Anne settinge by Ciaran, played by St. Matty. Returne to the Maine Page.
The story takes place on the far off world of Althora, a truly ancient realm shrouded in mystery and unknown. Not even the peoples of this land know the full account of their history, save for a single legend known to all cultures.
The myth speaks of a great shadow that once held the entire world in thrall, dooming all the races to an existence of suffering and despair. After many eons the gods became aware of the terrible pain of the people of Althora, and some among them felt pity and were angered by the injustice. And so they travelled across the planes and taught the secrets of magic to the greatest among the races in the hopes they could free themselves from their misery. All the peoples were united in rising against the darkness, and although their losses were many their strength was great and their courage was indefatigable. After a long and desperate struggle they finally emerged victorious, as masters of their own destiny.
A golden age followed, as the great heroes of the war against shadow founded the Iltharyn Empire, a grand assembly of the best and most talented minds of the age, working together to forge a glorious new society for the good of all people.
Few today know what became of the Iltharyn, but among the scholars that study the many relics of their civilization a tale of their demise has been written.
It says that in the time after its creation, many of the cultures of the empire founded churches to worship the gods that helped them gain their freedom, while the ruling council of the Iltharyn concerned themselves with ambitious plans to extend their power and technology to new heights. But over the course of time the schemes of the council began to change subtly, and those in charge became more interested in power for its own sake, rather than for the good of their citizens.
As the accomplishments of the Iltharyn grew, so did the freedoms they sacrificed to fuel their ever greater aspirations. It was decreed that the worship of distant deities was a dangerous distraction and all religious organisations and practices were forbidden, causing the gods to eventually turn their gaze and forget of the people they had once saved. The Iltharyn Empire became more and more oppressive, expelling any who spoke against the council and ignoring the people’s demands for food and security in favour of obscure arcane research and technological advancement. During this cruel age the Iltharyn achieved many great things and reached unforseen heights of power and authority, but eventually the weight of their repression was too much for the people to bear any longer. They rose against them in a bloody civil war that shook the world and threw it back into darkness.
Millennia have passed since the Iltharyn Empire fell and the world was plunged into the long dark-age from which it still has not awoken. The world is now covered with vast stretches of untamed wilderness, broken only by the few beacons of civilization that have survived. The regions in between these havens of society are largely unexplored; ancient fey woods, exotic lost islands, colossal mountain ranges and enigmatic Iltharyn ruins dot the landscape, waiting to be discovered.
The history of the past ages is almost entirely forgotten except for the few fragments of lore carefully collected and pieced together by those who study it. Across the land people have begun to worship the gods again, building churches and founding orders in their names, but the followers of these societies do so more out of a sense of culture and tradition than any real connection with their deity. All but the most fanatical know it has been an age since the eyes of the Astral Sea watched over Althora.
Your tale begins in a small town named Odenfell, in the realm of Midvar, a place of misty foothills, quiet villages and dark forests of towering pines. Its people are humble and provincial, though generally accepting of strangers. Magic is known of and accepted as a force that permeates the world, but actual examples of magical people or beasts are extremely rare, and local knowledge of magical lore leans towards misinformation and superstition.
On the south side of Odenfell its old wooden dock rests on a dark pebbled beach facing onto the Sea of Stars, a body of water as tranquil and mysterious as its namesake, which connects the town to a few nearby islands and villages, as well as some larger cities far to the south and west. To the north a ruined highway travels through the valley of Furn to the kingdoms of the north-lands. To the east and west dirt roads pass along the shores of the sea, connecting scattered hamlets while winding through the wilderness.
Although the town is usually quiet and uneventful, it is a common place for travellers to stay on the way to other destinations, and there are always a few people in town each week, recuperating for a while before continuing on their journeys. Eventually all of these travellers will end up at The Golden Hammer, Odenfell’s only inn and the centre of the town’s social scene.
It is here that each character has arrived, for whatever reason, and is currently spending a chilly, early spring afternoon entertaining themselves in the main room of the inn.
Dwarves – By Bard
Long ago, when the great shadow still held Althora in it's grip, a race of mighty and barbarous dwarves thrived throughout Althora. They burned and pillaged with abandon, granted unnatural strength and prowess in battle by wild and capricious primal spirits they served.
The oldest of legends tell that when other dwarves retreated under the mountains to take refuge from the encroaching shadow, the criminals and troublemakers were outcast and left on the surface to fend for themselves. Mostly shunned by the other civilized peoples – who had their own troubles – the dwarves came to call the wilds their home.
They learned to survive and their fortitude drew the attention of myriad minor spirits, forces of nature and demigods, who competed for their worship. In time, the wild dwarves grew strong and numerous enough to prey on those who had cast them out. Warbands numbering in the hundreds or sometimes thousands would spring up rallied under a single banner for an orgy of destruction, then just as rapidly melt away again into the wilderness where they dwelt in untold numbers.
The rise of the Iltharyn Empire and dawning of the golden age spelled disaster for the barbarous dwarves. Though powerful, they were uncoordinated and prone to infighting especially in the face of a well-armed and organized opposition with the might of the gods on their side. They were gradually pushed back into the most inhospitable and savage corners of Althora where the Iltharyn did not care to pursue them. Their displacement into wild regions put them into competition with other powerful foes; wild animals, fearsome beasts and evil races all worked to whittle down their numbers. Some fled into the deserts where they dug far beneath the sands to meet an unknown fate, some into the deep forests where they fell to the arrows of elves unsympathetic to their barbarous ways. In the alpine regions where Duerim's ancestors were forced to flee, they secured possession of the land through countless bloody battles, but the freezing winters took their toll and many faced starvation. The dwindling population splintered into tribes, competing for resources and after a long time, they reached an equilibrium with the land and each other… mostly abandoning their barbarian ways to the past, and existing as semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers. They've come to regard their violent past with the kind of fond nudge'n'wink nostalgia of someone telling a story of how they had a great uncle who was a pirate and slave trader – largely ignorant of the true extent of suffering and bloodshed inflicted by their forebears. Modern dwarves look on the mountain tribes as rugged and noble hunters, braving the harsh outside world simply because it's how they've always lived.
Their spirits and demigods followed them into the wilds, similarly displaced by the merciful gods who had come to bring light and hope to the people of Althora. The newfound peace of their once worshipers was not to their liking, and so they retreated to the quiet corners to await a time when they will be worshiped once more by those willing to make strife and sow chaos for their amusement.
As there are no Gith native to this world it is unlikely that more than a handful of people would recognise one, and whatever reaction they might have to meeting one is entirely unknowable. Most common folk would assume a Githzerai to be a particularly unhealthy looking elf, though after spending some time with them they’d likey realise that a Githzerai is unlike any creature they’ve ever met. Whether individuals will respond to this revelation with mild curiousity or genocidal rage remains to be seen…