General History of Trel
Two thousand years ago humans were tribal hunter-gatherers watched closely by the beast-folk. Trel was a world in balance ruled by the lords of beasts, earth and the elements. Trel was a blossoming world. The climate was warm, food and game were plentiful. Tribes were capable of defending themselves against most enemies.
The First Dark Age 2000 years ago
Then a cataclysmic event happened. A massive meteor hit and split the continent. Volcano’s and Tsunamis wiped out entire forests leaving deserts in their wake. The oceans boiled and the sky darkened with ash. On one continent an entire region of land sunk into the bowels of the earth. The survivors were carried to the depths of caverns that had never before seen the light of day. This was the origin of the underdark races and the start of the first Dark Age. Tremors from the cataclysm opened other great rifts in the earth and many strange new subterranean races and creatures spread to the surface. Among these were the dragonkynde. Dragons themselves were long extinct but their blood endured. The dragonkynde worshiped their great ancestors and guarded their tombs. Many of these tombs were destroyed by the cataclysm and this enraged the Dragonkynde. They misinterpreted a prophecy that said a falling star would herald the dragons return… The surface dwellers were spread far and wide struggling to survive. The next several hundred years were known as the first dark age. Game was scarce and the dying forests yielded little else. The Fey maintained their lifestyle but food was too scarce to support humankind as hunter-gatherers. Instead they became farmers digging gardens and root cellars. Animals too rare to hunt were domesticated and their offspring were raised for food. This lifestyle had its disadvantages of course. Staying put made them easy to find and the fact they were growing and storing their own food made them a tempting target. It did bring humanity closer together as the various tribes settled together whenever possible. Greater numbers meant manpower to build walls and more men to guard them.
Dragons of the falling star
The meteor that struck the surface became an island in a new inland sea but it was never just a lump of rock. It was the last peice of WyrmKing Mountain, seat of Dragos and his ruling clan of dragonlords. The impact awakened the sleeping dragons and loosed them upon the world once more.Dragon Kynde came before them and spoke of the prophecy of the falling star. They swore fealty to their new masters and revealed the ancient tombs of their ancestors still stuffed with relics and treasure from ages past. Unfortunately for Dragos this was the last bit of incentive the other dragons wanted to flee and establish independent fiefdoms. During the long journey between worlds Dragos refused to hybernate like the others. He spent ages pondering his downfall growing increasingly paranoid and insane. He actually fed on his followers starting with those he felt were the least trustworthy.
The Dragon Wars 1200 years ago
After the former followers of Dragos seized control of the tombs they started expanding their territory. The Dragon Kynde organized armies of bestial dragonkin for their new dragonlords to command. This was the start of the Dragon Wars. Humankind took the brunt of it. They were easy to find and their cities were easily surrounded. However it wasn’t long before the new dragonlords started to argue amongst themselves over territory and cities to plunder. The Dragon Kynde strived to be loyal to their new masters but they did not enjoy killing each other. The true dragonlords of old did not compete with each they cooperated. They were equals in a great council and they treated each other with respect despite their differences. Among the dragonkynde the council for the dragonlords was the highest authority. Their leaders agreed their new lords did not live up to the legend of their ancestors. Unity could only be achieved under one leader. Dragos was the obvious choice but he would never accept help from them knowingly. A few hundred years later the new dragonlords were in decline. Their greed outpaced their growth and they were thrice outnumbered by their even more ambitious and bloodthirsty descendents. Dragos decided the time was right to regain control.
By now he was so old he rarely opened his eyes anymore but his powers continued to grow. His consciousness roamed the cosmos searching for a means of revenge and that brought him to the Melniboneans. Through them he learned of sanguinarcana, the school of blood magic. They revealed to him the secret of a greater spell of binding. To this end Dragos needed blood from his traitorous subjects which meant he also needed minions close to the dragonlords which finally gave the dragonkynde a place in his plans.
This ancient and powerful race of outsiders were masters of sanguinarcana. They specialized in binding others to their will and altering their form. The name Melnibonean means “master race” in their language and that was exactly how they saw themselves. Empowered by Lord Arioch of Chaos they visited countless worlds making slaves of “lesser races.” These gifted magicians were afflicted with madness and personified vanity, irreverance, decadence, cruelty, greed and dominion. Over the span of eons their experiments in blood magic tainted every living thing they touched. It was as if their madness was contagious twisting the minds and bodies of their slaves. The opportunity to practice their magic on dragons was rare and Dragos led them to Trel to do just that. When Dragos completed the ritual binding his former subjects to his will he also unwittingly bound himself to the Melniboneans in the process. They took up residence on his island and surveyed this new world on the backs of his former dragonlords. Once again the dreams of the Dragon Kynde were crushed as dragons were bound to the will of outsiders. The younger generation of dragons and the Dragon Kynde abandoned their lords effectively ending the dragon wars but worse was yet to come…
The Golden Age 900 years ago
With the sucession of the Dragon Wars humankind and the other races rebuilt their cities. Trel healed from the great cataclysm and the land was healthy once more. Humankind built ships and ushered in a new era of expansion, exploration and trade.
The Cult of Chaos 750 years ago
During this first golden age a new religion began to take root. Lord Arioch, patron deity of the Melniboneans demanded temples built in his honor. His Melnibonean followers had already formed the backbone of his faith and with the dragons at their side no one could uproot them in the foreseeable future. Lord Arioch felt that winning over the humans to the side of chaos was key to the control of Trel. They were the only race that did not worship balance. Instead they worshipped saints, ancestors, or some other regional faith. Once the humans came over to the side of chaos they would be the bulk of his followers here. The Melniboneans started spreading chaos in remote villages and towns killing those that refused to be converted. Slowly their followers found there way into cities establishing underground temples. Beggars, thieves and other criminals sold their hearts and honor cheap having no self-respect, homes or families to loose. Secret caches of weapons and dragonfire were stockpiled in preperation for riots and general anarchy. In the meantime the Melniboneans built a grand city-fortress as their capital on the meteor-island.
The Melniboneans and Vitus
While the seeds of conquest were being planted the Melniboneans carefully studied their opposition. In their early experiments they learned the indiginous people of Trel were immune to their sanguinarcana. It wasn’t anything in their blood that resisted the black magic it was something else. Some deeper willpower the Melniboneans couldn’t explain. It was of course, the strength of vitus. Despite their best efforts humans here could not be thralled they could only be cowed. This did not please lord Arioch who enjoyed the pastime of making a man turn against his brother. The Melnibonean Emperor made a drastic decision to appease him. He decreed humankind would be exterminated if they did not willingly serve chaos. This ultimatum was intended to discourage an alliance between men and the beastfolk. The Melniboneans planned to thrall the beastfolk and use them against human civilization if they did not submit to the lords of chaos.
The Second Dark Age 700 years ago
Where the first dark age was ushered in by a great blazing meteor from the heavens the second was subtle as a shadow from hell. After the Melniboneans declared their intent to destroy human civilization no city, however well governed, could prevent riots, murders and other anarchy from flaring up. The Melniboneans were practiced seeding distrust between the common folk and the law with the use of clever glamours and illusions. In the superstitious eyes of the common folk magic itself represented the hated Melniboneans who used it more cunningly and cruely then they ever imagined. Hedge wizards, witches, warlocks, exorcists and necromancers were killed by the hundreds. Mystic Warriors, Druids and Clerics were spared but they were watched closely and harassed nontheless.
In the east many cultures accepted the rule of choas without resistance. These people were charged to build ships, seige equipment and weapons to use against the others. It seemed war with the Melniboneans was largely lost before a single battle took place.This was the start of the second dark age…As the war advanced through decades the armies of chaos surged like the rising tide threatening to drown Trel in anarchy and mayham. The Melnibonean were dangerously unpredictable but brilliant adversaries. Their tactics and their weapons were ever-changing while the armies of men relied on predictable but stalwart defenses. The Melnibonean did suffer setbacks in their campaign. The beast-folk avoided conflict with the Melniboneans whenever possible hiding at the first sign of a dragons shadow. Nevertheless thousands were captured, thralled and used in vile experiments. Their minds and bodies were mutated to better serve them as scouts (The Myyrrn), beserkers (The Clakar) and shock troops (The Org). When these abberations appeared on the battlefield the other beastfolk took notice. They intervened between the human armies and their former kin. This was the real test of Melnibonean control over these creatures. Miraculously they regained something back of their former selves. It seemed the beastfolk could overcome the thrall of Melnibonean magic if they gathered in sufficient numbers. What they intended as a sadistic victory over enemy moral ended up as a boost. It was a significant turning point in the war. As if this wasn’t worrysome enough for the Melniboneans their dragons were already very old especially Dragos. If the ancient wyrmking died of old age they would loose their thrall over over the others. This forced them to abandon their experiments on the beastfolk and concentrate their eforts on preserving the ancient wyrmking. The result of these setbacks was they were forced to supplement their forces with allies of demonic origin. This decision would actually prove to be their undoing for the Celestials and the Lords of Law became concerned. They interposed themselves on behalf of Trel and saved many cities from destruction. Still within the course of a few centuries the armies of chaos controlled most of the east and the lands around the inland sea. However conquest was only half the struggle. Melnibonean lords tried to establish fiefdoms away from their crowded island-city and when that happened the war lost its momentum. It seemed the downfall of the Melnibonean empire was apathy…
Scholars and philosophers speculate the Melnibonean empire was doomed to crumble because they weren’t dedicated enough. Spoiled by the success of their forebearers successive generations grew soft and dispassionate. They lacked the verve of their fathers-fathers who knew how to fear and hate. Instead they grew progressively Introverted and lethargic. Vain and Arrogant. By that time most of the worlds wealth already overspilled their coffers and the lifestyle of an aristocrat was more appealing then the life of a warlord. The lords of chaos were not pleased and the Melniboneans lost favor. Only the demonic underlings they summed from hell seemed completely committed to total conquest. They even managed to do a better job recruiting for the cult of choas creating the Thodol. For their part, the celestials created the Narasinhai. Now even as the war rages on between law and chaos many battles are dedicated specifically to the fight between good and evil.