A Brief History of Darkstone

By Argim Toran, Scribe and Historian of the Council of Aina

A note on the dates and times used in this writing:

The current standard of recording time uses the breaking of the Darkstone as the focal point for working both forward and backward. This is hardly surprising considering the impact the breaking had on the world. It was the court scholars of Shagrim who standardised the calendar we have today which is used by the majority of the civilized world, the exceptions being the Phatepians who refuse to acknowledge the existence of a Shagrim calendar, and the Erin Elves who have devised their own calendar and which is kept secret. Our own is split into two distinct Eras, Before Breaking and After Breaking, AV and DV (Avo Volumni and Devum Volumni which is in the Shagrimian tongue). There was one known Age before the breaking, the name of which is lost to us now but this stretched for 200 years, the date of the breaking therefore being 5/1/0 V or first Age, Year none, Day of the Breaking. We are currently into our third age DV, the current date being 25/3/132 DV, or 25th day of the Third Age, 132nd year, Devum Volumni.

1/1/200 AV - First Age AV

This should be known to all as the day of creation. The day when the Gods awoke and thought our world into being. When the land and the sea was created and the people born of the void.

6/1/198 AV

It is widely believed that this is the date the Darkstone was forged by the Gods. It is impossible for us to ascertain this for certain without at least a fragment of the great stone, but of course none have been found since the breaking.

41/1/34 AV - 5/1/0 AV

This is the period during which the great wars wrecked havoc on the world. Great nation fought great nation, the names of which have been lost in the whirls of time. It is known that in the last year before the breaking, a nation known Moram fought forward from what is now the borders of Erin. The enemy of the Moramians was at this time Karim, the people of whom had been tasked by the Gods to safeguard the Darkstone. The Moram push was tremendous and from the few writings that survive that time it is known that the Karim forces were routed completely from Gorud and the then neutral lands of Fetin. what remained of the Karim forces fled into the mountains and regrouped for a final stand close to their capital city of Karim. Our reports of the final conflict are fragmented and many important works are long lost but we know that the Moram came on the city during early morning and called on the Karims to surrender. What their answer was we shall never discover, but we know that a traitor by the name of Golam Loman opened a small side gate in the city during the night and the opposing forces were able to enter the city almost unopposed. The battle was fierce and long but the inevitable outcome was that a small force entered the sacred chambers, killed the Keepers and in a fit of madness destroyed the Great Stone.

2/1/2 DV - 9/1/195 DV - The Age of Chaos, First Age DV

These years are heavily documented. A great many new races sprung from the havoc caused by the fractured stone and the world was vastly different from what it was before. Races fought and squabbled over scraps of land the new races seeking a home, the old races seeking land which was once theirs. It was also during this time that the Shadow Stalkers first appeared in the world. Their numbers were huge and they fought wherever and whenever they could. Their hatred was not aimed at one race but at all and any. Before the Elves and the Haran joined forces the Stalkers had won much of the northern part of the continent. During the final years of the age, the combined forces of Erin and the Haran, working under an uneasy truce, were able to make a strong push through the passes of the northern end of the Pardor Range. This push was mainly intended to test the strength of the Shadow forces but it accomplished much more. A previously unknown race came to the aid of the beleaguered Elves and together with the Haran managed to box the Stalker forces into a small area. The stalkers, fearing utter annihilation of their race retreated into the safety of the Bar-Gith forest and vanished. The victorious Elves, Haran and Eldari as race called itself managed to uphold their truce long enough to return to their currently claimed lands.

The end of the Age was marked by two noteworthy events. One, The nations of Shagrim and Phatep were founded in the great desert, a region unwanted by most of the races. The first Pharoah was established in the small city of Phatep and work was begun on the first of the Great Pyramids. The second event was the uniting of the Dwarves in the Kettin foothills. They began work together on the city of Kettin and managed to seal themselves from the rest of the world. The world slipped into the Second Age DV, the Age of Conquest.

3/2/3 DV - The Age of Conquest, Second Age DV

During the final years of the first age, two of the new races, the Katrin and the Minotaurs had been warring on the north-eastern part of the continent. The Minotaur were by far the most powerful of the two races but the Katrin had the advantage of dexterity and a higher intelligence. Time and time again the frustrated Minotaur were forced to retreat into the mountains by the Katrin ingenuity. The Katrin, seeing opportunity everywhere, managed to invent numerous clever inventions of war which they used on the harassed Minotaur. The slow witted Minotaur found themselves routed by powerful Katrin ballistae, mechanical slings, huge catapults and others, each invention more strange than the last. It was only by the determination and sheer strength of the Minotaur that they managed to survive and hold their ground. It was during the morning of the 3/2/3 DV when the Katrin made their mistake. They had been progressing up into the mountains, forcing the Minotaur forces to retreat further into the cover of the rocky land. The Katrin had brought their newest war creation to test on the already haggard Minotaur army. It was a strange contraption and we do not have any clue as to what it was meant to do. What we do know is that as the Katrin were about to test it, the mechanism exploded resulting in a large rock slide which wiped out a third of the Katrin forces. The Minotaur were quick to seize their chance and hit their dazed opponents with all the power they could muster. Within a matter of days the war had turned and the Katrin were fighting for their lives on the borders of the Morgaz Jungle.

17/2/2 DV - 2/2/10 DV

During this time, the remnants of the Karim people had been persecuted across the middle regions by the newly formed Eyan nation. Held responsible for the destruction of the Darkstone and cursed by the Gods, the Karim became known as gypsies. They roamed the land to avoid the persecution and and hatred they received. Within a year the Gypsy people had been reduced to less than a thousand and there was no sign that the killing would stop. In desperation, the Gypsies tapped into a power source they had not known was there. Using different objects as a focus point, the gypsies were able to channel magical power, given to them by the broken Darkstone. The effect amazed even the Gypsies. Each time they were threatened the gypsies unleashed terrifying magical attacks. Whole villages were burned in storms of fire and ice and the Eyan people found themselves powerless to defend themselves. In an act of desperation, the Eyan rulers and the Gypsy chiefs met in the new town of Windy Bluff. It was agreed that the persecution of the Gypsies would stop as long as in turn the Gypsies would never use their power to the effect they had previously. In addition, the Eyan people offered the gypsies land of their own in which to settle. This the gypsies refused, growing used to the roaming lives they had taken.

23/2/6 DV

In the relatively desolate regions of the north a new threat had risen. Tales of a creature known as the vampire were beginning to circulate among the peasants and small villages near the region of Bar-Gith. It was not until 23/2/6 DV that the truth of these rumours were know. A force of knights known as the Holy Knights of the 7th Order led by one St. Augustine were preparing to march west into the supposed centre of the vampire holdings and vanquish them. In one night of blood-lust the knights were destroyed by a host of vampires and St. Augustine himself was slain by the hand of his young apprentice. And so the truth of the vampire myth became known and the fear spread. People of the area took to burning and staking their dead and other strange acts. The tales had not yet reached the more civilised lands and so the vampires were able to spread their holdings slowly and in secret.

8/2/7 DV

The wars escalated as more people began to lay stake to lands they believed were their own. The Shagrim and the Phatepians, so far more interested in building their great cities had not been concerned with each other, yet slowly they began to realise their hatred for each other. Land near the Great Desert was sparse and there were two great nations rising that had to live off what little space there was. Tempers flared and on the fateful day of 8/2/7 DV, the Sultans wife was assassinated by a Phatepian archer. Retribution was swift and sure and the Shagrim army hit the city of Phatep with all the force of a hurricane. Phatep fell under a siege which lasted three weeks. By that time a small Phatepian force had managed to flee the city through secret tunnels. They circled behind the Shagrim army and effectively severed the supply lines. Unable to keep up the siege the Shagrimians were forced to retreat back to the city. The war did not end however and the enmity continued between the two nations. Phatep had become a rich city and a centre of commerce. People travelled the world over to visit the Bazaar and sample the goods of the city. In Shagrim however, life was harder. The sultan ruled with an iron grip and redoubled his attacks on his enemy. The hate between the two continue to this day.

14/2/24 DV - 37/2/31 DV

The city of Keldabar, the only city to my knowledge to survive the breaking, had become a breeding ground for criminals and rogues. Being close to the Minotaur/Katrin conflict the city profited from supplying arms to both sides. Rivalries began to grow as the crime guilds fought each other for the opportunity to supply weapons. The city erupted in bloodshed on 23/2/26 DV and it was not until three days later that the Broken Dagger Clan emerged the victors and took complete control of the city. By 3/2/29 DV Keldabar was a thriving business town was more. The crime had all but vanished from the streets and a curfew was in place. But that did not ease the worries of the citizens. People were know to vanish in the night, anyone who spoke out against the Clan disappeared and people were afraid to walk the streets. By 37/2/31 DV the clan was believed to have branched to other cities, but the full extent of their control is still unknown.

37/2/60 DV

60 years into the Age of Conquest the first Great Quest for the Darkstone set out from Aina. Not much is known about the quest but it is well documented that Thelwyn Korman led them. Thirty men left and were gone a full three months or more. Only Thelwyn returned, delirious and talking gibberish about dark cities of evil and vile creatures. Thelwyn died soon after and it was never discovered what had happened to his companions. It was believed by many that they had been ambushed somewhere in the mountains and destroyed.

41/2/68 DV - 15/2/97 DV

During these years a great many small wars and conflicts broke out. The Katrin and the Minotaurs continued to fight along the borders of their lands. The Katrin had taken much of the Morgaz Jungle and the Minotaur were finding it increasingly harder to win any major victories. By 23/2/73 DV the war had come to a standstill. Neither side felt they could gain any more land and in any case, the constant warring had taken it's toll and both the Minotaur and the Katrin had suffered heavy losses. After many years of war an uneasy truce was reached. Both sides marked borders and agreed to peace. The Katrin retreated into the depths of Morgaz, many of the cat like race taking up travelling. The Minotaur fell back to Gorag and built up their fortifications.

At the same time as these events were taking place, news reached other parts of the land that the dwarves in Kettin were having their own troubles. In 11/2/75 DV a group of dwarves broke away from the Dwarven home and marched north hoping to find a land of their own. It seemed that some had found old records detailing the ancient Dwarven home somewhere in the Pardor mountains. Their plan was to circle the range hoping to find some trace of the old Dwarven workings. It was not until the following year that the dwarves, somewhat reduced in number, arrived at Eria and discovered the mines there. Prepared for a fight, the dwarves were shocked to find that the human inhabitants of Eria were more than happy to accept the Dwarven visitors. Over the next few years, Eria was extended and a Dwarven sector was added to the city. The dwarves went back to working the mines and explored the city, eager to find proof of their ancient relatives.

29/2/101 DV - 30/2/147 DV

For many years the land was settled. Nations began to rebuild and cities prospered. Trade routes were set up between the different regions and some began to speculate that it may be the end of the Age of Conquest. And indeed, for some time it seemed that peace had arrived. Then, in the summer of 2/2/136 DV disaster struck. From the north an army of Shadow Stalkers swept across the land leaving behind a trail of death and destruction. Shocked by the sudden emergence of their old enemies the people of Eya rallied and rode to meet the Stalkers' force at the southern point of the Steppes of Kuln. The battle was the fiercest in the history of the region. Thousands died and it was said that the rocks of the steppes ran with blood. The Eyan army was beaten back towards Folcur keep, fighting every inch. The stalkers had vampires in their vanguard and the powerful creatures were relentless in their attacks, using dark magic to panic the human fighters. They Eyan were preparing to sound the retreat when sudden help arrived. The Haran, hearing of the return of the stalkers had ridden day and night from their lands to the west and fell upon the rear guard of the Stalker army. Caught between the Haran in the north and the remnants of the Eyan army to the south, the Shadow Stalkers had nowhere to turn. Fearing the worst they rallied and struck south at the weakened Eyan forces. The Eyan were in no condition to fight off such a determined assault and withdrew to the far banks of the River Ki. The Stalkers, knowing that they would soon be overwhelmed by the Haran army fled to the east and to the south. Some entered the forests of Windy Bluff while the rest fled into the Fetin Swamp. It is not known what happened to the Stalkers. Some were hunted and slain by the fierce Haran forces, others hid for many months before fighting their way north back to Bar-Gith, yet the majority of the Stalker forces did not reappear. Close watch was kept on the borders of Fetin Swamp but nothing more was seen of the Stalkers. Many even began to hope that the stalkers were at last vanquished.

34/2/179 DV

This date is noteworthy only in that it was the date of the Great Conglomeration, when the stars aligned in the sky and the planets were in perfect unison. It is said that miracles were worked on this day but what they were are lost to us now.

9/2/190 DV

The second Quest of the Darkstone began on this date, the larger force of men riding north and east from Shagrim. Again disaster struck but this time the events are known. A large force of Phatepians ambushed them close to the Kithan pass and cut them down to a man. This sparked several more years of devastating wars between Phatep and Shagrim, both sides sustaining heavy losses once more.

52/2/199 DV

The final day of the second age was marked by prohecy. Child of the Erian royalty, Elsan, was taken ill. It was as he lay on his deathbed that he spoke the prophecy that would herald the third age of the Era. "When the darkness rides from the north, and blood is spilt on the steps of Karim, the stone will be reforged and broken again, let no man stand unready." The full prophecy was much longer and spoke of many signs but it was those words which stirred the hearts of many and brought about the end of the age. The Third Age, The Age of Prophecy began.

3/3/1 DV - The Age of Prophecy, Third Age DV

The new Age began with tragedy. The child, Elsan, died on his seventh birthday and the city of Eria went into a month of mourning. The full prophecy was recorded and sent to the Great Library in Glandar where it rests to this day. The signs of the prohecy have not come to pass, but nobody doubts that they one day will.

5/3/1 DV - 48/3/1 DV

All through this year the city of Aina suffered raids from the Varin ogres. The previous winter had been hard and food was scarce and the ogre attacks were born out of desperation and hunger. The city itself was safe but many of the outlying farms suffered heavy losses. Several weeks before the end of the year, the army sent a heavily armed force of men up into the mountains to root out the ogres. The campaign was a massive failure. The ogre numbers were larger than anyone had estimated and winter set in much quicker than expected. Out of the hundred or so men that left Aina, only twenty returned.

23/3/3 DV - 7/3/7 DV

During this time the eastern region of the continent began to suffer strange weather. Storms of terrifying intensity shook the land close to Elsin and during the summer of 3/5 DV a long draught plagued the entire region. It was on 10/3/6 DV that the mist vale was first sighted by a Minotaur patrol, a strange wall of fog several miles long. The Minotaur records are crude and hard to decipher but it is believed that a few soldiers entered the mist. It was only when the patrol heard the screams of their comrades from within that they decided to flee. It is unknown what created the Mist Vale but it is agreed by both the Glandar and the Mage Tower that it is magical in nature.

37/3/10 DV - 12/3/12 DV

This period marked the first great war of the Age. The Kuln barbarians were swept into civil war as the hatred between the tribes increased. For two long years the whole of the steppes was caught up in bitter turmoil. Neither side gave any quarter and it was feared that the war would last many years. It was an outside threat that determined the end of the conflict. The Shadow Stalkers at last made their return appearance, and taking advantage of the civil war, swept down on the steppes. The attacking force was small and the barbarian tribes turned on this new threat immediately, forgetting their own troubles. The Stalkers were driven back once more, not as easily as the other times, but at least routed and forced to flee back to Bar-Gith. The Kuln barbarians forgot the war, and turned once more to minor skirmishes and petty battles.

2/3/24 DV

It was close to the end of this year that the Mage Tower made a tragic mistake. One of the higher ranked mages was experimenting with variations on the theme of fire. The exact circumstances of what happened are unknown, but a vast explosion rocked the Mage Tower and much of the surrounding countryside was laid to waste. Several small villages close to the tower were utterly destroyed, and it is even said that people in Windy Bluff felt the effects of the explosion.

To be continued...