Elam

1295067_orig.jpg

Came to the Dokkalfar Grotto a man of gold. He came up from the Pools of Fire and was set upon by the deep watchers. In his arms a shade clinging to flesh, a daughter woven of gossamer and glass. They saw he was made of flesh and gold, not a spirit or devouring demon. How was it he came from below, unheard and unlooked for?

I am TARAS, said he, and I have come from the Gates of Death. I tore them from their hinges and conquered Death, and I return with my daughter. Let none prevent me.

The Mordavian Tablets

From the silver peaks of the Jonil mountains to the ports of Danoks, overlooking the pearl sea, from the lakes and moors of Megaeni in the east to the deserts of Vutazon in the west, the Great Empire of Elam-Okarthel is larger than any nation in all the Eastern Continent. Even the mighty desert empire of Sharan, ruled by the great Burning Lord and the Dragon Queens, does not match the sheer span of the Dragon Empire. It encompasses forests and deserts, tundra and tropical shores. And at its heart, the towering golden spires of Aurix Tul, the Golden City.

Geography

As a massive empire, Elam-Okarthel contains every conceivable geographical feature. Its borders are the Great Frozen Wilds to the north, the Black Fens to the East, the pearl sea to the South, and both the Dragonspires and the Sharani Desert to the West.

Within these confines can be found jungles, cold mountains, swamps, deserts, grasslands, hills, temperate, tropical, wet and dry climates.

Flora & Fauna

The creatures of Elam-Okarthel are too numerous to count. Unique to the area are the multitude of draconic creatures—psuedodragons, faerie dragons, wyverns, guard drakes, kobolds, and, of course, True Dragons.

Each House’s lands are home to more specific creatures and vegetation, detailed in their respective areas.

Natural Resources

Again, the resources of this vast territory are too numerous to count. Each Great House possesses its own lands, with resources ranging from precious metals (including tungsten, vital for creating strong steel), marble, salt, iron, tin, sulfur, fine wood, spices, silk, and much more.

Society

Elam-Okarthel is a single empire comprised of nine Houses, each descended from an ancient Dragon Tribe, each of which worshipped and/or descends from a dragon. The Houses comprise their own cultures, altered over the millenia by their exposure to each other and their service within the Empire.

Above all others reigns the Golden Emperor, who rules through the divine will and blood of Taras the Golden. His legendary conquest and ascension to the Stars inspires all Elami people and sets the social hierarchy that governs which Houses control what lands.

Humans and Dragonborn live side by side here. Dragonborn are considered semi-divine, but see the guidance and protection of humans as their purpose. This has led to a fairly egalitarian society, though sorcerous power remains the one true sign of authority.

Though the people of the Nine Houses look, act, eat, and live quite differently from each other, there is one unifying force that helps them interact with anyone they meet—the Path of RIghteousness. This holy philosophy, brought to mortals by the silver dragon Jonil, teaches them how to live with purpose, how to avoid the Nine Stumblings, how to greet each other, how to respect one’s inferiors and obey one’s superiors, when to stand up to unjust rulership, how to conduct oneself, how to pray, and much more. It is the core text of Elam society, and though each House puts their own spin on it, the elaborate and highly specific rituals of the Path are essential ettiquette for anyone living there.

Locations

  • Aurix Tul, the Imperial Capitol
  • Orntaourthi, the Silver Citadel of House Jonil
  • Achuaknaam, House Hamure’s Temple of Learning
  • Castle Megaeni, the Sinking Stronghold
  • Shochraos Rock, Fortress of House Vutazon
  • Ranrpin, City of Crimson Delights
  • Bronzeport, major city by the Pearl Sea
  • Uskgarden, the Canar Royal City
  • Rachtern, trading post at the edge of the Drakespire Peaks.

History

The Dawn Era

When the Fiends of the Hungry Dark were loose upon the world, when Luminias, City of Light, had been snuffed out, when Barash and Loetne perished in the scorpion’s claws, then came the Nameless God to the Silent City, older than the Dawn. He climbed the Seven Stairs, opened the Seventh Gates, and let the Dragons back into the world. They were exiled from creation, punished for the sins of the World Before, but in a time of need they were unleashed.

With fire and fury they fell upon the Infernal Legions. With his armies scattered and slaughtered and the world set aflame, Uzhul, Lord of Destruction, retreated. Though the Nameless God commanded the Dragons to return to the Silent City, to wait until they were opened once again, the Sovereigns looked on the devastation and set forth to make Dragons of their own.

So passed the Dawn, when Sin Al’Gawwar, Vindur, Li-Ban and Erecura unraveled the world and wove it back as four.

The First Day

Now the Mortal World was young but filled with life. Spirits, fairies, plants and beasts imagined and brought forth during the Dawn populated the land. The Dragons were young as well, filled with the might of the Sovereigns, their Fifth Creation. They settled throughout the mortal world, but many found their way to the east

There, also, the young Humans stepped out for the first time. Arising from the world by accident, without the divine knowledge of the Sovereigns, they were left to discover creation for themselves. Many of them fell under the sway of the Dragons, Young but Wise, Few but Mighty, set as guardians against the Fiends’ return.

Dragons and mortals learned from each other. In time, dragons could take on the shape of humans, and the two bloods were mixed. From these rose the half-dragons, heroes and chieftains of ancient legend, who wielded the same primordial magic that the dragons themselves could.

The Fall of Ioth

Quickly these half-dragon champions became divine figures among the Dragon Tribes. Wielding sorcererous magic for the first time, taught by the great drakes themselves, they swiftly exerted mastery among their fellow tribes. But another great empire rose at the edges of the Dragon Lands—Ioth, the Empire of the Alfar, who, like the dragons, sought to teach humans and lift them up in the world.

Some of the Dragon Tribes left their lands to learn the mysteries of Ioth, but others gnawed at the edges of the Alfar power. They decried the elves and their Dawn Magic as poison, weakness threatening to dominate the minds of mortals. In secret they began spreading their influence among the multitudes who came to learn from Ioth. All along the eastern borders of the Alfar Lands, Dragon Cults worshiping their holy bloodlines began taking over from the other chieftains and leaders.

The men of the West, however, rejected their message. Living also in the shadow of Ioth, they’d turned to the Gods, to the Sovereigns, their Titans, and the spirits of the land and sky. Their calls were answered, and mighty priest-kings invoked their power to make crops grow, call rain, shatter the earth beneath their foes, and bring blessings to those in their favor. These Priest Kings shunned the message of the Dragon Blood, claiming that the right to rule came from the Divine, not by heritage.

In time, the Dragon Cults saw fit to undermine the power of the Priests, and from the rising to the setting of the sun Ioth was engulfed in a terrible conflict. The magic of the primal sorcerers whipped across the land in torrents of fire, storms of thunder, whipping sands and hideous beings summoned from Beyond. To answer them came pillars of fire, mighty earthquakes, elemental spirits and fanatical warriors.

All the lands of Ioth were laid to waste by their struggle, and the Priest Kings hunted and killed the dragons that the Eastern Humans worshipped. Ioth became a desert, haunted by wild magic, abandoned by the Alfar. The great dragons Vutazon and Canar perished, their children fled the desolation, and Ioth left destruction in its wake.

The War of the Winds

With the great waste of Khara now separating the Dragon Tribes from the Priest Kings, they were left to contend with each other. Nine tribes reigned strongest, each with its own totem dragon, some still alive and sharing their wisdom with their great great grandchildren. They fought among themselves from the mountains to the swamps, worshiping in their own ways, hunting and farming in their own ways, and seeking their own truths. As the dragons themselves pushed and pulled for dominion, so too did their loyal tribes fight or make peace.

They were, none of them, ready for the wrath of Heaven. Far across the seas, the One Flesh fell from the sky, a blind and gnawing hunger that sought to feast on the Wells of Blood. Though the Tribes of Okarthel witnessed the One Flesh streaking across the distant vault of heaven, they did not witness Li-Ban reaching out to seize it and drag it to the depths, where she would wrestle against it for centuries. They were not party to the feud between Morwel and Vindur. But they, like all the people of the Four Kingdoms, wondered in awe when the sun set one day and a thousand on a thousand new stars shone in the heavens, sentinels against the Hungry Dark.

The tribe of the wise silver dragon Jonil warned the other tribes that this was a portend of terrible danger and change, and even then, they were unready. A storm spread across the sky, covering the stars, raining hail and lightning on the mortals below, shattering their homes. And from the storm came warriors—the Knights of Terranimbus, clad in mail the people of Okarthel had never seen, impenetrable. Their magic barely availed them. One by one, the giants and the knights put the tribes and their setttlements to the sword and storm.

So began the War of the Winds, the great battle between heaven and earth.

The Path of Righteousness

It is said that in the lands of Jonil, the Silver Dragon Tribe, a warrior was born of the Lost Golden Dragon. He became a chieftain and husband, a father to a young girl. But his heart was not with his home, but with the call of war, and so he left them to languish while he led his people to battle.

So when the Knights of Terranimbus descended upon his lands, he was not there to bear a sword in their defense. All perished beneath the wrath of the Sky Kingdom. Taras chased them from the ruins of his home and cast them down one after the other, until the children of Vindur, the Four Winds, broke his body and hurled him to his death.

But Taras Half-Dragon was not so easily broken. His body was found by Jonil, the Silver Dragon, who tended to her people as the Sky broke upon them. Through her wise arts she restored the half dragon to his strength. From that moment she was his guide. When he swore vengeance on Vindur and his warriors, she urged him to restore what was lost.

So journeyed Taras to The Underworld. He crossed the River of the Dead, vanquished the Charnel Hound, tore the adamant gates of Ramius’ kingdom from their hinges, spoke with the Blind Sage Tiresias, and at last reunited with his wife. She refused to go with him, accusing him of being a cruel leader, a cold husband, and an neglectful father. Before she relinquished their daughter, she made him swear to live with honor and be a wise ruler.

With the shade of his daughter, Taras emerged to the land of the living, passing through the hidden grottos of the Dokkalfar, where he spoke with their wise sage, again learning secrets of the future yet to come.

It is said that in their journeys, Taras and Jonil passed through Glassweb Grove, sought the aid of Ichtaca, the Feathered Serpent, who led him to a holy spring, where he bathed to gain the favor of the Serpent Gods. Returning, he gathered the Nine Tribes of Okarthel to his banner, leading them against the giants.

Vindur set his favored sons once again against Taras. The Four Winds killed the red dragon Edreon, who bore Taras into battle. Jonil and Ichtaca rescued Taras once again and traveled to the Sky Kingdom to challenge Vindur to his face.

It was a ruse—not only did they escape Vindur’s wrath, but they climbed the spire of Terranimbus, stole the Celestial Lights and brought them back to earth. There, Jonil blessed and anointed Taras, Resplendent Emperor, Dragon of the New Day. Divine Light descended upon him, and with spell and sword he met the Four Winds on the plains of Okarthel’s heart and slew them to the last.

So did Taras emerge victorious, Vindur’s armies banished from the earth, the first Resplendent Emperor of Elam-Okarthel. His heirs took his name, Taras, Tenth Tribe of Okarthel, and the empire of the Ten Tribes was called Elam. With his rising ended the First Day of Anacra.

The Second Day

In the fullness of his life, Taras departed from the earth, ascending to the heavens above with his daughter. A child was born to Taras and Jonil, Inglata, who took up the Golden Throne in Aurix Tul. His heirs took the name of Taras, the Tenth Tribe of Okarthel,

The Dragon Queen

Even as the War of the Winds had raged, another empire rose to the West. Sharan returned to its might and glory, no longer ruled by the Sovereign of Flame, but by his son, Burning Lord Saif, and the Dragon Queen Seosha.

A terrible darkness spirited away the child of Saif and Seosha, and in her wrath the Dragon Queen went to the Silent City. She threw open the Seven Gates and unleashed the Dragons of World Before, binding them to her will. Primordial strength radiated throughout all four kingdoms, for the battle of Seosh and Seosha shook the firmament to its foundation. At its end, the Dragon Queen reigned triumphant over her foes.

As Inglata’s reign continued, the reconquest of Sharan proceeded, and soon the Son of Taras had to contend with the most powerful magus ever to walk the earth. Seosha’s magic was unconstrained by the laws of Dawn, unlimited by her blood. It was a prismatic force that overcame any sorcerer who stood before her. And the dragons that answered her call were not formed by the Sovereigns, so they cared nothing for the will of the Ten Tribes.

Armies mustered at the borders as Seosha’s messengers approached the lands of Vutazon. It is said that Seosha traveled to Aurix Tul and met with the Resplendent Emperor. The world watched, waiting for the Ten Tribes to demand the infidel queen’s head.

But peace and wisdom prevailed. Seosha’s Radiant Path, a series of crystalline beacons shining a path of light through the forbidding desert, linked the great city of Sharan to the lands of Okarthel, and trade between the two empires flourished.

Not all approved. The wild hunters and song-smiths of Guluar would not stay. They forsook their oath of fealty, left Elam behind and sought their freedom in the Great Frozen Wilds of the North. Nine Tribes remained, growing over time to become the Nine Great Houses of Elam.

The Dragon War

One emperor rose, reigned, passed on, and the Great Houses schemed and plotted to raise their position. Families married into the royal line, alliances were formed and broken. The Empire grew in strength.

It came to pass that the sages and wise people of Elam came to warn their emperor. The stars revealed that Vindur’s wrath grew once more. Soon, his knights, giants and storms would return to devastate humanity. And this time, there was no Divine Emperor to stand against him.

WIth the help of his prophets and spies, the emperor discovered the cause for Vindur’s wrath—far to the west, the Northern Kingdom of Galadron threatened to shake his throne. The Sovereign of Air would brook no such challenge.

To prevent the cataclysmic wrath of the Sky Kingdom, the Emperor planned a bold war against the strangers of the North. He did not wish to risk the lives of his people in all out war, and guided by the sages he did not seek to destroy the North entirely—only prevent the mysterious warnings of the stars from coming to pass.

So it was that instead of marching columns of warriors along the Radiant Path through the Sharani Desert, the most powerful sorcerers and warriors of Elam rode astride young dragons. With maps, specific instructions and the prayers and blessings of all Elam, this elite force flew over the mountains of Taranat, refused to set down in the elf-haunted woods of the Caonach Vale, and descended without warning on the eastern reaches of Galadron.

The Dragon War, as it became known in Galadron, was a very different experience for the two kingdoms. For Galadron, it was a titanic struggle for survival, one that gave rise to some of their greatest heroes, and worst tragedies. But in Elam-Okarthel, it was a far away war, where the farmers and smallfolk of the land heard but tales. Most of the impact was felt in the loss of dragons, the death of powerful sorcerers and warriors from the Great Houses.

At the hands of Raivinith the Dragon Slayer, many of the young dragons sent to war died. Galadron rallied against the invasion and to the eyes of the Great Houses, the entire war was a massive and costly failure. But the sages and oracles of the Dragonborn announced as the war struck its height—the danger had passed. Though Galadron was not destroyed, the threat to Vindur’s wrath had been slain. The few dragons to survive retreated, though some found refuge in the Hinterlands

As the war ended, strife engulfed the Great Houses. They cast doubt on the wisdom of the Line of Taras, angry over their losses. Though the Resplendent Emperors maintained their control, internal conflict rumbled beneath the surface.

The Dragon Rebellion

The betrayal none of the Great Houses foresaw came not from within their ranks, but from the dragons they revered. One of the great Dragons of the World Before, Chaun, freed himself from the Dragon Queens of Sharan. With magic and might unknown to Anacra, he gathered restless dragons, angry at the deaths of their brethren, no longer content to guide and exist within the human society of Elam-Okarthel. They, too, fled, and the flights of Elam-Okarthel’s dragons were thinned forever.

The Bale saw the end of Galadron, the flight of Thal, and other horrors, but in Elam, it was a time of crisis as the Great Houses called the Resplendent Emperor to stand account for the disasters of the previous wars. The Emperor of the time answered their challenge, but was forced to yield small aspects of authority, granting each Great House more autonomy within their lands and the ability to overrule the Emperor on certain matters if they stood united.

The Firewalker Wars

When next the prophets warned the Emperor that Vindur’s wrath was nigh, the signs were interrupted by the great Elemental Catastrophe. The Wells of the Underworld roiled, the earth trembled, the rivers of Emankorrak were drained, the Sky Kingdom went to war against itself.

Ever since the dread wyrm Chaun loosed the bonds of the Dragon Queen, trouble had bred in Sharan. It came to a head when the throne passed to a mad queen, who drew upon forbidden rites to summon an Elder Elemental to her desert kingdom—a terrible Phoenix, whose wings burned the sky and turned the sands to glass. In its wake came rampant spirits of fire. Civil war tore the Empire of Sharan apart, and the raging elemental hordes rushed to the deserts of Vutazon and Canar.

Thus began the Firewalker Wars. The blue dragonborn and Canar warriors rose to protect Elam. Their bravery in this time elevated the status of Vutazon among all the houses. Fighting raged from Bothotlo to the Pearl Sea and the Koh Mountains, and the famous Sea of Glass was formed when the Phoenix flew over the battle lines of Vutazon.

At the end of the Catastrophe, the Sharani Civil War was brought to an end, with help from heroes from Kraius and the Firehawk Academies of Sharan itself. Elam-Okarthel stood proud and resilient, moving in to help their neighbors to the west rebuild. Sharani influence waned after this conflict, and Elam’s power rose.

The Third Day

Unlooked for by prophets and sages, the Star of the Blessed Child rose in the West. Galadron’s haunted ruins gave way to a kingdom of Light, the powerful domain of Gloriana. Separated by the Mountain Kingdoms and Caonach Lands, the empire of Elam-Okarthel marveled at the tale and enjoyed the resurgence in trade, but it had little impact on everyday life.

The Crimson Rebellion

Sorcerers bred for generations according to secret rites and experiments led a rebellion against the Resplendent Emperor. The rebellion was thwarted and House Edreon was punished (once the line of succession had been trimmed down to an heir loyal to Aurix Tul) by giving many of their lands to loyal House Bothotlo.

Decades later, House Jonil extends the hand of friendship to the pariah house, helping them make amends with the rest of the empire. It is widely believed, at the time of the Band of Iron, that the Jonil Heir will we an Edreon Scion, sealing an alliance between the two.

Elam

Gloriana TormentedbyGnomes