Weekly Lore 1: The Earliest History

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Weekly Lore 1: The Earliest History

Post by Mislav on Tue Jul 12, 2016 4:47 pm

Let’s get the ball rolling with the first thread in our weekly lore series. This is how it’s going to work: the main post will be a short story from the lore of Istaria, something to do with the creation of the world or the history of one of our factions. Then you post a response below! Questions, suggestions, story ideas of your own, introductions - even your own full pieces of lore, though you might want to save those for thread topics of their own. You should also let us know if there’s anything in particular you want to see, because it might find its way into next week’s lore segment.

Without further ado, I will now pen the first piece. Let’s talk about the earliest history of the world.

The most popular calendar, the Karskan calendar, begins in the year 1, when Ibitari settlers first discovered the world. Before we can talk about the history of our world, we have to delve into the history of their world: Ibitar, the Lost Plane.

The worlds of the universe are divided by a thick, primordial fog that seem to twist time and existence itself. Metaphysicists and scholars such as myself have debated this point for all time without coming to a reasonable conclusion, but the most common assumption is that time is relative to each world, and time moves much quicker when you enter the fog, which exists between worlds. This is one of the three facts that we know about the fog, because many sailors have been seen to sail too close to it and to age five, ten, fifty years. The second fact is that no-one who enters the fog comes back. Maybe they fall into a different world, maybe the ageing process is sped up so much that they fade to dust in the blink of an eye, speculating on this point is useless because we just don’t know.

The third fact is that the Ibitari found a way to bypass the fog. And not just once, but thousands of times. Ancient texts from the time show that people used to cross between Istaria (our world) and Ibitar all the time. In fact, the act was so commonplace that, as of yet, we’ve discovered no texts that tell us how they actually did it, because they just never thought to write it down. How they did it is a mystery that is probably lost to us, but the key fact is that they did. There are accounts of other races, such as the Azemi and Sondharans, emerging from the fog and settling our world, but the Ibitari were the only ones who ever found a way to pass between worlds at a whim.

Because of how the mist twists time, it is impossible to put an age on Ibitar, though that hasn’t stopped scholars from trying. What can be established is that the Ibitari men were the only race present on Ibitar at the time they came to our world, and that they were a successful feudal society - to the point that there were more peasants than there were estates to handle them. The cities, formerly the domains of the lords and ruling classes, made almost entirely of manors and mausoleums, became overrun by displaced peasants who squatted in old family tombs or built their own shacks in the streets. Tensions were high, so the ruling classes, who apparently met at some form of oligarchic council, made the decision to begin looking for new land. They found our world, the coast of my home Karsk, on the far western side of the continent.

Back then, the whole of the north was possessed by the wights, spirits that bind themselves to the land - and bring snow and frost with them wherever they go. The origins of the wights are another subject entirely, and much has been written about them (to little avail). Nonetheless, the lords of Ibitar had an escape route, and they flocked to Istaria in their droves, bringing their personal courts and retainers with them, using their private armies to mark out new estates in what they now called Karsk, driving the old wights off the land like common vermin - a task that would be much more difficult today.  These estates coalesced into five vague confederations, which exist to this day in the form of the five ridings of Karsk - Dujevac, Carpata, Ostrava, Hulava and Garvolyn. Over time more lords and their retinues came to the new world, but the peasants were left behind in large part. The new world was a nobleman’s dream - a world divided into lordly estates, a haven of culture, poetry, dancing and much-too-expensive dinners. The lords competed with each other to have the most impressive manors, and so nearly all the workers in Karsk at the time were builders and masons. The estates got their raw supplies from Ibitar. This time period is now known as the First Age in the Karskan calendar, and lasted just under two centuries. We know that the trolls, the wight and jinn spirits, and the Sondharans were present in our world at this time, but they seem to have avoided the Ibitari estates, probably because they were highly territorial and their armies were advanced.

Which brings us, ultimately, to the fall of Ibitar. This is the biggest mystery in our history, and one that occurred very suddenly. As far as we can tell, dozens of ships would pass between Karsk and Ibitar every day, laden with supplies and settlers. On this day, only one ship came from Ibitar. It was the last one, and it brought no supplies and settlers, only news: Ibitar had been invaded overnight. Fiendish beings following a god called Toc Do had entered every city, every village, and started killing. They used magic to blast people and buildings apart. The crew themselves had barely gotten away. As far as they knew, the entire continent had been destroyed. Not much else is known about this time, and what is known only raises more questions. How did a whole continent fall in a single day? Where did these beings, these Mundoans, as they called themselves, come from? And, most importantly to me, how was the link between our worlds severed? These answers still elude us.

The Karskan colonies were thrown into chaos overnight. Their only source of food and materials were gone. The lords, who’d once used their castles and estates to impress each other, now used them to secure what precious few resources they had stockpiled, and used their armies to guard their borders. The craftsmen and builders, who’d become very rich off the back of the war to build the biggest castle, left Karsk in the ensuing years, using their riches to buy up supplies and heading east over the mountains, becoming what we now know as the Usari tribes. Battles ensued between the private armies of the lords over the dwindling stockpiles, until, one by one, the armies realised the money of their lords was no longer good enough. They turned on the nobility and turned them into serfs, putting them and their families to work on their own estates and taking the manors for themselves. The wights returned, possessing the bodies of those who died from hunger, and used their undead armies to reclaim much of the land they’d lost. This was the Second Age, which I will go into more detail about in another volume.

- From ‘A Brief History of the World, Vol. 1’, by Mislav

Mislav, Monk of Dujevac, by the grace of the Gods Beyond the Mist

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