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Of the Third Race of Man; the Origins of Coria, Ertain, and Pardinal
Translated by Daelric Ulbeth,
Royal Archivist to His Most Beneficent Majesty, King Jarom Brightblade
Out of the depths of Cardista's capricious heart they rose. Born of the crystalline tears she had shed, sustained by the frothy waves that rose to kiss the prows of their tired vessels, and propelled onward, forever onward by her sweet breath. The maiden of the sea smiled down upon them from the paradise she inhabited, until they found an idyll of their own.
For countless years they had known of nothing but the sea. They criss-crossed vast oceans and set foot on strange and varied lands, until weary eyes glimpsed fair Antaron, and hearts worn down by long travails broke at its beauteous sight. As hunters they had come, to pillage what they could and return to homes buried deep under a blanket of eternal night. But over time those who sought to bandits became pilgrims, brigands lay down their swords for their ploughshares, until no longer could a tired people bear the heartache that would result if they were to leave Antaron's fair shore.
Apanonar, the Elves of Sylvaria chose to term the Third Race of Man, for no doubt they were different with their tall frames and fair complexions to the humanity cherished before within Antaron's bosom. Yet no name did these people have for themselves as they huddled within crude shelters fearing the searing heat of Solanis' love that blazed across the heavens. There was no history known bar that passed from parent to child, no learning apart from that needed to survive, no song but the whistling wind and the raging rain. Born they were of Cardista's navel, suckled they were at her breast, a land was given for them to shape, and the only price were the memories of what they had once been.
Yet deep within the shifting shadows where they had made their home, a beacon was lit with eyes that burnt with the wisdom of ages and hands that had once claimed Antaron as their own. Many lay cowed in terror before the figures bathed in light, but some dared to peer beneath the fingers they placed before their eyes, and cast off the fear that had blinded them. Koria, Ertain, and Pardinyl were they, a girl and two brothers who would have kingdoms named in their honour (Koria and Pardinyl evolved to become Coria and Pardinal as language has evolved). Mere children whose hearts knew no fear, who accepted the outstretched hands offered them, and were led into the light.
The Apanonar had lived as forgotten shadows upon Antaron, beings without true life that shied away from the flame of truth, but remained tormented by whatever wondrous creature it was that had lent them their form. Yet as the Drannese came amongst them they learnt of glorious past of the race of Man, a legacy that resounded through the ages as surely as the elves sheltered within their forest homes, or the dwarves within the bones of the earth. True light cast its rays upon them, and through awe-filled eyes the Apanonar realized that they were not of the shadows, but the men and women who had cast them.
History became legend, legend myth, and over the years mighty cities hewn of stone replaced the rude hovels of their forebears. The standards of Ertain were unfurled in all their splendour, caught the morning breeze and fluttered long upon the wings of that zephyr. Yet whilst the sweat and blood of Ertainians mingled to sound a clarion call throughout the world that a new dawn of man was at hand, the toil of those in Coria and Pardinal went without the same reward. Embittered hearts riven with tears looked upon Ertain and the bounty contained within, and grief became envy, jealousy hatred.
However, one cannot say if war was the fate the gods had weaved, for in the Year of the Resplendent Rose by Drannese Reckoning (532 BER), the Crown of Drannon chose to intervene. As an irate parent she grasped the bawled hands of her mischievous children, and as they squirmed beneath her grasp her grip was to tighten, until so tight had it become, that it was no longer possible it could relent.
The Confederation of Drannon was born, ostensibly a mutual accord between equal partners, but whilst the golden throne in Drefast glistened anew under the gentle caress of a glorious sunset, those of Coria, Ertain, and Pardinal withered under the glare of the impending night.
For nearly five hundred years mankind was united once more in Antaron. Countless sages snapped their quills, such was the effervescence with which they wrote of a new Anathara, as countless more serfs broke nothing but their backs, heedless of the empty promises couched in the finest of words that were uttered by their betters. The trappings of civility were all present, men grew rich, and women vain, but a wildflower gilt in gold does not become a rose.
Over the centuries those whom he gods had ordained to govern and protect in the three kingdoms, had all but disappeared as the local nobility, their eyes aflame with the delights of Drannon, left their old lives behind to embrace the culture so espoused elsewhere. Their blood mingled with the Drannese, their prestige grew, until holdings in Coria, Ertain, and Pardinal were to be dismissed with weary sighs, and the people they had once nurtured allowed to slip into the shadows.
Bandits lurked and famine prowled in the darkness that had fallen, but in the depths of men's souls and the within the nadir of the long night, worse things than death await. The fell gods had their way, and all fell under the sway of Sharlys' slumber, and endless nightmare from which few could awake. Yet they were some that refused to succumb, some that shone with an iridescent light within the dusk that had fallen, and Arin Vellrun was one.
She was nought but a widowed farmer from the town of Taverton in central Ertain, who despite the rigour of her life never questioned her due, never doubted the extent of Lysora's boundless love as her husband and children were taken from her. Yet the harvest in 48 BER was been poor, so much so that even the husks of the crops they grew were to be a delight, and Arin new as did all of Ertain, that when the Drannese came to collect their tithes, D'hurgen's foul steed would follow swiftly in their wake.
So it was that Arin refused to submit a tithe, refused to surrender meekly to the all-encompassing night even as she was led to the hangman's noose. For Lysora had spoken to her, or so she claimed, had told that she would soon see once again those that she loved, and that her bravery would not be in vain, that thousands would seize upon her example and cast off their yokes, and so it proved.
Word spread of one woman's courage, and a legend was born. Legend became myth, and out of myths nations are hewn. Tens of thousands refused to tithe throughout Coria and Pardinal in addition to Ertain, refused to wither when confronted by the arrayed legions of the Drannese, until that parental hold Drannon had held was shattered.
In Drefast few wanted to see the seeds of humanity they had nurtured within their grasp given suddenly to the wind, but fewer still the bloodshed that would result if Drannon's will was to be reimposed. Yet that resplendent sunset that had drawn on for an age, slipped finally beneath the horizon as an assassin's poisoned barb struck the Emperor Thandaran, and whilst a new dawn was breaking in the east its fragile shroud could not penetrate the shroud that had fallen over Drannon. The lessons of the past were forgotten, rivulets of blood ran fresh through the cobbled streets of Drefast, and a new song was sung through hallowed halls, all in praise of Cilannin. The brother of the ill-fated Thandaran, whom all knew was responsible for the Emperor's death, and who now sat with a smile upon his face, happy that the endless scream of the guilt that gnawed at his sanity had been silenced but for a moment.
A foul wind swept across Ertain, and with it came the sounds all had been dreading: the clamour of war. Thousands flocked to Amurun, the ancient capital of Ertain, for there it was decided a stand would be made. Blades were tempered and leaders groomed, and though in the distance vast columns of smoke careered toward the heavens, their resolve did not wither.
Spring broke over Antaron, flowers bloomed, and the birds sang, though their refrain was marred by the sounds of battle. For twelve long days the gallant defenders of the city, led by Lavnis Deornath, held their own against the a force ten times their size, and perhaps victory could have been seized as beneath the steel helms the Drannese wore, they were but men. They felt the pangs of pain, drew the same sweet breath within their lungs, shared those sweet dreams that filled Ertainians' slumber.
However, there are creatures that do not sleep, that have been denied true life and have learnt to hate that which they crave. On the twelfth night, the ground moved between the defenders' feet and from the crevices formed crept those that are half beast, half men, whose eyes have seen no love, and flicker with naught but hate. Few escaped the slaughter caused by Cilannin's use of the foul orcs, and those that did spoke only in whispers of the horrors they had seen.
As a contagion the armies of Cilannin spread, furlong after furlong, mile after mile, until all that lies between the Moss and Indigo Rivers were under their demesne. Though as a cloud began to descend in the south, a ray of sunshine escaped its embrace and fell upon Coria. A new King had come to reclaim a throne that had lain vacant for an age, Girgian II. The vestiges of a broken people filtered to Calestra, looked upon his standard depicting a mighty oak standing tall and proud despite the ill wind, and were infused with a new hope.
The hordes of Cilannin's Iron Rose answered the challenge made, and soon battle commenced upon the streets of Calestra. Heroes were born, martyrs made, and legends lived over the two full days in which the battle raged. Yet whereas the stout of warriors of Coria, Ertain, and Pardinal would cut down several foes for each friend that fell, always another would fill the gaps made in the ranks of the fell goblinkin. Until at last all hope seemed to die, as the valorous armies of the light were pushed to the banks of what are now the Lakes of Heroes, and heard the telltale drums of the legions of Drannon roll in the distance.
Legends speak of the tears Girgian shed over his fallen people, as he looked into the distance seeking a foe with whom he could sell his life dear, but instead of the death he sought, sprang new hope that none had foreseen. For though the armoured host were indeed the famed soldiers of the empire, upon a ridge overlooking the battle their standards by all: the banner of Thardaran and the White Rose of lost Anathara.
So it was that mankind was united at the last, joined for a brief moment in a new dawn, as the forces of good swept to victory. No longer was Drannon to enjoy the glory of previous days as the kingdoms of Coria, Ertain, and Pardinal were formed, and the Drannese were plunged into the bitterest of internecine conflicts. The Third Race of Man was finally ascendant, and all hearts were gladdened, but simultaneously tempered by troubling thoughts. For Drannon had shown the darkness that could be reborn, and all were left to wonder if the same seed lurked in the depths of their souls, and whether they would share her fate.
||Arrival of first 'Apanonar' upon Audalis
First contact with Drannon
Gradual evolution into the Kingdoms of Coria, Ertain, and Pardinal
||Relations strained between the Three Kingdoms, and skirmishes in which large parts of Ancient Ertain (that which lies between Moss and Indigo
Rivers) are nearly overrun
|Midsummer's Day, 532 BER
||Formation of the Confederation of Drannon
||Heydey of the Drennese Imperial Throne
||Arin Vellrun's sacrifice
Secession of Coria, Ertain, and Pardinal
Assassination of Thardaran, and Succession of Cilannin
'The Long Death', period of a few month where Cilannin seeks to purge all the elements in Drannese society that might oppose him
Accord struck with Burkulg Silvertongue, Orcish chieftain from the Southern Khordal Mountains
||Invasion of Ertain
Battle and Rape of Amurun
Re-conquest of most of Ertain
||Invasion and Re-conquest of Pardinal
Raising of Girgian II's standard near Calestra
||Invasion of Coria
Battle of the Reborn Rose
De facto acceptance of the independence of Coria, Ertain, and Pardinal, as Drannese factions loyal to Thardaran's infant son, Ophare, engage in a bid to oust the Usurper, Cilannin
||Cilannin ousted as Emperor of Drannon, but takes a large slice of the country with him. Sendria founded.
Thanks to Ginafae for this contribution!