Sealed behind great walls and in the depths of dungeons, the secrets of our world have been buried for thousands of years. Little knowledge remains besides the stories of the gods, along with their creation of the world and its inhabitants. With the knowledge of the past hidden away, there are many secrets still to be told. Here, you will read some of the common teachings of Saphriel, and may interpret the stories of the past as you wish. However, the lore of this land goes far deeper than what you will read here, so take this as basic knowledge if you will, and enter the world ready to explore and learn as you go.
(This contains major events that would be known as common knowledge. Many lesser-known details are excluded.)
Our story takes place in the Realm of Saphriel, home to the Elves, Dwarves, and Humans, each race at first keeping to themselves with their own city-states. However, trade was still abundant between them, despite some minor differences between the races. To the east, just outside of Saphriel's borders, lies the Bleak Lands, home of trolls, creatures of darkness, and other nightmarish beasts. To the south of the Bleak Lands lies vast expanses of deserts and mesas, home of the Orcish tribes. To the far east, past the mountains and deserts, rest the heavily-polluted swamps, which once served as home to many goblin tribes. For thousands of years, the races that inhabited this realm have lived in a state of relative peace, with the Goblins, Trolls, and Orcs living in their tribes to the east, while in the west stood the Human, Elf, and Dwarf cities. However, the Goblins, Orcs, and Trolls resented the other races greatly, for they had advanced far past them with their superior intellect and land. For all this hatred, however, they lacked the ability and leadership needed to make a difference, and were forced to remain content with their lot. This all changed when a mysterious Cult appeared, consisting of a circle containing powerful Humans, Elves, and Dwarves, who wielded mighty artifacts left behind by the Frol. These weapons contained unmatched magical powers, well beyond that of any mortal weapon of the current era.
This Cult came to the orcs, goblins, and trolls to make a deal with them. If they agreed to march under a single banner together against the other races, they would allow them to keep all the land and plunder what they earned for themselves; in return, they would help the Cult drive the western races to brink of extinction. Though the Cult's motives for this were unkown at the time, the eastern races readily agreed to these terms, and formed what is now known as the Pact. The Pact, under the control of this Cult, marched from the east and against the other races, driving them from their lands and attacking their cities. In response to to this assault the Elves, Dwarves, and Humans came together to form what was simply known as the Alliance. With the help of the Cult, and through the force of sheer numbers, the Pact waged war with the Alliance for nearly seventy years before the last cities of humanity fell. As the war continued on, the refugees fled to the last haven they had, a small bit of territory cut off from the rest of the continent, connected only by a sliver of land known as the Saltwater Swamp. There, the town of Barkamsted was founded by the nobleman known as Lord Barkam, one of the first refugees to flee to this land. Starting as a simple refugee camp, for over sixty-five years the city grew as more people fleeing the war came, and with it the desire for every citizen to take back their homelands. From this desire and determination, research into more powerful weapons began, in order that the Pact might be driven out. Outside of Barkamsted, however, the devastating seventy-year war that crippled the races of the Alliance was virtually over. All of the realm was lost save for Barkamsted. Two years passed in this state; during this time, the last of the Pact reformed, and began their march forward towards Barkamsted. The Alliance, however, had not sat idle; in this time, the people of the city had finally completed the first cannon prototypes, thanks to the expert craftsmanship of their dwarven and human engineers. Using this new weapon, they had high hopes of reclaiming their homes and defending their city.
Soon, the Orcs launched their attack on Barkamsted. Though the citizens were able to fend off the incoming hordes, many were injured, and the battle took its toll on those who risked themselves for their homeland. Barkamsted was, however, far from defeated, and its people soon launched a counterattack on the Orc camps across the swamps. Taking them by surprise, they were able to devastate their numbers with the help of the cannons. The Alliance pushed the Pact back for over a year, claiming many footholds, including the ruins of the Dwarven capital Thonduhm, and through blood, tears, and sweat, the ruined Human capital of Falkvard. Finally, after many bloody battles, the last of Saphriel's people pushed the Pact back to their homelands and overthrew the Cultist castle, defeating the vast majority of them. However, the leader of the Cult, Valis, left a dark omen of destruction and the rise of Hell before his death. With the Pact's defeat, things appeared to have grown peaceful at last. However, it was not long before strange gates began to open around the realm, leaving many uneasy. Valis' earlier threat soon turned out to be all too real; soon, these gates began to release vile creatures into the mortal realm, posing a far greater threat than Saphriel's people had ever faced before. For the first time in eons, the Alliance races had no choice but to ally with their longtime enemy: the Pact.
Many times did large portals open and hell-spawned demons pour out, inevitably resulting in catastrophe. At the cost of great effort and many lives, however, the source of the gates was found; a construct made by the hands of demons and Cultists, simply known as the Obelisk. The men and women of Saphriel knew that that only way to defeat this menace was to strike at the heart of Hell itself, and destroy the Obelisk. The demons, however, had a plan of their own. They opened a colossal gate, far larger than any they had before, in an attempt to take the recently-reclaimed city of Falkvard. The people of Saphriel took their chance during this invasion. Two-thirds of their forces marched into Hell and through the portal, sneaking behind the invasion force. Meanwhile, the final third remained behind to hold the line against the demonic forces. Ghouls, skeletons, flame giants, hellhounds; all manner of abominable beasts came pouring through the gate. Though the people of Saphriel held the line for some time, their barricades and defenses slowly but surely dwindled, and the creatures began to pour out in far greater numbers. The defending forces retreated to the walls of Falkvard, and for a time all seemed lost; they were dwindling on supplies, time, and hope. The tide of battle turned, however, when soldiers from Barkamsted and Orcish raiders came pouring out of the forest, engaging the demonic armies. Taking this chance, the soldiers that were defending the wall regained their spirits, and pushed the demons back until few remained. They had beaten the forces of Hell itself, but had suffered many casualties along the way.
On the inside of Hell, the army was making their way to the Obelisk, taking on whatever resistance the demonic invasion force had left behind with ease. They encountered a few powerful demons that halted them in their tracks along the way, but the size of their army was able to overcome and defeat any opposition they faced inside. Their greatest challenge, however, was to come upon reaching the Obelisk, where they learned that a price had to be paid for its removal. The portal could be sealed, but one person would have to stay behind and oversee its destruction. Many stepped forward to carry this burden, but in the end it was decided that Aster, a member of the Explorers Guild, would stay behind. Everyone besides her left Hell relatively unscathed, but the ultimate fate of the valiant spirit who sealed the gates is unknown even to this day. With the portals between dimensions closed, it was finally time for the realm of Saphriel to be rebuilt once more. An era of war closed, and from its ashes a chapter of peace began.
Many years have passed since the end of the war. Orcs and goblins now walk freely amongst all cities of the realm, and half-Elves, once hunted down and killed by the Elves as a threat to the purity of their race, may now live out their lives as they wish. While prejudice still remains, it is far less than it once was. Trade has since florished and the popluace has grown. Exploration soon sparked to life, and many expeditions to the east and far west overseas have taken place. New lands and peoples have come to light. Great cat folk known as Ca'Liar; strings of once-unknown islands; and Aceadia, home of strange beasts and wielders of a magic without Bothimir's grace, known as witches. With many of these peoples trade came to life, new and strange goods being moved back and fourth between the lands. This peace continued for years, with little upstarts or major events taking place.
Sadly, peace could not last forever, and conflict was once more to emerge. Ripples in reality and tears into an eternal darkness appeared throughout the realm with seemingly no explanation; rumors abounded of extremists of Perities and Uldir fighting with each other, trying to snatch away chunks of the mortal realm for their respecitve gods. Uldir wished to create a realm for himself and his followers, and in doing so become a greater God than he already was. Constant battles and breaches in the fabric of realms resulted in damage to the veil that keeps these worlds apart, seeing the emergence of dark beasts from the Shadow Realm. Mindless and alien, they threatened to devour all they came across; even when defeated, these ripples in reality that spawned them refused to close. Working together, the people of the realm fought against these creatures under the guidance of King Glaedwin, and eventually managed to discover weaknesses they could exploit to defeat these beasts of darkness for good. To see the rifts permanently removed, they would have to seal the veil between worlds once more, before further chunks of the worlds were smashed together or lost.
This, however, would not be as simple as it first seemed. Taking advantage of the damage to the veil, what little remained of the long-defeated Cult attemtped to make a move, purposefully damaging the veil further in an attempt to control the creatures that leaked through. Even worse, they sought to resume their previous invasion from Hell through the revival of Valis, their long-dead leader. Because of this, the kingdom was now forced to fight a war on two fronts. Thankfully the Cult was still in shambles, and with great effort they were again defeated, along with what was left of their followers. Only a handful managed to escape, most being forced far outside of the kingdom borders into the Bleak Lands.
With the Cult in shambles, the kingdom was able to make a move on the veil tears that spewed the creatures of darkness. Using a magical device known as a seal crystal, created by the kingdom's many alchemists and researchers, they were able to close these otherwordly portals to the abyss, eventually sealing them all for good. With the veil re-sealed and the gods no longer fighting, the threat was gone and stability returned to the world.
Throughout all of this, however, a race of creatures long-forgotten watched events from afar, only occasionally interacting with its actors. At first, it was a lone being known to most as the Mask, a benevolent creature that granted wishes in exchange for memories, possessions, or further gifts. As time passed, however, they would grow into a race of their own, known only as the Fae. Born before mortals for want of a story, they were locked away in a seperate realm when they proved too dangerous, and only a select few managed to escape over time; some, furthermore, were not as kind as the Mask.
Their first major threat emerged in the form of the Brazen Bull, a colossal beast born from the bane of the Fae, that sought to hunt down and remove any threat to their kind. It would take an army to see it brought low, but this was only the beginning. Soon enough, a greater enemy emerged; the Facetaker, a Fae that sought the key to the door between the realm of mortals and the world of Fae. Were this door to be opened, chaos would be unleashed. The Facetaker would claim many victims in its hunt for the key, but eventually it would be defeated, and the threat of the Fae largely eradicated. Though some remain to interact with mortalkind, for better or worse, it is said that most live in a remote land, where few mortals return from should they set foot there.
Once more, a period of relative peace has emerged. Falkvard, though a shadow of its former self, is being slowly rebuilt, and has become a populous city of all races. Though the lands outside the cities remain dangerous, negotiations have begun to reconcile the Orcish tribes and the Alliance races. Yet the shadow of the Cult still looms, and a new enemy may always lurk on the horizon, waiting to strike. Though the war has ended, the people must always remain ready to battle whatever threat faces them in the future.