly, earning them great respect. They earned the Traldar gratitude for the use of their magics, in the end openly, especially in the final battle, where the half-Traldar son of Setu Herkete, Herculis, turned against his father and struck the blow that brought the Pharaoh down.

The Nithians were cast out of the Traldar Territories, and truly, the Traldar now completely identified themselves as Traldar, a people apart even from their cousins, the remaining Ptahr-Al-Dar of the western Empire. All ancient things Nithian, from the early Ptahr-Al-Dar settlement, were broken-the gold was re-forged into new, Traldar idols, and the silver into coins. Having no longer the craftsmanship to smelt and re-use the iron weapons of the Nithians, the Traldar buried these, in great tombs, along with the bodies of the fallen Nithians, and the Hutaaka cast many spells and curses over them (though a few weapons and such remained, as trophies in king's halls).

Though the kingdoms remained divided, the Traldar had in no uncertain terms declared their independence, politically as well as culturally, from the Nithians. A new Nithian dynasty arose, washed their hands of the whole affair, and went about on their own business again. The Traldar had their independence, and no force on Mystara would ever take that away...

Of course, what the Hutaakans never told the Traldar, and the Traldar never discovered, was that the Nithians invaded the Traldar through the machinations of the Hutaaka. The manoeuvre definitively broke the Traldar away from the Nithians, and created a buffer between the Nithians and the Hutaaka. From the Hutaaka mind set, a Traldar people, divided into often-at-odds kingdoms, but ever vigilant against Nithian interference, was the best solution to their own difficulties. The Traldar now owed them favours, great and many favours, and saw them as saviours, both for the assistance provided after the Civil War, and for the assistance provided against the Nithians. The Traldar also depended greatly upon them for trade, advice, and technical knowledge. For all intents and purposes (and, as many Nithians considered it), the Traldar Territories were in fact the Hutaakan Empire.

But the results of that, and the role this played in the creation of the Gnolls, and the invasion of the Traldar lands by the Gnolls, is a story for another time...