A History of the Heartlands
Librarian’s note: These studies were gifted by the Unicorn faction, their provenance is unknown but the data seems broadly accurate.
The Elder Race Wars
The elder races lived long and prosperous lives on the world of Erdreja. Elves, Dwarves and Fairy folk all lived in relative peace for millennia. When the younger races came to the world this peace was shattered, within a few centuries of their arrival, the race wars began and many thousands of lives were lost within just a few decades.
During the wars, the younger races developed a device that was powered by the magic used by the elder races, this caused them to age quickly and die. To counter the device, they performed a mighty ritual depriving everyone of any knowledge of Incantation magic. The remaining memories were kept by the Drow who made their home beneath the surface of the world. They discovered that the miles of solid rock between them and the device meant that they could continue to use Incantation magic.
The banishing of Incantation was one of the last, desperate acts of the elder races.
The Fairy folk had retreated to the unseen court, the Dwarves and their kin had retreated to the mountain halls and only the Elves were left to fight the younger races. Kingdom by kingdom, they were gradually overrun and pushed eastwards where they made a final stand.
Over a thousand years ago, the last Elven army was defeated by the younger races at Obsidia. The few remaining Elven lords took the last of their people into hiding. The wars were finally over and the younger races stood victorious. Cities were built and a great civilisation was created. Tebron, the greatest warlord of the humans was declared Emperor and ruled from the great city of Tebronia that bore his name.
The empire was founded the day that Tebron first sat upon his imperial throne and the calendar began anew with the first year AF (After Founding). After the first Emperor’s death the capital was re-named Malkarn and it remained so until its destruction.
The Elemental Colleges as guardians of the Empires knowledge created a Great Library in the north. This was built on the ruins of an Elven city once renown for its collection of learning. The city of Norhault grew up around this library which became the greatest seat of learning in the known world. The library was formally opened one year to the day that Tebron was crowned, the first day of January in the year 1 AF. For several centuries the Empire prospered, and peace returned to the lands.
The Cataclysm of Water
Just before 500 AF a great cataclysm took place. A mighty ritual was being performed in the capital’s great ritual circle to bring rain to the drought stricken southern farms. Unknown agents disrupted the ritual and released all of the magic within the circle. This uncontrolled power flowed to every other known ritual circle, shattering many and killing hundreds of people. Violent earthquakes rocked the land, mountains were smashed and the city was dragged beneath the waves as the whole of the Imperial Heartlands sunk. The waters of the great seas rushed in to separate forever the northern and southern continents. Albion, Erin and Western Norsca (now Orkneyjar) became islands as the land around them disappeared and the seas flooded in. Whole communities died, including the ruling Emperor and his entire family along with most of the ruling lords of the Empire, who had gathered in the capital for a celebration.
The end of the Empire began a period of almost six hundred years of war between the remaining nobles over who would rule the new lands. It soon became apparent that no-one could achieve total victory. The Empire was gone forever and instead the Heartland countries became small independent nations. They were ruled over by lord generals, who remained continuously at war with each other over the borders of the disputed lands.
The Gathering Treaty
In 1091 AF the last battle for the city of Norhault was fought and the Lord General of Caledonia recaptured it. This was also the year of the formation of the Grand Council. After much discussion amongst the people of the Heartlands most agreed that they had fought their last war, and looked forward to a new age of peace.
In the discussions of the Grand Council, the Gathering Treaty was drawn up and signed by all the Lord Generals of the Heartlands. The treaty stated, and still states that representatives of the Factions (the Grand Council) would discuss disputes in a civilised manner. Should a dispute not be resolved by talks then, at an annual Gathering, representative forces of the disputing Factions would fight a battle under a magical ritual of peace. This ritual would allow combatants to subdue but not kill each other. The victory conditions for these battles would be determined before the combat took place.
The Cataclysm of Fire
In 1106, another great tumult rocked Erdreja as the magical forces of six hundred years sought to re-align themselves. The world was burned and forged anew, causing substantial change to its geography. For some, this cataclysm caused little discomfort and they watched as the world altered around them. For others of a more magical nature, the change was painful and left them scarred in its wake.
To this day, the Factions of the Heartlands still hold to the ideals of the Gathering Treaty. The original document, has undergone revision, Leaders have come and gone, Nations have fallen, and new kingdoms risen from the ashes. Yet still the principles and agreement of peace remains.