The Silver Circle:

The Dwarven empire. Made up of the five dwarven clans. Stonard, Balderk, Lutgeehr, Torunn, Urgo. For many years these clans existed peacefully with the races above and below ground but during the first real manipulation of the gods the initial war broke out and caused the divide of races. During the war the clans banded together and helped defeat the hordes of Orcs and Goblins that had turned on them. A pact had been struck with the elves to protect the weaker races, the gnomes and halfings, from what was coming.

After the war an uneasiness grew among the clans as more of the monstrous races who proved nothing but violent appeared deeper in the cavernous tunnels they had dug with their own hands. It was not long until most of the Deep was no longer inhabitable. The dwarves retreated from the Deep to their cities underground and more of them even began pushing towards the surface creating trade villages with the races above.

But what many had begun fearing for years broke out when the monstrous kobolds and other creatures of the deep swarmed the dwarven cities with tremendous force. Many of the underground farms and mines the dwarves depended on were lost immediately. It was during this attack of the kobolds, when most of what the dwarves had strived to protect for so long seemed lost. Thurmor and a band of his most trusted warriors from the clan of Stonard appeared from the city of Wadow bearing a great hammer rumored to have been forged by Moradin himself. They struck at the horde of kobolds repelling them far enough to give the rest of the dwarves time to prepare. Thurmor then persuaded each of the dwarven clans to reunite finally under one banner. The Silver Circle was forged and the dwarves were able to fend off the attack.

It was during the never ending war with these races, that reports of Orcs were heard but mostly dismissed as they had not been seen in almost a thousand years. At the same time humans were also just beginning to meet the dwarves who had been forced to the surface during the start of the attacks. After some time a wary relation ship formed with the Imperatus and the dwarves were swept up in the Orc Rising. Though during the first war the pact of dwarves and elves that had protected the weaker races before, could not be upheld this time because the hordes were once again endless. Being too weak still from the previous war the dwarves could only send minor armies to roam the surface while they did the bulk of fighting underground sealing many tunnels to force the flow of the horde away from their underground cities.

After a brutal battle where Redmun Balderk was lost Bronzar Wildbeard of the Torunn clan was crowned the New High King. His passion for a human lead him to fight alongside John Kerry during the final battle with Ognor. Though it would end up being this same passion that would anger the dwarves when the human turned on them. Many will remember the day in history when Frederick Bell declared war on the dwarves. And even more are still unsure of the humans even after deciding to help the Thelac Empire against Magus and his unearthly army.

When the end had come and an uneasy peace once again spread through the surface land the dwarves were still contending with the monstrous kobolds, golbins, tunneling worms, and other dangerous creatures that continue to come from the deep. Yet they enjoyed brief moment of relief before the plagues and starvation began spreading.

After Bronzar died in one last battle trying to hold the dead from what was still then the Great Wood. The dwarves retreated with the rest to their homes too weak after the many recent conflicts to continue. With no high king to be crowned and many claiming to be the next times are desperate for these once mighty people. Thought they still hold a few major cities in the mountains and couple outlying trading towns many have retreated to Wadow. All are clamoring for the next high king to be found and for the Silver Circle to fix all the problems that have been escalating beyond control.

Stonard Clan: The first of the five clans formed by the first dwarf ever created. They have long held prominate power in the Silver Circle and also had the first High King, Thurmor. They are usually lawful and good aligned dwarves who look out for the other clans.

Balderk Clan: The most militaristic of the clans, even though all dwarves are brought up in a martial lifestyle the Balderk clan takes it a step further. They produce some of the top warriors in the Circle and are most of the guards you find positioned through the cities.

Lutgeehr Clan: This clan of dwarves are scholarly by nature producing scholars and historians that keep the records of all dwarves past and present in a large library in Wadow.

Torunn Clan: Brave and heroic even though they aren’t the strongest or most miltaristic. They tend to be the adventurers you see outside the ground. Explorers and Adventurers.

Urgo Clan: Vile and hated even among other dwarves. They are tolerated because of them joining the circle and being the primary workforce for the underground cities. You rarely see them outside the Deep Down. This has made them cruel and angry at the other dwarves.

Herald’s Glory: In the very beginning unlike the masters of the deep the elves felt very connected to the surface world. All the beauty of nature and the wildlife that filled it entranced them. They were the first to feel the touch of true magic and the divine powers. Something Moradin had even been unable to gift to his kind so early. The elves freely worshiped Corellon Larethian and Ehlonna as their favored dieties. Many also came to know of Boccob and Obad-Hai but the two goddess were the ones they most revered. When Glenith Thornswallow and his wife Alyssa Thornswallow proposed that all elves were connected and that they should work together for the greater good the Herald’s Glory was born.

When the first war broke out among the races the elves joined the dwarves against the hordes vowing alongside them to protect the then weaker races of gnomes and halflings. Using their superior connection to their gods, they were fierce wizards and spellswords dominating the battlefields. Their command of magic at the time being unparalleled through the races.

After the initial war ended and the orcs and goblins had been banished to the depths of the world the elves returned to a peaceful existence. Few things would bother them as they frolic’d through the majestic woods and plains of the world. They peacefully traded with the outlying nomadic villages of the gnomes and the dug in halflings of the hills. When the first humans appeared they were the first race to meet them and after a serious of strange encounters they welcomed them into the world helping them trade with the others. Though they grew wary when the Imperatus was formed and things within the human world became more militaristic they continued to trade with them.

The Orc Uprising hit them hard as the orcs and goblins seemingly poured endlessly from the mountains forcing the elves to escape to the forests where they had the advantages. But this meant that the fledgling races of the humans, gnomes and haflings were left to fend for themselves against the growing hordes. Though they continued to aid through the defense of their homelands and the occasional attack against a passing horde.

It was an elf by the name of Hannah Windwhisper that represented the elves in the party that finally took down the mighty orc Ognor. She was the best Ranger the Heralds Glory had ever seen and her grasp of the wizardly arts were almost as unmatched. Her death would be the scorn of elves eveywhere when she would eventually die to the very humans she had fought to save in the last battle of the Eastern Vale. A momentous battle in elven history that every elf would come to know and be deeply angry with the humans for.

So angry that even after some of them prove themselves to the races of the world as different by freeing the halflings and gnomes that had for so long been captives of the orcs and goblins and then the humans under Fredrick’s rule. They still refused to help the Thelac empire instead choosing to hold out in the Great Wood. Even though many elves would eventually join the new Thelac empire as mercenaries or adventurers. The Herald’s Glory and most of the elves were still deeply wounded by the Imperatus’s actions.

During a mid-summer’s eve of the year 680 AC every elf alive felt a sudden and unexplained urge from somewhere deep within to return to their sacred city in the Sacred Grove. The mostly holy of areas for them inside the Great Wood. None could explain it and it was something very few spoke of outside exclusively elven company. By the end of the year most were overpowered by the urge and returned to the grove. Some seemingly in a trance and others willingly. Few were able to resist this seemingly magical calling. By the first snowfall ninety percent of the elves had mysteriously vanished and the few that had been able to resist felt a sickening sense of loss. Many grew severely ill for days and the even less who pulled through had a disturbing affliction. They all felt the loss of their connection with magic from then on.

Scorned by the races from their previous actions as a whole and soon to be rumored as the reason for the Starvation many were forced to live as dirt in the towns they still resided in. Either forced out or killed in the initial anger they now live as adventurer’s trying to prove themselves to the world, trying to find purpose again, or nomads travelling in a daze of loss. Though many just joined with others as bandits preying on the now weak world trying to just survive.

Imperatus: Initially they were actually a good empire that formed as a result of partnering with the elves and learning of the other races. Soon trade had begun and small villages and cities started forming. But the thing that makes everyone human in one way or another started to affect people. The need for order in the chaos called to them and a man by the name of Gonha Nabdron rose to it. He founded the Imperatus to control the flow of trade among the growing number of towns and help control those that had turned to banditry.

Even though Gonha is eventually slain during a battle with orcs, his son Rust Nabdron would become Imperator and lead the humans through one of the roughest times they would face as the dwarves and elves ended retreating. The halfling and gnomes that had peacefully roamed the lands were enslaved when they were finally overrun. Rust unsure of the future of his legacy prayed to Pelor and was answered with visions of a man.

Eventually John Kerry the First would become known among the surviving villages and outposts as a mighty hero of men. Wielding holy justice and smiting foes in the name of Pelor and the Imperatus. It was not long before Rust sent for him and promised him great wealth and power if he would take up cause for them and help defeat the hordes. Though he refused any reward beyond the telling of his tale he still took over as general of the Imperatus Armies and lead them to a series of victories against the orcs.

Briefly peace would fall on the humans but it as history has proved it would not last long. Rust Nabdron was assassinated and then through the murkiest of details a man named Fredrick Bell was crowned the new Imperator. In a few short years the entire empire had changed to a dark semblance of its once great past. Orcs started appearing in the cities under control of the army and any worship of the good gods was persecuted and outlawed. While worshipers of Pelor were specifically hunted down and slain.

Fredrick declared war on the dwarves and the elves using the orcish hordes he now had control of. Enslaving any who opposed him in the name of the Imperatus. He used the previously enslaved gnomes and halflings as his own work force and play things. They were slaves bought and sold freely in the emerging slave culture of the Imperatus. This was not restricted to just gnomes and halflings though as it expanded to other humans, elves and dwarves that were resisting them.

When things were starting to look like it was evening out among the Imperatus and the broken nations of the Silver Circle and the Herald’s Glory Fredrick pulled a new trick from his hat. He moved on the Eastern Vale ins search of some sort of hidden artifact. He begins burning and pillaging anything in his path enslaving those that survive. Currently John Kerry the Second begins causing havoc for the Imperatus in the western cities after most of its armies had left to the western front.

The Dark Masters are revealed when an ancient artifact is finally found deep in the Eastern Vale. Hordes of the Undead pour from the east under their control killing everything. The undead did not care if you were friend or foe and as such many loyalists that had fought hard to get this far for the new Imperatus were slain.

Eventually a single man known as Magus Vrictus became known as the sole master of the Dark Army. His armies ravish the land but he is eventually defeated by the emerging alliance of the Silver Circle and the Thelac Empire.

Thelac Empire: Born in strife and chaos Thelac Grendale was born in a back alley to poor parents. Even then they knew he was blessed by Pelor. He eventually grew to be the king of the Thelac Empire. Having met John Kerry the Second and used as a figure head to reunite the scattered and lost people of the Imperatus. Being crowned the new king of humanity and the emerging empire of hope. Thelac called on the dwarves and elves to once again come to humanities aid against the growing number of foes. But he was returned with no response from either side. They were still angry with the previous actions of humanity and refused to help the nation of bloodthirsty murderers.

And so Thelac fought for years trying to prove to the world that humans were not all evil. That they once again deserved to be known as an empire of good and prosperity in the world. He fought every day for that dream and even as the Dark Army was beating down the very last walls to his capital he prayed to Pelor. He who has always had his blessed eye on humanity. He was granted a vision of victory and a prophecy to follow.

During one of his greatest moments he declared an end to slavery of the races. Proclaiming it a foul practice brought on them by the dark taint of Fredrick and his Dark Masters. In this single greatest moment he managed to earn the respect of the High King Bronzar Wildbeard who persuades the Silver Circle that the time was once again to aid humanity. Even though the Herald’s Glory as a whole refused to help still heated at the thought of what the humans had done and how they betrayed their trust. Though many elves do end joining as mercenaries giving them some of the spell casting power they were severely lacking in.

Thelac, John Kerry and a small group of adventurers leading a massive army were finally able to defeat Magus Vrictus, though few know what really happened after. The uneasy peace that always followed a majorly disastrous war fell on the land again as things slowly started to return to normal.

When the Starvation began many humans blamed the elves and those in control of the now massive Thelac Empire. As it wore on though people turned their hate to the gods for allowing such things to have befallen their world in the first place. It became worse when the Dead began to pour from the Great Wood, turning it into the Dark Wood. The weak but still existent armies of the Empire moved with the Silver Circle to contain the threat but it quickly became too much. After John Kerry the Third and the rests of the worlds best hero’s seemingly die in the Dark Wood hope is almost non-existent for the end of the despair that is now heavy on the world.

Now adays the Thelac Empire is nothing more then a handful of broken and wartorn towns supplied by diseased and battered farming villages. Bandits and theives are thick where-ever people gather and adventurers try to make up for the lack of patrolling from the armies. Many towns break away from the empire in as much of the sense as they can relying on solely themselves refusing to pay taxes anymore.

The Oath: A brand of both physical and magical benefit. It’s required of every citizen to decide at the age of maturity whether or not to accept the oath. Those that do accept the oath are bound to the Empire and must answer it’s call at any time. They are usually immediately conscripted into the current standing army and eventually sent orders to join one garrison or another. They are paid a monthly salary and can earn “merit” raises from their local head officer.

Gnomes: Even in the early days they were mostly nomads and wanderers having few villages to call their own. After enslavement by one race after the other they are severely lacking in faith in themselves. But they are still inately brilliant and inguenitive. After their freedom was finally granted by the Thelac Empire they intergrated themselves into the bigger cities for the most part while some did spread our to return to their nomadic ways.

Halflings: Being free spirited and friendly they were easily conquered by the much larger race of the orcs. Suffering much the same fate as the gnomes they also had their spirits and heritage destroyed for years under enslavement. By the Orcs, the Goblins and the humans many halflings till have memories of enslavement. They live lives of nomads though many have returned to the hillands to try to recover some of what once was their lives.

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