- 1 Chapter 1: Sarnaut: A Peaceful and Thriving Planet
- 2 Chapter 2: The Great Cataclysm: Birth of the Allods
- 3 Chapter 3: The Schism: Conclave of the Great Mages
- 4 Chapter 4: Tiny Things are often the Most Important
- 5 Chapter 5: The Invasion of the Astral Demons
- 6 Chapter 6: A New War Begins
- 7 Chapter 7: The Great Astral Campaign
The history of the world of Sarnaut is very rich and interesting. Over the millenias many races were formed, many civilizations were destroyed, many wars have been fought.
Chapter 1: Sarnaut: A Peaceful and Thriving Planet
The planet Sarnaut was once a quiet and peaceful planet, where humans and other races lived a casual and productive life. The population was emancipated and thriving, fighting for larger territories, establishing new countries and living off an economy based on agriculture, crafting and commerce.
Sarnaut was comprised of several continents, each with adequate climates that allowed the prosperous development of the various civilisations and creatures that inhabited them. The largest continent on the planet was Yul, and three separate distinct civilizations were spread across the planet: Elves mainly occupied the Western lands,
Humans lived in the Southern lands while Orcs lived in the Eastern lands. In addition to these civilisations, a wide variety of fauna and flora occupied every corner of the planet.
In Sarnaut’s long history, lots of countries appeared, thrived and vanished from sight. One of the most ancient civilisations is the Elven kingdom of Airin in the north-west of Yul. Airin was an autonomous and closed land, providing protection for friendly civilisations and had a strong political system. The southern desert was home to the Zem tribes which vanished over a very short timescale due to a plague at the same time as the Junes curse.
The first human kingdom was created by the Junes. They lived in peace with the Elves for many centuries before a mysterious curse led to its own demise. The Junes almost disappeared, with the details of their downfall a great mystery, causing much debate among historians.
Time passed, and very little happened in the southern lands until a people from the Aro tribe entered the ruins of the June kingdom. This triggered the Great Orc Migration and the former human lands became a battleground during a pitched war between the Aro and Orcs. The Aro were victorious under the leadership of the Great Mage Tensess and established the Kanian civilisation.
Another hero of this was the Great Mage Nezeb. After victory over the Orcs, relations between the two mages became tense and led to a confrontation. This ended with a magical duel which Tensess won. Nezeb was banished to the deserts in the south, home of the Zem tribes. Nezeb met a nomadic tribe called the Ugra and became their leader.
Having regrouped and with a new army behind him, Nezeb was ready to confront Tensess in Kania. Nezeb conquered part of the Kanian lands and Xadagania, a strong independent human country was formed. Here lie the roots of the endless conflict between the Kanians and the Xadaganians.
Several millenniums after the curse, the Great Cataclysm occurred.
Chapter 2: The Great Cataclysm: Birth of the Allods
In the year 4015, life on Sarnaut radically changed due to the Great Cataclysm. It led to the destruction of the planet and the emergence of the Allods. Allods are the name given to islands which were left over after the planet shattered. The islands float in the Astral, expansive substance occupying the space surrounding the former planet. Many people died until the Great Mages discovered a way to support life on these new worlds, allowing some civilizations to continue to survive with their populations.
No one is sure what caused the Great Cataclysm, whether it was fate intervening and causing natural selection to lead to survival of the fittest, or whether it was a deliberate action. If destroying the planet was a deliberate event, who would do such a thing and why?
Hence, the reasons behind the Great Cataclysm are a matter of huge debate among mages and scientists. An official version was declared by the Conclave of Great Mages which explained it as a natural process: In the beginning was the Astral, a magical substance with creative and destructive components, two sides of the same coin. When I am destroying, I am creating. I am creating things from the shards of the ancient which were chosen by fate to be destroyed. This is the main principle of the Astral. Sarnaut is one of the stages of Astral existence and life, representing the period when Creative Beginning overcomes Destruction. That is how the world appeared from the Astral and its inhabitants called it Sarnaut later on.
The meaning of this word is lost today, yet that does not matter as it is just another Astral form. Over the years the Creative beginning weakened and the Destructive one grew stronger, the world was to be destroyed but for the strength of Mages who stopped entropy and supported the fragile balance allowing the world to survive. It is the mission of the Great Mages who were able to take control over Astral and make it a servant of all living beings in Sarnaut
Chapter 3: The Schism: Conclave of the Great Mages
The Conclave of the Great Mages was established ages ago after the fall of the Junes kingdom. Back then, the Conclave comprised of forty mages, seven of which were members of the Council. The Council led and managed the Conclave. The Council was made of the wisest of most ancient mages while any mage could take the test to be part of the Conclave. The examination was dangerous and required excellent magical skills. If successfully completed, a mage would become a member of the Conclave and have access to unpublished materials, free access to other mages knowledge and protection from other mages. As a member of the Conclave, one had to duly respect and obey the Rules of the Conclave.
In the Third millennium of the Old Era, the head of the Council was Great Mage Skrakan. He educated two mages who became his best pupils: Tensess and Nezeb.
Five hundred years after the first confrontation between the Kanians - led by Tensess, and the Xadaganians - led by Nezeb, Skrakan managed to re-establish units in the Conclave of the Great Mages. Tensess and Nezeb were brought to heel under the control of Skrakan.
Over a hundred years after the Great Cataclysm, the Council of the Great Mages was working fine. However, dysfunctions were emerging and the confrontation between Tensess and Nezeb led the Council to split into two parts: the Kanians, led by Tensess and the Xadaganians, led by Nezeb. In spite of Skrakan’s efforts to hold the Council together, in the year of 356 the Conclave of the Great Mages was doomed to vanish. Afterwards, Mages of Kania and Mages of Xadagan could only communicate under the control of Skrakan.
The conflict between the two Great Mages, Tensess and Nezeb, led to several wars as their two countries grew bigger and stronger, leaving other powers no choice but to get involved.
In the beginning of the VIII century of the New Era, two opposing factions were formed: the League and the Empire.
Chapter 4: Tiny Things are often the Most Important
Among the legends of the Gibberling people, one of the most popular stories is of Swen, a humble fisherman. His friends gave him the nickname Swine, because back in the days his favourite hobby was to sit in the tavern and drink excessively. Swen also had a strong and authoritative wife who disapproved of this.
On the fateful day told in the legend, his wife forbade him to go fishing, knowing that he would probably come back drunk and empty handed. She locked all his nets and fishing rods in a closet in their home. Swen, like most Gibberlings, was a stubborn man and sneaked out of the house to go to the tavern where he could complain to his friends about his wife being so strict with him. After many, many drinks and much talk, he realised who was waiting for him at home. So to avoid a confrontation with her, he decided to go fishing and return triumphantly with a feast. As everyone knows, people don’t give out about a good thing.
Swen went to the riverbank and made himself a fishing line. Instead of using a regular hook, he found a rusty bent nail and made a weight from a stone he found lying on the shore. Pleased with himself, he jumped into his fishing boat, dropped his line and fell asleep. When he woke up a few hours later though, he swore he would never drink again. His boat had drifted over the edge of his allod and was now floating in the emptiness of the Astral but somehow he was still alive! His fishing line was glimmering with strange colours coming from the stone he had found in the river, and the mysterious rays cloaking his boat seemed to be protecting him from the Astral.
Swen pinched himself to see if he was awake. He wasn’t dreaming, but he was floating all alone in the Astral abyss.
He rowed back to his allod as quickly as he could, swinging the magic stone as he went. By the next day, all the villagers were scampering about the river seeking similar stones. Within a week, the sound of axes and saws could be heard across the village. The villagers built a fleet of new boats, took them to the Astral shore, filled them with provisions and within a week the village had been abandoned.
Swen’s drunken excursion had discovered the Era of Astral Travel. Sometimes tiny things are often the most important.
Chapter 5: The Invasion of the Astral Demons
New means of travelling, discovered by the Gibberling fisherman Swen, set the scene for the first Astral War. The League had a score to settle with the Empire over several contested allods. With a new way to attack their enemies without relying on the Great Mages, a new era of opportunity arose. It was soon discovered that the secret of Astral protection lay in an iron meteor that came from the depths of the Astral. Unfortunately for the Imperial Allod of Kirah, it was completely filled with this particular type of metal and became a target.
In the year 909, a League army landed on Kirah and occupied most of it with troops and miners. In response to the attack, the Empire sent an army of Orc, Xadaganian and Arisen troops to take it back. Years of simmering distrust erupted; the conflict between the League and the Empire for the control of Kirah began. Unfortunately for both, on a fateful night in 910, portals opened on allods across the Astral and an assault by legions of unknown demons commenced. Many of the Great Mages were lost that night as their allods were swallowed by the Astral, and many of the remaining allods fragmented, becoming much smaller than they had been.
The first victim in the Battle of Kirah was the Xadaganian Great Mage Vlad, who did not even participate in the battle. Half way through the fighting, and with the League breaking through his lines, it was obvious to him that something was amiss. The sky above lit up with Astral flames and a massive earthquake rocked the land. Yasker and Eniel, leaders of the Empire and the League both realized that the cause of the destruction was the death of Vlad.
They began the complex ritual which allowed them to sustain life on the allod, but at the precise moment they began, both armies were attacked by the demons. Both leaders ordered their armies to evacuate Kirah. Yasker opened a portal to Igsh allowing his army to flee, but it was hard to maintain for long and only a fraction of his army was able to get through. The remainder were left behind and died where they stood. The majority of the League troops were able to make it to their Astral ships, but only a lone ship survived the attack that followed from the Astral Demons.
By the end of the invasion of the Astral Demons, many allods had been completely lost, and millions of people and creatures had perished. Smaller invasions continued for some time after, but never again on the same scale. With a common enemy hell bent on destroying them both, the League and the Empire put aside their differences and formed an uneasy alliance. For fifteen years, both sides sat and waited for a fresh invasion, but it never came.
During this uneasy peace, Skrakan arrived on Kvatoh and settled in the Tensess tower.
Chapter 6: A New War Begins
In the year 957, after decades of peace, a new war erupted between the Empire and the League. A fleet of powerful Imperial Astral ships packed with new technology attacked the League’s territory. The League’s fleet, led by their Mages, fought back valiantly but ultimately were doomed in the face of such firepower. They had no choice but to flee and leave their allods undefended.
With a blockade by the Imperial fleet restricting access to their allods, the League Mages reverted to opening portals to allow them to maintain a level of control. For a long time this remained the case, until the League finally succeeded in attacking and capturing a ship from the Empire. Elven mages studied the ship intensively and discovered the secret of the Imperial fleet and reverse engineered it to suit the League’s purposes. In the year 962, after five years of continuous blockade, the League finally broke the Imperial monopoly of the Astral space and the war entered a fierce new phase.
In the meantime, invasions by the demons, which had been infrequent but always a constant risk, picked up in both frequency and intensity. Among the peoples of the allods, a new form of cultism emerged, with groups of Humans, Orcs and Arisen greeting the demons. They considered the demons a just punishment for the inhabitants of the allods, and by serving and assisting the demons on their unknown mission, they would ensure their survival.
Over time, this form of cultism grew in popularity and visibility, spreading across the allods.
Chapter 7: The Great Astral Campaign
In the year 965, a book called “The Revelation of Tka-rik” came in the hands of Skrakan.
Inside its covers, it said that the demons were creatures from another world, that they were evil spirits and that their fundamental purpose was destruction. Tka-rik had unleashed the demons during experiments by the Junes civilisation when he was researching new sources of magic. He discovered that the only way to stop the invasion was to shut the gates to this other world which had inadvertently been opened by the Junes. Tka-rik had found a way to do this, and explained how to close the gates in his book. Skrakan went public with the revelations and the war between the factions ground to a halt.
The following year in 966, Skrakan and Nezeb signed a peace treaty and sent scouts on a combined mission to discover the location of the Junes gates. Several gates to the Astral Demon’s world were discovered shortly after the expedition began, and two Great Mages were dispatched to seal them forever. After a pitched battle with the demons, their army captured the allods where the gates were located.
The Great Mages attempted to seal the gates, failing to do so, on their first three attempts. They persisted and on their fourth attempt, the two Great Mages successfully sealed the gates. It was a bittersweet victory though, as a massive Astral storm appeared over the gates and destroyed their great army. Only the ships on the periphery of the storm escaped, returning to their allods with the news of their victory and subsequent tragedy.
Both factions had lost their leaders, leaving a greatly changed political situation.
The League was ruled by The Conclave of the Great Mages, and comprised the Five Great Mages. It was led by Aidenus, the Great Mage of Kvatoh.
The transition of power in the Empire was less fluid, as the power vacuum in the Empire’s leadership erupted into a bloody confrontation. Two Great Mages went head-to-head to become the new leader of the Empire: Gurluxor, an old and experienced mage who nonetheless was a mere shadow of Nezeb, and Yasker, a young hero of the war of Kvatoh.
Yasker parlayed with both the Orcs and the Arisen, promising them full equal rights in return for supporting the new Empire he would create. Overwhelmed, Gurluxor was defeated and fled to his allod, where his hiding place remains a mystery to this day. Victorious over his rival, Yasker proclaimed himself a Great Mage of the Empire and ruled alone. He kept his promise to the Orcs and the Arisen and granted them equal status as citizens of the Empire.
Despite the success of the Great Astral Campaign, the Astral was still a dangerous place, hiding demons and other terrible Astral creatures. These risks did not stop travel and trade from taking place, on the contrary it flourished. With one threat gone, a new threat naturally appeared, this time in the form of the Astral Pirates. They prey on independent traders, as well as League and Imperial caravans.
In the meantime, the uneasy alliance that had formed under the threat of the Astral Demons began to crumble and relationships became more and more hostile. Small conflicts flared here and there, while overpopulation on the allods, combined with dwindling resources and fundamental ideological differences, caused the differences between the two factions to become more apparent. These all combined to produce the first hints of a new war.
In the year 1008, after many skirmishes, war was officially declared between the two great powers. The cause? A new allod was discovered which lay between Kvatoh, capital of the League, and Igsh, capital of the Empire. Its name was Holy Land.