The History of Alsherok

As written by Brasidas of Graecia
Compiled from various sources of information

The Age of Exploration

The history of Alsherok begins in the village of Graecia, a place whose origins are shrouded with uncertainty. Lacking any historical records, a common tale that travels many hearths is the one that states Graecia as being founded by nomadic tribes that sought the peace and stability of a fixed home. Once established, it rapidly became a focus point for all trade in the region, a place for congregation even amongst the nomads. However, many also settled, bringing about the rapid growth and an urge for exploration that years of settled life had not driven out of their blood. The then Council of Elders argued against ideas of exploration, preferring the semi-isolated state they had currently, but the majority favored exploration. Subsequently, the explorers left under the leadership of Panteleimon.

Almost immediately, the group ran into trouble, encountering a race of Frost Giants to the north that goaded the aggressive mind of Panteleimon. Attempts at negotiations failed, due to inability to communicate, but primarily because neither side was willing to set aside their differences. It is said that the war between the Graecians and the Frost Giants erupted at the conference table itself, resulting in Panteleimon's death. The troops retreated rapidly, overwhelmed by sheer numbers, but with reinforcements, the Frost Giants were kept in the north while Fort Deme was established. A watch post against the Giants, it stands to this day overlooking the Arctic Wastes. This unfortunate excursion and the resulting war served to curb any remaining urge for exploration, and Graecia remained isolated for a while longer.

Over the years, simple excursions were made, and Graecia grew to greater proportions, developing a steady economy that was largely trade-based. The Guilds and trade associations were first founded here, formed on the basis of mutual interests. One such group that arose from these Guilds was the group that referred to themselves as the Wako. They were drawn to the criminal side of society, attracted by the endless possibilities that the city offered in terms of wealth. They soon overran the city, almost turning into a plague that fed upon the citizens. Out of fear of the repercussions on the economy, the King gathered an army against the Wako, and after a brief sortie with them, expelled them into the south. Rumors say that they have vanished in the general direction of the ocean.

Not long after the expulsion of the Wako, the King sent out scouts to establish the precise location of the Wako. Headed southwards, the scouts failed to encounter any Wako, but instead discovered a massive palace atop the ancient Black Mountains. While tales had always abounded about the evil nature of the Black Mountains, the palace that had suddenly appeared took everyone by surprise. Spies were immediately sent out to determine the exact nature of the inhabitants of the Black Mountains, and only a scant five returned with news of the evil Lord that had taken control of the area. While the news of an evil Lord from another dimension filled the King with dread, the scouts also brought welcome news that the Lord was trapped within the palace by a strange magical barrier that defied the imaginations of the human mages.

The success of the scouting mission soon renewed interest in exploration, and prompted by the formation of Guilds and associations within Graecia, the Guild of Cartographers was formed. At its helm was a well-traveled and wise adventurer called Aristeides, who despite his youth, gathered many of his fellow wanderers and began the extensive exploration of the immediate areas. Traveling further south from the Black Mountains, they soon discovered the existence of a large river, headed west towards the ocean. A short distance from the river, the Guild also found, much to their horror, a land route that traced its path up to the dreaded Lord Arthmoor's Palace. Previously undiscovered by the scouts, the Guild immediately reported back to the new King with the news, and anxiously waited for his commands. Advised with caution from his advisors and from his father's words, the new King commissioned the construction of her second fortress, Fort Balasi. Thus it is, to this day, that the walls of Fort Balasi stand on silent watch over the southern border from the eventual day of conflict between Lord Arthmoor and Graecia.

Although the minimal explorations before the discovery of the land route had discovered traces of other races within the lands, all exploration came to a standstill while Fort Balasi was constructed. Now, with the border secure, the Cartographer's Guild had the leisure to explore even further. It turned out that a small settlement of Dwarves had made their home just south of the Black Mountains, mining out what little resources they could find. Rather cursory by nature, they bluntly informed the Cartographer's Guild, and through them, the King of Graecia, that they would welcome whatever trade could be spared, but it really wasn't necessary. Of course, trade relations were begun almost instantaneously, but the only real thing garnered from these relations were the skills of mining and smithing, with which Graecia propelled itself into further growth. Once things were running smoothly in the Dwarven settlements, the restless Cartographer's Guild left to explore the river that flowed just past the settlements.

The River Branduin, named for the leader of scouts who had returned from Lord Arthmoor's, proved too wide to cross easily, thus when explorations continued, Aristeides led his party along the eastern banks into a massive forest now known collectively as the Great Haon Dor Forest. Attention was quickly drawn to the largest tree that the adventurers had ever seen. For as long as they had lived tales of this giant tree had circulated amongst the known world, and they were eager to explore this new find. However, the Elves that had made residence in the tree were insistent that they leave, and not wishing to press the issue, Aristeides led his party further east, into the Haon Dor Forest. Almost by chance, they came upon a community of incredibly swift creatures whom they dubbed as Quicklings. Their leader, Tephanis, grew incensed at this apparent violation of his borders and immediately ordered an all out attack. The battle did not last long, and the Quicklings returned to their tree homes, ever watchful of newcomers to the forest.

After their departure, Aristeides continued exploration along a more cautious vein. Their exploration was rewarded when they discovered a much more friendly race of elves that valued knowledge. They were eager to establish relations on a more permanent basis, and trade routes were soon established. Their scholars were also glad to share whatever information they had on the forest and the immediate area. In particular, they revealed that there was a village of Halflings nearby. Before they left in search of the Halflings, Queen Calandra of the Elves, in a token of appreciation to the Cartographer's Guild, commissioned the construction of a Guildhall for Aristeides and his fellow travelers to serve as a base camp for any future explorations that they might undertake.

Pressing on further after several weeks of rest, Aristeides and his Guild members soon found the Halfling Shire, and once again friendly relations were established. The Mayor of the Halfling Shire, with little persuasion, signed a defense and trade pact with the group on behalf of the King of Graecia. Upon the news of a friendly Halfling town, the current King of Graecia, Callimachus gladly ratified the treaty and formed the Graecian Confederation. The Dwarven settlements, approached with the same offer, refused it as politely as they could. However, Queen Calandra was quick to agree, and a tri-party treaty was signed. Soon, a small trading post was constructed along a forest trail outside the Shire, called Perioeci. As time passed, the Confederation settled down to a period of much growth, development, and peace. Along with the new alliance, the Halflings founded a mine in the mountains north of the city and vast amounts of gold began to trickle into the Confederation, benefiting the both the Shire and Confederation. With a new era dawning in relationships between the various races, a band of nine legendary heroes, famed for their exploits against the evil forces, traveled to the southern part of the world. There they rallied the goodly races of the land, especially the Humans and the Half-Elven kind, to build a city of immense beauty. Because the world had just entered an age of peace, this new city stood as a bastion of hope and friendship for all goodly races in the land. From all around the world, the peoples of the land came to help the nine heroes build the city. Elves from their citadel, Dwarves from their mountain, Halflings from their towns, Gnomes from their underground caverns and even other Humans from far away cities all came together to forge a new friendship. In just under two years, the city was complete! From then on, the city was known as Palainth, the City of Magic. It is said that the Goddess of Magic herself, Laeral Dayspring was one of the nine who founded the city. She traveled with them in the guise of her Half-Elven avatar. Thus, the citizens of Palainth regard her as their patron goddess and have built a garden within Palainth as a tribute to her. She also became an unofficial member of the Graecian Confederation, contributing to the great trade that traced its way across the Alsherok continent.

The Age of Omens

As the years passed and the Graecian Confederation settled down to a period of prosperity, news soon reached the ears of new, undiscovered lands to the east. Under commission by the King, Elutherios, the new head of the Cartographer's Guild led his band of adventurers into the east to seek out these new lands. Much to their delight, they discovered a small village of humans called Midgaard. Entranced by the possibility of bring another nation into the Graecian Confederation, they eagerly issued the proposal on behalf of the King. After much deliberation, Midgaard refused to sign the treaty that would bring it into the Graecian Confederation, but made it clear that it would welcome trade. Despite being disappointed by the lack of interest on Midgaard's part, the Graecian King agreed to allow trade relations to continue, but remained wary of his eastern neighbors, as the Guild brought back news of the recklessness of those in Midgaard.

As the trade between the Graecian Confederation and Midgaard grew, the wealth and resources that flowed into Midgaard transformed the village into large city, surpassing even Graecia itself. It soon gained a reputation as a vibrant and prosperous city, and was commonly referred to as the Jewel of the East. Eventually, to help facilitate trade and to encourage still more trade, the King of Midgaard sent out a noble called Lord Argalath to establish a trading base within the Graecian Confederation itself. The long trek from Midgaard to Graecia was thus made easier, and trade soared during those early years. But the peace and prosperity that followed was not to last, for evil omens were apparent everywhere one looked; bad times were upon their cherished land.

Trade, what little that continued into the south, came to an abrupt standstill as the Dwarven settlements had all been deserted; there had been no explanation given, just a complete disappearance on the part of the Dwarves. In the last effective excursion by the Cartographer's Guild, it was roughly determined that they had packed up, and fled east in a rush, not bothering to cover what little tracks they laid. The Guild tried to catch up, mounting the best horses offered by Fort Balasi, but the trail was lost within the thick forests and falling snow. Returning to the settlements, a more through examination revealing nothing of their purpose in leaving east, and in much frustration, returned to their Guild Hall, worried over the illness their Guild leader had caught while embroiled in this scouting attempt.

Troubles first began in the mines, where a band of Jermlaine drove the bewildered Halflings out of their mines, claiming it as their own. Before the Halflings could even begin to regroup, the Jermlaine set traps within the mines, ensnaring anyone who dared venture into their newfound territory. Helpless against such a wily and ruthless foe, the Halflings abandoned the mines to deal with more pressing problems in the east. A band of Orcs had grown restless further east of Midgaard, and the King thought it an opportune moment to quell any chances of expansion by the Orcs, thus striking first without warning. However, that proved to be a mistake, as both sides suffered heavy losses. Conflict tapered down as the heavy winter chill set in, and an uneasy peace settled upon the lands.

Deep into mid winter, it became apparent that communication was not forthcoming from Lord Argalath and similarly, all Midgaard merchants that frequented the Keep went missing. Any attempts by the Graecian Confederation or Midgaard to establish contact failed as their scouting parties followed the footsteps of the merchants and vanished. The Cartographer's Guild also failed to act decisively during this period as the death of Elutherios threw the entire Guild into disarray. With the passing of their leader, their once proud Guild faded into the annals of history, as did the Guildhall, which was slowly reclaimed by nature.

Following these events came a decision that confirmed the suspected reckless nature of Midgaard Kings. Midgaard declared an all out war upon the Orcs, urged on by a particularly aggressive Council and immature King. The losses reached new heights, virtually robbing Midgaard of all of their able-bodied warriors. The Orcs seemed to flow like an inexhaustible tide to overrun the lands, and soon, Midgaard resorted to fighting a defensive war. Slowly but steadily, they lost more and more lands, and they themselves began to realize the folly of their decision. Graecia, at first only mildly concerned, soon found themselves stepping up military patrols along the eastern border, hoping that the war front would not advance, but not holding out much hope for it. Palainth, seeing the desperate situation Midgaard was in, sent forces to aid against the Orcish hordes, hoping to prevent what could erupt into a war of immense proportions, but as it turned out, it was unable to do anything to save the city.

Finally, out of sheer desperation and fatalism, a small detachment of Midgaard's finest warriors were sent into the mountains north of the city in an attempt to gather aid for their falling city. Tales had abounded about fierce Dragons that dwelt in those mountains, and it was hoped that with the aid of magiks, these Dragons could be turned into a force that would challenge the might of the Orcs. Unfortunately, once the Dragons were brought into the skies of Midgaard, they broke the inadequate binding magiks worked upon them, and promptly laid waste to the area as a symbol of their anger. The skies that day were red with the unnatural heat of stone burning, and none of all those that lived within the city and in its immediate surroundings were left alive. Then, just as swiftly as it had begun, the Dragons vanished into the sky, never to be seen again.

The survivors, few as they were, fled east into the hills, regardless of the Orcs that lurked in waiting. Anything was better than facing the Dragons' wrath again.

With determination, the survivors set about rebuilding their lives, starting with the building of a new city, Maldoth. Although cut off from the rest of the world by the extensive destruction the Orcs wrought, the citizens knew that the lands to the east still lay open to them, and life would still go on.

On the other hand, the Orcs, seeing a prime opportunity, advanced upon the borders of Graecia. Despite all their precautions, the troops were swarmed under by the vast number of Orcs. The Halfling Shire was the first to fall. Reinforcements that arrived were too late to save the town, but they were able to make a stand at the edge of River Branduin, managing to save the Elven City from imminent destruction, though it cost more lives than the King cared to count. Subsequently, the Graecian King also ordered Perioeci upgraded into a fully defensive fortress, hoping that this would serve to stem the tide of Orcs that flowed across the lands.

While this was enough to prevent extensive incursions into the northern regions, this was not so for the City of Palainth. In the south, they were open to attacks from the Orcs, who had no qualms about doing so. Ever since Palainth's interference in Midgaard's war with the Orcs, the Orcs have regarded them as an enemy to be vanquished and tried all means and ways to eradicate her and her inhabitants. Her greatest battle against the might of evil is recorded as the battle between the citizens and attacking hordes of Demons. A rift in the void allowed the Demons to escape from their dwelling place, but it is still unknown as to whether the Orcs had caused the rift to appear. Nevertheless, with their adept balance in using both the sword and sorcery to defend their city, they withstood the onslaught for three days, while their mages worked furiously to find means and ways to return the demons to their dimension. At last, they succeeded, and the weary citizens of Palainth banished the demons from the world. But the threat still lingers, as Demons have eternal life and they wait the chance to return and destroy the city.

The following years after Palainth's battle, while not exactly peaceful, were predictable, and the lives of the peasants carried on. However, with the death of his father, King Agamemnon ascended the throne of Graecia. A ruthless imperialist, he bent all his resources towards world conquest. To facilitate his desire, he ordered the building of a massive brick road between Graecia and Bywater, the newly rebuilt Halfling city. The military was tripled in size, and intense training marked the Graecian forces that were slowly mounting up against the Orcs. Full-time garrisons were soon stationed in all three forts, and reserves were mustered up to serve as additional border guards. Each garrison soon became the dominion of the army's finest warriors, and with their help, Agamemnon tightened his grip over the Confederation and rechristened it as The Graecian Empire. In addition to the boosting of existing forces, Agamemnon decided that a new fort would be needed in the continuing fight against the Orcs. Thus it came to be that he ordered the construction of Fort Palaestras at the base of the mountain pass that led upwards to Bywater. This was a fortunate move, as scouting missions were to prove. The first scout mission returned shortly after they left, bearing with them the news that Orcs had constructed their own fort on the opposite end of the pass. The news greatly angered Agamemnon, and he immediately called up all the reserves he could muster and doubled the garrison at Fort Palaestras. The Halflings, leery of further threat to their newly rebuilt city, volunteered an auxiliary group of their best Slingers to aid in manning the garrison, the first time a fortress within the empire was staffed by more than just humans. Further scouting missions undertaken revealed that the Orcs called their fort Gulghack, but they were unable to ascertain any further information of use.

With the possibility of a new threat on the border, Agamemnon urged Palainth to enter the Graecian Empire to strengthen it further. Palainth however, refused to join this time, as she held on to her ideals of peace and trust; rather, she stood alone, isolated in the south, against those few Orcish hordes that still ventured against them, offering protection and help to those who needed it. Agamemnon, while far from happy at this, agreed to let them go, as they had never officially signed a treaty to join the Confederation.

With the formation of The Graecian Empire, Agamemnon gathered greater wealth than before, and channeled it into the building of a navy that would transverse the oceans that formed the western border. Their efforts at navigation were soon rewarded with the discovery of a small island, and it was decided that a colony should be established as a last resort, and the Venetorium Colony was born. Not long after the establishment of the colony, further explorations upon the islands led them to a town populated by Balericans. Several overtures were made towards the town, but it remained largely isolated, and the Graecians abandoned their attempts at communication. Soon, more and more citizens of Graecia traveled over to their new colony to flee the encroaching forces of the Orcs.

Then one day, without warning, the highest peak of the Black Mountains, Mount Doria, exploded into a boiling tumult of fiery ash and pouring lava. This momentous natural disaster, coupled with the close proximity of Dark Magic, set up a whole chain of other deadly calamities. Earthquakes stalked the once quiet lands, and the waves rose one after another, drowning lands to recreate new seas, whilst existing oceans dried up and died under the blazing sun. The vast forest that stretched across the Graecian Empire was also altered beyond recognition, and more importantly, the city of Graecia lay in ruins.

This did not deter Agamemnon in the least. Calling upon the last reserves of his empire, he ordered the painstaking labor of rebuilding the city to begin. Within years, what had seemed an impossible task was completed, and New Graecia was born upon the ruins of the old. However, that first earthquake was but a hint of what lay in store, for as the years passed, earthquakes still ravaged the lands, and the forest was scarred beyond repair. What people that dared venture out into new territories reported vast caverns that had been opened up beneath the mighty forest, and as yet, little is known of what they contain. It was also during this time that all communication with Palainth was lost, as the disasters opened up the Bloodmire Swamp on the trading routes that had marked the way to the City of Magic.

Life has returned to the lands, with new beginnings in many ways. Chaos still reigns in the lands, but the Light glows yet within the Dark, and there is fresh hope.

The Age of Life

Even as Maldoth was completed, new contacts were made with other races. From deep within the Broken Hills in which Maldoth lay, adventurers trekked north only to discover the Dwarven stronghold, named Kelgarn. The Dwarves explained that they had premonitions of the trouble that would settle upon the land, and had fled the destruction. Unfortunately, they had also become embroiled with the war with the Orcs, despite having founded a new stronghold. While trade relations were again set up between Kelgarn and Maldoth, the explorers continued scouting the land. Further travels saw the naming of the Misty Sea, this time in the south, and the revelation that a small trading town existed on its far southern coast.

The worshippers of the old Midgaardish god of knowledge and life, Mithgilran, were determined to eek out a new life for themselves outside of Maldoth. Largely consisting of craftsmen and traders, this group of survivors were delivered from the ruins of Midgaard by Mithgilran, and led to the shores of the Misty Sea. Fertile coastal plains lay open before them, and the fair town of Greyhaven was born.Because of their brush with war and their immense respect for knowledge, they have no King, but instead follow the teachings of their current scribe, Lorthan. It was on his advice, that they decided to hold no allegiance to any empire or city, hard pressed as they are in a world of troubles, and it has benefited them immensely.

The skilled craftsmen of Greyhaven soon made many sea-worthy vessels and numbering paramount amongst those were huge trading ships. With these ships, exploration was soon under way, and thus it came to pass that the people of the continent of Alsherok established contact with the people of the ancient and mystical continent of Eletar. There they encountered, for the first time, the culture that was named Eletari.

The Eletari were friendly people, although possessed of dark features and yellow skin that had not been seen in Alsherok before. They too, had their own intensely different culture, but they welcomed the explorers into their homes with equality, and led them to the village of Dragon Gate as their point of disembarkation. The village, nestled within the verdant valleys north of the Dragonhead Bay, proved to be an excellent choice, as it soon blossomed into a major stopping point along the trade route between both continents. Adventurers also ventured further and further beyond the gates of Dragon Gate, journeying into the far north to the Imperial City of Chang-An where the Emperor of the Nine Dragon Pearls, holds court over Eletar.

Even as these new explorations and ventures took place, a clear path was found linking Palainth back to the rest of the cities of Alsherok. Trade relations were soon resumed, and due to its strategic location, it blossomed into the largest city in the southern parts of the main continent. Renowned for their acceptance of all that come in search of knowledge, regardless of race, this majestic city is frequently visited by all peoples of the land. They are a city founded and structured on the tenets of individuality and fairness, where peoples of all races can find welcome if they come in goodwill. A city of endless splendors, unrivaled in aesthetic beauty, Palainth exists in open defiance of the conquerors and tyrants of the world, a place where no one holds claim over another. People of all good races walk freely here and without fear, down every road and alleyway on the darkest of nights. Protection for all those within its walls comes from the Knights of Palainth, who are the direct descendants of the city's founders.

With the increasing activities of the Orcs and other evil forces in the world, the Lands of Alsherok are now in a delicate balance as new horizons are opened and the dangers become even greater. However it is an exciting age too as you, the brave adventurers, continue to make history your own...

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