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The Divided Lands, Volume 1: The Reawakening

Light of Truth Porius XIII
Penned in the Year of the Sun, 13632

Preface

Most historians place the beginning of the modern era at the restoration of the Empire of the Dawn. This is only natural as that Empire continues to thrive today, more than a thousand years later.

Most historians don’t have access to the Empire’s secured libraries. They do not know the hidden history. They have not read Boccab’s Book of Laws. They have not read “My Notes”—the journal that writes itself and recorded the life story of at least 3 great wizards across more than 3000 years. To them the Wyrmstave is just the emperor’s scepter, and they have never heard of the staves of Law, Rebellion, or Undoing.

If they did, they would realize that the very laws of nature and magic that we take for granted were not always as they are now. They were created. To end a war. That was started to fix a problem. That began something between some 3000 years previously, in a time referred to by the ancient sages as the sunset of the 5th age.

In order to understand our current age, which I now know to be the seventh of Koltec, we must start by learning of the sixth age—not at its beginning or end, but in a period of relative peace near the middle of the age. Let us begin at a time and place rare in history: a time when magic did not exist but was about to return.

Author’s note

In this history I am going to leave out things which were common knowledge at the time or are well known to modern historians. I will include that information in a series of supplements and link to it from the main text. This will allow me to better follow the flow of events.

The end of the Divided Lands Period

1876C1, apx -100S3, or 1460 years before this writing

A proper telling of the end of the divided lands necessitates telling at least 3 stories: The Reawakening, Rediscovering Day, and The Short Night. Understanding the end of the period requires its beginning, which contains 2 more stories: A House Divided, and The Long Night. Because it gives the best understanding of the Divided Lands Period as a whole, let us start with The Reawakening.

The story starts with those who were most influential in its conclusion. This of course includes The Tyrant Roger Pelamane of Penzance, Archmage Zeddicus Forz, Prince Justin Hannover of York, High Councilor Angeline Toumil, and Lord Sebastian Rhall. But though these names echoed down the ages, they were merely the politicians that survived (well, most of them) the turmoil and profited most by it. They were but supporting cast in the true story that led to the turning of the era.

As is the case so often in history, prophecy touched a small band of individuals. They shared no common background. They were not in any way distinguishable from everyone else in the world. At least, not until they happened to join the right military force at the right time in history. Perhaps prophecy touched that company and they were just the ones who happened to be there, or perhaps prophecy reached out them as individuals and brought them together then and there. In any case, it is with the initial training of this company that we can first see the manipulations of prophecy.

We live in the story of that band.

The Seven Kingdoms were a land in constant turmoil. Surrounded on all sides by impenetrable barriers, kings had been unable to expand for centuries. Turning inwards they fought over the land they could reach. Over the centuries there had been between 5 and 30 kingdoms in the Seven Kingdoms, many of which survived for less than a generation.

1867C1, when our tale starts, was the end of a period of relative stability and peace. The last major wars of conquest were more than 20 years ago. Of course, historically that meant that the next ones were just around the corner. The main characters in our story grew up with stories of war but without any direct experience of it—not even in the next kingdom over.

Religion in the Seven Kingdoms was a much more theoretical and fanciful affair than it is in our time. Without magic, the gods neither walked the world nor spoke with their priesthood. Drift naturally set in; most religions fragmented many times. The only constant was the creation myth. For whatever reasons, this myth always lasts unchanged in all eras and places in history.

Finally, a short discussion of the races of the Seven Kingdoms is in order. This was a land firmly in the sixth age. As such, it was a cosmopolitan society. Much of the populace lived in cities and capitals, and that populace came from all races.

That said, the Seven Kingdoms were one of the most racist societies to be found during the sixth age. I believe this was due to the lack of magic.

Without magic, no food could be produced underground. Dwarves could not make mountain fastnesses—they would simply be starved out in the first war.

Woods were just woods; the elves could not sing them into the great woods of their people. As such, a long-lived, slow-breeding race with no special defenses could not war against the younger races.

I go into more detail in my seven kingdoms appendix, but the net result was a society that was predominantly human and where other races were consistently marginalized. Humans simply had less need for magic, so they predominated.

1 Years C, or year of the cataclysm, measure from the cataclysm. This was the predominant calendar in the Seven Kingdoms period. It is unknown exactly when 0S occurred during this calendar, though we know it to be around 1975C. The cataclysm happened approximately halfway through the Sixth Age.

2 Years U, or University Academic Year, measure years since the signing of the University Accords. This was the calendar in use from the final years of the 5th Age, through sometime during the Long Night. It was still used on occasion even through the end of the 6th Age.

3 Years S, or year of the sun, measure time from the founding of the Second Empire of the Dawn. This is taken as the founding event of the Seventh Age.

Table of Contents

  1. The Reawakening (1876C1; 3190U2)
    1. The Guides Arise
    2. Return of Magic
    3. Crossing the Streams
    4. Tale of Two Tyrants
    5. Magic’s First Binding
    6. Ending the Bloodline Curse
  2. A House Divided (175U2)
    1. Exile
    2. Dawn’s Rise
    3. Tinkers’ Empire
  3. Sunset (743U2)
    1. Serpent’s Crossing
    2. The Westlands
    3. The Land of Dreams
  4. The Long Night (812-2314U2)
    1. Holding Dawn at Bay
    2. Comforting Darkness
    3. Pleasant Dreams
    4. The Malaise
    5. Magic’s Price
    6. Nightmares
    7. Shattered Gems
    8. Sundering the Blood
  5. Rediscovering Day (1898C1)
    1. A Debt Repaid
    2. Ancient Kingdoms
    3. Of Kings and Cousins
    4. Flight
    5. Monsters at the Gates
    6. Settling Down to Sleep
  6. The Short Night (1974C1; -1S3)
    1. Bound in Conflict
    2. Nightmares
    3. A Question Raised
    4. Victory is an Answer
    5. Victory Undone
    6. A New Dawn

Much of this site is written in-character by Porius XIII. He is a historian looking back at the times of our story. Anyone should feel free to write for him; he is a shared character.

However, not everything we need to record is in-world info. Therefore many in-character pages (like this one) will also have an OOC section like this at the bottom. Here we drop character to cover anything else you need to know.

I want to set clear expectations about the ramifications of player choice. As the GM, I know almost nothing about the time and world in which Porius lives. That will be determined by player choice. However, I do know many of the things that remain visible to him as he looks back across thousands of years to observe the events of our tale. Even then, I know the conflicts that he sees but I don’t know how they turn out.

In other words there is a stage. The big events are placed on it and other actors are moving. But the main characters will determine the plot and the outcome.

This campaign will start with the Divided Lands Saga, set about 3/4 of the way through the Sixth Age of Koltec. The Long Night is basically the story of the entire sixth age; we may play this out over a series of campaigns.

The campaign wends through time in non-linear order. This is a land of prophecy; certain things are guaranteed to come about—in some form. However, this is also a land of free will; no one can predict which things will turn out to happen in what order, which conflicting prophecy will win in the end, or how each prophecy will resolve. Games will be set at all turning points; the actions of the players will determine the true history of Koltec, and thus the shape of the Empire of the Dawn which will arise at the end of the Long Night.

Some OOC pages you will need:

  • game system. We will be playing using Zounds!. This is a free, rules-light game system. The page describes the essence of the system and has links to the free PDF.
  • Primary rule in Seven Kingdoms. Zounds! is based on the primary rule. This page defines that rule for the seven kingdoms, as it currently stands.

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