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The history of Highfane

The Unspoiled Age

3,000 BF

The Alps and the Gyta

The Alps and the Gyta were first to dwell in Highfane. Born of hill, mountain, forest, and meadow, they blinked up at the sun in wonder and roamed the world. Soon, they spread across Highfane and settled in Oest. In time, the Alps built ships and braved the seas to explore and find new lands, Eadland among them.
2,500 BF

Eadland

Beyond the rolling waves of the Mothersea, the Alps found Eadland—harsh, cold, forbidding.
A place of trials, said the wise men.
A place to test us, they said.
And so it has been ever since: the gods wrought Eadland, or so the Alps and Gyta believe, for the strong to survive and prosper, until at last their strength wanes and others must prosper at their expense.
2,000 BF

The Hidden Folk

After the Alps and Gyta settled Highfane, the goddess Ualla was distraught to see their peace, for she revels in death and destruction. With promises of immortality, she tricked many Alps and Gyta into hiding their souls from the gods. They became the Hidden Folk, warped and evil shadows of what they once were. For the first time, the Alps and Gyta were beset upon by malignant foes. Highfane came alive with the clamor of battle, and it would cease never after.
1,500 - 1,100 BF

The Coming of the Ulder

The Alps and Gyta believe that the din of battle awoke the first men, the Ulder. Drawn to conflict like moths to a flame, they rose from the mud and sailed to Oest by the light of Wende’s star. While the Alps and Gyta fought the Hidden Folk, they spread and multiplied, finally turning their eye to the land of their neighbors.
1,100 - 1,000 BF

The First War

When conflict came, it was brutal. The Ulder roamed the lands, pillaging and burning, as blood-crazed herds of Gyta trampled them underfoot, and Alps pierced hundreds with feathered shafts from treetop fastnesses. There was never a true victor: the Ulder, the Alps, and the Gyta were evenly matched. For a century, they were embroiled in bestial, merciless conflict.
1,000 - 950 BF

The Stedda

As war raged, more men came—not just Ulder from the warm north, but others: pale men from the frozen wastes of the south. They were the Stedda, and from their mouths came first news of the Etter. Long had the Stedda fought this threat in the south. Now, they fled before them. But the warning went unheeded; instead of facing this new, horrid threat together, the Alps, Gyta, and Ulder drew the Stedda into their petty wars.
950 - 750 BF

The Peace of the Stedda

The Stedda, who had fought all their lives, proved strongest in the war for Oest and Eadland. They drove Alps, Gyta, and Ulder into the wilderness and settled the fertile land. Ruled by a High King in the legendary city of Norsted, the Stedda knew peace and prosperity. Until the Etter came...
Knight

Age Of The Etter

Hill-man
   750 - 700 BF

The Etter War

The very earth burst open, and from the wound crawled the arachnid conquerors that were called the Etter, driving before them Ulder, Stedda, Alp, and Gyta. Perhaps there was a chance to make a fist, but the grudges of the free peoples ran too deep: they failed to unite against this common foe. One by one, they fell before the unstoppable war machine of the Etter.
   700 - 50 BF

The Empire of the Etter

Those who escaped the Etter fled to desolate lands—to the mountains, the frozen wastes, and the impassible forests. Those who did not escape became slaves to the Etter, altered and corrupted through foul rituals to better serve their new purpose. Only Alps and some lines of the Stedda proved immune to this Etter corruption, and these the Etter hunted mercilessly.
   700 - 1 BF

The Yslings

The tempestuous time of the Etter witnessed the birth of the warlike culture of the Yslings, descendants of free Stedda who had fled to the icy wastes and waged an unending war against their would-be usurpers. In their hatred, they came to distrust and despise magic and grew strong in resisting it. Despite their many efforts, the Etter failed to conquer or destroy the Yslings, something that the Yslings pride themselves on to this day.
   50 - 1 BF

The Tunnel Wars

The other free peoples resisted the Etter as well. The Alps were the first to achieve a victory: their tunnelers breached the complex tunnel system that connected Etter outposts and began a campaign of sabotage. The Ulder, Stedda, and Gyta—their differences overshadowed by the atrocities of the Etter—allied with the Alps to perform swift underground raids on the Etter. Their efforts were effective: slowly but surely, the free peoples pushed the Etter back.
   10 - 5 BF

Jorr Thukk’s Army

The Etter struck back: they bought the aid of the Hidden Folk, led by the cruel Pysk Jorr Thukka. Using foul magic, the Etter teleported the Hidden Folk deep into the free peoples’ domains and unleashed them there. Pandemonium followed: the Hidden Folk released their hatred, and all the world burned in its fire. With their homes ablaze, the armies of the free peoples that partook in the Tunnel Wars disbanded and withdrew.
   5 - 1 BF

The Etter Dwindle

Decimated by the Hidden Folk, the free peoples awaited a final stroke that never came. Instead, the Etter left Highfane. Scholars cite many possible reasons: perhaps the Bloodcurse, a horrid disease that raged among the slaves, had scared them; perhaps the Tunnel Wars had convinced them that Highfane was not worth their trouble; or maybe they had simply finished whatever it was that they had come to do. Whatever the truth, the Etter slowly withdrew from Highfane, and not even their most trusted slaves knew why.

Age of Conquest

0 - 400 AF

The Rise of the Ulder

In Eadland, the Ulder were the first to find the Etter fortresses abandoned by all but demoralized slaves. Jubilant, they conquered the former holds of the Etter and retook the heartland. They buried their former grudges against their Alp and Gyta allies, and for a time, Eadland was free of war. However, the Etterkin and Ettergyta, former slaves of the Etter, suffered much under the Ulder. Many were prosecuted. Those who lived were pariahs, spat upon, and avoided.
0 - 300 AF

The Sormans

In Oest, the Etter had left many of their human slaves uncorrupted. Among them were folk out of the marshes of the east, the warm north, the cold south, and many Ulder. As slaves, they had mingled. Now, with the Etter gone, they rose up and bid their past of servitude farewell and named themselves the Sormans, the people of the south. Remembering the wars their Stedda and Ulder ancestors had waged against Alps and Gyta, the Sormans drove them out and ruled Oest alone.
100 - 559 AF

The Aedligs

During the Sorman reign of Oest, the first of the Aedligs came from the warm north. These people had known slavery under the Etter as well. However, their tribes had learned much from their former masters; they used magic freely and held Etterkin in high esteem. Having conquered the north, they expanded south and encountered the Sormans, the Gyta, and the Alps, with whom they sought to make peace.
100 - 559 AF

Damas-of-the-Dagger

The first Aedligs brought their god Damas with them. Unlike the Wendel, a pantheon of fickle gods, Damas was but a single god—a dead god, slain by his foes. His service was dour: it involved mourning the god’s passing. The worship of Damas was so contrary to the worship of the Wendel—who celebrated revelry and strife—that the Aedligs and the Sormans were at once culturally at odds.
100 - 559 AF

The Aedlig Alliance

Initially, the Aedligs were but few. The Sormans detested their faith and matriarchal society, which conflicted with the Sormans’ masculine ideals. They spurned the Aedligs, driving them into the arms of the Alps and Gyta, whom the Sormans had also turned from their cities. Aedlig, Alp, and Gyta won one another’s friendship and agreed that if the Sormans would not give, they had no choice but to take.
300 - 559 AF

The Slow War

The Sormans, for all their strengths, failed to unite and offer the Aedligs and their allies a single front. More Aedligs trickled in from the warm north, drawn by tales of lush and fertile lands ripe for the taking. In a process later called the Slow War, the Aedligs slowly achieved supremacy though economic, political, and military means and supplanted the Sormans as the major power in Oest.
300 - 559 AF

The Sorman Migration

The Slow War drove the Sormans west. Some fled before outright war; others found their homes sold overnight to Aedligs. Others still were repulsed by the Aedlig matriarchy and its love of magic. At first, the Sormans fled to the western shores of Oest. However, the tide of the Aedligs proved unstoppable. The shrewder Sormans soon realized that the coastal areas would fall in due time as well. They turned their eyes farther west, to Eadland.
400 - 559 AF

The Sorman Revolution

At first, the Ulder of Eadland welcomed the Sormans, and many Sormans made a fortune establishing trade routes between Eadland and Oest. The promise of wealth drew even more Sormans to Eadland. Soon, the Sorman elite gained a foothold and took control of cities and settlements. This worried the chieftains of the Ulder, who feared Sorman supremacy. The clans of the Ulder responded in the only way they knew: war.
524 - 559 AF

The Eadland War

The Ulder struck first: they raided into Sorman territory and persecuted Sorman citizens. The effect was contrary to what they had hoped: the Sormans, nearly driven out of Oest, came to Eadland en masse. The Sormans were more technologically advanced and hardened by years of conflict with the Aedligs. In a matter of years, they drove the Ulder back to the wilderness and brought the heartland of Eadland under their rule, thus finding a new home for their people.
554 - 559 AF

The Battle for Trebsby

Just as the Sormans conquered Eadland, they lost Oest to the Aedligs. The last Sorman hold in Oest was Trebsby. There, the Sormans who refused to abandon Oest made a final stand under High King Bergwyn. The city fell after five years, and High King Bergwyn died defending his ancestral home, finally ending the Sorman rule in Oest and beginning the Aedlig hegemony.

Age Of The Strife

   559 - 921 AF

The Sorman Kingdoms

With Eadland brought to heel, the Sorman conquerors crowned themselves kings of their new homeland and resumed their feuds. Throughout the years, only several of their kingdoms would last. Foremost among them were Osryk and its rich capital of Sorwic; Sargard, ever guarding the Etter rift; Fluwaryk of the River Country; Tyning, nation of horsemen; Kjelre and its mighty fleet in Norhaven; and cold Sorryk, home of mystics.
   562 - 640 AF

The Aedlig Civil War

With Oest under their control, the tribal Aedligs soon fell to civil war: several Matrons claimed supreme rule and rallied their armies to enforce their claim. Once again, Oest became shrouded in war. As borders changed, cities burned, and women died fighting, the weakened Aedligs caught the eye of a new threat...
   562 - 921 AF

The Ysling Raids

The warlike Yslings sailed up the coasts and rivers of Oest in their sleek ships. They were descendants of the Stedda who had long resisted the Etter in the frozen south. Wary of magic and covetous of fertile Oest and Eadland, the Yslings were soon at odds with the Aedligs, and their relentless raids brought the realms of the Aedligs to a standstill.
   612 - 921 AF

The Queen-Sorceress

As the Aedligs buckled under strife internal and external, a single powerful figure arose. None knew her name or whence she came, but the clergy of Damas referred to her as the Queen-Sorceress, and she commanded the loyalty of the Celestines. Wise beyond her apparent years, skilled in magic and generalship, and cunning beyond human ken, the Queen-Sorceress began a campaign to unite the Aedligs.
   620 - 700 AF

The Pacification of the Matrons

Backed by the swords of the Celestines and the words of the clergy, the Queen-Sorceress brought the Matrons to heel. She opened the borders, welcoming one and all, and arranged marriages between Aedlig nobles and foreigners loyal to her, thus infiltrating the noble houses. She brought their offspring to her court as hostages and educated them according to her own vision. The next generation of Matrons was more docile, and the one after that even more so.
   704 - 921 AF

The Gaurik

The vision of the Queen-Sorceress took shape: the former realms of the Aedligs transitioned into a single federation: the Gaurik. The Aedligs mixed with the Sorman remnants and other foreigners in Oest and became known as Gaufolk, the people of the Gaurik. Finally, the name ‘Aedligs’ became a thing of the past, associated with the tribal north and reprobate customs. United, the Gaufolk achieved their first victories against the Ysling raiders.
   921 AF

The Fate of Eadland

As the years pass, the conflict of this time becomes apparent. The Yslings are mighty and many; their eye is fixed on Oest and Eadland, where they would claim land for their people. The Gaufolk are vigilant and seek to expand now that their realm is consolidated. Insurmountable differences and centuries of raids have forged a bond of white-hot hatred between the two races: they cannot share, cannot coexist.
Eadland lies off the coast of Oest. It is divided and weak, and both Gaufolk and Yslings know that it will be the stage of their next confrontation.

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