Tendrils of Darkness
History of Olora
The First Age: Creation
Before the world was formed, there existed only the Primordials dwelling in their elemental chaos, and the Gods living in the Astral Sea. The two factions often warred with one another, and as their battles waged, worlds were created on the front lines of the wars that eventually became the three “middle” worlds; the Feywild, the Shadowfell, and the Natural World. This center world became the principal point on contention between the Primordials and Gods, because as they soon discovered, it was this world where the magical powers of the universe became centered on. It proved an axis to all other kinds of powerful forces, and as such, it was highly prized.
The battle was waged for centuries, and during this time both sides planted their servants and creations there. Elves and dwarves, angels and demons, giants and dragons all fought in service of one side or another, until the Primordials were eventually subdued and the Gods declared dominion over the middle worlds. These Gods created the races of Humans, halflings, tieflings, and dragonborn. Evil Gods experimented with their own creations such as the orcs, goblins, and other humanoids. They were savage and primitive races… not much more intelligent than animals.
The Second Age: The Eladrin
The first sign of civilization appeared in the peaceful kingdoms of the Feywild, and the Eladrin rose to power in peace and unity there. They worshipped the goodly Gods of Nature and Magic, and they saw their mastery over the arcane and divine magics as supreme.
It came as a shock to them, in the course of time, when they looked into Olora (elvish for “Center”) and saw the burgeoning lesser races of the Natural adapt to the study of magic and the worship of the Gods. Many saw these races as undignified beasts, barely intelligent enough to sustain themselves let alone wield the power of the heavens.
A great council of the Fey Kingdoms met and they discussed what must be done. Many of the Fey leaders decided it was best to let the will of the Gods be, and did not want to interfere. But many more thought such activity was an abomination and did not want the use of magic by these lesser creatures to become commonplace. This second faction gathered around Lord Garesh, a powerful Fey aristocrat and fearsome warrior of the Feywild frontier. He was a righteous man but arrogant, and believed it was the Eladrin’s duty to protect the magic of the Gods, at any cost.
Garesh and his followers were cast out of the council after a raucous debate, but that did not stop them. In secret, they gathered together and began amassing an army the likes of which had not been seen since the Wars of Creation.
Garesh knew of a place that slipped between worlds, a “Worldfall” that could transport an army from the Feywild to Olora. Recruiting many wizards, druids and shamans with experience in inter-planar magic, he staged his invasion.
The Worldfall performed as desired, and Garesh’s army came through into Olora with a vengeance. They fell upon the lands of the lesser races with vigor and ruthlessness and managed to conquer and enslave many nations.
The peaceful elves fled into their dense forests where the invader’s war machines could not go. The tieflings and dragonborn put aside their racials grudges that remained from the Creation Wars and united together to fight. The resourceful halflings fled in ships to far away islands to escape the onslaught.
The dwarves remained silent. Fortressed away in their mountain kingdoms, they turned their backs on the affairs of the world and delved deeper into the world.
The Eladrin council, horrified at these secret actions of their own kind, banished those who were a part of the invasion and branded Garesh and his followers abominations. They prayed to the Gods to punish those who perpetrated such horrible acts.
The Third Age: Steel Elves
It was only a few years after Garesh’s forces claimed total dominion over the nations of Olora, policing the use of magic and punishing those who disobeyed, while at the same time assailing the nations of the tieflings and dragonborn, when a change began to overcome the invaders. Their skin lost much of its natural hue, turning to a pale ivory color. Their hair uniformly changed from the many-colored variety of the eladrin to a slate grey color. And the nature of their magic changed as well. Sorcerers and wizards turned to the use of more elemental magics, and the priests and paladins among them began to lose their divine favor. It seemed as though the Gods had forsaken them to punish their actions.
The Eladrin saw this as an answer to their prayers, and labeled the traitors the “Urandir”, or Steel Elves. Cruel, warlike, and zealous, the Steel Elves forsake their belief in their Gods and turned their attentions to retainin their hold on power.
Meanwhile the dwarves, in their centuries of isolation, their networks of underground tunnels connected the many cities and kingdoms together through the Underdark. It was after one hundred years of the reign of the Steel Elves that the dwarven gods abandoned their subjects altogether. Priests could no longer use their prayers, paladins lost their holy powers, and all of those who relied on diving powers found themselves floundering without patronage.
A hastily-convened council of elders was brought together among the many nations to discuss this horrible occurence. Many leaders feared their neglect of the surface races was to blame, that their unwillingness to come to the aid of the other races of the world had angered the Gods, causing them to abandon them. Others thought that it was because of their elemental heritage as children of the Primordials that caused the Gods to flee, and thought they should pursue reconciliation with their past.
Regardless of the source, it soon became aparent that the Dwarves, left without the power of the Gods and not well versed in the arcane arts, would surely parish if they were to remain isolated much longer. They decided it was time to rejoin the surface world, and to confront the evil that lay siege to it.
The Third Age: The Great War
For many years following the collective dwarven agreement, nothing was heard from the mountains. During this time, the dwarves mined much ore, and crafted many weapons and siege engines needed for the upcoming attack. They also constructed sentient constructs using the magic of artifice. These soldiers of wood and rock they named Warforged for their singular purpose. The dwarves also secretly enlisted the help of the halfling explorers, who could scout for them on the surface without notice, and serve as envoys to the remaining free nations of the tieflings and dragonborn, and to the elves. They told that a great war was coming, and that they should prepare to finally free the land of the Steel Elves’ horrible reign.
But the great King Borogrim Bonebreaker knew that there was one more alliance to forge, and only by securing this alliance could victory truly be achieved. So with a small band of his greatest warriors, they trudged through the Underdark to the base of a large mountain range close to the north of the world, to encounter and parlay with their greatest enemies. It was here that Borogrim etched his name in the tablets of history by reconciling and allying with the giants.
The stone gates of the dwarven nations burst open and millions poured forth. The coordinated attacks caught the smug Steel Elves completely by surprise, and the dwarves had regained a lot of ground before the Urandir could muster a decent defense.
By the time the Steel Elves had gathered in strength, their enemies were everywhere. Elves plagued the highways, tiefling and dragonborn raiders decimated their forces, and halfling pirates sunk their fleets. Warforged and dwarves battered their fortifications, and giants hurled boulders into their towers. In addition, their humanoid slaves rose up against them. And although the casualties were many, the human-led resistance saw orcs, hobgoblins and gnolls fight alongside their ancient foes to destroy their enslavers.
It was only the benevolence of the Fey council, travelling from their fortresses in the Feywild, that saved their long-lost bretheren. The negotiated a surrender that saw the Steel Elves rebuild the world they had destroyed, and free those races they took as slaves. As part of the treaty, the Steel Elves turned their lands back over to those who they took them from, and agreed to lend their knowledge and resources to replant crops, rebuild cities, and even to spread the use of magics of all kinds to every race in the world. The invasion had ended, and the world was once again free.
The Fourth Age: The Age of Freedom
It has been two hundred years since the Great War. The dwarves have spread their influence across the world and now trade freely with many other races. Many Steel Elves returned to the Feywild and were restored to Eladrin, but others still exist in some places of the world, their society much changed from their defeat.
The treaty between Tiefling and Dragonborn has held and now their united country of Mae’r Kosian is one of the most powerful in all history. The Elves have remained largely xenophobic in the centuries since the ending of the war, and there are few who dare travel into the deep forests alone.
Humans have regained much of their nations, thanks to their undying spirit and resolve. Although the majority of the humanoid races returned to their tribes in the hills and took up their habit of warring on other races, many decided to remain among the humans and live more civilized lives.
Halflings still rule the seas and rivers of the world, and continue to expand their knowledge through exploration. The Eladrin have recently regained the original piece of land Garesh used as a Worldfall to invade from the protective custody of the dwarves. It is a piece of the Feywild permanently stuck in the world, and now gnomes and other fey races dwell here as envoys.
But although life in this new age of enlightment and freedom are the most prevalent, there are still dark things that fill the shadows. Many speak of the dead lands of the Shadowfell encroaching on Olora, and they point to the undead city of Sarcopha within Barrowdale as an example. Dark cults worshipping ancient and forgotten gods are suddenly more prevalent, and evil once again extends it tendrils of darkness across the world.
It is a time when the world needs heroes, more than ever.