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Hail Thonia!

by JTR from Threshold Magazine issue 12

Hail Thonia!

By JTR (OldDawg)

“Here! Over here! I told you it was here!”

Magnar Runnarson, had often spoke of a discovery he had made in his youth, and now many years later, he was about to be the proven right. There beneath him, the grass gave way, and a large stone breached the earth.

An older man, grey but strong, made his way across the windswept grasslands of Thorin. Sir Allen of Newkirk felt the worn etchings carved within the stone. He poured water over its surface, revealing a faint pair of symbols “ΘΝ”. Pensive, the old knight whispered, “now what do we have here?”


The Dawn of Man (6000-5500 BC)

“The waters abated, and the hidden lands of Urt revealed themselves. A figure stirred in the loam and the clay. First the one, then the other.” – Antehistorium, Book 3, verse 16.

7,000 years ago, the world looked very different from its modern face. The north pole lay near modern Glantri, and the ice cap covered much of the Known World. Global sea levels were significantly lower, and landbridges, now awash, connected the continents.

No true civilization existed. The lizard-kin who had survived the wars before Man’s Dawn continued to devolve and degenerate to a point where they could begin their rise anew. These remnants were relegated to hidden swamps, secluded valleys and the most desolate of deserts. So, too, brute-men lived in scattered enclaves throughout the world mired in a Stone Age existence. It was in this world that the five races of men came into their infancy.

The Neathar were light-skinned hunter-gatherers that followed the great northern herds from the Isle of Dawn to Bellisaria. They moved quickly across the landscape and would come to settle Ur-Alphatia, half of Skothar and even Brun itself. To their east, the dark-skinned Tanagoro and related tribes inhabited the equatorial plains, mountains and jungles of Skothar. The third tribe of men – the stout dwarves – occupied the Frosthaven Landbridge in the north, a rough territory where Norwold joined Ur-Alphatia and Skothar. These barbaric dwarves survived as goatherds amid the cold mountains and hills.

Davania sheltered the two remaining tribes of men. The original Oltec Men, such as the Protecs, inhabited the Forest of Ka and the rainforests of the Addakian Mounts. Man’s fifth tribe, the diminutive halflings, lived in rolling hills and forests amid a protected valley in Davania’s interior.

These new races proved prolific, and the brute-men slowly disappeared as men expanded their ranges. In 5900 BC, the first permanent settlement of Kadech arose upon the Alatian Strait. It was followed by the Bellisarian towns of Gorem (5873 BC), Pa-Met (5812 BC), Lyd (5803 BC), and Ankg-shem (5791 BC). Additional settlements occurred further east, foremost among them the City of Lum which occupied an important crossroads on the Ester Strait (5632 BC).

As humans ventured into the wildlands, they encountered the mysterious Children of the Sea. These tall, advanced beings, were not true kin of humanity, but rather the last remnants of the ancient Lhomarrian people whose homeland was swallowed by the Great Southern Expanse. Weary and in decline, the Children of the Sea were ultimately absorbed into the human diaspora.

The Burrower Wars and the Wild Lands (5500-5000)

“And in the days of Heth, the mighty hunter Sagoron strode the land of Ber-shad. And both man and beast fled in terror. And Madem walked the wadis of Stratem-heth, as the Children of Lum danced before As-Tod, as was their way. In the cold seas swam Levith and the warm seas Walu-eth, and Humungus trampled the field and forest. ” – Antehistorium, Book 22, verses 1-3
“I stood before the shadowy figure and he offered me a pool from which to drink. Then I perceived myself standing beside and behind the figure and peered into the depths of what was and was to be.” – Diakhoronus, Book III, verses 10-11.

As men continued their eastward expansion, they confronted strange lands and creatures. Powerful burrowing monsters and other bizarre creatures roamed the world, and in their wake isolated cultures grew corrupted (5500 BC). The people began to regard these beings as gods and made offerings. The burrowers disturbed the slumber of the champion races, corrupting many of them as well, and they weakened the prisons that held back ancient abominations (5400 BC).

The worship of these creatures continued to devolve, and tribes fell upon one another in savage, irrational wars that waxed and waned for three centuries (5300 -5000 BC). The city-states of the east grew isolated amid the mayhem and monsters, and only those willing to dare to high adventure left the safety of their city walls.

Prophetic visions drew one semi-nomadic tribe out of the Bellisarian wastelands. These Thonians travelled through Lum and the tent cities of the Perfumed Coast. Despite admonitions from their leader Euphemus, the Thonians adopted the ways of the eastern people, including the secret worship of As-Tod. Euphemus led his people further into the desolation beyond the city-states. He too faced his own temptation from the Witch of Shefa and her alluring charms.

After 50 years of travel and purification, the Thonians passed through the hills and mountains and reached the Sunrise Sea. There they built the City of Mohacs (5200 BC). In the cacophonous festivals that followed, the unknown figure of Euphemus’s visions revealed himself as Wodus (Odin). Euphemus ascended to his side and merged with Odin’s shadowy companion, declaring himself reborn as Khoronus and gifted the gathered Thonians his precepts and prophesies for the future.

In western lands far removed from the reveling Thonians, another Neathar tribe stirred to its own migration around the northern shores of the Great Inland Ocean. These men would become the Skandaharians.

The First Republic of Thonia – The Ten Principalities (5000 -4700 BC)

“Let it be written and let it be known, that we are as brothers, bound and true.” – Telo of Regia, The Chronicles of Thonia, Book I

When the Burrower Wars concluded and the terrifying creatures disappeared, men established more settlements, setting the stage for further cultural development. Ambitious forces tried to claim the city states of the east, but they held firm to their independence. The Thonians, meanwhile, had expanded their territories beyond Mohacs along the Sunrise Sea. The people were fragmented among ten competing houses, so it was decided that a single authority should be installed to settle disputes. Leadership would be drawn by lot among the Ten Princes, who assumed recognized governorship of the territories beyond Mohacs. Telo of Regia was selected Thonia’s first Imperator. He installed the Codical Rex, a stone wall of ancient laws from the Diakhoronus and other texts. He was aided by the Imperium, a council of six chosen from the clan elders.

Other nations also rose. The Tanagoro people to the south experienced a revelatory event similar to that which previously occurred at Mohacs when the entity Korotiku empowered Sakkrad of Setum. From the north, the Skandaharian Raiders of the East and West sailed from the waters of the Frosthaven Landbridge and beyond. Their reaver culture was now fully engrained and they pillaged the coastal lands.

Thonia projected its increasing might and annexed the Western Marches (4900-4780 BC), a collection of city-states that scattered the lands between Lum and Thonia. Not all city-states fell easily. Talitha the Sybarite was a powerful warrioress, as cruel and tempting in her beauties as with her steel axe. She ruled Shefa and consorted with adventurers, kings and generals, playing them off against one another as befit her needs or her amusement. In this way, she sparked a jealousy among the Thonian nobles. These squabbles paralyzed the Republic which dissolved in disagreement over the appointment of succeeding Imperiums (4700 BC). The city-states reasserted their independence.

The Second Republic of Thonia [4600 -4400 BC]

“Selumid, Iyx, Cassem, Medius, Paphemy, Eschate.” The Chronicles of Thonia, Book 3

In 4600 BC, six of the Thonian houses agreed to an arrangement that kept the Imperium restricted to themselves. The reconstituted nation extended its sphere of influence once more. First it reasserted control over the wayward Western Marches. Then the Republic annexed the territories of its Southern and Eastern Marches (4500 BC). These efforts brought Thonia into contact with both the northern dwarves and the southern mountain kingdom of Saku. Rogue mages fled the confines of the aggressive empire and settled the Superstitious Mountains in the north, while far beyond Thonian control, the Yan, a Central Neathar tribe, settled Ur-Alphatia.

Skandaharian reavers became an increasing threat, but they were not the only force to threaten imperial Thonia. Beastmen – reputed to be the reincarnated souls of evil beings - appeared in the Borean Valley, a semi-frozen land northeast of the dwarves. These Beastmen were wild chaotic creatures that did not breed true. Their initial encounters with the dwarves ignited the First Dwarf-Beastman War and prompted the formation of the Kingdom of the Dwarves in 4487 BC. The Beastmen also troubled the Thonian Eastern Marches, and, ultimately, much of Ur-Alphatia.

After a century of continuous predations by beastmen and the human raiders, Thonia finally collapsed (4400 BC). The foremost Skandaharian chief of this age, Skuld, sacked Mohacs and returned to his northern homeland laden with gains and eternal infamy.

The Third Republic of Thonia (4300 -3900 BC)

“Unica Thonia et Unicum Lux.” The Chronicles of Thonia, Book V

By 4300 BC, the House of Iyx positioned itself to wrest a permanent claim to the throne of Mohacs. The Iyxians consolidated power in the newly formed Third Republic and compelled their competitors to join settlers in the Northlands, pushing Thonian borders to the Misauga and the Black Sea.

Additional events were unfolding beyond the empire. The northern dwarves were engaged in their third major conflict with the beastmen of Borea. In the south, the new coastal kingdom of Satum devastated the older Saku kingdom and made contact with Thonia. The Peshwah moved into the Hak, while outcasts settled the territories between the Northlands and the Goblin Kush, known now as the Kerothar Mountains. There the Afridhi, a remote Neathar tribe from the Kush, began to worship Zugzul the One.

Thonia slowly brought its former holdings back under control, and in 4200 BC, new colonial efforts in southeastern Skothar and Bellisaria were initiated. These efforts were hampered by imperial involvement in the Mage Wars (4185-4104 BC). The Order of the Frog, an offshoot of the ancient Cult of As-Tod, emerged in the northern settlement of Vesthold, but it was driven out after its involvement in child sacrifice (4128 BC).

Thonian forces sought to subjugate the lands west of the Misauga (The Free Northern Marches) but suffered a resounding defeat at Brushy Fen (4100 BC). The victorious Unwanted declared themselves the Duchy of Ten. The losses incurred by Thonia stalled further expansion of its Colonial Marches, but its settlements had penetrated deep enough to be discovered by Davania’s Wanderer elves and their halfling companions. Several of the elves and halflings chose to reside within the Empire, and those under Menander Ithamis settled into the Northern Marches (4077 BC).

A decades-long series of political and environmental events rocked the human settlements on the Frosthaven Landbridge, beginning in 4050 BC. A coup took place in the Duchy of the Peaks (4040 BC), and Joloxon’s Wall, which marked Thonia’s northern boundary sank into the Shallows. The mysterious Egg of Coot also established its own domain in this sparsely populated region of wild magic and forgotten monsters. Human, dwarf, and beastman enclaves peppered northern Norwold, and Thonian proselytizers had brought the Northern Neathar to honor Vodius. Finally, in 4004 BC the infantile Emperor Iyx IV took the Perfumed Throne.

The Afridhi, a militant matriarchal society that referred to itself as the Children of Fire, marched east with holy fervor towards the Thonian Empire under the high priestess Toska Rusa. They left the Yan unmolested but overran Valemen settlements (3999 BC). In 3996 BC, The Afridhi marched 170,000 men, women and children east across the Plains of Hak, conquering the Peshwah in 3995 BC. When word of this invasion of wild hillmen reached Mohacs, an attitude of non-provocation held sway at the court.

The Afridhi concluded a treaty with the Duchess of the Peaks before finally crushing Tenian resistance (3988 BC). When they crossed the Misauga, however, a coalition of northern forces rebuffed them. Emperor Iyx ordered the leaders arrested for threatening the peace. Uther Andahar of Blackmoor turned back Thonian forces at Booh and then Root River. The northern barons again checked the Afridhi at the Battle of the Neck (3987 BC). When Iyx beheaded the barons’ emissary – a nobleman’s son – Uther declared himself King of Blackmoor. The other barons joined his Great Rebellion and prevailed over foes on four fronts (3987-3982 BC). The Afridhi foreswore Blackmoor and turned south. Amidst the chaos, the Order of the Frog resurfaced as the Monks of the Swamp (3983 BC).

In addition to these military and political events, 3982 BC bore witness to an incident with world-shaping implications. An other-dimension exploration vessel, the FSS Beagle, was caught in a freak energy/dimensional vortex and crash-landed in the nearby Valley of the Ancients. Mutinous segments of the crew escaped and took control of the Monks of the Swamp, while Blackmoor’s Regency Council sent expeditions to the Valley of the Ancients to investigate this new City of the Gods. Examples of rare alien technology filtered their way across the north.

King Uther was kidnapped in 3978 BC. The dwarven Regent of Mines was likewise taken, starting the sixth Dwarf-Beastman War. A group of foreign adventurers rescued the king in the following year. They subsequently defeated the Monks of the Swamp and destroyed the Afridhi’s infernal Well of Souls.

The Interregnum (3900-3620 BC)

“The people cried out to Vod and Khron, even to ancient Verthan and As-Tod of the Sea, but in silence they were rebuked.” The Apocalypse of Marcus, verse 45.

The Afridhi captured the Western Marches in 3900 BC. Absent effective routes of travel, the Southern and Colonial Marches were equally lost to the Empire. Thonia was thrown into disarray. Commerce halted as the flow of trade goods from its provinces ceased, and the Iyxian Emperors grew increasingly detached from reality. They dismissed their councilors and issued ever-more bizarre edicts.

When Neryx II proclaimed himself Sollux Idiotum, the Personification of the Sun, the end of the Third Republic was near. Neryx ran through the streets of Mohacs bearing torches that ignited plumes of perfumed vapors. The Duke of Marcovic colluded with his fellow nobles, and they removed the Iyxians from power. Neryx himself was consigned to exile upon the Isle of Heliot in the Sunrise Sea.

The princes could not resolve the matter of succession, however, and as violence loomed, the Patriarch of the High Church of Thonia declared conservatorship of the capital city. The nobles withdrew to their own estates where they exerted control over local affairs.

The Thonians felt that the gods had abandoned them in their time of need and saw the Afridhi as a divine scourge sent to chastise a wayward nation. The belief in abandonment crystallized in 3863 BC when the City of the Gods – that marvel to the north in the Valley of the Ancients – vanished in a thunderous blinding light that was witnessed as far as Lum. Adventurers sent to investigate the lost wonder found only a plague of mutated life and glass-filled craters.

The calamities that beset the once Golden Empire produced a schism within the Church, and a heretical order emerged that held that the salvation of the world required the annihilation of the Thonian people in atonement. Their agents in the west procured a device termed the Spicum Thanatus, or Spear of Thanatos, but the order’s efforts were undone in the city of Lum when a young thief named Asterius destroyed the weapon. The exploits of Asterius grew in fame among the city-states as he outwitted Afridhi overlords, brigands, witches, and end-time cults. He preserved connections and smuggled goods between the communities during their long dark night.

With the loss of the City of the Gods and its stores of wonder, Blackmoor was forced to rely upon its own ingenuity to propel itself further. The University of Blackmoor committed itself to the study of technomancy and the rediscovery of the alien technologies. In due course, arcanists and scientists unraveled the secrets of black powder weaponry (3800 BC).

The Afridhi renewed their expansion into Thonian territory under the leadership of Eos Cynex. Afridhi forces pressed deep into the Ten Principalities and besieged Mohacs (3743 BC), but Blackmoor intervened, and its technological superiority delivered the imperial capital.

A similar migration-invasion occurred in the south. The iron-wielding Janbu culture of the southern Skothar plains drove the jungle tribes eastward. Refugees fled into the sea, with survivors landing on northern Davania and Brun. Southern Skothar was partitioned between the old Tanagoro and Janbu tribes of the plains, the Satum kingdom of the mountains, the Ibu jungle tribes, and the Kho tribes of the desert. To the west, a fire priest from the Oltec nations shook the Bellisarian kingdoms.

Forty years later (3700 BC), the priestess Sola Carnix inspired the Afridhi to one final campaign to reach the Sunrise Sea. Afridhi warriors overwhelmed the Thonian defenders. They burned Mohacs to the ground and pursued its denizens into the sea where many drowned. At long last, the hill people of Goblin Kush had completed their holy mission. In their celebrations, the Afridhi visited untold sufferings upon their captives.

The depraved actions of the victors angered the Blackmoorians, who declared a war of reprisal and unprecedented savagery against their ancient enemies. Over a 20 year campaign, Blackmoor rolled back Afridhi forces: first from the 10 Principalities, then across the Plains of Hak, and up through the former Free Northern Marches and the Vale. The Goblin Kush was devastated. Its smoldering, lifeless hull served as an eternal reminder to those who would threaten the peace of the Blackmoorian world. Without fear of reprisals, the occupied Western Marches rebelled against the surviving Afridhi overlords.

Beastmen took advantage of the chaos that followed the war years, and they entrenched themselves in royal and imperial territories. A wearied Blackmoor responded slowly to this additional threat to their kinsmen, but eventually it expelled the last of the inhuman raiders in 3650 BC.

For Thonia, the risk of potential occupation by the kingdoms of the south became an increasing concern. In 3620 the lords of Thonia bent the knee before the kingdom of Blackmoor and signed the Treaty of Dragonia which established the Holy Thonian Empire under the aegis of Blackmoor. Uther V, commonly known as Uther Magnus, was crown emperor. Although the imperial reign of the elder Uther was brief, those years were critical in reestablishing the integrity and connections of empire’s long lost marches.

The Holy Thonian Empire and the Pax Technologica (3620 -3330 BC)

“There is no greater shield than a whetted sword.” The Chronicles of Thonia, Book XI

Map of the Thonian Empire

As the peace settled upon the Eastern World under the Pax Technologica, Blackmoor embarked upon an age of naval exploration (3600 BC). Intrepid adventurers and learned sages set out to learn what lay beyond the boundaries of the Golden Empire. In 3550 BC Robert the Mariner rounded the Horn of Zyxl and became the first man to circumnavigate Skothar from the Eastern Marches to the southern waters of the City States and Colonial Marches. Other explorers charted the Great Inland Ocean in 3525 BC, documenting the range of Skandaharian settlements and the devastation of the Afridhi Coast below the Goblin Kush. Navigators also sailed portions of western Brun, but those expeditions were discontinued in 3450 BC after the perilous voyage of the Meridian, a vessel sunk with all hands on deck by an attack from a flock of dragons.

The elves were equally expansive and a number of Wanderers claimed territories in Bellisaria (3600 BC) and the unincorporated territories beyond Thonia’s Western Marches (3500 BC). Both southern and colonial elves grew fascinated with human technology and conspired to steal Blackmoor’s secrets at Ringlo Hall, including reproductive technologies. Discovery of the theft ignited the Elven Brush War. The elves were defeated, but not before they had smuggled their gains out of the empire.

Globally the Neathar race underwent rapid development and diversification. Even within the Golden Empire, the language in individual areas evolved into very distinct dialects, and kinships were no longer recognized. Additional conflicts emerged in the Borean territories as dwarves clashed with dragons and beastmen. Moreover, the beastmen had begun siring a race of half-breed brutes among the local humans, and their progeny were appearing in the empire proper. Faced with a growing population of brutes within its borders, The High Church of Thonia declared the Doctrine of Purity. The First Beastman Crusade (3480-3420 BC) removed all “unnatural” beastmen and brutes from the old Eastern and Northern Marches, and as the efforts pressed northward, the crusade became embroiled with the Dwarf-Dragon War. The Meridian was but one casualty.

By 3400 BC, Blackmoor explorers had charted the shores of Bellisaria, Oceania and large stretches of the Davanian coast. They encountered eastern Oltecs migrating along northern Davania and crossing the sea to Bellisaria. Many of the northern realms, particularly Lumbrai, proved eager to exploit this potential source of labor. Slave ports sprouted in Bellisaria and Skothar.

Blackmoor’s technomantic development now produced elemental steamtech engines that powered lumbering devices of war. Thonian lords had grown weary of their allegiance to a “foreign” northern emperor. Like the elves before them, the Thonians absconded with Blackmoor’s technological secrets. When they were prepared, the lords declared themselves in open rebellion against the throne of Blackmoor. The Thonian Wars raged for 40 years (3370-3330).

Concurrently, other concerns mounted. Naval explorers sailing from the Horn of Zyxl ventured into the Great Southern Expanse and discovered Davania’s western shore and Evergrun, the homeland of the elves (3350 BC). Fearful of human encroachments, the elves struck against the fleet, precipitating the Second Elven War (the Great War). The Great War was a mixture of naval campaigns and proxy wars among the colonial holdings. The colonial elves also joined with a coalition of humans known as the Brotherhood of Freedom that fought to overturn the Bellisarian slavers.

These events transpired as the “Boy King”, Uther VII, ascended the throne (3360 BC). Uther had contemplated the growing fractures of society within and outside of the empire, and set about his great Reformation (3350-3270 BC). Thonian forces were finally put down at the Battle of Marban Green (3335 BC), and after five years of negotiations – culminating in the Concordance of Mohacs (3330 BC) – a new world was born. The Concordance ended the Bellisarian Slave Wars, the Thonian Wars, and the Great War with the elves. The act established colonization limits between Blackmoor and Evergrun, and the slave trade was abolished within the empire. The imperial seat was restored to Mohacs where Uther, now known as the Red, presided over the newly formed Fourth Republic of Thonia.

The Fourth Republic of Thonia (3330-3000 BC)

“We are free from the shackles of the past. Free of the burdens of our flesh. Free to define our own destinies among the stars.” – Commencement address to the University of Blackmoor, 3106 BC

Although Skandaharian brush wars played out in the far north (3300 BC), and Satum earned a ruinous victory against the Janbu tribes of the south in the Tanagoro Unification Wars (3310-3280 BC), the Fourth Republic began with a sense of calm. Ecclesiastical schisms over the Reformation left the Empire with three competing Churches, but all three groups supported the Edict of Westport, which declared the universal abolition of slavery. A new round of colonizations began under Melyon III (3270 BC), and Thonia signed territorial agreements with the Skandaharians under the Stardock Accords that gave the Thonian world greater access to Norwold (3260 BC).

Imperial leadership declined under the eccentric Merrok II (3255 BC), and beastmen raided the inattentive Republic (3230 BC). Thonian lands were finally freed in 3220 BC. The Second Beastman Crusade continued another twenty years and drove beastmen and brutes out of the Borean Valley and into the Polar Regions. Blackmoor established a series of monitoring posts in this new territory, including Ice Station Urzud. The territorial expansion brought increasing encounters with dragons (3200 BC).

Despite the risk, more and more northern settlements were erected, many of them subterranean. Robotics became the primary focus of technomancy at the University of Blackmoor (3150 BC). A joint human-elf expedition reached the north pole, and they were startled to discover additional Beagle wreckage at this site. A research station was established nearby, while the dwarves built Darmouk closer to the coast. Their activities drew the attention of dragons, both the intelligent and the more animalistic specimens, and the situation erupted into the epic Dragon War (3150-3135 BC). Faced with dragons, faeries, and elven defectors, the Blackmoorians countered with giant steamtech robots, devastating weaponry, and the Dragonlord armor. At the end of the war, dragons withdrew from Norwold for the Midlands while restraints were placed on Blackmoor’s further expansion into Brun.

In the years that followed, there was little good will between fairies and men. The Empire of Thonia was noted for its vastness, excess and debauchery, and its allure pulled the elven people from their ancestral ways. Many back-to-nature movements sprang up within and outside of the empire, but despite their agitation, Blackmoor achieved manned space flight (3100 BC). Lunar colonization came soon after (3075 BC), as did discovery of the hidden moon of Patera (3050 BC). Plans were advanced to turn the monitoring stations and the moons into a teleportation network.

By 3020 BC, the University of Blackmoor had begun the study of eugenics, cybernetics and technomantic gate travel. Activist concerns led to increasing confrontations throughout the world, and bombings and open warfare were common by 3010 BC.

The Great Rain of Fire (3000 BC)

“And the Black Rabbit swallowed the sun, and danced amid fire; He burned brighter and brighter with the rays of the sun; and the Great Serpent slithered into the Earth. All the world cried. Thus ended the Fifth Sun.” Atruaghin oral tradition.

The development of Blackmoorian technomancy accelerated to the point where scientists had rediscovered the principles of the Starship Beagle’s engine. Unfortunately, the technology interacted with Mystara’s magic in unseen ways. During a proof of concept test, tragedy ensued, and the prototype exploded. Those nearest the City of Blackmoor were instantaneously vaporized, and released energy waves spread across the globe, interfering with, and occasionally destroying, technological objects in the Great Rain of Fire.

Lush rainforests fell, and disease, famine and pestilence spread. Nearly a quarter of life on the planet died from the Rain. Some men and beasts succumbed quickly from the poisoning effects of the Rain, while for others, the process was a slow, painful debilitation that took its increasing toll across generations. The Blackmoor explosion also affected planar regions drawing spirits into the world.

The initial explosion torqued the planetary axis. The stars danced for centuries as Mystara’s rotation stabilized. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, droughts and destructive storms swept the planet. The Tanagoro plains were rocked by a series of volcanic eruptions which turned the land into mountainous infertile land. Thonia was torn apart and half drowned in the cataclysm while the skies burned and cities tumbled.

A small remnant of colonial Thonians managed to survive. Arctic settlements went into lockdown, and groups like Norwold’s Valharians survived for a time. Others were struck by disease as survivors carried plagues with them. Technological tombs scattered Norwold and the modern Hill and Dale. Settlements such as Windrush faced other fates, when terrifying dragons returned in the centuries that followed and laid waste to mankind.

All across Mystara, technologically deprived survivors risked migrations to escape the dangers of a broken world. Inhabitants of the Ice Station Outposts fled south into the Midlands territory where they become the nomadic Urduks and related tribes. Along Skothar’s southeastern shore, a few Thonians and Ibu tribesmen found refuge with Manwara and were transformed into the primitive merrow. The dwarven people, closest to the nation of Blackmoor, were poisoned by the energy released but marched in vain toward salvation at Darmouk. Survivors of the elven colonies fled via floating cities, but failing technologies forced them to shelter in the deep caverns of the Broken Lands and the Mengul Mountains. Southern elves, too, evacuated their freezing homeland for the doomed land of Grunland (formerly Riverhome), and they were separated from the neighboring halflings.


About 30 feet from the marker stone, Magnar spotted an unnatural vine in the ground. He pulled it up and followed its trail for another 50 yards when it popped from some hidden source in the ground. He dug around the site and produced three metallic eggs. The shells of the eggs were segmented into panels. He peeled back a panel, and found a glass pane. For a moment, he swore he saw a flicker of flame and symbols behind the glass.

Sir Allen came over and threw down a canvas satchel with which Magnar secured the items. He tightened the leather straps and marveled at the embroidered red dragon on its top. “Do you think they are worth anything?” the man asked his companion.

“Only the world.”