The Age of Spears
Th Age of Spears began at 3000 BE. The end of the Age of Mists, which preceded it, was a time of ascendancy for humans, rebuilding for dwarves, and decline for the elves. The humans of this time, though still sorely primitive by modern standards, would not have been unrecognisable to those who dwell in Leng today. They had learned metalwork from the dwarves and magic from the elves; though they had no great cities, their frontier villages and rare walled towns were defiant bastions against the encroaching wilderness around them.
However, the Age of Spears was doomed to strip their hubris from them; and from all the other inhabitants of Leng. All of Leng would be shaken and reshaped by the events of this age, the dust from which which would take thousands of years to settle. Yet when they did finally settle, they settled upon a world with borders and lines that might be recognisable to the modern denizens of Leng.
It should be noted that the Age of Spears ends with the founding of Antiras, the first human city. Although the Ancient Lorknan tongue was developed during this period, and the first written scrolls were created by humans since Andruith, it is nonetheless a time of disparate records. The accounts of this age passed by word of mouth, or were recorded on scrolls that have long since crumbled into dust. While the records of the elves are more comprehensive, they were aloof and distant during this time - and had troubles of their own to deal with. As such, there is relatively little known about this time period, although it is not quite prehistoric.
- The Reign of Monsters
- The Midnight Period
- The Collapse of the Gigantine Empire
- The Founding of Antiras
The Reign of Monsters3000 BE
The war fought by humans and dwarves to drive goblin-kind out of the south was a victorious one; it sped the restoration of Uzan Rith with the spoils of war, and was the impetus for humanity to claim Lorknir from the Grey Elves. Yet nonetheless, it is known in dwarven records as the "War of Ill-Omen", and considered to be a sorrowful event. This is because of what came next.
The Red Tide
The years that followed the War of Ill-Omen saw all the peoples of central Leng at their weakest. The dwarves of Uzan Rith were focused on rebuilding their former strength; the other dwarven mountainhomes were still turned inwards. The humans and elves had spent centuries vying for control of Lorknir; and although it was humans that were victorious, both sides were depleted before it was through. In short, Leng was ripe for the taking.
From 3000 to 2950 BE, the dwarves of Uzan Rith were increasingly forced to turn their attention away from their mines and to the surface by gigantine raids from the wastes of the north. The dwarves feared that, with goblins driven away, another ancient dwarven enemy had appeared to threaten them. They slew the giants wherever they found them, but they could not have expected that which came next.
First to come were the giants: hill, stone and frost giants from the desolate wastes in great numbers assailed the gates of the dwarven stronghold in what would be known as the Siege of Uzan Rith. Even as the giant armies sundered dwarven fortresses and laid them open, an orcish horde spilled out meet the dwarves in the Plains of Death. They were lead by Duma Firkrag, a legendary orcish warchief - said to be the chosen of Gruumsh, and the only orc in history to assemble such a vast horde.
With their former human allies far away in the south making new lands, the dwarves of Uzan Rith were utterly alone in their battle. Their only neighbours, the mountainhomes of Rukon Zon and Edem Azmol, were still cloistered beneath the earth gathering their strength - blisfully unaware of what was going on above them. It was all the dwarves of Uzan Rith could to stop the tuath corraign, the "red tide", from flooding into the south.
The Blight of the Grey Trolls
After 5 years of bitter war, Uzan Rith was nearly broken. The humans and elves to the south knew that they would be next, but neither could trust the other not to take advantage of the situation - as humans had done to take Lorknir in the first place. Their help came in trickles, nowhere near enough to fight the red tide. Dwarven scouts finally learned of the existence of Rukon Zon and Edem Azmol in 2945 BE, however - and with the promise of whatever forces they could spare, it seemed for a time as though the war would turn in the dwarves' favour. Their foes were strengthened, however, by the appearance of a new ally: one more powerful than either orcs or giants.
The grey trolls came from the north, bringing with them their foul and diseased sorceries. The Plains of Death earned their name when the dwarven forces of Uzan Rith were decimated by a sorcerous curse that - to this day - makes them a barren wasteland of fear, where bogeymen rise from the ground by night and slaughter the living. Without their armies, the dwarves of Uzan Rith were defenseless against the giants that tore down their walls and the orcs that swept over their kingdom. Uzan Rith, the first mountainhome to awaken on Leng, was destroyed.
The Reign of Monsters
With the fall of Uzan Rith, a dark era began in Leng. The combined forces of the Enemy swept into Lorknir and began to kill and burn. The Wood Elves of Murthrid, far from the conflict and distracted by their own troubles with the drow of the Underdark, used powerful sorcery to seal their borders. The rest of the continent did not have this option.
After their neighbours were crushed by the monstrous tide from the north, Edem Azmol and Rukon Zon furiously sallied forth with their full strength to meet the Grey Trolls and their slaves in the Plains of Death. Though their efforts saved Leng from certain doom, they were too late to stop the wave of orcish and gigantine marauders who had spilled into the south. They would spend the next century fighting the Grey Trolls and driving them back into the Monstrous Lands.
Lorknir, the heartland of Leng and the center of human civilisation, was overrun by a seemingly endless orcish horde and soon became a battleground betwen men, orcs and other opportunistic races wanting a piece of the action. The Vintas, which would someday become Vingaard, was overrun by hill giants. Tearing up the ancient forests that connected Lurkmoor and Murthrid, these giants laid the foundations of the Gigantine Empire of the South.
The War of Domination
It was not until 2900 BE that the situation began to improve. The High Elves of Lurkmoor had initially acted like their cousins in Murthrid, distancing themselves from the fighting - "humans are getting their just desserts", they said. However, they finally joined the conflict - spurred on by their hatred of orcs and the growing certainty that Lurkmoor would not be spared by the monstrous hordes, they finally put aside their age-old grievances with mankind and came to the aid of the beleaguered humans of Lorknir. At the same time, the dwarves of Zon Sacat learned of the conflict and sent legions of soldiers into Lorknir from the Sacatmorul mountains.
For the first time in history, humans, dwarves and elves fought side by side in what would come to be called the War of Domination. The conflict would be long and bloody, but some believe it was the greatest catalyst in beginning to mend the ancient wounds between man and elf. Fighting for the very survival of their way of life, these three peoples united in one of the most grueling and casualty-laden conflicts in the history of Leng.
The Burning of Lurkmoor
By 2850 BE, Lorknir had become a seemingly endless battleground consumed by the War of Domination. If it were not for drow intervention, the bloody stalemate may have lasted another century yet. Kon Firkrag, the son of the legendary orcish warchief and leader of the orcish horde, was the one who led his armies into ruin. Tantalised by drow priestesses in the guise of his god Gruumsh, Kon came to believe that, like his father, he had been called by his god to lead a great crusade. His destiny, he believed, was to win the War of Domination once and for all. Together, the legions of Kon and the drow forces from the Underdark spilled into Lurkmoor to destroy it completely and erase the High Elves from the face of Leng. They very nearly succeeded.
In the course of 5 years between 2850 and 2845 BE, much of the great forest of Lurkmoor were burned, creating the Borderlands that still persist to this day. The elves suffered great losses, including the extinction of the Meilin - a fey species native to the forest with the power to bring growth and woodland wherever they walked - but they repelled both orcs and drow. And while the orcs were distracted in the south, the humans of Lorknir had rallied and united under warlords and chieftains.
Though the loss of over half their ancient forest home was an unspeakable wound to the High Elves, some scholars claim that it was this division of the orcish forces that led to mankind's eventual victory in the War of Domination.
The Liberation of Lurkmoor
After nearly 150 years of conflict, the War of Domination ended abruptly. The orcish forces were divided by the Burning of Lurkmoor; though the High Elves withdrew from Lorknir to protect their homelands, it still left the orcish occupants of Lorknir weakened. Together, the humans of Lorknir and the dwarves of Sacatmorul were able to crush the orcish armies and send them scattering to the four winds. Finally, in 2840 BE, the War of Domination ended.
Orcs and goblins were never truly driven from Lorknir. They retreated into desolate wastelands and dismal caves to flee the wrath of their enemies, but would remain a pox on the men of Lorknir into the future. Likewise, the Gigantine Empire of the Vintas had grown strong during the War of Domination, and showed no signs of being uprooted any time soon. Surrounded by enemies, the elves, dwarves and men of Leng went their separate ways - but they parted as allies, if not quite friends.
The time that came after was a time of rebuilding that lasted until 2500 BE. Though all warily watched the giants to the east, the dwarves returned to their mountainhomes and the elves to their forest. Not a single race had not suffered grievously over the past century; the desolation of Lorknir, the fall of Uzan Rith and the burning of Lurkmoor were a stark reminder of the consequences of division.
The Midnight Period2500 BE
After the end of the Reign of Monsters and the War of Domination, a time known as the "Midnight Period" began - covering the entire period from 2500 BE to 1500 BE. The Midnight Period is characterised by a lack of historical record; it is a time that is lost to antiquity. It is generally agreed that seclusion is to be blamed for this. Few ancient human records have survived from these ancient times, and most history from the Age of Spears come from elven and dwarven histories. In the Midnight Period, however, both elves and dwarves were incredibly insular, withdrawing from the world.
The elves were focused on the rebuilding and healing their forest home and in restoring the balance of nature in the wake of the burning of Lurkmoor. The dwarves remained friendly with humans but had little interest in their affairs, directing all of their attention beneath the earth. Dwarven histories indicate that much of this period was spent fighting the drow and rooting out goblins and orcs from their Underdark lairs to prevent them from multiplying beneath the earth and erupting into Lorknir for a second time.
As a result, humans were left to their own devices for a very long time. They possessed some mastery over the art of High Magic and a basic understanding of architecture and construction. Most advanced was their metallurgy, which they inherited from the dwarves. Nonetheless, they were faced with the task of rebuilding their society from the ground up - while still harried by gigantine raids and orcish stragglers. Their task was a monumental one, and one that was not completely finished even when the Midnight Period drew to a close.
Amongst humans, this period no doubt saw great heroes and great villains, warlord and nobles leaders, and petty kingdoms rise and fall. These stories have been lost to time, but they are no less important to the history of Leng for it. They laid the foundations for the human civilisations that would eventually arise in Lorknir and throughout Leng.
Although much of the so-called "Midnight Period" from 2500 to 1500 BE is shrouded in mystery, one significant event did occur: the appearance of gnomes on Leng. It is possible the isolated gnommish societies did exist on Leng before this date, but the year 2000 marks the occurrence of a great exodus that led a gnommish civilisation appearing in the region now known as Tamora.
By their own accounts, the gnomes of Tamora were originally an Underdark-dwelling people until they were driven to the surface by the dangers of the Underdark. Some, the "deep gnomes" or svirfneblin, chose to persist in the face of this unknown calamity. Others, the cousins that would become the rock and forest gnomes of Leng, fled to the surface world. Although the exact nature of the calamity they fled is lost to history, it is unlikely to be coincidence that the mountain dwarves of Leng were conducting a crusade against the drow and orcs of the Underdark during this time.
The gnomes that emerged found themselves in a land of wooded hills and crags encircled by a ring of looming mountains - a region now known as Tamora. They delighted in their newfound environment, and the same affinity with the earth that had befriended earth elementals in the Underdark brought them into harmony with their new environment. While they did not keep to themselves, their location ensured that they interacted for the most part with the mountain dwarves of Rukon Zon, the hill dwarves of Nirkivish, and the elves of Murthrid forest.
The Collapse of the Gigantine Empire1500 BE
The end of the Midnight Period was heralded by a disruption of the tentative balance that had grown in central Leng during this period. By 1500 BE, the humans of Lorknir had spent the better part of a century attending to their own affairs - or as the elves would put it "squabbling and killing each other to see who can spend their short lives on the most desirable patch of salted earth". Likewise, the elves and dwarves of Leng were preoccupied with their own affairs, and the newly-emerged gnomes were busily turning Tamora into a home.
In the monstrous empire of stone and hill giants to the east, however, trouble was brewing. The area known as the Vintas had been a gigantine territory for more than a thousand years, but their rule was not a gentle or stable one. Indeed, they were met with resistance at every turn that would have crumbled any empire not backed by the terrifying might of giants. The lands they occupied were once elven territories, and not all the elves simply chose to leave. Aided and abetted by the elves of Murthrid and the halflings of Nevermoor, a fierce resistance was always present in gigantine territories.
The Gigantine Empire may have been able to squash these freedom fighters even with the support of the elves and halflings if it were not for the naturally fractious nature of giants. The hill giant chieftains constantly squabbled with each other, and the right to rule of Emperor Geryon needed constant reasserting in the form of bloody displays of power. In particular, the stone giants who had done much of the building of the empire felt cheated that they had been consigned to the slopes of Mount Tyrus - a magnificent mountain, to be sure, but only a single mountain in a large land.
Sparked and provoked by the assassination of Emperor Geryon and his high priest by the elven resistance, civil war inevitably broke out amongst giant-kind by 1500 BE.
The Gigantine Rampages
Sadly, the ones to suffer the most from civil war amongst the giants were the humans of Leng, even as they began to find their feet in the world. Developments in the gigantine civil war meant that by 1450 BE, the stone giant factions were outnumbered and backed into a corner on the western edge of the Vintas. They responded as all good giants do - by fleeing the conflict and rampaging into Lorknir, where easier targets abounded.
The "Gigantine Rampages" were not entirely without tactics or strategy - it's believed that the stone giants wanted to capture slaves and land in Lorknir to strengthen their position in the west. The result, though, was that the burgeoning warlords and kingdoms of Lorknir were once again scattered and broken as all were forced to contend with a new threat to their very existence.
The impact of the Gigantine Rampages was not doomed to be as great as the War of Domination, however. Warily watching the Vintas for signs of trouble had become a tradition amongst the humans and dwarves of Leng, even if the humans of Lorknir had not seen sign of a giant for many generations. This time there was no delay in dwarven assistance; humans and dwarves marched together and, at great cost, slew or drove away the stone giants by 1400 BE.
It is said, however, that the Gigantine Rampages marked the end of a friendly relationship between humans and dwarves. The humans that the mountain dwarves marched to fight with were not the same humans who had fought with them in the War of Domination. It is said that the dwarves were disgused with how self-serving the humans of Lorknir were; some warlords even jeopardising the cause in order to see a rival destroyed by the giants. The dwarves returned to the mountainhomes after the war with little interest in aiding the humans again.
The Vintas Crusades
Even though the stone giants were driven out of the Gigantine Empire and defeated, the civil war proved to have reached critical mass. Without the aid of the hill dwarves of Nirkivish, the humans of Lorknir gathered their forces and led a crusade into the weakened Gigantine Empire to destroy it once and for all. There, they joined with the forces of elven freedom fighters and the halflings - the latter of whom had never been encountered by humans before.
Unfortunately, it cannot be said the the motivations of human crusaders were entirely altruistic. Many saw the Vintas as a land that would become a new frontier to be seized and colonised by whoever was first to see the giants fall. Nonetheless, the Vintas Crusades slowly attracted more and more followers. Though they began as a few ragtag units of opportunistic humans and elven freedom fighters, they were soon joined by elves from Lurkmoor and Murthrid coming to the aid of their brethren, and by thousands of halfling warriors eager to dismantle the effective blockade between Nevermoor and the rest of Leng.
The crusades lasted nearly a century. Although the Vintas was much despoiled in the process, the Gigantine Empire finally fell in 1300 BE. In its wake, it left a frontier - giants and their foul allies still teemed in the hills and desolate places, and were very much a threat to those who remained in the Vintas. Humans warlords and despots claimed choice pieces of land for their own, often immediately coming into conflict with the very elven freedom fighters they had recently fought alongside.
The Founding of Antiras1000 BE
The end of the Age of Spears is marked by the founding of the great walled city of Antiras in Central Lorknir in 1000 BE. Its common apellation "the First City" is a misnomer; the city-states of Andruith, the mountainhomes of the dwarves and forest cities of the elves, and many others existed prior to Antiras coming to be. Nonetheless, the city of Antiras has great significance; it is the oldest human city to have survived into the present day. The founding of Antiras marks the creation of the first of the City-States of Lorknir and the true dawn of modern human civilisation on Leng. From this, it takes its other name: the "Cradle of Civilisation".
When Antiras was founded, Lorknir was a land of fractious young kingdoms warring constantly with each other and with the Karpathi for land and riches. The Vintas and surrounding lands were home to both opportunistic warlords and the descendants of human slaves freed by the fall of the Gigantine Empire. Villages and towns were common throughout Leng, and in some places groups of clans or tribes had banded together under a powerful leader for mutual protection. But there were no true cities as we would call them today.
The founding of Antiras would herald the concentration of wealth and knowledge into urban centers, and thus - for better or worse - the rise of civilisation and kingdoms. It began simply enough - with a cunning leader's plan to carve canals and tunnels to maximise the efficiency of the river and irrigate the land. As the land became more desirable, the people living in the town of Antiras found themselves more and more beset by those desiring their wealth.
Eventually, after changing hands several times. it was captured by the legendary Bashan, whom old stories say was a demigod sent by Incantus to show the people how the art of defense. He raised high stone walls around the city and fortified it against all attack. And so it came to pass that there was a city on Leng; the first of many. The gathering of men and building of cities would form a blueprint for the age that came next: the Age of Empires.