History of the Unified Kingdom
Not much is known about the events before the Cataclysm, only rumors and stories really. The Cataclysm itself is mysterious, and only a few know the truth—it is simply how the current inhabitants of the Word view the Ritual of Restoration. The persistent rumors about the time of Myth are a jumbled list of conflicting reports.
To the followers of Pelor, which count among them most Humans and Halflings, Pelor created the World and all in it. He granted angels and humans free will, and some chose to fight against him. Those fallen angels became demons, and as they bred with other fallen humans, the other races were born. Eladrin, Elves, Tieflings, Dwarves, and even Halfings are all perversions brought by intermixing of humans and demons. Yet Pelor granted all of these creatures the ability to choose their own destiny, and most turned away from evil, although few truly embraced the Light. Pelor brought on the world a great Cataclysm to test and punish the wicked. During this time all the angels and most of the demons died.
To the followers of Erathis, the World is a giant machine. Through natural and societal evolution all races and civilizations have arisen with very little intervention. All races, even the seemingly immortal demons, giants, and Eladrin are native to the World and came about naturally.
To worshipers of the Raven Queen, the World is but a shadow of the true reality. It is a testing ground to prove oneself before death. If one is judged worthy, then they pass onto the Unknowable Beyond. If not, they are recycled. As there is no way of knowing if the World you see is the same trial of faith as what others see, history, and especially prehistory, are not important to followers of the Raven Queen.
Followers of Lolth may have their own version of pre-Cataclysmic history, but it is either a closely guarded secret, or perhaps the knowledge of it is what turns the followers insane. In any case, it probably involves spiders.
The Dwarves believe that history itself is in flux, and therefore unknowable. They refuse to form any opinons about the state of the World before the appearance of their God Emperor, which coincided with the Cataclysm.
The Eladrin have the clearest view of the past, but even theirs is confused. The highest members of the courts know the Great Secret—that the past has been meddled with. Eladrin tradition maintains that they come from another world where they were locked in eternal combat with demons. Somehow, the conflict moved to this World, and the Eladrin found new allies in the form of the gods. In a great war, they were able to defeat the demons, and now very few remain. Unfortunately, near the end of this warm, the Primordials of this World struck while the gods and Eladrin fought the demons. Most of the Eladrin fled to the southern reaches of the world, abandoning the gods.
When time was corrupted, the Old Gods repaired the World the best they could in the Ritual of Restoration. The World now is much smaller, and carries the scars of this event. Both the mortals and the New Gods have forgotten this event, a side-effect of the Ritual itself. Instead, they believe that the World underwent a Cataclysm which accounts for it’s scarred nature.
For thousands of years, the population of the world stayed in small tribes of hunters and gatherers. Eventually, Erathis created agriculture and the World began to settle into villages and cities. The strange nature of the south led it to be inhabited mostly by Fae folk, while most Humans and Halflings remained in the North. The Dwarves stayed in the West mountains, and had very little contact with the outside. Most other races were limited to islands in the Eastern chain, only venturing out when Humans and Elves began sailing out to the East.
The Formation of the Kingdoms.
As Population began to grow, farmland became a scares and valuable commodity. Skirmishes between city-states led to widespread famine and disease. Eventually, Drugan, the king of Capitol, subjugated most of the North through a combination of diplomacy and conquest. The Northern Kingdom then attacked the Elves along their southern border, hoping to take their land.
The Elves sought help from the Eladrin, who gave it in exchange for the right to rule and tax the Elves. In a mystic ritual, members of the four warring courts of the Eladrin bonded their four greatest champions into one being—the King. The Kingdom of the South was born.
Eventually the North and the South were locked into a stalemate.
After centuries of war, the end came from an unlikely source. The Dwarves had invented a new machine which could plow and harvest the fields without need for Oxen. With it, the food output of the fertile central region could increase a hundredfold, eliminating the need to war over farmlands. Both sides of the conflict demanded access to the machines, which the dwarves freely gave. Soon the found that the Machines consumed strange resources to make them work: a dark sludge only found in the northernmost hills, and the seed from a fae flower from the southernmost forests. For one side to have both resources, they would have to totally obliterate the other.
The machines sat dormant for twenty years, until mystics and prophets from both sides began to see portents of a harsh winter. Droughts had plagued the central lands for five years, and with a winter this long, famine would surely kill most of the world. But one year of harvest could save the people, if only they used the dwarves’ machines. Emissaries from both sides met in Cloudport and drafted the Unification Treaty, created the Unified Kingdom.
The Unified Kingdom stood for 368 years.
In the last fifty years, tensions between humans and non-humans in the North had been escalating. Fed by an upsurge in religious fervor among Pelor’s church, many Northerners had become belligerent and increasingly racist against non-humans. The Purist Faction believed that Pelor was angry that the Eladrin had fled to the south during a pre-Cataclysm conflict, and had therefore chosen humans as his chosen people. As this faction grew in number and power, spurious claims of ancestral rights were used to prop up attacks on non-human villages.
The Purist Faction took over both the Order of Cleansing light (the Church’s force dedicated to killing demonspawn and liches) and the Military Illuminatis (the service and defense branch of the Church). They heavily recruited young men to become soldiers fighting for glory, righteousness, and racial purity. Human defectors from local garrisons and the Miltary Illuminatis joined with non-human settlers to form the Northern Evacuation Legions, dedicated to helping non-humans escape into the south to avoid persecution. Meanwhile, internal conflict between the Summer and Winter court distracted the Eladrin, and they failed to intercede on behalf of the non-human settlers.
The Attack on Brassport.
On a warm autumn evening in AU 368, a fleet of southern ships attacked Brassport. Although it was later found that this group of ships was 500 years old and displaced from the past, the damage had already been done. The Order of Cleansing Light used this event to gain control of the Church and Kingdom, and the Military Illuminatis was put in charge of all Northern armies. The Northern Kingdom declared war on the Southern Kingdom and began systematically destroying non-human settlements in the North. Other than Halflings, who were spared from the purges, very few non-humans remain in the North. Although technically free citizens, they are subject to harassment, imprisonment, and even death.
Under the leadership of the halfling Admiral Halfblade, the Northern Evacuation Legions became the Northern Resistance Legions, and began to harry Northern troops. The Southern Kingdom was slow to muster troops, and all of the central farmlands and much of the bordering forest was taken by Northern invasion forces.