A Brief History of Lathuria
The Lord of Worlds began the world, though there is no indication just how old the world itself is. Though all three of the immortal races claim that they were the first to awaken, there is no indication of which of them is correct or even if there was any difference in timing at all. For all intents and purposes, the Angels, the Demons, and the Elves awoke at the same time, though the Angels and Demons were much more numerous than the Elves.
The eldest among the immortal races are King Kellemain of the Demons, King Lylemuth of the Angels, and Queen Withra of the Elves. All three lost their beloved mates to the madness of the early fighting between the immortals, but rule as the respective monarchs of their races still.
A Human reckoning of history begins some 5,000 years before the present era with the mention of the War of the Young, when the Angels and the Demons clashed. The War of the Young was a long and bloody war, fought exclusively between the two more numerous immortal races, razing whole stretches of land during their battles and drastically reshaping the landscape. One such instance may have occurred in the east-central section of Lathuria. Concerned that the war might endanger the newly awakened Humans, the fourth and final of the Lord of World’s races of power, King Xillcarn of the Elves attempted to negotiate a peace between the Angels and the Demons. To this day, no one knows what occurred there, but a cataclysmic explosion enveloped the plain, spreading ever wider and burning the land for miles and consuming all who were there, including King Xillcarn. The land there has never recovered and today it is a vast desert, known as the Desert of White Dust, with but a single oasis in its center.
The War of the Young lasted for two millennia and resulted in the deaths of the majority of the race of Angels and the race of Demons. The Elves retained their neutrality throughout the long and bitter conflict. Eventually the War of the Young reached a stalemate. For another thousand years the two sides faced off against each other, battling in small skirmishes in more remote areas.
About this time, both the Angels and the Demons began to have regular contact with Humans and many found themselves fighting along side one side or another. To help them keep up with their immortal allies, a new art was established, that of magic. The Angels lent Humanity their energies in order to heal wounds and protect them from the ravages of warfare. This gave rise to White Magic. Meanwhile, the Demons gave Humanity their power to channel into a destructive force, giving rise to Black Magic. At the same time, in an effort to convince Humans to remain neutral, as a show of their sincerity, the Elves taught Humanity to draw on the power of nature, giving rise to the Elemental Magics.
Though the magnitude of the continued warfare escalated once again, the stalemate remained for a time. Eventually, though, the idealism among Humans shifted. The Demons’ continued rhetoric of destruction began to wear on the Humans who fought for them and the teachings of White Magic began to look more and more appealing to the battle-weary and scarred. The Angels saved lives while the Demons destroyed them and as Human thought and philosophy evolved, Humanity awakened to this fact. Humans began to flock to the banner of the Angels in droves.
Finally, as the Demons were pushed further and further back toward their northwestern territory and their fortress of Barkarra, King Kellemain decided to issue a challenge to King Lylemuth, demanding a duel of champions. It was decided that the two Queens would meet in battle. The two queens went forth as their peoples’ champions in the great duel, Queen Erishkegal for the Angels and Queen Kali for the Demons. The duel ended on the material plain with the destruction of both Queens and their astral bodies returned to the Astral Plain. It is presumed that they continued the battle there, for the magic spells that drew on their energies remained for only days afterward and then abruptly stopped working; the incantations were correct and nothing ever changed, but there was simply no energy for them to draw upon. The conclusion was that the two queens had both utterly destroyed themselves in their great astral battle.
With the duel of champions undecided, the war continued. Though both sides chose new champions in their captains-general, Rezarcho for the Demons and Cypherion for the Angels, and though the two met several times in battle, no duel of champions was ever declared again. As the war continued on, Demon stronghold after Demon stronghold fell to the Angels and their Human allies. Finally, all that remained of the Demons on Lathuria was their fortress of Barkarra and only a handful of the Demons including King Kellemain, Captain Rezarcho, the three Knights, Styx, Cocytus, and Acheron, and Kellemain’s daughter the Princess Selket. The rest of Demon-kind had fallen in battle and their astral selves returned to the Astral Plain until the day they would have regained their power and were able to rise again. The Angels besieged Barkarra and eventually it fell. King Lylemuth himself oversaw the final attack which was led by Captain Cypherion and the two Knights of the Angles, Paslar and Quonus.
During that final battle, King Kellemain, Captain Rezarcho, Knight Styx, and Knight Cocytus fought a holding action, buying time for something to happen within Barkarra, though they were careful not to say what. Toward the end of the battle, a great light emerged from Barkarra and shot into the sky, fading off into the distance. Knight Acheron emerged to join the battle momentarily, then he, too, vanished before the attacking Angels’ eyes. The remaining Demons fought for only a few minutes longer before Barkarra finally fell.
Since that day, the spells that draw upon the power of the Demon Princess Selket have been useless. But a cry has been taken up by the few Demons remaining on the material plain of Lathuria; “Selket survives! She will return!”
One thousand years have passed since the fall of Barkarra and the banishment of King Kellemain to the Astral Plain. In that time, Humanity has worked under the tutelage of the Angels to create a golden age upon Lathuria. Peace ruled without question for most of that time. The one exception to this is the war that waged for one-hundred years between Grelia and Umbecrast at the handle of the Kayfor Peninsula in the south eastern portion of the continent. Those who fought in the war generally had their own reasons, but the excuse of record is that the royal family of Grelia made a blood claim to the throne of Umbecrast. It was, plainly and simply, a war of succession.
Without dispute, the city with the widest influence and the most power on the entire continent is Atoll City, just south of the ruin of Barkarra on the well-protected Atoll Bay. It rose to power quickly following the great war between the Angels and the Demons thanks in large part to its geographic location. With the bay and its fortifying island of Tarosopis to the south and the Atollean Mountains to the east and north, it was defended on all sides and was thus given the opportunity to grow in times when most other cities did not have the advantages needed. It became a natural safe harbor on sea routes and a destination for traders and travelers. Its proximity to the ruin of Barkarra makes it an excellent home base for adventurers looking to dig up the ancient past.
In recent years, no more than the past five, in fact, a few strange things have begun to intrude on the peace of Lathuria. In the Golden Year 1000, that is the thousandth year after the banishment of King Kellemain, a strange light was seen rising into the sky out of Barkarra. The few Demons of Lathuria, who had been driven into hiding underground have since begun to walk abroad again, now proclaiming “The King has returned! The Princess follows!” and attacking small outlying villages who will not recant their loyalty to the Angels. And indeed, a Demon claiming to be King Kellemain has been seen walking Lathuria, with Captain Rezarcho and the two Knights, Styx and Cocytus, close at hand. About a year after the Blinding Pillar (as it has come to be known) shot out of Barkarra, the spells of Princess Selket have strangely reactivated. But of the Demon Princess there has been no sight. Nor has there been any sign of the Demon Knight Acheron. Stranger still, it was about the same time that the Angel Knight Paslar went missing and of her there has also been no sign. It is rumored that some form of contact between the Demon King and the Angel King has taken place, but all involved have been very tight-lipped about the proceedings.
In an uncharacteristic show of involvement, Elvenqueen Withra has broken the relative isolation of the Elves. They had spent most of the Golden Age in their settlements in the Fable Forest of the south, wanting no contact with races who would attempt genocide. For the most part, they have withheld their magic from all of non-Elven Lathuria, a fact which raises the hackles of most Humans and other immortals. The Elves are now spreading outward from the Fable Forest, but Queen Withra is disinclined to reveal why she came to this decision. Some theories say that she has somehow been threatened by the Demon King. Others say that she is preparing to align the Elves with the Angels to defeat the Demons once again. Other theories persist, but there is nothing to corroborate any of them. Thus far, the three immortal races have been positioning themselves in places of power all over Lathuria, but none of them seem ready to move against the others. And caught in the middle, once again, is Humanity.
Our story begins in the year 1005 of the Golden Age and some are saying that it may be one of the last...
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