The Common Man's Guide to Astaeria

The Common Man’s Guide to Astaeria is a collection of essays and articles written, by scholar and historian Eldeth Cordell of Bridgeport, in the year 1355 AE. The book was intended to educate and inform the common man in historic developments of the world.   Shortly after the book’s publication it was banned by Emperor Augustas Malvarro I and Cordell was set to face trial under the decree for ‘the Prohibition of Political Propaganda.’   Following this ruling, Cordell went missing. Though the circumstances of his disappearance are unclear, the most common assumption is that Cordell fled across the Sea of Glass rather than face the pretence of a criminal trial. However, there were rumours in the locality of Bridgeport as to the involvement of the ’Order of the Unknown,’. This has not been proven, and folk at the time dared not speak of it.   Below are some original passages from Cordell’s work that were saved from destruction by the Bridgeport Guild of Scholars. It will give you a small insight into Astaeria’s rich history.

The Common Man’s Guide to Astaeria: from Ancient Elvara to the rise of the Malvarron Empire

Penned by Eldeth Cordell


  Astaeria.   A land of curiosity, diversity and culture. A land shrouded in mystery and intrigue yet riddled with conflict, revolution, and betrayal.   At the centre of this land, the Malvarron Empire stands proud and victorious. Its bloodthirsty beginnings juxtaposed with the luscious, emerald backdrop of Old Elvara. Its leader, our great and powerful commander, Emperor Augustas, is the latest in a long line of revolutionaries in our tumultuous history of war and oppression.   But what led us all to this moment? What phenomena, events and people have shaped where we are today?   These essays are intended for the grasp of the common man. They set out some views about the origin of our world, the path our ancestors followed when forming society, and the struggles that have lead us to the here and now.   Named in honour of the revered explorer Aemon Astaeri in in the year of 776 AE, Astaeria is an important region of our world. Not only because it is our home, but because it is the only known habitable region of our world.   Although we have made great leaps in nautical technology in recent years, we yet to launch a successful expedition due west. This means that we do not know of the wonders, dangers, or even other civilisations that may reside beyond the treacherous wilderness which borders the Sea of Glass. Consequently, we have many questions about our world which may indeed remain unanswered until we make greater leaps in exploration and discovery.   So, what can we learn until such a time? As a scholar, I believe our region holds a plethora of significant clues to the burning questions we have about ourselves and our world. To understand these clues, however, we must first have a basic grasp on history, of myth and legend and the religious teachings of our region. After all, there are a lot of revelations to discover in the words of our ancestors.  

The Origins of Ethera

  The origins of our world are disputed. A lot of religious groups and collectives claim to have the answer or solution to the question: Where did we come from? But the fact is nobody really knows the exact reason we came to be. Were we placed here by the gods for some higher purpose? Were the Gods travellers from another world or plane, or were they people of immense power and talent which evolved from our own kin?  
Thorban and Orena: the Gods who forged the world
  The Iron-Dwarves, from the once autonomous Kingdom of Ironheim, believe that our world was created by two powerful dwarven gods -- Thorban and Orena. The two gods, armed with hammers, chisels and a variety of other tools, came down from the great forges of paradise and happened upon a lump of rock which was floating through a dark space, devoid of life but rich in minerals and ores.   Using their immense power, they summoned a great sky-forge near the rock and set about crafting a new world. In as little as three days, they had crafted an entire world from metal, wood, sand, and soil. They had sculpted mountains and forests, valleys, and streams.   But, the creation was empty. For when they looked down they realised it was missing a vital ingredient. People...   The two gods pondered, for alas they had no raw material left to spare. But they were resourceful as they were creative. From only the armour on their back, the weapons at their side and the tools in their hands, they forged a race of little people, with hearts of iron and nerves of steel. They taught them the ways of the sacred forge, how to mine, bend metals to their will and craft tools.   And so the Iron Dwarves were born, and Thorban and Orena had provided them with the conditions for them to thrive in the world. When they departed, they left their Sky Forge burning to provide the world and its people with warmth and light.  
The Champions of Ethera
  Followers of the Church of Ethera believe that our world is the creation of the Eternal Mother. Before the Eternal Mother breathed life into our world, another world existed in its place - Mel’aneth.  
   
The Shadow of Chaos' Monster
Mel’aneth was a pure, peacful world following a path which the Mother had laid down thousands of years ago. However, in the Mother’s absence, Mel’anethwas corrupted by the Demon Lord Zenykul and his Shadow of Chaos. Mel’aneth’s people turned their backs on the Mother, slaying her most trusted Guardian Zor’ya. Using the flesh and bone of the first Guardian, the Shadow of Chaos morphed into a dragon-like creature, born from death and destined to reap terrible destruction on the ancient world.
  The Mother, on her return, transformed this creature against its master and used the dragons fire to purify the chaotic world. From the ashes the Mother forged a new world free from the chaos. Our world.   However, the Eternal Mother would not have thwarted Zenykul, had it not been for the twelve mortals who stayed loyal to her. They had hatched a plan to tame the creature, which enabled the Mother to transform it. She later rewarded the twelve with eternal life and thus they became the Guardians of Ethera.  

The Ancient Elvarans

  Though spiritual writing may provide clues about the origins of our world, they are biased and unreliable sources of information. They are imbued with religious adoration and exaggeration therefore it is unlikely that we will ever know how our world began, but that is just one question of many that historians have about the world.   Through discovered relics and ancient writings transcribed through the hard work of the Guild of Scholars, we now suspect is that the island of Elvara was once home to an ancient race of people. Some, such as the Erroloni High Mages, revered this race as the true gods of our world, the creators and the masters of magic. Religious narrative aside, we scholars agree that individuals from this society were highly advanced and evolved in both magical ability and technology.   The tomb of Labenis the elven High King of Mathidon contains magnificent marble statues of giant-like creatures, over ten feet tall with smooth, flat features. From the art discovered in the tomb, these creatures can be seen with alchemical equipment, books and magical items unlike any we have come to understand in our world today. It also appears that the early Mathidoni worshipped these individuals or deities.  

The Mathidoni

 

Mathidon

The Mathidoni were an ancient race of High Elves, who emerged some time during the Great Silence, sometime after 10 000 BE and around the time the Dwarves came down from the Iron Mountains to form the settlement known as Ironheim. The Mathidoni were worshipers of magic and the arcane. They had a strict social hierarchy based on magical ability. They believed those born with the gift of magic had been chosen by the gods to fulfill the role of higher citizens, and guide civil society in the ways of magic. The Mathidoni revered powerful magi, however, their society was a cruel one for any individual who did not fit their ideal.
  Any Mathidoni born without the gift of magic, known in Ancient Elvaran as ’the S’epricae’ (the unenlightened ones), were banished to the wilderness of the Elvara Forest. Over time they formed and developed their own societies in the chaotic wilds. They formed tribes and became adept hunters, scouts and foragers. In our society today, the S’epricae are known as the Wood Elves. Though many of the tribes have dispersed and joined ‘civil society’, a few remain loyal to their traditions as the blessed Children of Elvara.   The Orcs, who had been driven out of the moorlands by the Mathodoni, were forced to flee to the North East of the Elvara Forest, where they competed with the Wood Elves for resources. They slaughtered any who remained in Mathidon.   Humans were able to settle in Mathidon but were viewed as ‘less than’ citizens. They were primarily used by the Mathidoni as slaves and labourers. Some were even experimented on in the interests of magical advancement.   Any humans demonstrating the gift of magic were labelled as D’amakur (The Dark Ones). The Mathidoni believed the D’amakur were possessed by the Bringer of Night, who some today may refer to as the Thirteenth Guardian or the Dark Lady - Nocterra. These humans, if discovered, were put to death in a variety of ways to ensure the spirit of Nocterra was ‘exorcized’ from their bodies. Some were burned alive; some thrown into the Sea of Glass, trapped in immovable iron caskets; there are even records of some individuals thrown into boiling alchemical substances until their bodies dissolved and their physical form was no more.  

The First Great War of Elvarra

  Little information has survived in the chronicles of our history concerning the end of the Mathidoni Empire. The only recorded references to it can be found in the journals of Edris Erragar. If that name sounds familiar to you, it may be because he is the father of Arelin Erragar, the founder of Erragar’s School of Sorcery, the college for Magi located to the east of Tullis Harbour.   Edris Erragar’s journals chronicle the events of a civil war between the Mathidoni, and an alliance of Iron Dwarves, Orcs and Humans.   The Iron dwarves had, for hundreds of years kept, to their own territory, an above ground settlement named Ironheim, which stood proudly at the edge of the Iron Mountains.   The Dwarves had heard whispers that the Mathidoni had created and harnessed the power of a magical weapon. A weapon capable of bringing entire cities and populations to their knees. Fearing for the stability of the realm, the Iron Dwarves created an alliance with an underground network of D’amakur. This network had formed a resistance movement against the Mathidoni, under the leadership of Edris Erragar himself. A powerful human magi who had hidden his true magical nature from the Mathidoni for decades.   Erragar was privy to information which implied that the weapon’s intended use was to enslave the entire population of Elvara. To ‘re-educate’ them in such a way that they would be forever amenable and would assimilate to the Mathidoni regime whether or not they wanted to.  

The Alliance

Erragar delivered this news to the Iron Dwarves of Ironheim in person.   King Halard called an emergency meeting of the King’s Council, and Erragar attended this meeting as a highly esteemed guest. He made a special address containing all the information that he and his network had discovered about the weapon. It was from this council meeting that a plan formed and was put into action.   Over the course of the next few weeks, diplomatic alliances were formed between Humans, Dwarves, Orcs and Wood Elves. This was an alliance of necessity upheld in spite any resentments harboured for the Dwarves, who according to the humans and Orcs, had sat on their ‘backsides’ for years, ignoring the suffering that the Mathidoni had inflicted on others.

Ancient Mathidoni Warrior

With the power of a united alliance, it took only two months for the city of Mathidon to become ash and dust. The surviving Mathidoni fled south across the Sea of Glass. Some of their descendents still live in Errolone today, shrouded in secrecy.   The area where Mathidon once stood became an uninhabitable wasteland, a state which it remains in to this day. It is the area we now call the ’the Dreadmoors’.  

A More Familiar World

  So, the Alliance had succeeded in their plan and the factions went their separate ways.   The Age of Reformation came to Elvara, and it was a time of opportunity. An opportunity to carve out a new, inclusive Elvara. This opportunity for inclusiveness was overlooked, however, and what was left of the people after the civil war, split into smaller groups, divided by culture, beliefs, and race. The groups went their separate ways and developed isolationist settlements. Leaders rose to the top and new dynasties were established. Our calendar was reset as a symbolic act of this new beginning, and the two eras were split between Bae Expugnatum (BE) and Ae Expugnatum (AE). These, translated from Old Elvaran, loosely mean ‘Before the Overthrowing’ and ‘After the Overthrowing’.  

The Duchy of Tarryn

  The City we know today as the City of Malvarron started life as a small settlement of humans and a minority of the Woodland Elves and half-orcs who had remained after the war. The people appointed a leader, Andar Tarryn, who named the settlement ‘Revaelor’, after his oldest son who had lost his life fighting the Mathidoni. The D’amakur, now with the freedom to practice their magical skills without fear of reprisals, also settled here and their leader, Erragar, was appointed as the first High Mage of Revaelor.   However, there were many who harboured resentment for these Magi. For although they had been significant allies during the war, Revaelor’s people had suffered greatly at the hands of magic. These suspicions of magical folk were deep rooted and difficult to overcome. So too was the bitterness aimed at the Wood Elves who, whilst alike in appearance to the Mathidoni, were a constant reminder of past traumas.   Revaelor grew rapidly, and the years that followed were a golden age for its people. Over the next 700 years the lone settlement would grow into a City State which would form part of a Duchy, led by Tarryn’s descendants, with Tullis Island and the small fishing settlement now known as Bridgeport.

The Age of Unbearable Sorrow

  Like all eras, the Reformation era ended, as did the era of Enlightenment and discovery which followed. The good times were at an end for many of our people.   The Age of Unbearable Sorrow (1017AE -1330AE) was a dark time for Elvara. The Era started with drought that lasted for 20 years. Hot weather and a lack of rain lead to poor harvest after poor harvest. The people of the City of Revaelor were dying on the streets. To make things worse, it appeared little was being done by the nobility to ease the pain and suffering of those unable to afford even the smallest scrap of bread.   It wasn’t only the Revaelorians, who were suffering. Orcish clans who had settled in the northern regions began raiding farmsteads looking for food. This prompted military action from the Duchy, and eventually the Orcs were pushed back towards the Northern Barren Wastes. The Stronghold Fortress was later built to keep them there. The Orcs who had been residents of the Duchy were banished from major cities by suspicious citizens. Some fled north to be with ‘their people’ others remain as outcasts.   Tensions within the Duchy were running high, and the poorer areas of the City of Revaelor were in chaos. Elven refugees from Errolone, who were escaping yet another bloody civil war, were putting a strain on the already depleted resources. Crime was rife, and the criminal underworld welcomed the opportunity to increase the size of their collective coin purse.   When a plague emerged in 1325 AE, however, it was the Magi who became the subject of the wrath of the general population.   The plague was unlike the other illnesses and diseases seen before in the Duchy. It appeared to affect the lower classes to a greater extent than the upper classes. Other than that, it appeared to strike its victims indiscriminately, with no obvious patterns in race, sex or age of the victims. To make matters worse, physicians and alchemists were at a loss as to what was causing the plague, rumours of a Magi plot began to spread, and people were euthanizing their own family members rather than see them taken by it.   The Guild of Magi was well respected in the hierarchy of nobility and valued members of the Court of Tarryn. This prosperity and respect not only produced more resentment and hatred from the lower classes but fed held prejudices entrenched from the time of Mathidon.   They viewed the plague as a deliberate plot by the Magi to seize power. As a result, the great plague became known as the ‘Magi’s Curse.’ Augustas Malvarro, the Elvaran War General, and member of the Duke's Advisory Council, sought to capitalise on this. He used the plague to make public his plans of a military led coup and used the threat of the Magi to insight rebellion within the regime.   He later fled from the city to take refuge at the Fortress of Stronghold with his Military loyalists. It was there where he plotted and planned a revolution that would change the very nature of our lives- forever.
 

Death

 
The Magi’s Curse  
  • "Stage One: The patient shows signs of being in a tranquil, dreamlike state detached from the world around them. I have recorded slow movement and slow speech, along with weak pulse and glassy-eyed stare. Patient may appear relaxed but will show mild to severe confusion with trouble remembering even the most basic of facts.
 
  • Stage 2: The patient becomes unsteady on their feet, which may result from dizziness and without rest will collapse from exhaustion. At this stage there are some reports of mild hysteria, uncontrollable laughing or crying out in fear. Many patients at this stage cannot recognise their own friends and family.
 
  • Stage 3: Patient continues to hallucinate and talk in gibberish. Violent projectile vomiting is a common symptom during which the patient expels blood through their bodily fluids. The Irises turn white, along with the skin and hair.
 
  • Stage 4: Patient appears to have lost all conscious thought. Patient refuses to eat, sleep and the pupils of the eyes also turn white so they are indistinguishable from the Iris. The individual demonstrates behaviour which is almost tranquil yet disconcerting to any who bear witness. It is as if the patient’s mind has left the body completely.
  The disease does not appear to be spread through contact, however, I have noted that the intake of fluids such as water appear to make the patient worse. I have never seen such a curious array of symptoms before. I can only assume this disease has some kind of magical origin." - Notes on The Magi’s Curse by Physician Ranae Aloran, 1330AE  
 

Contents

Springbrook Town
The Origins of Ethera
The Ancient Elvarans
The Mathidoni
The First Great War of Elvara
A More Familiar World
The Age of Unbearable Sorrow

Comments

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19 May, 2021 17:11

absolutely amazing! lore and worlds like these are what motivate me to keep writing!

Grandmaster Gillymaya
Gilly-May Hartill
20 May, 2021 20:27

Aw that's so sweet, thanks friend :)

Gilly Hartill   Fantasy world builder, aspiring author & lover of all things RPG.