Lore of the Known World
History (as recorded by the faithful of Ao)
In the beginning, the World was Chaos. All the beings upon it lived in brutal strife until Ao came and brought his scales. And the human species was shown the way of order to balance their animal urges. His arrival ushered in eons of a state of harmony for humanity. Ao provided a cycle to all their lives. He birthed aspects of himself to meet their human needs. First his Eldest and most needed at the time, Asdin the Enforcer. Asdin would reward and punish humanity if they strayed from the lawful and orderly way of his Father. But as humans prospered, others were deprived. Thus, Ao sent Asdin’s Silent Sister, D’Dwyn. She sought to bring her subtle equity to those who abused their privilege. Lastly, as the faithful came to know Ao, the Joined Twins were born to help the human souls cycle through Life and Death. Humans now lived as part of the balance of the World, content. More eons passed this way until a new Era dawned, the Era that came to be known as the Rise of the Fey.
This Era saw a great increase in the population of the magical races. Elves, dwarves, centaurs, dryads, goblins, trolls, merefolk, selkie, and more all thrived and swelled in numbers and domain. With this influx came the rise of monstrosities as well. The gryphons, dragons, chimera, leviathan, and krakens ruled the skies, forests, and seas. It was the time of which the Epics and Legends speak.
Sensing a great imbalance for his worshipers Ao embued his faithful humans with access to a great power- Blood Magic. Five family lines were chosen as the most worthy in each Realm of Man. Skaldia, Marakeen, Garramond, Arabar and the Druidic People who call no realms and all realms their home. In each generation, a Blood Mage would be born. Though the other offspring and siblings would share traces of the Blood, only one of True Blood could wield and pass down this awesome heritage. For many hundreds of years, this gift allowed Humans to keep pace with the uncanny world around them. However, the gift would soon become a curse, as the Human propensity for competition, greed, and lust for control ignited the Blood Wars.
During the build-up to the Blood Wars, each realm exalted their Blood Mages and the College of the Magi tracked and trained those of lesser power. The College was integral to diplomacy between nations; making sure pedigrees were maintained and groomed for leadership.
Marakeen rose as an unstoppable financial machine. Vagry’s Way became crucial for the flow of goods and ideas, and they controlled it. They were also amazing manufacturers of fine goods such as silks and great delicate works of art.
Garramond’s minor fiefdoms coalesced into a unified federation with the seat of power residing in Ferthe. Here, the nobles that sat at the High Table oversaw the regions vast resources of timber, agriculture, and metals. Without one true ruling family, the political scene in Garramond became a hotbed of machinations and marital alliances. The court of the High Table was known for its staggering social complexity.
Arabar was a coastal city-state that had a choke hold on access to the mouth of the major trade river, known as The Divide, that created a natural border between Garramond and Skaldia. It was constantly under threat by the two larger realms, but its early advance in fortifications kept it independent.
Skaldia was considered a vast and wild northern land. The constant infighting between the minor warlords and clans within its own borders kept them from realizing their true potential as a cohesive force. They were gifted fishermen and hunters, but truly the love of raiding, exploration, and conquest were the fires that burned in the Skaldic hearts.
Little is known of the Druidic Circle of the forests, who were most often associated with the Stone Pillar Mountains. They were caretakers of nature and untamed places. Their very philosophy of leaving no mark upon the natural world is certainly why there is no historical record or familiarity with their practices by the rest of Humankind.
As the Realms of Man became more sophisticated, so did their desires. Blood Magic was no longer a force to equalize humans with the might of the magical world around them, it became a force used to gain supremacy over each other.
The Blood Wars lasted for over 100 years. All realms, even those of the Fey, suffered heavy losses. Even the wise dwarves and the aloof elves of the Feywilds could not stay above the fray. The elves set about construing a way to gain access to Blood Magic. Unis Mythris was a tragic testimony to their ambitions. The earth itself had been damaged, magical pestilence spread over fields. Vast lakes were poisoned. Mountain faces were slagged. Even weather patterns changed. It would take generations to begin to undo the effects of the Blood Mages and human pride unchecked.
And so saddened by the Misuse of his Great Blessing, Ao sent his host to end the wars. The true Blood Mages were sought and slain. All paid a heavy cost for their trespass. But in Ao’s beneficence, he also gave his Holy Faithful a great mission. They were to build of the ashes of the World’s near apocalypse, a new center of Balance. And so the High Priests and Priestesses of all the realms gathered together and planned a center between realms, a fulcrum. The Blind Isle would be a meeting place where delegates from all the realms, even those of the Karafey, would meet in the name of Balance to resolve issues and strengthen friendships. So, the Embassy was established under Ao’s watchful eye and guiding hand.
The World has seen over 300 years of restoration and peace. Blood Magic is illegal and those who have traces of its dubious heritage are closely watched. Magic itself has been in decline. Dragons and Fairies have become the stuff of legends. The long-lived dwarves and elves, find themselves in the Age of Diminishment. Many of them believe that a blending with humankind is the only way to survive. Others perceive any mixing of lines to be a fast path to extinction.
Marakeen, once the cradle of human civilization and bright star of human advancement and spirituality has passed its zenith.
Garramond, hemmed in by borders, diplomatic agreements and its own rotting political core has decided to take to the seas to colonize new territories.
Skaldia is trying to settle into civilized societies by reorganizing its warlords into a stable council of chieftains, its homesteads into cities, and its raiding boats into trade vessels and a naval armada.
Will the peace maintain or will forces arise to challenge Ao’s plans? Our adventurers find themselves at the tipping point.