It is apparent from both paleontological and zoological evidence that the world was first inhabited by huge prehistoric beasts, such as immense insects and reptiles. The bones and exoskeletons of these creatures are sometimes uncovered, and, in addition, this strain of biological gigantism lives on in the varieties of Giant Wasps, Giant Cockroaches, and Giant Rats which may be found in less settled areas of the world.
There is some reason, therefore, to include the race of Giants-- which still inhabit some areas of the world-- as among the oldest native races on the known map. Archaeological evidence also points to the extreme antiquity of the Dwarven and Elven races. The Orc race, which is also met frequently among the inhabitants, seems to be of a more recent arrival, having emigrated eastward over the past several thousand years.
Additionally, there is evidence of even older races, some of whom have been previously considered to be only mythological in nature (i.e. satyrs, minotaurs, etc.) Artifacts of these extinct races are frequently uncovered in previously buried tombs, caves and other geological and constructed locations.
What little is known of the eons of sentient history before the arrival of humans in the world, has been gathered mainly from Elven sources and folklore. So far, it is Elves who have provided the oldest timeline extant, which places the present date (514 Human Era, or HE) at 2673 Sylvandor. The Sylvandor calendar apparently dates from the founding of the (perhaps mythical) Elven kingdom of Sylvandor which, according to legend, exists in deep forests far south behind the wall of mist. In any event, the five elven clans (Amros, Glendoriel, Midiar, Sethic, and Turgon) which affiliated themselves into the Eldar Coalition in the year 2098 Sylvandor were already of ancient origin.
Elven records indicate that before humans lived in this world the major forest areas of the south and the central regions were inhabited by elves, with members of the Giant race inhabiting a region that spread across the north, from the Claw Mountains in the west, and as far south as the present site of Tantallon. Giants were much more involved in world events at this earlier time than they are today; for example, Giants were responsible for the imprisonment of the Sihkla, very ancient elemental spririts, in fourteen concealed pits around the world. (The one pit so far identified was discovered at a later period by a now-defunct clan of dwarves.) A highly developed Dwarven culture, which is still being investigated, was and still is situated in a group of deep caves and excavations within the Claw Mountains themselves.
All three major races lived in relative respect, if not harmony, and were able to co-exist peaceably because of differences in geographical preference. In addition, there appears to have been a loose confederation of races at times of peril, probably at times of attack from orc kingdoms to the West.
Orcs have apparently been depised by all three indigenous races from time immemorial, because of their rapacity, propensity to violence, and general foul behavior and appearance. Being short-lived yet rapid breeders (in these respects resembling humans) they were constantly in search of additional land. In addition, orcs apparently used their smaller and weaker racial cousins, the goblins, as slave labour, and for this were despised. (The ancient underground goblin community of Ravel has been rumoured to have been founded in approximately the year 900 Sylvandor by a group of runaway goblin slaves.)
Elves, however, were the preeminent race in the area. It is obvious from the affinity of elves to this world, and from the importance that magic-users have played throughout the world's history, that this area of land has some particular closeness with the forces of the unseen and the invisible. The drow elves, for example, have refused to leave their ancient ancestral cave-temple to their ancient deity Lolth, because they apparently believe that this land, and only this land, possesses that occult and spiritual significance which permits the god to reveal itself to the believers in some visible form.
The history we have certainly reveals to us that the humans who first settled here found an immediate affiliation and strength in becoming users of magic. The first human landing in this world occurred approximately 1000 years ago, in the year 1642 Sylvandor, in the harbour which is now the site of the ancient town of Tantallon. Much of the earliest history of human habitation and settlement is still unknown, but what is obvious from the evidence is that humans came into immediate contact with the elves who were inhabiting the surface forest areas. We can ascertain this from the rapid appearance of half-elves, as well as the increasing number of human magic users among the human populations.
Apparently a mutual fascination between human and elves kept the two races living in increasing proximity for the first two centuries after the founding of Tantallon. However, humans are by nature short-lived, questing and imperial, and the rapid growth of the human population, combined with territorial expansion and human treatment of the land itself, seems to have resulted in almost inevitable human-elf conflict. A long series of Elf-Human Wars (considered by the near-immortal Elven race to be in actuality one War) erupted in approximately 1850 Sylvandor, and continued for over 300 years. It is apparently during this period when necromancers first emerged, the original necros being drow elf mages who developed spells which could revivify human corpses and then turn them back upon their own troops. (The shifting of necromancy from drow to predominantly Dwarven occurs later, when cave-dwelling Drow traded their knowledge of necromancy to Dwarves in exchange for various mage caves. Necromancy has since fallen out of favor with most elves.)
The Elf-Human Wars were not just physically destructive, but were also psychically debilitating for both races. A peace movement was eventually begun by like-thinking elves, half-elves, and humans, who consolidated themselves into the community called the Eldar. After years of negotiation, the Eldar were able to encourage Bardoz, a legendary half-elf, to broker a peace between the Elven forces and the human tribes, who had been banded together and fighting under the leadership of a mighty khan Rogan. The peace treaty stipulated that the majority of Elves would emigrate southward, towards the forests around Sylvandor, and that humans would retain territoriality over the present world. Those elves and half-elves who wished to remain within this world could do so, with their center in the village of Duender. However, the impassable mist to the south, which begins just beyond Duender, was raised by powerful Elven mages to guarantee that bloodshed between the races could be stilled for a time. (Recent reports and rumors indicate that the mist may actually be dispelled within the near future.)
Bardoz remained within this world, and helped Rogan build the castle which is the present home of the Court of Drin in the village of Nepeth. The construction of the Castle, the signing of the treaty, and the consolidation of human dominion over the world form the basis for the beginning of Human Era, and our present timeline dates back to that founding year 0 (2159 Sylvandor).
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