Averthia, an ancient world seeped in magic...
Over many years different nations have endured the friendship and hostility of their neighbours. The many different nations across Averthia have rarely allied, though relations tend to remain neutral unless pushed to conflict for conquest, trade, resources or by simple political rivalries. While the continents are formed upon the maps, Averthia is not inhabited only by these nations of more civilised species. Constant threats are posed by all manner of malicious entities, which ensures that political alliances prove to be a necessary way of life. For vile, shadowy things spread across the world from the darkest places and areas that once thrived become lost, overrun or abandoned. These places often become lawless areas where the right to rule is for the one who can enforce it. Such instances are ever a source of warfare as bitter clashes are fought to secure the lands and alliances are shattered for the promise of wealth and power.
The First Born: When Averthia was created by the will and whim of the First Lord of Light, there was a race of creature shaped by the will of the creator into its own image. These were the Dragons. Mighty, fire breathing beasts whose size and power made them lords over all they surveyed. In time more gods were drawn to Averthia, to wonder at its creation and to marvel at its intricacies and delights. These eternal deities brought with them their ‘gifts’. Spheres of power each had assumed control over, pulled from the ‘Weave’ itself to shape the world and to set in motion the focus to which they could devote their energies.
The Dragons were numerous, with voracious appetites - both for sustenance and violence. As their numbers grew, more and more species of beasts were shaped from the Weave, the essence of reality given shape to provide an abundant food source for these mighty winged lizards. Soon the Dragons began to form a language, their tongues gliding effortlessly into sound, giving breath to words and sounds. Yet the First Lord of Light was delighted, for this was its domain, and it knew that with words, the Dragons would gain mastery over magic. Just as itself had, when it had first been born those many thousands of years ago, in a time before its ascension to godhood.
Working in secret it began creating another species... A race that would praise their creator and sing their adulation each morning as the First Lord of Light bathed its creation in its fiery warmth. With a heart and mind filled with arrogant self assurance the first Lord of Light worked upon its latest creation. The Elves.
The Elves are the oldest, and purportedly the wisest of the civilised races, yet they are not counted amongst the most numerous of the races to walk Averthia. Yet the Elves were wilful and questioning creatures. Capable of a single minded devotion to study that made them masters of their chosen vocations. Long before humans roamed the world these beings built mighty woodland civilisations and perfected the art of sorcery, steel shaping and fine works of art, music and poetry which had no compare throughout the realms. The Elves were motivated by the ‘First Lord of Light’ to strive towards the attainment of perfection. Their natural state of arrogance became honed by years of suffering and hardship.
As other races began to share the world the Elves were pushed back, their woodland realms declining under the relentless onslaught of the younger races. Some realms of Elves turned from their intended path of lightness, walking the closer to the realms of darkness. These Elves are collectively referred to as ‘Grey Elves’ and ‘Night Elves’. There is however, no true racial difference between these creatures, and in the rare instances where an Elf’s actions are deemed to have fallen from their creators grace, then these beings are likely to outcast the creature, if not slain out of hand. The younger Gods began to shape life of their own, remembering the things they had seen from other worlds and from other realms of existence, devising their own creations to set upon Averthia. Relishing the act of creation they turned their attention to setting in motion many new life forms: animal, beast and plant.
The Dwarves came next, a determined, grim and stalwart race created to explore beneath the surface of the world. This purpose kept them from the surface world for many years, and when they finally did emerge, blinking in the light of day they encountered the Elves for the first time. This meeting did not go well. The proud and quick to anger Dwarves had no time for the haughty and arrogant Elves. As their disdain for each other erupted into savage bloodletting. The Elves had a skilled, elegant mastery over the martial arts, with powerful sorcery honed over thousands of years... The relatively younger Dwarves were a mere thousand years old by this time. Yet they bore a resilient toughness and a determined strength forged by their underground lives of hardship. As the war raged on it drew the attention of the mightiest of Dragons Nethrauxarillus, who’s power and speed were unmatched by her own kind. Nethrauxarillus had scores of her own children, whose loyalty lay to her above all else. The scent of both Dwarven and Elven blood reached her nostrils she had only one desire. To destroy these races. A perfect opportunity to remove the Elves from their Woodlands and keep them from finding and destroying her kinds nests. The dwarves were no better, with their incessant mining into the deepest places, disturbing the underground lairs... Caught in the open finally, these races would feel her fiery wrath!
The war between Elves and Dwarves had raged on for a long three hundred year conflict before Nethrauxarillus and her flight rained fire upon the lesser beings. Many hundreds of thousands perished and the two embattled races quickly turned their attention towards the impending doom. A grudging halt between hostilities, neither side the victor they fought side by side, all but exterminating Dragonkind from Averthia. There was no cave too dark, forest too deep nor mountain too high for the combined fury of the the Elven and Dwarven nations. Finally when none could be found, the two older races settled into an uneasy peace. Yet in this time they found a common interest, for both races had a love of crafting. As different as night and day the two races still find time for conflict, for neither side can agree upon who won that first war.
The First Lord of Light was dismayed, its two most recent creations had taken to destroying its first, and favourite. Yet the Dragons were not finished. Numbering in their hundreds they were not yet gone from the world. They needed weaker prey to feed upon... Something that would was short lived, yet capable of breeding rapidly and thus providing an endless supply of sustenance to the mighty Dragons. Remembering its previous time, on another world with other species the First Lord of Light returned into the void, leaving the realm lightless. Within a few moments Averthia was plunged into total darkness, and within days the temperature became practically insufferable. Ice formed across the surface of the world, and all life began to die in that terrible cold. Without light to nourish it, plant life struggled for survival and Averthia entered a time of global catastrophe.
The younger gods could not sit idly by... Yet this was beyond them, and nothing could set the world to rights. They entered the world in their natural, radiant forms. Wandering amongst the surviving creatures and seeking an answer to the Age of Ice and Snow, hope seemed lost. The Elves had nothing to offer, the First Lord of Light was gone, and they despaired. From the darkness, evil things emerged as the Infernal Realm was no longer held at bay and sought to gain a foothold within the hearts and minds of those suffering fear and desperation. Until a young Dwarf named Mordarin Brightforge approached the gods. “Raise me high” he bid of them... “Set me an anvil in the skies high above Averthia and empower my forge to bathe the world in warmth and light! For my name comes from this metalic stone I have found, which striking brings fire for my furnace and sets sparks from my hammer!” Thus Mordarin was elevated, raised from mortal to the pantheon. Set to work high in the skies above the world, Moradin’s forge sprang great waves of flame as his hammer rung upon his precious metal. The flames heated the airless space between the barren rock they had set for him to work from and Averthia. Ice and Snow melted, darkness receded and Moradin was hailed as the new god of light. If you look into the skies you will see the forge blazing overhead, burning bright for eternity. Yet when Moradin works hard upon the anvil, sparks of metal sometimes chip away and fall burning towards Averthia. This is now known as Weavestone and is a rare and precious thing.
The First Lord of Light was furious on its return to this realm and had not been idle in its absence from this realm and Averthia. It had travelled to a place where in its past a race existed which suited its requirements perfectly. Mankind, the most prominent and numerous of the races, also now proves to be the most susceptible to the corrupting influence of the Infernal Realm, where all things Evil & Demonic reside. There are many human nations, each independent of each other, for Humans share little racial kindred spirit and humans are a capricious species at best. Yet the truth of the matter is that here, the race known as humanity was brought for a single purpose. Sustenance for the Dragonkind and favourites of the First Lord of Light. A hatred for Moradin that could never be soothed by words. Moradin the usurper. The thief. Attempting to destroy Moradin proved futile, for between the immortal gods bloodshed is a forbidden thing and even they dare not break the ‘laws of reality’. Sulking to the other side of the world the First Lord of Light settled upon an opposing rock of its own creating. Moradins forge was indeed hot, and perhaps yes his fires indeed had saved the world from plunging into the infernal realms. Yet this was of little comfort to so proud a mighty being. Moradin would forever be the enemy. Thus the First Lord of Light breathed flames against its rocky perch in anger setting it ablaze. This blazing fire melted the metallic rocky outcrop into a molten ball of shining metal... A metallic orb so reflective that is can still be seen from the surface of Averthia, reflecting the very light from the forges of Moradin fire.
Finally, Apharite Godess of Peace and Wonder approached the First Lord of Light. “Why so furious?” She implored, “You created Moradin, he is your son. Who saved your creation, and brings light to the world. His fires are fuelled by a metal stone, found deep within the earth of your making. The same metallic stone which you yourself have made such a wonderful reflection from! Even now its power takes the oceans surface, forming it into great waves to break upon the shores. Your power is everywhere, can you not see forgive?”
No single mortal have ever learned what the First Lord of Light replied to Apharite that night, yet it is at night that we can look towards the pantheons realm and see the moon still, whilst by day we can look up and see the Son - Moradin working his bellows and bathing the world with light and warmth. Yet now, nearly three thousand years after the race of mankind arrived, Averthia has new and more numerous races. Orcs, Goblins, Ogres, Trolls, Hobgoblins, Gnomes and Halflings... These are known as the ‘lesser’ races, and each has a history and origins of subversion and change.
Many of these species are relatively primitive and disorganized races, with an instinctive warlike aggression which threatens the various nations. Their violent natures commonly cause all-out wars among their own kind, let alone between the other more civilised races.
After the forming of the Northern Empire, in the year 988 (as dated by the Mages Guild Constellation Calendar) there rose a power within the realm of humanity which threatened the existence of all who resided upon Averthia. A soul found damnation and fell to the Infernal realm. A human assassin, employed as a safeguard by the Mages Conclave, (precursors to the present Mages Guild) and doomed to eternal damnation by the sly workings of the most powerful magic users of the age. The Mages Conclave was a school of wizardry, where would be mages learned the rudiments of Sorcery. A place of learning and a wellspring of youthful power. This assassin was never to take his fate willingly, and rose quickly through the planes of the Infernal Realm with a speed unlike anything witnessed before. Forged into a truly horrific being of supreme malevolence he attained the loftiest position of power within that evil place. Aurulux was re-made, a Demon Prince. Under the same ‘laws of reality’ as the gods themselves must abide, Aurulux is a Demon. Once banished from the material plane a Demon must reform within the immaterial realm, working its way back into the Infernal Realm and slowly reclaiming its powers, if it can manage to do so. It must take one hundred years and one day before it may be re-summoned once again to the realm of the material plane. With much plotting and scheming he came to be summoned by a mortal wizard, desiring to bind this powerful Demon to his whim, who thought himself capable of subjecting Aurulux to servitude. Aurulux was long beyond such mortal control, and destroyed the wizard for him impudence. Aurulux knew that even without banishment, a Demonic entity can only hold a form on the material plane for so long. So whether banished, or merely disapparating back to the infernal realms, time on Averthia to seek vengeance would be short lived. Aurulux created his ‘Dark Pact’, and without fail, within one year and one day, Aurulux always returned. By the year of 1612 Aurulux had become enough of a threat to the realms that the gods intervened, charging the mortal races with the task of binding the Demon Prince into a powerful artefact whence it could be destroyed with divine assistance. For only the gods truly understood that Aurulux’s power had begun to rival their own. The war played out over many years, and Aurulux called all manner of beings to his side in an effort to destroy humanity and achieve his ultimate goal. Until one day, Aurulux fled the field of battle and withdrew to a dark land in the south.
In this place nothing lived that cared for civilised folk. This land was a dangerous place, and with little or no support no forces could achieve much more than gain a foothold close by the shore line. The first township was struck by the hardened warriors of Clan Morrgrim, the Dwarven King who’s bloodline ran old and strong. This town became known as Mithril, for the ore they unearthed whilst digging its foundations. This sparked a three year mining enterprise, following which the Dwarves abandon the now barren town of Mithril to venture inland towards the mountainous regions where they would feel more at home. Here the Dwarves have stayed, for over a thousand years. Armies of Elves and Humans followed the Dwarven war host and together this alliance hunted the minions of Aurulux seeking his destruction. Then without warning, a great mist rolled up from the shores... The dark lands were shrouded from view as great fog banks rolled up from the ocean and the land disappeared for long over five hundred years. Yet worse the gods suffered, for the first time in thousands of years they recoiled as one of their own dimmed and faded from the pantheon... A god had fallen, leaving the rest fearful and distraught. Attempts to spy upon the realm were made, yet all led to naught. The dark lands were gone. Nothing could be seen from them by any means, save a continent shrouding pall of fog and mist. The gods sent their own avatars to Averthia, and astride a ship crewed by holy warriors they formed a crusade to find answers to this unknown occurance. They were destroyed utterly, weakening those gods who had sent their likenesses and leaving them increasingly anxious. Yet what could be done?
Many years passed before the mist parted, and again the Northern Empire summoned its allies. A great Northern Alliance, to re-enter the Darklands, and to solve this mystery once and for all. Still scrying and viewing from afar was blocked, so a fleet set sail to make for the last known ports of this strange land. A land that had changed even further still. It was a trap, set by Aurulux, and those who ventured on this latest crusade became embroiled in a bitter, and terrible war. Aurulux had assumed the power of the gods themselves, though how was anyone’s guess. The war raged on for close to six months before something happened. A change occurred and a mighty cataclysmic event rocked the world. Averthia entered what is now known as the ‘Time of Despair’, as continents shifted, oceans swallowed miles of shoreline, mountains collapsed and the maps were forever changed.
New land masses have appeared. As though dragged through the planes of existence, torn from another world and scattered across Averthia. Strange new humans, with ingenious technologies and a native distrust of sorcery have emerged. A world born of magic, Averthia has now changed... New steam powered creations have taken precedence over the more conventional weapons of old. Every nation has begun to realise the potential power which even a layman can wield. Firearms, capable of punching a shot through the armour of a knight can be fired by even the smallest, weakest individuals... Strange rods of brass and copper pipe can throw sheets of fire at the pull of a lever and within a mere three years mechanical ships float across the skies, wind filling their sails as black cloud belches from their noisy engines.
Change had come to Averthia. In the wake of the cataclysm there was an abundance death and suffering. Beneath the rubble of civilisations destroyed overnight, millions of dead stirred. Once again, dark things emerged from the Infernal Realm. A huge, portal like rift had been torn open, a gateway to the power of the weave itself. Necrotic and Demonic energy washing into Averthia in an endless tide... Three years of hard fought war. A single battleground where over a million lives were lost. Finally, and at great cost the gateway closed. The gods have fallen silent, in the pantheon a war is raging unobserved by mortal eyes. Two new gods have taken their places, and a struggle for power takes place. One is a being of anger, warlike and powerful with an appetite for destruction and fire. The other, a dark, shadowy being who exuded confidence and malice with equal measure. The mortal realm has been left to fend for itself, and with such evil in the world new portals have begun to open... Small at first, yet growing in size daily. Once again the Northern Alliance has sent the call to arms. Yet this time, there is no single enemy to defeat. No one place to send its forces. So three years since that terrible cataclysm the recruitment has started. Posters have gone up, recruitment officers ride village to village:
“The Alliance Cartel need you!”
Averthia has entered a new age. The age of SteamWeave.