The Continent of Terra

The Continent of Terra When humans first entered the lands which are now the Western Kingdoms, they found other races already there. The elves were the first to meet the newcomers; they had lived peacefully in the forests and hills for over 1500 years, since the founding of their great city of Elvendorgn in the land of Maldon to the south. The humans found the lands much more fertile and hospitable than the deserts of Jaladonu from which they had come, and soon began to build permanent settlements, patterned after the elvish towns they had seen. In fact, the first such settlement was built in cooperation with the elves, in the valley of Tumladen: the city of Mintone, which soon after its founding became the birthplace of the first half-elves in Terra.

Mintone and Tumladen remained small, however, and largely secret, perhaps because the elves foresaw the great changes that would come with the new race, and wished to keep out of the way as much as possible. In the wide land of Paleon, and in the hills and mountains of Nordonu, however, many towns and castles sprang up, with farms and villages about and between them. The leader of the Telcontyr tribe, Arator, who had been the first to enter the new lands, felt that things were going well, and sent out his son, Anderon, with a party of rangers to make further explorations. They became the first recorded humans to reach the pass of Cregone, in the Acheryn mountains that form the eastern border of Paleon, and look out from the summit over the eastern lands beyond.

In those lands they met dwarves, and more elves in the great Huergaton Forest; but they also saw raids of goblins from further east, and brought back word of this to their leader. Arator thought the raids of little moment, and being old he soon turned over the leadership of the tribe to Anderon and disappeared from Paleon for good. Perhaps it was well that he did so, for the First Goblin War erupted not long after, and Anderon at once led an army over the mountains to help the dwarves and wood elves he had befriended. They were victorious, but Anderon was killed, and it was clear that this was not the end of the threat. Therefore it was proposed that a new kingdom should be formed, to help order the defense of Paleon and the surrounding lands; and Armeltil, Anderon's son, was put forward as its ruler.

So began the Ancient Wars, which would last well over a thousand years and which would end in the Kingdom of Paleon being overrun by evil and saved only by the intervention of mysterious beings called the Meli by the elves, who were apparently the only race who knew about these beings from previous encounters long before. However, the elves would reveal no details about the Meli, so other races were left with nothing more than guesses about what had really happened. (The word meli means "teacher" in Arya, the ancient language of the elves, but no one really knows what this signifies.) Terra was saved, but the last King of Paleon was dead, as well as many of the Lords of the kingdom, and no one had the strength or the will to rebuild what had been lost. Thus Terra spent almost another thousand years in a Dark Age, with each individual lord, castle, town and village looking no further than its immediate needs for survival and daily life.

In the tenth century after the Wars' End (as the final intervention of the Meli was called), signs began to appear that evil might be rising again. At the same time, almost as if they were scheduled to deal with the new threat, "adventurers" began to appear in Paleon and Nordonu. Some of them may have merely been seeking treasure, others renown; but for whatever reason, they volunteered to deal with the monsters that were springing up here and there without warning. The headquarters for such operations soon became the city of Erennos, in eastern Paleon. From far and wide youths seeking "adventure" came to the Golden Goose Inn and found--well, something like what they sought. Some of them paid a high price, even the ultimate price. But there were those who survived, and gained power, and became heroes in the eyes of the common folk whom they protected.

In the year 982 AW (After the Wars, as the new calendar which was soon to be adopted reckoned years), the threat to Paleon and Nordonu became imminent, and an army was gathered to meet it. At this juncture, to the surprise of everyone (particularly the Lords, who had gotten used to being their own masters), heirs to the ancient rulership of Paleon and Nordonu came forward, and led the army to victory. The ancient realms were re-established, this time as two separate kingdoms, Paleon and Nordonu, and the lands were safe again. But there was a catch: the new rulers were also adventurers, and their ideas of how a kingdom should be run were quite different from the "traditional" ones. So began the Age of Heroes, in which adventurers had a place in the kingdoms that they had never had before--but also in which the plots of evil against them took forms that they never had before.

In the hundred twenty-odd years since the restoration of the ancient kingdoms, much else has happened for which there is not space here. The western kingdoms, as they came to be called (including the ancient elvish kingdom of Maldon as well as Paleon and Nordonu), have seen peace, as they did for several decades after the Restoration, and war--a war that revealed the existence of the evil Meli Shonyn, who had been forced into hiding at the Wars' End and wanted revenge. This war almost ended in the loss of everything that had been built up in the new kingdoms, for even as his armies were being defeated and driven back to the ships in which they had come to Terra, Shonyn pronounced a Curse on the continent that caused all plant life to die. Fortunately, a small group of heroes pursued him across the ocean, found his lair, and managed to reverse the Curse before it was too late.

Since the Great War, as it is now called, there have been no further overt plots against the kingdoms, but now that may be changing. Much as they did in the decade before the Restoration, monsters are appearing in the lands, origin unknown. And as it was back then, so it is now: adventurers are needed.