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Orbis - Brief History Chapter 4

The Elves of the North

Cytosi City 

The term “Ari” is used to describe all elves. The term itself is a key word in the history of Orbis that represents the importance of magic and knowledge throughout the world. Draoix, the God of Magic, is often depicted as the Father of the Ari; Elves put this God above the chief deity Domini. The word Ari originates from the ancient Mystari Empire, where the elves were referred to only as Ari, whilst the men and beast folk were less than. Ari was a word of meaning, a title that depicted that of usefulness and resource. The Ari were slave soldiers. Auxiliaries, if you may. Some Ari were even given representation in the Mystari Empire. It was this reason that the elves adopted this title after the fall of the Mystari Empire. The Mystari used it to describe themselves. Why shouldn’t they? After all, they overthrew their masters. They deserved it. Names such as Galari translated to “Golden Skinned Elf” or illumari meaning “Glimmering white elf.”

The Dremosi and the Cytosi do not inherit such a title. But why? It is for one simple reason—they were not enslaved by the Mystari. At the time of the Mystari Empire. Small enclaves of Cytosi settlements in the mountains existed off the grid; outside of the then-modern world. The Dremosi were deep underground in their hidden paradise under the mountains. Their civilisations tucked away far from society. The Mystari never even knew they existed. This was their greatest advantage, as for a millennia they remained abstract to the politics of the outside world. This all changed at the turn of the Dark War.

The Mountain Elves:

The Cytosi are a strange kind of elf. Their skin bares the tone identical to that of their human neighbours the Wargothian. This is unusual for an elf, and has lead many scholars to suspect that some early mix breeding was involved. They’re known by the locals as the “Elves on the outside, Men on the inside,” thanks to their human skin tone and their human-like culture of drinking excessive amounts of ales and hunting. Their culture, which incorporates much from common human culture, has been often viewed upon by the Ari as Lesser and barbaric; their many taverns and hunting traditions doesn’t correlate to that of elven nature. Despite their genetic cousins disapproving of their practices, they care not for their opinions.

During the height of the Orcish conquest—when the Orcs were knocking at Wargoth gates—the Cytosi were the first to come to their aid. The Cytosi’s first battle and ultimately their official coming out to the Realm was met with a great victory against the oblivious sieging army. This victory would mark the beginning of a new era for the Cytosi; a new era that would see them as a new power in the continent on Lilacia. When the Dark War was over, and nations were scrambling to reclaim diminished lands, Cytos took advantage of the seldom populace of the Wargothian mountains. They claimed large portions of the central mountain region; giving them regional dominance and an opportunity to grow as a power.

Cytos enjoyed a luxurious period of peace and wealth for around half a century—their good friend and strong ally Wargoth allowed for them to sit comfortably lest they were dragged into a potential war during the Age of Troubles. This period of luxury came to a swift end when a new king ascended the Cytos throne—King Randos Tyr. He was coronated as the King of Cytos on 87 ADW. He was already renowned as a troubled individual, but in time, his mental stability slipped more and more. He was often burdened with sleepless nights and nightmares that would see his paranoia grow. He told tales of his hallucinations and visions that haunted his daily life. His decision making and judgement was poor; he had his council rendered obsolete and took direct control into his own hands.

Over the years throughout his reign, he had ordered the borders be shut down, and all Wargothians returned home. It was this decision that lead to the dissolution of the alliance between the two kingdoms. He had commented on many occasions his disdain for the power to the north and labelled them as “Leeches” and “a snake pit poisoned with avarice.” It wasn’t this decision that lead to the Wargoth invasion, it was when Randos began having people executed for speaking out against the mad king who had begun to neglect his people. They began to starve following the verdict to close the borders. The mad tyrant was in dire need of removal. Wargoth’s decision came as a result of not only the poor treatment of the Cytosi people and violation of the treaty between kingdoms, but also because of the Wargoth’s goal to maintain stability in the northern region and to hold on to the mantle of regional dominance through diplomacy, strength and economy.

The invasion of Wargoth into Cytos was a bald but requisite move. Supported by the Oakmen and Grecklosi, the Wargoth army breached the borders and began their campaign of liberating mountain town after mountain town. Many Cytosi welcomes their northern neighbour; their morale was raised and the presence of a powerful ally gave the Cytosi people the opportunity to bare arms against the crown. Randos Tyr was eerily dormant in the wake of the invasion—an ominous omen for what was soon to fall upon the kingdom. The invasion was a few weeks in before the news had struck of a great terror emerging across the nation. A massacre on a nationwide scale. It was genocide. Orchestrated not by the Wargoth invaders, but the Cytos king himself. Randos Tyr’s paranoia was so far stretched that he was delusional enough to believe that his entire population had turned against him. He had ordered his soldiers to execute every citizen and burn down their homes.

As expect, many soldiers refused the order and hundreds chose to become turncoats. This, however, was not all soldiers. Thousands more still carried out the massacre. Cities were blown out of the mountain face with gunpowder and any wooden structure was burnt to the ground. An estimated 2,500,000 died in the weeks following the execution of the onslaught. Despite all he had sacrificed, Randos Tyr succeeded in his task in halting the Wargoth advancement. However it was seldom rejoiced as it was a Pyrrhic victory at best. The Wargoth army had redirected its motives to saving the Cytosi people; providing safe passage through mountain passes, sending out search parties to seek out families fleeing their homes and to rescues as many as possible from abandoned burning towns. It was around this time when the Black Mountain Plot was devised.

The Black Mountain Plot was drawn up by Aethuld Gorluum, Master of Arms in the Cytos court. He was a man who valued honour and cherished the crown that which he served all his life. All this changed when he received the orders to massacre the populace. His loyalty had met an unimaginable foe. Did he break his oath and deny the king his request, or stay his loyalty and executed the king's malicious order? This decision tore him apart. Although he followed through with the execution, it was this dilemma that forced him to draw up such an outrageous plan. The plot was simple—blow up the palace and kill the king. It is unknown exactly who supported him, or who even knew. But what is known is that the king was never aware. In order for this plan to succeed, he would have required a certain degree of loyalty from the royal guards to keep their mouths shut. Perhaps they assisted him too? Whatever the odds were, the plan was a success. The gunpowder barrels in the sewage tunnels had been ignited and the entire stone palace was decimated in a huge burst of flames. Stone rubble was thrown across the city and many homes were destroyed. Everyone inside the palace—including King Randos Tyr the Mad—was killed. Aethuld was the one to ignite the flames and thus sacrificed himself in the process. His heroism is still told through whispers.

The Wargoth and Oakmen army had successfully liberated the entire nation. Cytos was no more. Soldiers surrendered after the devastating news. Towns were occupied by their human neighbours. A major humanitarian crisis was underway, and both the Oakmen and the Wargoth kingdoms would be the ones to revive the Cytos nation. Fast forward 20 years; the Cytos city state has officially declared its independence and the Cytosi Elves are finally returning home. The capital was rebuilt and improved by the two regional powers. Some 2,000,000 live within the city state, whilst the remaining elves found new lives outside their homeland. They could not bare to return—how could they?

The Dremos Terror:

When discussing the natural abilities of the elves, one would assume that the strongest elves when wielding magic would be the Galari. However this is the not case—in fact the Dremosi are far superior in magic wielding. They are naturally capable of performing more advanced spells at a smaller cost, can learn to use more complex spells at a quicker rate and are much more durable when using lots of magic in a short time period. The Dremosi weren’t even a topic of discussion up until 82ADW when the Dremosi begun a conquest of blood and chaos across central and south Lilacia.

For centuries, the Dremosi had lived in harmony among their plethora of cave systems and caverns. Their history is shrouded in mystery, but what is known is that for as long as the dremosi could remember, they had been at constant war with the Ketringi of Lilacia. The Ketringi are a reptilian race who bare stone-like scales and live solely underground. Their famous for their tunnel systems that span across continents. They are blind but possess pristine hearing and smell. They are capable using clicking noises as sonar. This alone makes them a very dangerous opponent, but this is nothing compared to the wars the Dremosi have fought against them hundreds of feet underground completely unbeknownst to the surface world.

Dremosi cave systems use a peculiar source of light generated by a unique type of mushroom found in these cave systems. The mushrooms glow a purple aura and can even dispense liquid droplets sucked up from roots reaching far into the ground to create small atmospheres of clouds and rain within the caverns. These mushrooms take years to grow and nurture and are sacred in dremosi culture. The Ketringi, on the other hand, are known to cut down these mushrooms and utilise their alchemical properties.

The Dremosi didn’t make an appearance in the outside world until after the Dark War. Around the late 20s ADW, they began to make their ascension to the surface. Many of their cave systems had openings to gorges and rivers in the highlands of the mountain bases. The majority stayed behind in their cave systems, but it was the military that had been situated on the surface in order to look for new lands. It was by orders of High Chancellor Gyrrwin that the Dremosi would leave behind a fundamental tradition of remaining underground and settle the surface world. The decision was made after a series of defeats suffered against the Ketringi resulting in the loss of occupied tunnel systems. Whilst the surface world fought their wars, the Dremosi were losing theirs.

Within 30 years, many towns and villages had appeared around the surface region of the Dremosi homeland. They had brought along their mushrooms to provide shade from the sun, alchemical ingredients, and food. The mushrooms, that were grown in and around their villages were found to taint the grass around it; giving it a dark purple shade instead of a lush green pcolour. Their new land was becoming more and more like home with every new mushroom grown and with every new home built. With every passing year, Dremosi presence in the region became more commonplace. Stenraadi travellers began to notice them. This would become their first outside encounter. It was the Stenraadi that taught them everything they know about Lilacia—the common tongue, the people, methods of agriculture, politics and other such topics. All this hospitality was their own demise, as in 82ADW, the Dremosi had launched a lethal attack on Stenrode. Their magic abilities so devastating—unlike anything Lilacia has ever seen. They used entirely different tactics than that of any other elven army; collateral damage was utilised as their greatest weapon against the unprepared Stenrode army. Within months, the bursting economy of Central Lilacia had been reduced to nothing. They were a puppet state. The continent was shocked at this new emerging force.

Next, was the corrupted state of Underhold. They were an easy target with no real army to defend themselves with. They fell under the Dremosi might within weeks. It soon became apparent to the powers of the north and south that these Xeno-elves were on a conquest—and had no intention of stopping. The scariest part about a foreign invader with no knowledge of the people they’re invading is that they share no remorse of sympathy for the people they massacre. With lack of knowledge comes lack of emotion. Tomes and writings of the Dremosi were so scarce that it was impossible to learn or understand them. This made them almost as dangerous as the orcs.

Their conquest came to a halt at the Windshine Pact; when the 3 elven powers partitioned the Windshine Lands. It was the first time anyone had discussed diplomacy with the sinister violet-tinted elves following the rise of the Dremos Empire. They promised to abandon their campaign and seek out relations with foreign powers in exchange to keep the Windshine land they took. This is where the story of Lord Ralkess Veranok begins.

His story begins as an emissary sent to assist the expedition into the ruins of the Cytos capital with Oakmen scholars. His task was to strengthen ties with the kingdom and offer any knowledge that could aid the expedition. In the wake of Dra’motiz’s arrival, the presence of a powerful battlemage offered consolation to the party. When the search was concluded and Ralkess was headed home to Dremos, a voice spoke to him telepathically. It was the Demon Lord of power. He spoke to him of a plan to rule this new sinister empire through fear and domination. Lord Ralkess was tasked with killing the High Chancellor in the name of Dra’motiz. In return, he would be granted necromantic abilities the likes of which come close to only the Lich Lord of Blackpoint. Their plan was a success. Upon Ralkess’ return, the king was slain in his throne room and both the Demon and the Emissary bestowed themselves the mantle of rulership.

Over the course of the next few decades, the Dremos Empire and their dual leadership played a vital role in the political games of Lilacia. They were both the protector of peace and the bringer of chaos. They retained a firm position at the Council of the Realm, yet terrorised the continent with the deterrent of a living Demon at heart of the Empire. Dremos had instigated a policy among their empire—the Stenrode Policy. Every town, village, hamlet, and city hosts a garrison of elite Dremosi Battlemages with strict orders to scorch the entire settlement to the ground in the event of any civil unrest. There were rare cases where this policy was unfortunately used, but it was indeed rare.

The Dremos Empire, as it currently stands in 110 ADW, is the largest nation in Lilacia. Despite this, it is far from the strongest. Their Dremosi population falls behind in comparison to the Stenraadi and Bloodmen population. Their Empire is made up of various ethnicities and cultures; many of whom have a history of clashing. During the 3rd Phase of the Age of Troubles, between 91 ADW to 98 ADW, the Dremosi-Silvari war occurred. The war started due to a influence clash between Greater Silverglade and the Dremos Empire. The Dremosi had annexed the kingdom of Whitewood which threatened Silverglade’s regional power. What started off as a series of proxy wars turned into a costly war on two fronts including the destruction of the Whitewood’s beautiful capital, Rosegarden. Brownleaf, South Rimon, the Western part of Windshine and the most part of Silverglade fell under Dremos banners as they claimed their victory in the final stage of the war. 

The Demon Rulership didn’t last forever. As the world became concerned with the Dark Realm’s growing prominence on Lilacia, Lord Ralkess Veranok took it upon himself to appease the people of the world and rid Lilacia of Dra’motiz. During the final chapter of the Battle for Silverglade waged on, Ralkess summoned his overlord to the Silvari Mountains where he would do battle with yet another Demon Lord who was summoned to Orbis—Huulnrad. The Maskari King of Silverglade saw the only to fight a demon, was with another demon. These two unholy monsters battled out in the mountains for many hours before Huulnrad was finally defeated. Just as the battle was concluded, Ralkess used this opportunity when both were weakened to send them both back to the Dark Realm permanently. With them gone, the Demonic influence on Orbis was relinquished. 

The Half Elves:

Where the Dremosi and the Cytosi were excluded from the “Ari” tradition due to not being around in the Mystari Era, the Rimians are a bit different. The Rimians aren’t regular elves. In fact, they aren’t truly elves at all. They’re mix breeds between Woodari and the Oakmen. The story of their existence begins in 1,965 BDW when the exiled remnants of the Icecliff Clan arrive in a new land just south of the Oakmen peninsula. It was around this time that the Oakmen clans were in the midst of a violent power struggle. The Icecliff Clan, over the course of many generations, became intimate with the natives of this new deeply forested land. They became known as the Woodari, or Wood Elves. After centuries of interbreeding, the bloodline was mixed to such extent that the Oakmen and Wood Elves were no longer being bred. Instead, a half breed with unique human and elven features. The ears and hair of an elf, but the eyes and face of a man.

The Rimians were outcasted by all societies—men believed them to have an elven mind and thus were not to be trusted. Elves saw them as Lesser; they were abominations in their eyes, and as such were outcasted. Their isolation was their advantage however. They learnt to be survivors and developed self sustaining societies. The enchanted forests granted them natural resources beyond comprehension. Their land was plentiful and they needed not their neighbours.

Rimian society consists of hundreds of small Clan territories for many centuries; many came and went, whereas others lasted for generations. The thought of total unification wasn’t even conceived until the Goldfall Empire began to extend its borders beyond the Brownleaf pines and into the southern regions of the Rimian Forest. This was the beginning of the millennia long split between the region. As the Galari Empire moved further north, the reality of the threat began to sink into public attention. Due to the isolation of the region, very little records are kept of the events surrounding the unification. What is known that the Kingdom of Rimon was formed sometime around 1,190 BDW in order to combat the empires growth. The King was Rahanol I, chieftain of the biggest Clan at the time.

For around 300 years, southern Rimon culture was moulded and reshaped like clay to resemble more like elven culture. This was a result of the direct Galari rule of the whole region. Elven buildings and academies were built, mage schools were opened, elven religion and literature became the primary source of knowledge throughout the region and much more factors. Meanwhile, Northern Rimon’s culture developed on its own. With many cultural influences being drawn from the Icecliff’s ancient architecture and religions, but with Woodari style hunting and smithery, it was indeed a unique society.

The Galari Empire eventually fell around 894 BDW after a series of rebellions in the south resulting in a loss of grip in their northern territories. The South of Rimon was finally its own nation with a King of their own. Over the course of the Empire’s lifetime, both regions had developed a certain disdain for one another. Their cultures slowly drifting further away from one another’s left their people divided. When the North offered integration, the south declined. Instead, they both took their own allies and a Cold War between the two began. The North allied Misan and Wargoth; with the Oakmen soon joining the coalition following their unification of the Barkhall and Redwynd Clan. The south aligned themselves with the new power of the South—Windshine, and their neighbouring kingdom of Brownleaf.

The feud between the North and South go on for centuries more; living beyond that of even the Dark War. The Orcish invaders moved away from deep within the enchanted forest as the Faesiul and the Rimians caused them too much trouble to be considered worthwhile. They were too nimble for the brutish attack style of the Orcs. Even throughout the age of Troubles, petty wars ensued. It wasn’t until the rule of Queen Serene I would Rimon see any change in activity. Queen Serene is the current ruler of North Rimon who was coronated in 96 ADW. Her reign has overseen the biggest boost in nationalism in any kingdom since the Dark War. She is responsible for starting the 3rd Rimon Civil War—the first being just after the Goldfall Empire’s collapse, and the second being in 525 BDW during a hostage crisis on the border.

The 3rd Rimon Civil War saw the most successful North Rimon victory yet; 1/3 of South Rimon fell to the hands of the North before the Dremos Empire was requested to step in and aid the South, thus resulting in total annexation of the South. It is unlikely that the split between peoples will ever find a resolve, however under Serene’s rule, a unified kingdom through a North Rimon victory seems more likely than ever.

The Rimian Conflict - Magic Against Metal

A Rimian Female - South Rimon

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