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History of the Isle of Dawnby James Mishler
Elder History of the Isle of Dawn (To 3000 BC)
Two major civilisations were found in the Dawn Territories prior to the Great Rain of Fire in 3000 BC. The Thonian Colony of New Thonia, which was little more than a conglomerate of corporate-owned plantations worked by thousands of Oltec slaves, lay in the south. This colony consisted of most of the Dawn Territories south of Hardangar Isthmus (NOTE: the Great Escarpment did not exist at this time). The second major civilisation was the Kingdom of Gandhar, a realm of Giants that had held the northernmost portion of the Dawn Territories since time immemorial. Gandhar continued a precarious existence by maintaining its neutrality and by creating a political balance of interests between the Draconian Empire, the Free Dwarven Principalities and the Kingdom of Blackmoor. There were also isolated groups of Rock Men found in the mountains that now form the shattered western edge of the Great Escarpment.
After the Great Rain of Fire (3000 through 2400 BC)
In 3000 BC the Great Rain of Fire destroyed the civilisation of the Thonians of Blackmoor. The planet raged out of control; the Great Escarpment was thrust up, and most of the peoples of New Thonia were destroyed. The Oltec slaves slaughtered most of the surviving Thonians. Some Thonians escaped to the west and joined their brethren who later went on to found the Taymoran Empire, while others escaped to the Pleasure Islands of the south (the modern Alatian and Pearl Islands), where they eventually formed the core of the Makai culture. The Oltec slaves of the Dawn Territories reverted to a stone-age culture; they spread throughout the territories, obliterating any remnant of Thonian occupation. These folk later became known as the Oltec Savages. The Kingdom of Gandhar was also decimated by the catastrophe, and the Giants reverted to a bronze-age technology. Meanwhile, the remaining Rock Men of the Dawn Territories were affected by the energies released by the Great Rain of Fire in such a manner that they quickly began to evolve, physically and culturally.
The Rock Men of the Dawn Territories were not the only beings affected by the energies of the Great Rain of Fire; the energies were of such a nature that they decimated much of the ecosystem of Mystara, and usually mutated that which they did not destroy. In order to repair the damage dealt to the ecosystem in as "natural" a manner as possible, while faster than nature would do so, the Immortals decided to bring Mystara into conjunction with an Outer Plane that was aspected with the Spheres of Life. That is, a plane that is equally aspected with the Spheres of Matter, Energy, Time, and Thought. The Spirit Plane, known as the Spirit World by the Ethengar Tribes and the Atruaghin Clans and as The Otherworld to the Dunael and their descendant peoples, was the natural choice, as it had long ago been brought into "balance" between the four Spheres of Life. [See "A Treatise Concerning the Mystaran Multiverse and Beyond", by Mystaros, Pandius Press, 965 AC].
Once the energies released by the Great Rain of Fire were purged from the Mystaran ecosystem by the Immortals, Mystara's ecology began to heal quite rapidly, as the positive energies brought through vortices and wormholes from the Spirit Plane entered into the Prime Plane. Spirits of the Spirit Plane also entered into Mystara, especially in places where the conjunction between the planes was stronger; this included most of the Dawn Territories. These Spirits eventually contacted the Oltec Savages of the Dawn Territories, and the shamanic worship of these Spirits formed the basis of the Oltec Savages' developing religion.
Yet another notable event occurred in 3000 BC. Seven clans of Elves passed through the Dawn Territories en route to Brun from the ruin of Blackmoor on Skothar. Three of the Elven Clans, the Finadiel, Goristyr and Falador, remained in the Dawn Territories and settled among the remaining Giants of Gandhar, while four of the clans (the Celebryl, Porador, Felistyr and Gelbalf) continued on to the west. The Spirits of the Spirit Plane contacted the Giants and Elves for they saw in them a kindred "spirit" and love of life. A strange new society grew up between the two worlds and by 2700 BC the Elves of the three tribes had removed themselves from Mystara entirely and founded new cities in the Otherworld. Several clans of Giants had also done so by this time, most notably the Muroch clan. The four cities that were founded in the Otherworld were: Findias by the Finadiel Clan, Gorias by the Goristyr Clan, Murias by the Muroch Clan, and Falias by the Falador Clan.
The movement of Elves and Giants to the Otherworld was spurred on in part by the migration of the Oltec Savages into the northern lands of the Dawn Territories. The Giants and Elves could easily have resisted any intrusion, as they were at that time not only magically more powerful, but also armed with bronze-age weaponry. However, the alliance between the Spirits, Elves and Giants would have been sorely tested by interference with the Human followers of the Spirits, especially when the Elves and Giants were more than welcomed in the Otherworld.
In 2500 BC several clans of Elder Dwarves and Gnomes migrated east from the mainland across the Hardangar Isthmus, where they encountered the Giants and Elves of the north. They were made distinctly unwelcome (ancient enmities die hard) and retreated to the south, where they settled on and in the Great Escarpment among the newly-emerging Stone Folk, who were the descendants of the mutated Rock Men. The Dwarves and the Gnomes were naturally very attracted to the region that the Stone Folk resided in, as it was replete with all manner of precious metals and gems. In those days one could hardly step anywhere in the region without stumbling over a pile of gold nuggets or rough gemstones. Thus, with plenty and to spare, the Stone Folk welcomed the Dwarves and Gnomes to their Land. The Stone Folk learned civilised ways from the two peoples, including all manners of crafts. The Stone Folk eventually excelled their teachers in stone carving and gem cutting, as they were closer to the nature of these things than either the Dwarves or Gnomes. The Dwarves and Gnomes in turn prospered from what the Stone Folk could teach them about the ways of earth and stone.
2500 BC also marked the foundation of the Empire of Taymor on the mainland to the west. Necromancer-Kings ruled the Empire under the leadership of their overlord, the Eternal Emperor of Taymor, who ruled from the City of Night, Colhador on Hadas.
By this time the Oltec Savages had settled over the entirety of the Dawn Territories, even in the north, among the Giants and Elves. The Oltec Savages built huge earthen mounds that were designed as centres for worship, as well as for the burial sites of the clan chiefs and shamans. They carved huge animal-shaped forms in the earth at points at which the space between Mystara and the Otherworld was "weak" (i.e., Planar Nodes); these were centres of worship for the totem animal in question. They also erected huge menhirs and stone circles at the major loci of these mystical points, in vague imitation of their tales about ancient Oltec pyramids. The Oltec Savages were still in the Stone Age however, and had little reason to "advance" technologically, as population was still relatively light and widespread. They also had little competition, with the exception of the Stone Folk and the new population of Dwarves and Gnomes, whom the Oltec Savages gave wide berth.
Invasions and Early Kingdoms (2400 through 1700 BC)
In 2400 BC the moderately peaceful lifestyle of the Oltec Savages was destroyed by the invasion of clans of Bronze Age Antalians and Neathar, who came from Norwold via the Helskir Land Bridge. The Antalians were fleeing the invasions of the Nentsun from far-away Skothar, and the Neathar were fleeing the depredations of the Beastmen of Urzud.
The Antalians and Neathar that migrated to the Dawn Territories brought with them numerous clans of Faerie Folk, including Alfar (a.k.a. Sidhe), Sprites, and Pixies among others. These beings eventually mingled with the Giants, Elves and Spirits. It is only through the influence of the Giants, Elves, Spirits and Faeries that the Antalians and Neathar did not conquer the entirety of the Dawn Territories. The Antalians and Neathar were limited to settlement of the lands north of the Kendach Plateau. Over the next two hundred years, under the sponsorship and active participation of the Giant/Elf/Spirit/Faerie alliance, the Antalian and Neathar clans assimilated the northern clans of Oltec Savages and the merged Antalian/Neathar/Oltec culture evolved and swiftly diverged from its antecedents
Not all of the Giants, Elves and Faeries agreed with the creation of the new Human society, or even with the basis of the alliance of the Giants, Elves, Faeries and Spirits. In 2300 BC, during the formation of the new Human society, this group of dissident Giants, Elves and Faeries, led by the Fomor Clan of Giants, migrated west across the Hardangar Isthmus. There they allied with the Necromancer-Kings of Taymor, and learned the darker ways of magic and power.
Also during this period, the plains and deserts east of the Great Escarpment had become home to an isolated race of Giants that had evolved from the Giants of Gandhar. The Hunakoi, red-skinned cousins of modern Stone Giants, had built their kingdom in these lands, called Hunak. They revered the Sollux, and Tarastia was their Patron Immortal. They built huge stone monuments to their Patron Immortal, some of which survive to this day.
By 2200 BC, the combined Antalian/Neathar/Oltec people had evolved a new language, culture and society; they called themselves the Dunael, which was simply "The People", in the Dunael language. They were a Bronze Age society, led by warrior-chieftains and ruled by a caste of Druids and Bards. They followed the ways of the Spirits and Faeries, but revered the Immortals as well, most notably Dana (Terra), Danoia (Djaea), Cernuinn (Faunus) and Arduinn (Diulanna). [The culture and language that evolved among the Dunael was closely related to that of the Neathar of the High Plains, on the mainland to the west (ancestors of the Traldar). Their culture also was related to the cultures of other Oltec/Neathar tribes of the Midlands, from which the peoples of Robrenn are descended].
In 2200 BC an army of Fomorian Giants, Elves and Faeries invaded the lands of the Dunael via the Hardangar Isthmus. Finnegar, the Chieftain of the most powerful clan of the Dunael, led the battle against the Fomorian Horde. Backed by groups of Human warriors from Taymor and armed with Taymoran wizardry, the Fomorians and Taymorans attempted to gain a foothold in the Dawn Territories. The Dunael united for the first time under Finnegar and allied with Giants, Elves, Spirits and Faeries from the Otherworld. Together they were able to throw the Fomorians back across the Hardangar Isthmus. After his victory Finnegar became the first High King of the Dunael. He also created his Golden Throne high in the mountains that now bear his name [The Golden Throne of Finnegar, among other things, provides the person sitting in it with a clear view of anything within the horizon, making it perfect for watching for invading Fomorians]. Finnegar went on to become an Immortal, and is revered by the Dunael to this day.
The battle with the Fomorians convinced many of the remaining Giants, Elves, Spirits and Faeries that their presence on Mystara was as much a bane as a boon to the Dunael (for the primary goal of the Fomorians was the destruction of their kindred peoples). Therefore they decided to retreat further into the Otherworld, hoping that the vengeful Fomorians would turn their rage elsewhere. A number of Giant clans, still tied more to Mystara than to the Otherworld, remained on Mystara as guardians of the Dunael. The Firbolg Clan led the Giants that remained on Mystara. They settled in the south central region of the territories, in the modern Province of Redstone, right on the "gates" to the Hardangar Isthmus. From 2200 BC through 2000 BC the Dunael and Firbolg (with assistance from their Otherworld patrons) resisted several additional attempts on the part of the Fomorians to return to the Dawn Territories.
During this period the southern Oltec Savages had continued to evolve in their savage splendour. They had divided into several different tribes of peoples. In the western forests, in the shadow of the Great Escarpment were the clans of the Asieni (a people not unlike the modern Haruqua (Children of the Elk) of the modern Atruaghin Clans). The peoples of the Great Escarpment were divided into two major tribes. The Asieri were found in the plains east of the lands of the Stone Folk, while the Asuri were located in the forests of the eastern plateau. All three groups were known for their savagery and xenophobia. The Asieni revered Spirits of Forest, Meadow and Stream; the Asieri revered Elemental Spirits; and the Asuri revered Animal and Ancestor Spirits. All three groups avoided the forested region north of the Aurora River as though it was plagued, and in a sense, it was.
It is said that in 2100 BC a group of Elves, fleeing from the far west, arrived in this region and built a city they name Aran. These Elves, green skinned and dark in countenance, slew or enslaved every Human they found, and used Human slaves their labour to build their kingdom. The Elves were allies of the spider-kin, and many of the arachnid species and their kindred were found in the new kingdom. [Of course, the Aran Elves were actually Aranea that had taken on Elvish form; this group revered Entropic Immortals, which was the reason for their falling out with their kindred to the west].
In 2000 BC, the Empire of Taymor destroyed itself in a cataclysmic battle between the followers of Thanatos and Nyx. The ensuing cataclysm destroyed not only the Taymoran lands, but also caused the collapse of the Helskir Land Bridge. The resulting earthquakes and upheaval destroyed much of the infrastructure of Dunael civilisation. It also collapsed numerous gates between the Otherworld and Mystara. The Fomorians, fleeing the destruction of Taymor, were able to take advantage of the chaos in the Dunael territories, and conquered much of the southern lands of the Dunael, including all the lands held by the Firbolg (modern Redstone, plus East and West Portage, Kendach and southern Westrourke). They then instituted a reign of terror that decimated the Dunael under their control, which cast most of them back to Stone Age savagery. During this time they also converted many of the Firbolg to their way, and through their magical power were able to keep the Otherworldly Giants, Elves, Spirits and Faeries from regaining a foothold in Fomorian held territory.
At this time another group of Taymoran refugees, mostly Human in this case, fled to the eastern side of the Isle of Dawn, where they conquered the Hunakoi Giants. They named their new kingdom Shumar, after their Necromancer-King and -Queen Shumar and Shumara (the Shumarans were Nosferatu followers of Nyx, not Vampire followers of Thanatos). Most of the Hunakoi were captured and enslaved. Those that could, fled into the Valley of the Dawn and onto the Great Escarpment, where they became allied with the local Asuri tribes, who they converted to the worship of Tarastia (they also brought the Asuri out of the stone age and into the bronze age).
Also by BC 2000 it became obvious to the Dwarves, Gnomes and Stone Folk of the Dawn Territories that the Dwarven race was dying. At that time there lived a Stone Folk Philosopher known as Thinker of Deepest Form. Thinker was a great friend of the Dwarves; he was a famous builder in stone, a metal smith of legendary ability, and an unparalleled lapidary. His manner fit his name, and he thought long and hard on the Dwarven situation. Eventually, he determined that he would need to learn more on the origin of the Elder Dwarves, so he went on a great quest. With him went his Dwarven companion known only as Laughing Axe.
For over 200 years the pair travelled the world in search of a way to save the Dwarven race, having many adventures in the process. Eventually they discovered that the Dwarven race had been the target of a special Technomantic Curse that had originated during the Great Rain of Fire; combined with the energies of that war, the Curse continually put the Dwarves into a genetic spiral of doom. No mortal beings on Mystara in those days had the knowledge of Technomancy to reverse the Curse, so Thinker and Laughing Axe decided to consult the Immortals. The pair was eventually able to bring the plight of the Dwarves to the attention of the Immortal Kagyar. As Kagyar felt an affinity for the Dwarves (his own race, the Brute Men, were the cousins of the Dwarven race), he decided to save the Dwarves. Upon the transformation of the Dwarven race in 1800 BC Thinker returned to the Dawn Territories, and under the sponsorship of Kagyar set out on the path to Immortality. Thinker became the first King of the High Land of the Stone Folk.
The Fomorians learned the method for the smelting of iron from captured Stone Folk and Gnomes in the 18th century BC. The Fomorians achieved even more success against the Dunael and the Stone Folk with the use of this technology, but before the Fomorians could press this advantage to its maximum extent there occurred yet another invasion of the Dawn Territories from the north.
In the 1720's BC, whole clans of Iron Age Norse-Antalians from Norwold took to the seas to escape the depredations of King Loark and his Great Horde. These Norse-Antalians, with their iron weapons and their battle prowess, changed the balance of power and neutralised the advantage the Fomorians held over the Dunael. While the Antalians raided both the Fomorians and the Dunael, the Fomorians were the richer targets, and thusly received the brunt of Norse-Antalian fury. Battles raged across the land for over twenty years until 1700 BC, when a great battle was fought on the Western Plains (where now stands the Dust Reaches).
The Battle of Dust and Ashes raged for a week, yet not one of the three armies ever gained an advantage over the others. The Fomorians were armed with ancient Taymoran wizardry and iron weapons, while the Antalians were armed with iron weapons and grim determination, and the Dunael were armed with hearts of steel and Druidic magic, as well as what little aid they could acquire from their allies in the Otherworld. Then, during the height of a similar battle over a thousand miles away (the Elves of the glacier-haunted Highlands were resisting the attack of King Loark and his Great Horde), members of the Elven Shadowstrider Clan set off an ancient Blackmoorian Device. This Device (the Technomantic equivalent of an Atomic Bomb of massive proportions) set off a chain reaction of events, physical and mystical, that would end both conflicts and cause much death and destruction worldwide.
The great cataclysm created the Dust Reaches of the Isle of Dawn. The Battle of Dust and Ashes was ended most decisively by the destruction of all three armies in the sudden and violent creation of the plateau. Very, very few Norse-Antalians, Fomorians and Dunael returned home from that battle...
Age of Chaos (1700 through 1400 BC)
The destruction caused by the Blackmoorian Device in the battle between the Elven Shadowstrider Clan and the Great Horde of King Loark caused not only a great deal of physical damage throughout the Known World, it also caused an incredible amount of damage throughout the Otherworld. The mystical components that formed the Device were attuned to planar energies; unfortunately, the Device was set off at a nexus point between Mystara and the Otherworld. The reverberations between the two planes caused a shift in the points of conjunction; many gates and nexus points were lost, and many new ones created, or reinforced. This, however, was a mere side effect, and the main effect of the Device on the Otherworld was far more destructive.
The explosion caused a shift in the Otherworlds' mystical relationship with the Sphere of Entropy, much to the detriment of the Otherworld and its residents. The Otherworld had until that point been derived from almost equal portions of each of the four Spheres of Life, with little or no relation to the Sphere of Entropy. With the shift in planar relation, a wave of Entropy passed throughout the Otherworld, causing whole regions of the Otherworld to burn, as though the very land itself was on fire. Whole regions of the Otherworld became wastelands, covered in naught but dust and ashes (this effect also occurred in several places on Mystara, especially those areas that were strongly attuned with the Otherworld).
Quite naturally this had a negative impact on the cities and lands of the Giants, Elves, Spirits and Faeries of the Otherworld. Many were slain outright in the fires and many more were grievously injured and driven mad or turned toward Entropy. The shift also made it possible for entities from the Sphere of Entropy to enter the Otherworld, and through the Otherworld, they were able to enter Mystara. For centuries after the advent of the World Fire (as the explosion and resultant fires became known on the Spirit Plane), the native Spirits, Giants, Elves and Faeries were too busy battling the encroaching forces of Entropy to involve themselves in the battles occurring on Mystara.
On Mystara, the cataclysm and resultant earthquakes caused the Hardangar Isthmus to slowly sink over a period of ten years. During this time numerous clans of Beastmen Tribes, fleeing the destruction on the mainland, migrated east over the collapsing land bridge. These hordes settled in the newly formed Dust Reaches and surrounding bogs, adding even more chaos and terror to the lands.
[As a side note, for the first time in history the Dawn Territories, now cut off from the mainland, became known as the Isle of Dawn.]
At the same time as the Hardangar Isthmus was collapsing, a new series of islands rose in the Western Sea of Dawn. The Ostland Isles were formed, and through a stroke of luck (or perhaps through the connivance of the Immortal Odin), the Isles were right in the midst of a series of positive nodes from the Spirit Plane. Within a few short decades the isles were populated with verdant vegetation and numerous animal species, attracted by the positive energies of the Otherworld.
With the destruction of the Serpent Isle in the Sea of Dread in 1700 BC, the Over King of Nithia, Orisis, ascended from this world and became an Immortal (actually, he began the final portions of his quest for Immortality). He left control of the growing Nithian Empire in the capable hands of his son, the First Pharaoh of Nithia, Horon Ausar. For a time the energies of the Nithians were turned inward, as they developed their culture and explored their new society.
By 1675 BC most of the Norse-Antalian clans that had settled on the Isle of Dawn some fifty years before returned to the mainland; however, a number of clans (the most faithful and spiritual) were guided by the Immortal Odin to settle on the new Ostland Isles. A fair number of the Norse-Antalians opted to remain on the Isle of Dawn, as they had come to view it as their homeland. These peoples became known as the Helska, after the most powerful clan of their tribe.
Also at this time the Fomorians, under King Conann, allied with the newly arrived Beastmen hordes of bog and waste. With the Beastmens' assistance the Fomorians increased their oppression of their Firbolg and Dunael subjects. Most of the Firbolg naturally found this situation intolerable, and began to rebel against the Fomorians. The Dunael of the Fomorian lands continued to live in abject slavery, and much of their earlier culture and history was destroyed during this period of Giantish strife.
Meanwhile, the Dunael and the Helska clans of the northern lands were occupied with internecine strife and warfare. The destruction of 1700 BC had destroyed many of the clan centres as well as the few towns they had built. The north became a patchwork of Helska and Dunael clans, with the Dunael predominating in the east and the Helska in the west. Both groups maintained their iron-age level of technology, though they continue to otherwise slip into primitive savagery [the Dunael took the "Secret of Steel" from the battlefield after the Battle of Dust and Ashes]. The Beastmen, rampaging north from the bogs and wastes at the behest of the Fomorians, continued to add more chaos to the mix.
In the south, the Stone Folk and Gnomes lived on in relative peace, under the protection of the powerful forces of their Great King, Thinker. The Asieni and Asieri generally ignored the Kingdom of the High Land during this period, being more preoccupied with the darker things that crawled out of the ravaged Spirit Plane; many Asieni and Asieri clans turned to the ways of Entropy at this time. The Asuri, however, with their allies the Hunakoi Giants, took the opportunity of the chaos brought on by the cataclysm to invade the Kingdom of Shumar. They were able to single out and destroy the ruling Nosferatu, though the Human Shumarans of many towns continued to resist the attacks of the Asuri. The Kingdom of Shumara was shattered, and the plains and deserts east of the Great Escarpment became a patchwork of Shumaran, Asuri and Hunakoi tribes and city-states. The Asuri and Hunakoi built their own city, named Ashura, and by 1650 had conquered many of the Shumaran City States, and formed the Kingdom of Ashuria.
In 1600 BC the Firbolg finally managed to overthrow the rule of the Fomorians and the Beastmen Tribes. The Fomorians, their earthly power shattered, at this point became totally corrupted by the forces of the Sphere of Entropy. They fled to the darker regions of the Isle of Dawn, under the seas, and into the Otherworld, where they plotted their vengeance against the Firbolg.
The Firbolg proclaimed the leader of their rebellion, Parlann as their new king, and named themselves the People of Parlann and their kingdom the Land of Parlann after him. The Firbolg of Parlann controlled the Isle of Dawn from the Dust Reaches in the north to the Kendach Plateau in the south. The Human Dunael Tribes of these lands continued to be dominated by the Firbolg, and they assimilated parts of Firbolg culture. By this time, these Dunael were quite distinct in language and culture from their cousins to the north, though they still referred to themselves as Dunael [For sake of clarity, henceforth these peoples shall be referred to as the Southern Dunael, versus the Dunael of the northern, free territories].
The Fomorian allies, the Beastmen, either fled with the Fomorians to dark corners of the Otherworld or escaped to the bogs and wastes of the north. At this time they were merely normal Beastmen of the various different sub-races, with no unusual powers or prowess. Both groups, however, were not unchanged by the alliances that they made. Those Beastmen that fled with the Fomorians were changed by the nature of the energies that the Fomorians dealt with, and were altered by the dark natures of those energies. Henceforth the Beastmen allies of the Fomorians were also known as Fomorians, for they became as warped and vile as their masters. As for the second, and greater group of Beastmen that fled into the wastes of the north, they had another fate awaiting them.
Hel, Dark Immortal of the North, determined that she needed servitors in the lands near to the Helska, who at this point still revered Odin. Thus, she took the most powerful of the Beastmen in the northern region of the Isle of Dawn and remade them. She fused the spirits and power of renegade Elves and Faeries from the Spirit Plane that had been warped by the World Fire and merged them with the Beastmen she favoured. The result was a new race of beings, infused with the power of Chaos, the vileness of the Beastmen and the prowess of the Elves and Faeries. These creatures became known as the Drouw to the Helska, Norse and Heldann and as the Tuatha De Annwyn to the Dunael. Annwyn is the name that Hel is known under to the Dunael; it is also the name for an Entropic region of the Otherworld that lies in close conjunction with the Dunael territories.
With this infusion of power, the Beastmen of the north became an even greater threat to the Helska and Dunael. Old rivalries put aside, the Humans of the north spent their days and nights combating the new, inhuman threat. The Drouw, leading hordes of unaltered Beastmen, threatened even the borders of the Kingdom of Parlann, though the Giants of that land were able to eventually push them back into the bogs and wastes. Chaos reigned in the north for centuries, the only peace in all that land being found in the land of the People of Parlann, where the Southern Dunael continued to live out their days as slaves. [The power of the Drouw waned over the millennia as the bloodlines grew weaker and their power was dispersed among the more mortal Beastmen followers, until in the modern day the Drouw of the north are of three types: Royal, Noble and Common].
In 1500 BC Thinker, the Stone Folk Great King, ascended to the ranks of the Immortals, where he became known as Thoth. The Kingdom of the High Land continued under a line of kings, picked by the Stone Folk Priesthood of Thoth. As Thoth once again enjoyed a close relationship with Orisis and the other Nithian Immortals the culture of the Stone Folk continued to evolve more along Nithian lines, so that within 100 years, there was little difference between the culture of Nithia and the culture of the Stone Folk. [Save in language, for the language of the Stone Folk continued to be their own, though the hieroglyphs used by the Stone Folk had always been the same as those used by the Nithians. Thus, though the two spoken languages were mutually unintelligible, the written word could readily be used to communicate much like Chinese in the RW]. The Stone Folk began an era of expansion, and conquered or pushed out the local Asieri tribes. Many Asieri moved into the forests of the Asuri, where they assimilated the few remaining clans of those people.
The Middle Kingdoms Era (1400 through 900 BC)
Meanwhile, on the mainland, the Nithian Colonies west of the Altan Tepes failed by 1400 BC. The Ptahr-Al-Dar Clan, which led the colonisation effort and assimilated the native tribes and the combined peoples then became known as the Traldar. The Traldar regressed to a bronze-age level of technology, characterised by cyclopean architecture, city-states and warrior-kings. Denied further colonies on the mainland by the bellicose Traldar, the Nithians began to explore the Isle of Dawn. Their first colony was Ausarnak, founded in 1400 BC at the mouth of the River of Skulls. Ausarnak became the first centre for the Nithian slave trade, as they captured many of the native Asieni for use as slaves on the mainland.
Nithian efforts to conquer any part of the Land of the People of Parlann failed miserably, however, some intermittent trade did occur between the two nations. The Kingdom of Laticas (modern Laticea) was founded around this time by Traldar allies of the Nithians of Ausarnak, and represented the only major independent colonisation effort of the Traldar outside the mainland for the next 400 years. Lack of further colonisation by the Traldar was due mostly to the fact that the Latican Traldar held a monopoly on Traldar trade on the Sea of Dread outside the Traldar Isles, thanks to their Nithian alliance.
Also around this time the Helskan tribes underwent a cultural revolution. The many clans and tribes were becoming organised into a series of kingdoms, each under the leadership of a single noble clan. The Helskan Kingdoms each warred with one another as often as they warred with the Drouw and the Dunael, but they usually were able to co-operate when faced with the concerted efforts of their enemies. This was through the influence of Alfar from the mainland, a group of Otherworldly Sidhe who foresaw the danger implicit in the Drouw threat; they knew that should the Drouw successfully conquer and eliminate the Helska that the mainland and Ostlander Norse would be next on Hel's list. So the Alfar, under the guidance of Frey and Freyja, assisted the Helska with magical and military aid. They were responsible for the creation of the series of Ley Lines built across the northern reaches of the Isle of Dawn. These Ley Lines, which tapped into the power of the Spirit Plane, were used for magical communication and travel as well as for the augmentation of magical spells (these Ley Lines are connected to the network of Ley Lines found in the Northern Reaches and Norwold). They also established a class of Helskir Magicians, who were taught the ways of Faerie Magic and the use of the Ley Lines; these Magicians were the advisers of the various kings and nobles of the Helskan Kingdoms.
The Dunael also received Otherworldly aid at this time. Groups of Elves, Faeries and Spirits contacted various peoples of the Dunael and instructed them in the advanced ways of magic and war. Recognising their common goal, these Elves, Faeries and Spirits formed an alliance, called the Seelie Court, which was organised to assist the Dunael against the Tuatha De Annwyn. The members of the Seelie Court felt that if the Tuatha De Annwyn should conquer the Dunael of the Isle of Dawn, they would have an open path to invade the uncorrupted regions of the Otherworld. The Seelie Court, being of a more chaotic nature than the Alfar of the Helska, did not have any great organising influence on the Dunael. Rather, the Dunael continued to be as clannish and disorganised as before, though they were better empowered to deal with the threat posed by the Tuatha De Annwyn.
By the middle of the 14th century BC, it seemed as though evil and chaos were on the defensive across the Isle of Dawn. The Helska were effectively counterattacking the Drouw threat, as were the Dunael to the east. The People of Parlann ruled a peaceful if oppressive kingdom in the middle of the isle. And the Entropy-dominated Oltec Savages of the southern reaches were on the run from the forces of Order, represented by the Stone Folk and the Ashurians, with their Hunakoi allies. Then, in 1350 BC, a plague struck the Firbolg. Less than one in ten of the People of Parlann survived the plague, though the other races of the Isle were unaffected. The remaining Firbolg battled each other, each clan blaming the other for the plague (suspicions were sown by the Fomorians, who were the real progenitors of the plague). Chaos ruled among the Firbolg for decades, and the Fomorians began moving into the power vacuum. The hopes of the Fomorians were dashed, however, in 1300 BC when King Nemmu-Ptahr of the Nithians invaded the lands of the People of Parlann with a massive host (which included no small numbers of Traldar mercenaries).
The Nithians conquered the lands readily, as the plague and civil war had devastated the Firbolg. The majority of the remaining Firbolg fled into the hills, wastes and plateaux of the southern lands. Some fled into the Otherworld and joined their brethren. The Southern Dunael folk, expecting better treatment from other Humans, were sorely disappointed upon the founding of the Nithian Kingdom of Ptahrmonak. The rule of the Nithians ended up being even harsher than that of the Firbolg. Nithian rule over the area was never very solid, however, as they were continually resisted by Fomorians, Firbolg and the Southern Dunael. The rule of the Nithians, garbled through years of tales told around the campfire and the interference of the Immortals, is regarded by the modern Aran as the Reign of the Nemedians, the people of King Nemed (King Nemmu-Ptahr). The Nithians of the kingdom of Ptahrmonak are referred to as Nemedians in many chronicles. Actually, the Nemedians were properly a mixture of Nithians and Traldar, as the Nithian invasion had been facilitated with large numbers of Traldar mercenaries, most of whom settled down and stayed in Ptahrmonak/Nemedia.
Also at this time the Nithians once again came into contact with the Stone Folk of the High Land, through the colony of Ausarnak. The Stone Folk were slow to open themselves and their lands to the Imperial Nithians, even though their cultures were very similar. The Nithians, with their ancient tales of Thoth and his peoples, regarded the land of the Stone Folk as the ancient, mythical land of O-Ptahr, known as the Kingdom of Gold. Wisely, the Nithians chose to ally with the Stone Folk rather than attempt to conquer them. The Nithians traded various finished products and unusual minerals in return for gold and precious gems. Riches from the trade with O-Ptahr poured into the treasuries of the Nithian Pharaohs, which fuelled further exploration and colonisation.
The Firbolg that fled to the Otherworld after the Nemedian conquest were not idle during this period. During the century following the conquest by the Nithians, the Firbolg drew together an alliance with the Spirits, Elves, Faeries and Giants of the Otherworld. The express purpose of this alliance: the re-conquest of the lands once held by the Giants, Elves, Faeries and Spirits in elder days (which included the lands of Ptahrmonak, the Helska and the Dunael). In order to perfect the alliance, the Firbolg agreed to the inclusion of the Southern Dunael in the alliance. For it was the belief of their Otherworldly allies that the Humans were originally under their protection, and by this time had culturally evolved to the point where they should be treated as equals. This mixed group of beings became known as the Tuatha De Danoia, the "Children of Danoia". The Immortal Danoia, revered by both the Giants and the Dunael, was the Patron Immortal of the group and it's cause.
In 1200 BC the Tuatha De Danoia elected Nuada, a Giant of the Otherworld, to be King of the Tuatha De Danoia. The alliance spent over a century plotting, calculating and gathering allies before making its first move. In 1100 BC Nuada and his followers placed a stronghold in Mystara atop the Kendach Plateau. Said in myth and legend to have been built in a single day, the fortress was actually assembled in the Otherworld and transported whole to Mystara. Nuada named the fortress Caer Tiarchnach, "Regal Castle" (bastardised over the centuries into the modern "Kendach"). Though the transfer of the citadel was secret and known only to the members of the alliance, a mysterious figure stood at the gate even before it had fully appeared in Mystara. This being, which claimed to be a Wizard named Mystaros, was quickly brought in to confer with King Nuada. Whatever passed between the King and the Wizard at that time, no one knows, however, Mystaros joined the ranks of the Tuatha De Danoia before the end of that day.
During this time there were few major events elsewhere on the Isle of Dawn. The only event of note was the Latican War. This war was fought between the Traldar of the Kingdom of Mesonias and the Kingdom of Laticas, and lasted from 1190 BC through 1150 BC. The Nithians did not become involved in this war for several reasons, foremost of which was that they did not care which side won. The Traldar had been a thorn in the side of the Nithians since they had severed cultural ties with their motherland, and the Nithians were more than pleased to see the best of the Traldar fall under each other's blades. Also, while the ostensible cause of the war was yet another wife-stealing noble of the Traldar, the actual issue was the control of the Traldar trade from the Isle of Dawn, and again, the Nithians didn't really care either way, as they would still get their cut.
The Laticans and Mesonians decimated the Traldar social and economic infrastructure over their forty-year war. In the end, the Laticans were destroyed, mostly because the Mesonians were able to bring their various allies from the mainland into the fray, notably, all of the cities that Laticas had gouged at one time or another. The mainland Traldar cities were also devastated, and thus were easier prey for the legions of the Pharaoh. These side effects had grave consequences for the Traldar in the next century. Several of the Traldar kingdoms fell to the Nithians by 1100 BC (Horonak, the modern city of Harbortown, was founded by the Nithians at this time), and the Kingdom of Mesonias itself fell to the Nithians in 1040 BC.
The Nithians founded yet another colony on the Isle of Dawn in 1100 BC. This time a great fleet, sponsored by the leading clans of the Nithian city of Thothis (seat of the Nithian Priesthood of Thoth), rounded the southern expanse of the Isle of Dawn and landed among the tribes and cities of the Shumarans, Ashurians and Hunakoi. The forces of that region could not resist the power of the Thothite forces, and city state and tribe fell to the Nithians. By year's end, the Nithian colonial Kingdom of Thothia was well and strongly founded, with only the Kingdom of Ashuria standing in the way of Nithian dominion. Within 10 years time the Nithians reduced and conquered Ashuria and the Hunakoi were again pushed to the east. The Shumarans and Ashurians were enslaved, and eventually assimilated into the Thothian culture.
By 1000 BC the Nithians had grown to a level of power and civilisation the world had not seen since the days of Blackmoor. The Nithians were occupied with many projects, foremost of which was the colonisation of the Southern Continent, including the war against the ancient Serpentine Empire, and the relocation of their slave servitors, the Nuari. The Nithians also assisted the migration of the Alphatians from their world to Mystara. During this time the Nithians were still occupied with their numerous and various dynastic and religious conflicts as well as the exploration of the ruins of Blackmoor on Skothar. There were also other issues diverting Nithian attention: the Beastmen Invasion and the Traldar Migration being most noteworthy. Imperial Nithian power was strong, but spread very thin.
Taking advantage of this situation, the Southern Dunael, led by the Tuatha De Danoia, pushed the Nemedians out of the eastern portions of Ptahrmonak, on a line nearly equating the modern border between Thyatian and Alphatian territory. As the Nemedian clans were followers of the Immortal Ptahr, and the Priesthood of Ptahr was on the losing side of the last dynastic struggle, little help was forthcoming from the Empire (which was ruled at the time by the Seventh Dynasty, Amonite). King Balor, leader of the Fomorians after the death of King Conann, decided to ally his people with the much-reduced Nemedians against the Tuatha De Danoia and Southern Dunael, but to little effect. The Tuatha De Danoia were joined at a pivotal moment in this series of battles by the mysterious and multitalented Leugh (believed by many to have been the Traldar hero Zirchev on his path toward Immortality).
As mentioned above, the Traldar of the mainland were nearly destroyed at this time in a great war with the Beastmen. Many of the Traldar fled by sea, a large group of which was lead by King Milen of the City-State of Marlenas (modern Specularum). The Traldar who fled by sea became known in general as Milenians, after that Great King. Many of these Milenians settled in the Nithian colonies on the Isle of Dawn, where they obliterated or assimilated the last remnants of the Asieni, or on the Alatian Islands, where they assimilated the native Makai peoples. The Traldar founded a number of city-states during this era. These cities included Daropolis (modern West Portage), Heliopolis (modern East Portage), the former with the approval of the Nemedians, the latter with the approval of the Tuatha De Danoia, as well as Trikelios and Ekto (the last two having been settled by large numbers of Nemedians, as well). A small group of Traldar was shipwrecked on the modern Isle of Ochalea, where they eventually assimilated the native Oltec Savages and formed the barbarian Dairu culture. The main body of Milenians, of course, continued on to the Southern Continent, where they eventually built their own empire.
Also in 1000 BC the Alphatians arrived on the continent to the east, assisted in their migration by the Nithians. For the first several centuries after landfall the Alphatians were too busy building their own kingdoms on that continent to think of interfering with the events on the Isle of Dawn, but during this time several groups of Alphatians, notably Common Alphatians, sought their fortunes on the Isle of Dawn. Generally, these minor colonies were absorbed and assimilated by the local peoples. This was often the case among the Dunael, who absorbed a large number of Common Alphatians into their culture, and the Thothians, who did so to a lesser extent.
In 900 BC King Balor of the Fomorians was able to persuade the Pharaoh Amon Harakhate, ninth and last Pharaoh of the Amonite Dynasty, to sponsor an invasion of the lands of the Tuatha De Danoia. With a levy of thousands, and thousands of mercenary troops, the Pharaoh himself arrived at Daropolis to lead the war. The Pharaoh and King had underestimated the valour and power of the Tuatha De Danoia, however, and the battle quickly went against the Nithians and Fomorians. The war lasted for seven years; the Pharaoh himself was grievously wounded in battle in 895 BC, after which he withdrew to return to the mainland (he was deposed shortly thereafter). Most Imperial support for the war, and for Nemedia in general, dried up after that time, as the new Dynasty (the Eighth Dynasty, Ranite) had other goals.
Eventually, the Tuatha De Danoia pushed the Nithians, Nemedians and Fomorians back into the core of the lands of Nemedia, where they fought the pivotal Second Battle of Neagh Flats [the First Battle of Neagh Flats was fought during the war between the Firbolg and the Fomorians, ca. 1325 BC]. Many chiefs and nobles of the Fomorians and Tuatha De Danoia fell on that day, including King Balor of the Fomorians and King Nuada of the Tuatha de Danoia. [Refer to "Artifacts and Relics of the Isle of Dawn" for the description of the Redstone of Aran, which was created during this battle]. In the end, the Tuatha De Danoia held the field, and the remaining Fomorians and Nemedians fled for their lives. The Tuatha de Danoia spent the rest of the century in relative peace, leaving the Nemedians to their small strip of lands in the west.
The "Other Goals" of the Ranite Dynasty included the conquest of the lands of the Helska and the Dunael tribes to the north. Their efforts began even before the Ranite Dynasty came to power, as the various noble clans allied with the Ranite Priesthood of Rathanos (a Chaotic Evil sect of the Priesthood of Rathanos) sponsored forays into Helskan and Dunael territory beginning in 920 BC. They had some success against the Dunael, but kept encountering difficulty in battles against the Helska. The Nithian attacks against the Helska galvanised those people, and in 900 BC they elected their first High King of the Helska.