The Common Man's Guide to Astaeria
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 EtheraThe 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 worldThe 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. 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 Ancient ElvaransThough 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 First Great War of ElvarraLittle 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.
A More Familiar WorldThe Alliance had succeeded in their plan and the factions went their separate ways. And so 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 TarrynThe 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. 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
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. Rumours began to circulate that the plague was part of a deliberate plot by the Magi to seize power. As a result, the great plague became known as the ‘Magi’s Curse.’ Augustas Malvarro (below), the Elvaran War General, and member of the Duke's Advisory Council, sought to capitalise on this. 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.
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.
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."
- 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.
Notes on The Magi’s Curse by Physician Ranae Aloran, 1330AE
The Origins of Ethera
The Ancient Elvarans
The First Great War of Elvara
A More Familiar World
The Age of Unbearable Sorrow
The Great Empire of Malvarron
The Empire of Malvarron is located on the continent of Elvara at the centre of the Astaeri region. It was founded in 1331 AE following 'The Vanguard Revolution', which brought the previous regime to an abrupt and violent end.
The Kingdom of Kuldrith
The Kingdom of Kuldrith is located to the north-west of the Malvarron Empire. Its terrain is mostly rocky and mountainous, and as such Kuldrith is known for its heavy mining industry and underground cities.
The Kingdom of Errolone
Errolone is a primarily Elven Kingdom to the south-east of the Malvarron Empire. Its people are purveyors of herbalism, magic and the arts.
The Ember Isles
The Ember Isles are a collective group of islands in the Sea of Glass to the south-west of Malvarron.
The Free Republic of Erannor
Known for its temperate climate, vast great plains, and expensive wine and brandy, the Free Republic of Erannor is a ‘democratically’ elected state of Eastern Astaeria.
The Pantheon of Ethera
The Twelve Guardians are the major deities of the Pantheon of Ethera
Prospector's Fever is a serious medical condition mostly suffered by miners who work underground. Historically the disease was considered a death sentence, but the latest developments in medical science mean that this is no longer the case.
Discovered by Dorana Greybraid in 789 A.E., Draknel Venom is an effective treatment when administered to patient's suffering with Prospector's Fever
The Magi's Curse
The Magi's Curse is the name given to the devastating plague which swept the City of Revaelor in 1325 A.E. Many people believed the disease was a plot caused by the Magi in a bid to secure power.
The Vanguard is the main branch of the empire's armed forces. They maintain a strong presence in occupied cities, enforcing the empire's law outside the capital.