Age of the Gods
Founding of Jarl
Fall of Jarl
Brobbet creates the Dwarves
Age of the Dragon
Beginning of the Great Schism
Founding of Mahagra
Age of the Warrior-Kings - 600 years ago
Founding of Sslanis
Age of the Sorcerer - 300 years ago
Age of Lamentations
Fall of the travel gates
Fall of Rachival 30 years ago
Fall of Feladan 25 years ago
Battle of Tazoon 10 years ago
Signing of the Peace Accords (Close to present unsure of date)

General History

The history of the world of Istaria can be a confusing one. A great deal of information about many of the races that populate the world or that -populated- the world has been lost under the oppressive weight of the Withered Aegis. The general feel throughout the world about history is summed up in the phrase "why study the past when there may not be a tomorrow?" While this may be the feeling of a great percentage of Istarians , I believe it is still important for us to understand the world and the events that have shaped it. In the this and the following documents I will be helping you to understand the history of the living.

To grasp the full history of Istaria you will need to understand that each race has its own unique history apart from one another. While each race has a different history there is one commonality. This is the Withered Aegis. The Withered Aegis united the living in a common goal, while racial disputes still exsist they pale in comparison to the struggle against undead.

To help you in your quest to understand Istria i've created a timeline of various events and Ages in Istarian History. I will follow this timeline as I describe the history of Istaria to you. You will notice that there is a good deal of information that is left out. I have chosen to exclude this information due to the fact that a concrete date cannot be set for the information in question. However, in future publications I will be describing other events to you.

Age of the Gods

We begin our look at Istarian history during the Age of the Gods. Much of the information we have attained about this age is through folklore, legend, and stories passed orally. That is why much of the information during this period should be taken with a grain of salt. What is known is that many of the living races were prosperous during this time period. With each race residing in their own corner of Aradoth they grew unaffected by the Withered Aegis. Researchers also agree that the deities played an important role during this time. While the war with the Withered Aegis was not raging as it is today, many smaller skirmishes existed with many of them being influenced directly or indirectly by the Istarian deities.

During this time Humans were a nomadic race who followed wild game in search of food. However, they managed to found the city of Jarl while still remaining nomadic as a whole. This city was believed to have been founded for religious purposes and not due to advances in agriculture. A great deal of speculation still remains about this city, or ruins thereof, due to its location in the Barasavus Desert, which to this day remains deep within Withered Aegis territory. Information on the city is scarce due to the living races losing control of the area at such an early stage in their conflict with the Withered Aegis.

In an age rich with legend one such legend stands out, and I feel the need to call it to your attention. I feel it helps to emphasize the effect that the deities had during this time. This is the legend of how the Dwarves were created. Legend says that Brobbet, the God of Honor, created the Dwarves during the Age of the Gods to serve as the enforcers of justice to the Prime. The effects of this legend are still very predominate in Dwarven culture today and can be seen in Brobbet's Divine Mandate: "Without honor, there is no justice; without justice, there is no future," to which the Dwarves strictly adhere.

The Age of the Dragon

It is unclear when the Age of the Dragon really began. However, in digging through various historical documents I have concluded that it was near the end of the Age of the Gods. This age is marked by the Humans being faithful servants of the Dragons, and Dragon society reaching its height. While the Humans that were subservient to them were unwavering in their loyalty, the Human society was divided on their views of Dragons as a whole. One can easily find historical records of Dragons being revered as deities, or on how to bring the beast down.

Dragons however paid little attention to human affairs of the time as they felt it in no way affected the course of their lives. This however was flawed thinking on their part and was one of the underlying reasons for the Great Schism.

The Great Schism is a pivotal time in Dragon society. For centuries Dragon culture has been divided into two camps, the Lunus and the Helian. The more territorial, warlike Lunus faction believes that the other races should either serve to edify Dragon civilization or move out of the way. This heavyhanded approch was theorized by the military leader of the Dragons Malganival Lunus. Typically members of the Lunus faction are Warriors in dragon socioty, and more terrtorial in nature. This can be seen in the fact that the home seat of the Lunus faction is actually the ancestral home of the Dragons, Dralk.

In the second camp we have the Helian, named after their leader the Dragon scholar Helian. Their views on how to handle the rise of the other races of Istaria are quite different from the Lunus, but Dragon arrogance can still be seen in their view as well. Their ideals stem from the belief that if Dragons are the most enlightened and advanced race in Istria, they should seize the reigns of power and lead all others into the future. In doing so, they will return the reverence the other Living Races once had for them and do so in a civilized manner, through example.

Although these two factions were never violent towards one another, the years of debate slowly took their toll. What was once a simple debate became a twisted power struggle in which greed and possessiveness were the only winners. A war was brewing in Dragon society, something had to be done, and it was the Helian who acted first. Their approach to the matter was a civil one however. They chose to relocate and form a new city, Chiconis, where they could pursue their agenda in peace. The Lunus felt as if their society was being torn apart, yet they did nothing to stop the move by the Helian. The Lunus essicatlly had enough foresight to know better than to stop the move, knowing it could throw Dragon society into a civil war.

The Helian camp moved deep within the Black Mountains where they founded the city of Chiconis. The city is located between the Humans and the Dwarves with which the Helian faction share a common understand and peace. The close proximity to other living races does not mean that the Helian do not value their solitude however; in fact travel by foot to the city is a diffucult journey. Upon reaching Chicinos invited visitors of any race are still looked upon apprehensively by the Helian who wish to persue their agenda alone and in peace.

While the height of the Great Schism is reached during this time period it is not the only event of presidence that should be noted. It is also widly known that the Half-Giant city of Mahagra was founded near the end of the Age of the Dragon. While legend tells us that during the Age of the Gods Humans who settled the mountainous regions of Northern Aradoth began to slowly develop into what we know as Half-Giants, we do not actaully see the creation of the City of Mahagra untill the end of the Age of the Dragon. This lapse of time could be accounted for in the fact that Half-Giants often attempt to trace their lineage to a legandary race of Giants, not to their Human brethren. While that is feasible it could also be noted that a solitary enviroment of the harsh mountian regions without a large settlement for an extended period of time could make a group of Humans more physically robust to adapt to the weather.

Age of the Warrior-Kings

With the end of the Age of the Dragons we are brought to a time In Istarian history known as the Age of the Warrior-Kings. This nomenclature is used to refer to a period in our history that dates back 600 years. This is the age in which the Humans are united under a single banner and their subservience to Dragons is outright ended. The man credited for this is Ashlander Vandus, also known as the forefather of modern Human civilization. He united the often warring factions of Humans together with the common goal of standing on their own to defeat the Dragons. Although no offical coronation took place, he did go on to rule the Humans as King after unification of the different tribes. Only after his death was the practice of coronation instituted for the "Kingdom of Vandus." Vandus was also very instrumental in the establishment of the city of Tazoon, or as he referred to it, "the capital of Istaria." During the time of Vandus's rule Tazoon was a place of immeasurable importance, not only due to its strategic position along the Barasavus Plain, but also due to its econimic power, which is greatly credited to the charismatic rule that Vandus had. Although Tazoon is no longer a part of the Vandus confederation, it is still a prospering city today.

Vandus's rule showed little strife during his lifetime. He was an extremely charismatic man who could easily make opposite sides seek a middle ground. When dealing with other races, most notable the Dragons, he would use his knowledge of their customs to weaver things to his advantage. His understanding for Dragon culture was uncanny, so much so, that he was able to keep open conflict between the two cultures to a miniume. He brilliantly played both sides of Dragon faction against each other until the Humans were strong enough to stand by themselves and fend off any Dragon aggression. Many radical changes resulted from the conflict of Humans and Dragons. The most notable change of this time was Vandus' sparing use of war to reslove conflict.

Although the use of war was scarce, it did exsist. There were a number of military engagements in Human society both internally and externally. On the whole, Humans ascension into one of Istaria's major races was largely peaceful. This was due to Vandus's stance on war and due to his desire for Human civilization to be based on self-determination but not at the expense of other races, and to be open to the presence and cooperation of those other races.

The Age of the Warrior-Kings could not be defined by just one man though. Although Vandus is often referred to as "The Good King", kings that preceded him were also very strong and idealistic, one of whom was his son. His son though must also fall into his father's shadow and be judged against his father's persona of a paragon of virtue.

Although the Humans had a moderately peaceful time during the Age of the Warrior-Kings, the life of a Sslik was a much harder one during this time. With their alien physiology in comparison with the other living races they were hunted down and murdered. Even to this day some consider them to be barbarians and savages. They fled their persecution and went deep into the jungle of Lesser Aradoth during this age. It was there, in this jungle, that they created their home seat of Sslanis. They created this city to be a fortress, a place to hold out against sieges by the other races. The city was an eminent fortress within the jungle, with high stone walls that emphasized the Sslik's preference for stone over other resources. Though the city was built to withstand emeance sieges, they never came. This was due in part to their idealistic Saris neighbors and the buffer the neutral humans created at the Aradoth entrace to the Sable Straits. Without war glooming overhead, Sslanis began to become a center of trade between the Saris, Humans and the Sslik.

Age of the Sorcerer

The Age of the Sorcerer is named after the dark sorcerer Torrin Macalir. Maclir, a patron of the dark arts was at one point the leader of the Human intelligentsia and the foremost magical practitioner in Istaria. Then through his experimentation with necromancy he became corrupted and twisted into the evil leader of the Withered Aegis. His ascension to power went greatly unnoitced for sometime due to the petty feuds between the living races of Istria. During this time Istria was a hotbed of tension.

The Elves and Dryads sought total communion with nature, and were on the verge of waging war of cleansing against their life-long rivals, the Orcs and Goblins. The Dragons of both factions began to ally themselves with opposite sides of this conflict, hoping to use other races to settle centuries old disputes amongst themselves.The odd Welger sought to expand their influence against the control of Dwarven and Gnomish held lands. The Satyr found themselves in the unique position to broker both diplomacy and warfare material between the Welger, the Dwarves, and the Gnomes in exchange for more influence in all courts.

Even the Humans were involved in a feud with a race that has become known as the Fiends. Many Istarians forget before the Age of the Sorcerer there was no such race as Fiends. In many accounts we can relate what happened to th Humans during this time period to the Great Schism of the Dragons. Human society emulated that which had been Dragon society at the height of the Age of the Dragon. Humans were at the forefront of almost every major endeavor in Istarian life, and had certainly made many advances in the realm of magical study and practice. With such a leadership position in Istarian life, it became very easy for the Humans to forget the lessons they learned in shaking off the reins of Dragon domination in their life. Some feel that the Humans during this time coveted too much magical power, while others feel that Human society simply became too lax. If we compare what happend during this time period with the Great Schism we can see that actually, the secession of the Fiends from the Human race was in fact, a much darker event.

The creation of the Fiends and their forced removal from Human society says as much about the Human psyche of this time as anything else. Humans sought to unlock some of the greatest secrets of the use of magic ever... powers and concepts that are lost to us even during this day and age. A significant and sizable cadre of mages decided to tap into the powers of Necromancy and Mental Domination in order to achieve the ends they sought. The powers that be during this time balked at the use of hitherto shunned magical practices in order to achieve those ends, though some think that fear, rather than a sense of honor, drove the leading mages to ostracize their less scrupulous brethren. Many in Human society became embroiled in the growing social unrest, choosing one side or the other.

As with all of the great social dilemmas in Istaria, war ensued. Those who favored the forbidden practices of magic were outnumbered from the start, but managed to flee Human lands when the war pressed on. In order to secure a future for themselves, they chose subservience to a new Istarian deity, earning her guidance and protection. Such fiendish actions certainly earned the name given to them by the Humans and adopted by themselves, but the new Fiend civilization vowed to never be restrained by the shackles of what they considered to be the weaknesses of morality. In turn, they swore to teach the descendants of those who had ostracized them a lesson on, as the Fiends call it, "the virtues of revenge."

The Fiends went on to create the city of Kirasanct to the frigid north. The city is a testament to the Fiendish desires of seclusion from outsiders, while displaying their ostentatious sensibilities. Kirasanct is a walled fortress of metal and stone, with a massive central tower in the heart of the city. Spindly frames circle the city wall, giving the city a fearsome silhouette at a distance. Kirasanct proper lies on a plateau in the center of a vast valley, allowing for a significant distance around the city to be surveyed from the central tower and the high, arching walls of the city. It is clear that the purpose behind the city is to keep unwelcome visitors out, and considering the Fiends for who they are, that means just about all the other Living Races. Even today, when cooperation amongst the Living Races is at a virtual pinnacle, Kirasanct remains an inhospitable place for those save the Fiends.

It is said that either under the icy bedrock of Kirasanct, or perhaps in a nearby cavern, lays a dormant portal to the Realm of Twilight. It is rumored that before the onset of the Lament, the Fiends were actively trying to re-engage the portal, creating a gateway between the Prime and the Realm of Twilight, where it is said that the Fiend's patron deity, Niatha Moraven, dwells. The Fiends have never made a secret of their desire to strengthen the connection they have with their chosen goddess; in fact, the Fiends chose to found Kirasanct over a source of potent magical essence in the hopes that it would fuel their rituals and sorceries to achieve said goals.

With all these events weighing heavily on the minds of Istrians the actions of Maclir were largely unnoticed. How much harm could a lunatic necromancer cause? Only when it was too late did the races of Istaria realize that it was not flesh and blood that would be their downfall, but the twisted forces of undeath itself. How foolish we were, but we only realize this in hindsight now.

It was at the end of the Age of the Sorcerer when Maclir united the different sects of undead in the common goal of destroying the Living. Maclir held a firm grasp on the Withered Aegis, and through his leadership they began their march over Istria.

The Age of the Lamentations

This is the darkest of all Istria's history, at least to this day. In fact, we are unsure whether we are truly out of this age today. During this time Maclir lead the undead hoards on a march of Istira. Much of the information I have obtained from this era is hearsay, and some are merely drunken ramblings. One thing I am sure of is that at some point certain travel gates were brought down. One such gate isloated the city of Sslanis. It is unclear as to who actaully brought the gate down, but one thing is clear, it kept the hoards from marching through Lesser Aradoth.

Although the Ssris avoid direct conflict during this war many other races were not as lucky. Some we have not been able to make contact with to this day. One race we have managed to contact again is the Dwarven race. The story of how the Dwarves fared during this horrendous time is perhaps the most awe-inspiring story of all. The Dwarven city is a marvel of engineering with its towering walls and hidden tunnels, but to truly understand what they went through I feel it is best to tell you a story that I overheard one night.

It is no secert that Dwarves like ale; with that being said it is fair to say this particular dwarf was being himself this night. He began to relate the story of how the Dwarves defended their city of Aughundell during the siege of the Withered Aegis. "We knew the day would come when we would need the high walls of Aughundell! Thats why we built it were we did; we Dwarves are not fools you know. We built it right on the slopes of Mt. Grenaden. We built those walls with the finest Dwarven craftsmanship. It can withstand any force, be that man or beast!" he exclaimed as he slammed his glass on the table. "These were not men though; they were the undead.... We held our ground though; The vermin would charge our walls and break on them like water! We would funnel them into narrow passages where in the confusion we would regroup our forces. Oh but we didn't have one wall, or one layer of defense. We had them as far as the eye could see! Although that does tend to make trade a little confusing," he said with a chuckle. "We held our ground though...the battles were long and tiring, but they kept coming back again and again! Even though we Dwarves are as mighty as we are we did eventually have to errrr...regroup, in the caves and passages under the city." he said in a hurry, as he hoped no one caught on to the true meaning behind his statement."We held our own though, we did. We did it by ourselves too!" exclaimed the tipsy Dwarf as he pounded his chest.

History has a large degree of truth to it. Although, some drunken exaggerations are present. The Dwarves did in fact hold their city in one way or another for over 50 years until the Withered Aegis's sphere of influence was lifted from them. Others were not so lucky however. The home of the Gnomes, Rachival, fell 30 years ago. The Gnomish army was literally crushed once they were cut off from the other Living races by the Undead Hoards moving to the south. The gnomish refugees made a desperate run north to Tazoon. Even to this day the Gnomes have not been able to reclaim their ancestral lands. Many of their lands, including the city of Rachival, are actually still under the control of the undead hoards to this day.

Another city that has suffered the sting of defeat is Feladan. Former home to the Elven Council, this city fell a mere 25 years ago. Feladan was once a beautiful city located in the vibrant Feladan Forest. For the Elves, the city walls of Feladan were their last line of defense, and they gave the Horde a fight for every meter of land they conquered; more Elves died in the defense of the city than in any other battle of the Lament combined. Humans gave what they could to the Elves in the way of material and troops, but no amount of effort the Humans and Elves could muster could turn the tide. In the end, the Undead Horde captured the city and drove the last of the Elves from their ancestral home to the walls of their city of refuge, Tazoon, where the Elven Council now resides. Today, Feladan is a twisted shadow of its former self. The Forest is dark and lifeless, a swirling blight maelstrom now twists the Elven architecture into a caricature of its former magnificence. A massive undead fortification literally divides the fallen city in two, using the city itself as a barrier to the Blasted Wastes and a Withered Aegis stronghold deep within eastern Frontier.

We are not sure when it happend, but at some point we began to lose contact with other living races. A fate more horrible than death awaits many of them. Through powerful acts of horrendous magic and mental domination the Withered Aegis was able to control the Welgers and Satyrs. They are used as mere pawns in the tide of battle now. While we are aware that these two races are directly under the influence of the Withered Aegis we have also lost contact with the Dryads, Orcs, and Goblins and fear the same fate has engulfed them. Only when the dark veil of the death is lifted from the lands will we know the true fate of these races.

As I'm sure you are well aware, Tazoon was the last stand of the Living. Refugees flocked to the city, and it was after the fall of Feladan that we were sure certain death awaited this city as well. There, a short ten years ago we held our grounds, all the Living races in a collective effort. The undead were closing around the city and we feared the defeat and fall of the Living was at hand. We had one last weapon however. A Hero of the legendary Protectorate, Ryson Lightbringer, gave his life for us. He detonated a powerful artifact designed to destroy the undead and creatures from the Realm of the Blight. The blast was so powerful it turned the tide of the battle; we believe it even killed Torrin Macalir himself. The battle was over, it was the first sound defeat of the Withered Aegis, the only defeat.

The effects of this defeat are very noticeable in the structure of the Withered Aegis. Where once different sects had been united under the leadership of Macalir, now each sect leader, whether they are an original member of Macalir's necromantic cabal or a powerful, sentient being from the Realm of Blight, controls his own portion of the hoard with little reguard for his allies. Now, the time of the Living is at hand. We have our best chance ever to retake our lands, and in turn end the Age of the Lamentations.

Compiled and written by Belisarius ([email protected])
Sources: Developers Journals and statements made by Developers.
**Some of this document are direct excerpts from the Developer Journals, the goal behind this was to create a more user-friendly version of the history of Istaria. If any errors are found please email me.