"The Encyclopedia Historica"
by Isaec Norton
THE HISTORY OF CHEDIAN
The history of Chedian is rough at best, especially prior to the Great Cataclysm. Its original settlers were the HalfOrcs, who did not keep many records because most of their traditions were oral. Unfortunately, after the Great Cataclysm, most of their oral traditions were forgotten. With the introduction of new races, much has changed.
A Brief Note About Time
Time is measured in years After Cataclysm (AC) or years Before Cataclysm (BC), which is the number of years before or since Verhoffin cast the spell that destroyed the old Ursanian Empire.
Dia Clan Era (~5000 BC)
An Ursanian Empire expeditionary force first discovered Cheh'dian around 500 BC. There are a few brief records from this time documenting some skirmishes with a group of HalfOrcs in a northerly region known as Chadianne. Presumably, this was a misspelling of the HalfOrcish word "Cheh'dian" meaning "Land of the Dia Clan". This misspelling took, however, and evolved to the name we know today as Chedian. Sadly, the traditions and histories of the Chedian HalfOrc settlers have been lost in time due to the deaths of the storytellers in the Great Cataclysm.
The Great Cataclysm (0 BC)
Before 0 BC, Rysh, the continent Chedian lies upon, was a very different place. The Ursanian Empire's hold on the continent was nearly complete. Their area of influence was large, and their ambitions larger. During this period in the Ursanian Empire, its emperors were plagued by suspicion and mistrust.
Immediately prior to 200 BC, in a remote province near the centre of the Ursanian Empire, a previously unknown sorcerer appeared and constructed a large tower. He used the name Verhoffin, and claimed the tower as a sovereign province independent of the Ursanian Empire. Emperor Ralfor and his successors mounted several unsuccessful campaigns against Verhoffin.
Somewhere near 10 BC, Emperor Trandis assigned an assassin named Nazrim to assassinate Verhoffin. After 10 years and the commissioning of several magical artifacts, Nazrim attempted to end Verhoffin's life. Nazrim failed, and in response to this attempt, Verhoffin climbed to the top of his tower and cast a spell that laid waste to half the Ursanian Empire. For thousands of miles, he wreaked havoc and destroyed land. Earthquakes ripped the surviving cities apart. A giant section of the land surrounding Verhoffin's Tower was torn asunder, forming what is now known as the Verhoffin Sea. Most of the citizens of the Ursanian Empire were left without homes or families.
Although the Ursanian Empire would last another 13 years, this event is generally associated with the fall of the Ursanian Empire.
The New Settlers (0 BCPresent)
Of all the regions that were affected by the Great Cataclysm (sometimes called Verhoffin's Cataclysm), Chedian was affected the least. Although its climate and landscape changed, Chedian suffered very little. In other areas, survival was a struggle. Those who were able to followed the sparse food supplies. Eventually those food supplies led to the fertile lands of Chedian. Since the Great Cataclysm, the population of this region grew enormously. At first, the dominant population of HalfOrcs was reluctant to accept the new settlers, but times were rough and any able hand became a welcome hand.
Modern Chedian (521 AC)
Modern Chedian is divided into six major clans, each ruled by their own leader. Known as a Jarl, this leader is autonomous from the other clans, though trade between clans is frequent. Much of the economy of modern Chedian (particularly in Thjorgard) is centred on the trade, refining, and use of a new metal known as Elemental Thjorad.
Elemental Thjorad is a metal that is easy to work, and takes well to powerful enchantments. Some of the strongest magical items made in the last 500 years have been made from Elemental Thjorad.
Given the amazing properties of Elemental Thjorad, it is surprising that so few wars have been fought over the possession of it. There have been only a dozen wars in the last 500 years (collectively known as the Thjoradric Wars), and the last one was fought nearly a century ago.
With the exception of the Sturmford and Drangheim clans, the Jarls speak often to each other, and work out their disagreements every summer at a festival known as "The Thing".
Most of the daily life in Chedian now centres on the planting seasons and the raiding seasons. There are wealthy towns along the Coast of the Verhoffin Sea, and it is not uncommon to see raiding ships full of soldiers heading toward the rich lands to the south.
THE THJORADRIC WARS
Since the discovery of Elemental Thjorad (somewhere around 100 AC), there have been a number of wars over who controls this valuable resource. The last one was fought in 418 AC between Thjorgard and Thronheim.
About Elemental Thjorad
Elemental Thjorad is a metallic substance that takes to enchantment easily. It is also by nature very heavy. It is only found in the Miner's Gulch region of Thjorgard. It is possible that it might be found elsewhere in the Fenn Mountains (the mountain range encircling the Verhoffin Sea), although the expense it would incur to prospectors makes the concept nearly unfathomable.
The Early Wars (112200 AC)
The first four Thjoradric wars were fought between rival village chiefs in the region now known as Thjorgard. During this time, a single chief came to prominence. He became known as Bjarnus the Mighty, and in addition to uniting the Thjorgardian clans, he founded the city of Thjorgard (named for the ore that is mined there). His army conquered the last of the Thjorgardian clans, and became known as The Thjorgard Clan. Thjorgard enjoyed peace even after Bjarnus' deathuntil 238 AC.
The Middle Wars (240310 AC)
In 238 AC, Hridmir Strawhands, the Jarl of Thjorgard, travelled to Thronheim to meet his prospective bride for the first time. During a game of stones that Hridmir was playing with her older brother Hafgrim, the two began arguing. Hridmir strangled Hafgrim over the game board and promptly left for home. Hafgrim's father, Dain Fasoltssen, was outraged. He demanded Hridmir pay a wergild of 2000 pounds of Elemental Thjorad. Hridmir refused, and Dain invaded Thjorgard.
Thjorgard was under siege for thirty days, until Dain broke through the walls and Hridmir fled. Under Dain's leadership, his army looted the city of Thjorgard. Houses were burned, shops were looted, and its citizens were held in the grip of fear. Dain held the city for exactly two days until Hridmir's sister Oda arrived and chased his army from Thjorgard. She chased them all the way to Thronheim and laid siege to his city. Dain eventually paid Oda off, and she raised her siege.
Thjorgard and Thronheim had three more wars, and during that time Thronheim was razed at least twice. Eventually, Dain's grandson Leip forced Thjorgard to sign a peace treaty that lasted until 404 AC.
The Late Wars (350400 AC)
Thronheim was not the only clan interested in the valuable ore known as Elemental Thjorad. Thjorgard was invaded by Frosgard in 350 AC, under the leadership of the Jarl Olaf the Fat. He was bent on conquering all of Chedian under his iron fist. He commissioned a special sword, believing that no one could stop him while he carried a magical weapon known as Jorhgamesh.
While his army marched toward battle with the Thjorgardian army, Olaf the Fat wandered off alone. He was beset by highwaymen. They killed him and stole his sword. Without their Jarl, the Frosgardian army was decimated the following day. Most of the survivors were taken as prisoners. The ancestors of those survivors live in Thjorgard to this day.
Several years after the death of Olaf the Fat, a warrior from Sturmford raised an army with the intention of taking Thjorgard by force. He claimed to be the grandson of Sven Bloodaxe, the legendary warrior who was ever victorious in combat. After several attempts to take Thjorgard by sea, he was caught in a storm and drowned when his boat sank.
Not all wars were fought on the battlefield. A rich Thjorgardian merchant tried to buy for himself the Jarlship of Thjorgard. The Jarl at the time, Roderik the Stout, was, by all accounts, a fat slob. He was more interested in enjoying the wealth of his position than in providing for his people. Ragnar used the money he had made from trading in Elemental Thjorad to influence some of the people close to Jarl Roderik.
Unfortunately for Ragnar, one of Roderik's confidants exposed the plot, and instead of being the new Jarl, Ragnar found himself on the end of a noose.
The Final War (404418 AC)
When Thjorgard was forced to sign the peace treaty with Thronheim, Leip required a yearly donation of 1000 pounds of Elemental Thjorad to be paid to the Thronish Jarl. By 400 AC, the Thjoradric industry was in a slump. The Thjoradric miners were barely mining enough Elemental Thjorad to pay off Thronheim. By 404 AC, the people had had enough.
The people of Thjorgard, led by a man named Geitlif Strongpick, deposed their Jarl. They quickly named Geitlif the new Jarl, and he promptly sent a message to Thronheim. They would no longer pay.
Thronheim responded by sending an army to lay siege to Thjorgard. Geitlif was prepared for this and used the tunnels that snaked through the mountains of Thjorgard to ambush the Thronish army. After a year of enduring the hit and fade strategies of Geitlif, the Thronish army finally left Thjorgard. Thjorgard and Thronheim did not stop fighting. They fought off and on for another fourteen years, until they mysteriously stopped in 418 AC.
Rumour has it, and this author believes, it was the closure of the mountain pass between Thronheim and Thjorgard that prevented more fighting. Since the end of the last Thjoradric War, nearly a century ago, Thronheim and Thjorgard have become close allies. Several Thronish Jarls have married into the Thjorgardian Jarls' families and vice versa. They have forged a peace that looks to last forever.
Before the Great Cataclysm, all the Elves in Chedian were part of one of thirteen clans. Each clan also had several subclans known as Sils. When naming children, the Elves of this era adhered to the following rule:
Given Name de Mother's Name A'Clan Name a'sil
So, an elven female named Ete, who is the daughter of Forbhlaith, who is part of the Dorad clan and the Blackclaw Sil, has a full name of:
Ete de Forbhlaith A'Dorad a'blackclaw
Note the lower case a' for the Sil. Since the Sil is a subclan, it is not capitalised. In elvish society, this is known as the Regal Name or Proper Name. It is used only in formal ceremonies and in formal introductions to Elves of other clans. For most everyday introductions, the Elves use the Common Name, composed of the Given Name and the Clan Name.
Therefore, the preceding example would be:
Given Name A'Clan or: Ete A'Dorad
Despite the dissolution of the clans and Sils, most Elves still try to follow this paradigm to the best of their ability. There are a few "modern" Elves who have begun to follow the naming conventions of the humans. These Elves usually live in major towns, and often interact with Humans and Dwarves who rarely understand the concept of clans and Sils.
The Elvish Clans
Before the Great Cataclysm, the Elves were separated from other races, and retained their sovereignty as long as they paid their tributes to the Ursanian Empire. The Elves were one of the few groups that did not resist being absorbed into the Ursanian Empire. In fact, there is some evidence that the Elves actually asked to be part of the Ursanian Empire.
Most of the records were written on a special paper known as Cuni. This paper was made from the now extinct Cundis tree. Most of the records themselves were kept in a central location in the elvish lands known as At'rann, the word for "utopia" (literally "Place of Bliss" or "Place of Light", both words being synonymous in elvish tongue).
According to the ancient maps, the town known as At'rann was four hundred leagues south of Verhoffin's Tower. Today, this would place squarely at the bottom of the Verhoffin Sea.
Since At'rann was buried underneath the sea, it is assumed that all of the Historical Cuni have been destroyed. There is some debate, however. Some claim since At'rann was the elvish utopia that it was protected from destruction during the Great Cataclysm, and now currently resides in its entirety under the Verhoffin Sea.
There are those who believe in the existence of the complete written history of the Elves called the Cunic Records. These followers believe they include the fate of all the clans, including a mysterious lost fourteenth clan known as A'Rikdun. Many historians have gone on expeditions to the area believed to be the location of At'rann, and have tried to find evidence of its existence. To date, all these expeditions have returned emptyhanded.
Without these records, virtually nothing is known about elvish history, except where their history intersects with the histories of other cultures. Thus, it is known that the elvish clan leader Thrata A'Dorad invited the Ursanian Imperial Guard to set up a garrison in the elvish town of Etendar. It is not known who he was or why he did so. Most of what is known of elvish history is what is spoken on the tongues of the Elves themselves. Much of that is myth related to elvish heroes. Perhaps one of these days, one of the expeditions to the probable location of At'rann will return with pieces of the Cunic Records.