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As those mortals that could be saved in time were collected by the gods, they were relieved that the deities were not deserting them. But to their dismay, the gods in their haste deposited them about Novitas in a haphazard manner. Whatever armies and hosts had been fighting in the same area during the last battles were placed together in the new land, staring in wide-eyed wonder at the former home of the immortals.
The whole continent possessed a perfect climate. Completely tame animals nuzzled at their blood-stained hands and an abundance of food grew naturally on every tree, bush and vine. It was as if Novitas were new made by the elder god Illumitas and blessed by the long-time residence of his children all at once. Here and there abandoned buildings, artifacts and tools could be found, made and used by the Sept themselves!
After thanking their gods for salvation and picking themselves up off their knees, the mortal races began to labor. Most created villages wherever they stood, since the resources to support life were not an issue. A short period of adjustment to their new environs was followed by an age of exploration. A new calendar was started, and the year they arrived on Novitas was called year one of the Age of the New Land (1 NL).
Villages grew into cities, and in some cases into nations. Dragons traversed the land in search of their brethren and re-established their empire, dominating the forests, mountains and coastlines of the west. Goblins who had found employ in the armies of the dark gods founded the nation of Gersh in the north. Soon they were joined by their Sept-worshipping cousins, for the “goodly races” seemed only to remember those goblins that fought for the dark gods.
Artifacts of great power were discovered. Some of these were benevolent, others malicious, and more than a few were simply never meant to be used or even seen by mortals. Many explorers vanished, never to be seen again, but a few came back wielding great magic, carving out a place of power in their new-made societies. In 6 NL, Garan Draisson, a great human hero from the war of the gods, found a great stone fortress already made and stocked with magical weaponry in the far south. He led the remnants of his legion there, founding the city of Civenopolis. Three other predominantly human nations rose up: Adecia in the east, Dellindanar to the north, and Quaradar nestled against the mountains to the west.
The majority of the Terran race settled in these western mountains and was promptly forced underground by the brown dragons and their thralls. In 34 NL, the Elves completed the luminous alabaster city of Evenanessa on the eastern coast of Novitas.
A mixed army of humans and Elves discovered a great library in the heart of Novitas. It was believed that the Scholar himself had lived there at one time; the very air sparkled with magical energy. A village called Nalbendel sprouted next to the library and quickly grew into a city. Nalbendel became known as the greatest center of learning in a land of budding civilization, producing or training nearly all the mightiest mages of this time.
For nearly a thousand years the peoples of the new land co-existed in relative peace, broken only by minor disputes and skirmishes.
Trials and Tribulations
Even a golden age can not last forever, and the end was foreseen by the sages of Nalbendel. Slowly, the radiance of the Sept began to bleed out of the land. Animals grew wary of the sentient races, forcing them to hunt for their meat. The bountiful food plants that once littered the land had to be cultivated or else died out entirely. The once-palpable divine presence faded from holy sites. Powerful artifacts that had been used to aid or protect the people crumbled to dust, eaten by their own magical energies. Famine and disease reared their ugly heads anew and devastated peoples who had forgotten such things existed. Violent, chaotic weather became commonplace as the wards put in place by the Sept decayed, and the climate of Novitas shifted. Hurricanes lashed the shores in the south.
In 985 NL, gigantic blizzards slammed the Northlands, particularly Gersh, and few were prepared. Thousands froze to death or starved and thousands more tried to flee south. The southlands had their own troubles, however. The humans and Elves still remembered the Goblins who had fought for the dark gods; the flood of refugees was turned back as though they were an army.
The Draconic Empire to the west was having even larger problems. The flight of the god Draconus from Novitas had begun working a long process of decay upon the physical forms of his children. Once the dragons were huge, majestic reptiles that walked on four legs and had enormous wingspans; the degeneration had reduced them to reptilian humanoids resembling the races that had worshipped them. The dragons had used their superior grasp of magic to conceal this fact for generations, but now the metamorphosis of dragons to Drakes was complete.
The lesser reptilian races finally perceived the change in their masters and threw off their chains. In 992 NL, Gorgons, Troglodytes and Basks rose up in such great numbers that the Drakes were forced to flee. The Draconic Empire was torn asunder from within, and this great reptilian host turned its attention to conquest.
The Earthkin quickly sealed the gates to their underground holds, so instead the reptiles raced down the mountain slopes to fall upon the human kingdom of Quaradar. The unsuspecting humans were slaughtered, though a few were able to escape the southern port city Sulanash by taking ship. These men sailed on to warn the Civenites of the fate that would soon befall their realm, and eventually re-settled in Adecia.
The Civenites mustered rapidly, despite not having known war in generations, and also managed to warn Nalbendel to the north. Despite beseeching the Nalbendelese for aid, the Civenites were left to their own devices and the two nation-states prepared for the onslaught independently.
Luck was with them, however. After centuries under the brutal centralized rule of the Drakes, the reptilians now fragmented into tribes rather than remaining one cohesive unit. But even divided as they were, the reptilian armies bore down man and Elf alike with sheer weight of numbers alone. In the end, both Civenopolis and Nalbendel were besieged. Each of these great sieges lasted a decade, until the reptilian losses made victory seem pointless, and the tribal leaders lost interest. In 1005 NL, the remnants of the tribes scattered into every land, sowing chaos wherever they went.
The gods watched their children with growing concern. The Sept had anticipated that one day the residual magic their immortal presence had left behind would fade. They still imparted magic, knowledge and guidance to their followers, but the Sept fully intended to adhere to both the letter of the bargain and its spirit; none would touch the world with their physical forms. Even famine, disease, and war among mortals could not wreak the havoc that a war of deities had.
The dark gods, however, were not so scrupulous. Ever since taking the loathsome oath had Darkness chafed against his bonds. Sometime around 1150 NL, unbeknownst to most other beings, he stumbled upon a way to bypass his oath and touch Novitas in a limited way. Channeling some of his personal power into the most devious and deadly mortal he could find, Darkness created the first avatar: Maon.
In no time at all Maon was the advisor to the Emperor of Civen. Soon after, Maon took control of the ruler’s mind through a sorcerous Compulsion ritual. Darkness was pleased, and he shared his secret with Nox and Grak. Nox managed to corrupt the Goblin sorcerer Erdarusk, who led the forces of Gersh southward into battle. Grak chose Rannigar, a young tribal chief in Dellindanar. Until this time, Dellindanar had been a nation only on maps; Rannigar became the first chief strong enough to unite all twelve of the tribes.
The avatars of the dark triumvirate slowly and deliberately gathered their power. Nevertheless, the Sept was not caught completely unaware. The Scholar began to suspect the nature of these avatars before the evil gods’ plans were in readiness; he shared his suspicions with the Stranger, who created an avatar of his own. Maon discovered the identity of the black-cloaked man called Umiel when he entered the Emperor’s court in Civenopolis, but in failing to destroy him revealed himself. Likewise, the Sept now knew precisely who and what Maon was, and the Sept hurried to empower their own avatars in order to counter the dark gods.
The War of the Avatars
Darkness accelerated his plans. In 1182 NL the Civenites, under the influence of Maon, invaded Adecia, subjugating them handily at first. The Adecians were simple folk who had not known war in generations. They might have fallen without notable resistance if not for the arrival of Vlean, a great hero and war leader. He organized and trained an army seemingly from nothing, slowing the onslaught of the Civenites and making them pay dearly for any gains.
At the same time the Goblins poured forth from the north to make war on the Nalbendelese. Still bitter about being forced back into their harsh land, the Goblins proved to be implacable foes, driving inexorably toward Nalbendel under the leadership of Erdarusk. Half the tribes of Dellindanar attacked the elves of Evenandra, keeping them from aiding anyone. Rannigar himself led the other six tribes against Nalbendel from the east, working with the Goblins to tighten the noose on the great city.
Just when all appeared lost, the avatars of the Sept entered the fray. Most of the Elves of Nalbendel vanished, led to safety deep in the Great Forest by the heroine Bethanael. A smaller group of scholars somehow escaped to Evenandra, carrying a wealth of knowledge and many artifacts.
Meanwhile, the arch-mage Gorgannash sundered a relic of unimaginable power as the rampaging armies closed in on the library at Nalbendel. The resulting blast wiped Nalbendel completely from the map, creating a huge crater and destroying the land for miles around. The invaders were destroyed utterly, though the cost was horrible.
Another band of heroes (thought to be avatars of the Sept) followed Umiel back to the court of the Civenite Emperor. Maon was driven off, his magical link to the Emperor’s mind severed. By 1185 NL, the tribes of Dellindanar were retreating back to their own lands, as were the Snow Goblins, and the War of the Avatars drew to a close.
Lands of the Present Day
The nations fortified themselves and licked their wounds. The Earthkin unbarred their gates a bit and began to trade more openly, but remained unashamedly neutral in their dealings with any nation that had been at war. Even so, this gradually eased trade prohibitions among the nations themselves, though tensions still remained.
The Civenites refused to relinquish control of Adecia. In 1250 NL the Adecians protested by re-naming their city Vleanoa, after the hero that had defended them and slain so many Civenites. The Elvish refugees from Nalbendel created a loosely held nation in Fionn A’ilean, the Great Forest.
A time of relative peace ensued, and the nations rebuilt and moved on. The great crater where Nalbendel once stood filled with rain and was named the Eldirloch; villages sprung up in the surrounding lands. Over the next 300 years, a dozen battles were fought over the lands once occupied by Nalbendel. No one nation trusted any other to reside there due to the strategic location of this land that stood in the center of the nations.
In the year 1371 NL the Treaty of Ghage was signed on the shores of the Eldirloch by all of the rulers of Novitas. This treaty demarked all of the lands once held by Nalbendel to be free lands, a buffer between the nations that was immune to both tariffs and conquest.
In the year 1480 NL a cabal of Septons incited a rebellion in Vleanoa and the Civenites were cast out. The Empire of Civen has not ceased trying to win its province back for the last 100 years.
In the year 1585 NL a treaty between Vlenoa and Civen was signed in the town of Pinedale officially recognizing Vlenoa as a sovereign nation and ending the war, if not the tension and hostility. It is rumored that the elves of Evenandra had a hand in getting this treaty signed by using diplomatic and economic pressure against both nations.
In the year 1586 NL an ancient evil awakened from beneath the Freelands. The Dark High Fae Kezzidruul and an army of creatures known as the Night's Children razed the Freelands while the great nations sealed their borders against the threat. The only settlement to survive intact was the town of Pinedale, where a large number of heroes defended the town and defeated Kezzidruul.
Present day in the year 1593 NL sees the continent of Novitas broken into seven distinct territories. Each has its own culture, and each is predominantly populated by one race. In the center of the continent is an unclaimed area known as the Free Lands.