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The Early Dunael

by James Mishler

Prior to the Great Rain of Fire in 3000 BC, there were two major civilizations extant in the Dawn Territories; the most powerful was the Thonian Colony of New Thonia (little more than corporate owned and controlled plantations worked by thousands of Oltec slaves). This colony consisted of the Dawn Territories south of the River Kend (which bisects the modern County of Kendach)[Also note that the Great Escarpment did not exist at this time; it would be created in the upheaval following the Great Rain of Fire]. The second major civilization was the Giant Kingdom of Gandhar, which held the northernmost portion of the territories (precariously 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 western edge of the Great Escarpment. Then in 3000 BC the Great Rain of Fire destroyed the civilization of the Thonians of Blackmoor. With the end of support from the motherland, the Thonians were slaughtered by the Oltec slaves (some few escaped to the west and joined their brethren who founded the Taymoran culture). The Oltecs of the Dawn Territories reverted to a stone-age culture (these peoples are known as the Oltec Savages); they spread out throughout the territories obliterating any remnant of Thonian occupation (and any remnants of Thonian population, as well). The Giant Kingdom of Gandhar was also decimated by the catastrophe, and the Giants reverted to a more primitive technology. The Great Rain of Fire caused a planar "shift" (or, rather, the Immortals caused a planar shift in order to assist in the recovery of the Mystaran ecosystem); the Otherworld (known as the Spirit World by the Ethengar and the Atruaghin Clans) was brought into closer conjunction with Mystara (this conjunction is stronger in some places than in others, notably on the Plains of Ethengar, the Isle of Dawn, the Isle of Ochalea and the lands of the Atruaghin Clans); the Oltec Savages were eventually contacted by the Spirits and the shamanic worship of these spirits formed the basis of the Oltec Savages religion.
Another notable event occurred in 3000 BC; seven clans of Elves passed through the Territories en route to the west (where they believed that they might find refuge in the unspoiled lands of Brun; they were wrong, of course). Three of the Clans (the Finadiel, Goristyr and Falador) remained in the Dawn Territories and settled among the remaining Giants of Gandhar; four of the clans (the Celebryl, Porador, Felistyr and Gelbalf) continued on to the west. The Giants and Elves were contacted by the Spirits, who saw in them a kindred "spirit" and love of life. A strange new society grew up between the two worlds; by 2700 BC, the Elves 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 (four cities were founded in the Otherworld; Findias by the Finadiel Clan; Gorias by the Goristyr Clan; Murias by the Muroch Clan; and Falias by the Falador Clan).

The movement to the Otherworld was spurred on by the migration of the Oltec Savages into the northern lands of the territories; though the Giants and Elves could have easily resisted any intrusion (being at this time not only magically more powerful, but also armed with bronze-age weaponry), 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 Dwarves and Gnomes migrated east across the Hardangar Isthmus; they bumped straight into the Giants and Elves of the north, were made distinctly unwelcome, and retreated to the south, where they settled among the newly- emerging Stone Folk. [This year also marked the foundation of the Empire of Taymor to the west; ruled by Priest-Kings, or Necromancer-Kings 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. They built huge earthen mounds which were centres of worship (as well as 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" (which were centres of worship for the totem in question); and they erected huge menhirs and stone circles at the major loci of these mystical points.
They were still in the stone-age, however, and had little reason to "advance" technologically, as population was still relatively low, and they had little competition (except from the Stone Folk and the new population of Dwarves and Gnomes, whom they gave wide berth). Then in 2400 BC the moderately peaceful lifestyle of the Oltec Savages was destroyed by the invasion of clans of bronze-age Antalians, who came out of the northwest across the Helskir Land Bridge; the Antalians were fleeing the depredations of the Beastmen of Urzud [this was the same movement of peoples that caused the Urduk Neathar-peoples to settle in the lands that came to be known as the Urduk Plains, in modern Sind].
The Antalians bring with them numerous clans of Faerie Folk; Alfar (AKA Sidhe), Sprites, Pixies and others also retreat across the Helskir Land Bridge, eventually to mingle with the Giants, Elves and Spirits. It is only through the interference of the Giants, Elves, Spirits and Faeries that the Antalians did not conquer the entire region; they were limited in their settlement to lands north of the Kendach Plateau (the Spirits had come to depend on the Oltec Savages as much as the Oltec Savages depend on them). Over the next two hundred years (with the sponsorship and active participation of the Giant/Elf/Spirit/Faerie Alliance), the Antalian clans began to assimilate the northern clans of Oltec Savages; the Antalian/Oltec culture evolved and swiftly diverged from its antecedents.
Not all of the Giants and Elves agreed with the foundation of the new peoples, or even with the basis of the Alliance of the Giants, Elves, Spirits and Faeries. In 2300 BC, during the formation of the new Human society, this group of dissident Giants and Elves, led by the Fomor Clan of Giants, migrated west across the Hardangar Isthmus. There they joined the forces of the Necromancer-Kings of Taymor, and learned the darker ways of magic and power.

By 2200 BC, the combined Antalian/Oltec people had evolved a new language, culture and society; they called themselves the Dunael (simply "The People", in the Dunael tongue). They were, at this time, a bronze-age society, ruled by chieftains and led by a caste of Druids (Danoian Druids are/were mostly male and either Lawful Neutral or True Neutral). They followed the ways of the Spirits and Faeries, but revered the Immortals as well (most notably Danoia (Terra), Cernuinn (Faunus) and Arduinn (Diulanna)). [Note that Danoia was the Patron Immortal of the Giants of Gandhar, and remains the Patroness of their descendants to this day]. In 2200 BC Finnegar, the Chieftain of one of the clans of the Dunael, and First King of the Dunael, led the battle against an invading horde of Fomorian Giants and Elves.
Backed by groups of Human warriors from Taymor and armed with Taymoran wizardry, the Fomorians and Taymorans were attempting to regain a foothold in the Dawn Territories (the Taymorans already had some minor colonies in the south, among the Oltec Savages on the modern Shadow coast). The Dunael, united for the first time under Finnegar, and allied with Giants, Elves, Spirits and Faeries from the Otherworld, were able to throw the Fomorians back across the Hardangar Isthmus. Finnegar went on to create his Golden Throne high in the mountains which now bear his name (the Golden Throne, among other things, provides the person sitting in it with a clear view of anything within the horizon; perfect for watching for invading Fomorians).
The battle with the Fomorians convinced many of the remaining Giants, Elves, Spirits and Faerie that their presence on Mystara was as much a bane as a boon to the Dunael, whom they now considered "their" people; thus, they retreated further into the Otherworld, though a number of Giants remained on Mystara as guardians. These Giants were led by the Firbolg Clan, and 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 the Otherworld patrons) resisted several additional attempts on the part of the Fomorians to return to the territories, but none of these attempts was ever remotely successful.
In 2000 BC, the Empire of Taymor destroyed itself in a cataclysmic battle between the followers of Thanatos and Nyx which caused destruction of the Taymoran lands as well as the collapse of the Helskir Land Bridge. The resulting earthquakes and upheaval destroyed much of the infrastructure of the Dunael civilization, and 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 lasted for 400 years (2000 BC through 1600 BC). During this time they converted many of the Firbolg to their way, and through their magical power were able to keep the Otherworldly Giants, Elves, Spirits and Faerie from regaining a foothold in the Fomorian held territory.
Around 1800 BC, the Fomorians learned the method for the smelting of iron from captured Stone Folk and Gnomes (by this time the Dwarves of the High Land of the Hruka had died out; Kagyar had recreated the Dwarven race, but did not place any in the High Land). The Fomorians achieved even more success against the Dunael with the use of this new technology, but before the Fomorians could press this advantage to its maximum extent (the conquest of the entire Dunael peoples), there occurred yet another invasion of Antalians 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 (the Antalians of the Norwold coast had assimilated migrating Nentsun Reavers in the 2200's BC; the Nentsun brought iron working to the Antalians, among other things; but that is another story). These Antalians eliminated the advantage of the Fomorians and erode the Fomorian grip on the Dunael folk; the Antalians raided both the Fomorians and the Dunael indiscriminately, though the Fomorians were the richer targets. 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 none of the three armies ever gained an advantage over the others. The Fomorians were armed with ancient Taymoran wizardry and iron weapons; 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 mystical 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 Device set off a series of earthquakes and volcanism that resulted in, among other things, the creation of the Broken Lands; the destruction of the Hardangar Isthmus (the Isthmus sank over a period of ten years, from 1700 BC through 1690 BC); the raising of the Ostland Isles from the Northern Sea of Dawn (over the same period of time); the destruction of the Isle of the Serpent in the Sea of Dread (the modern Ierendi Isles are the remnants of Setu-Kha's isle); and the creation of the World Mountain in the Plains of Ethengar.
The Dust Reaches of the Isle of Dawn were created by the uplifting of the plateau that they now stand on; unlike the creation of the Ostland Isles or the sinking of the Hardangar Isthmus, the Dust Reaches were created very suddenly. 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 Antalians, Fomorians and Dunael returned home from that battle...

And thus ends the tale of the Time Before the Flood... and the end of the tale of the Early Dunael, Following will be the tales of the Reign of the People of Parlann, the arrival of the Sons of Nemed, the rise of the Tuatha de Danoia, and the invasion of the Milenians, which constitutes the Middle Period of the History of the Dunael, and the Ancient History of the Danoia of the Land of Aran. Finally, the Reign of the Lords of the East, the Reign of the UiNeala, the Reign of the Lords of the West, and the Time of Lost Lords will bring us to the current day; but those are tales for a later day...