BACKGROUND

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A terrible evil threatened the world over a thousand years ago. Vecna, the Evil God of Secrets and the Undead, reached out his hand towards the material realms, and the ancient Cult of Secrets was there to receive him. They started an underground campaign to undermine the forces of light, in preparation for an all-out war which would end in the release of Vecna’s Avatar, Aggennon the Unveiler. The ruling body of Everhall was unaware of these new developments. The Cult began to get ever more and more daring with each successful mission, yet still the Grey Council refused to recognize the threat.

Not all the ruling powers were blinded, however; a small group perceived what was truly going on. They began to lead their own investigations, and found the name of a military leader who had thrown his lot in with the Cult: Warlord Aruidair. The group begged the council to take action, but without hard evidence, no action could be taken. Meanwhile, sightings of restless undead, mysterious deaths, and other unexplainable mishaps were on the rise.

The most militaristic of this separatist group was the Wizard of the Spiral Tower mage Belruel Aldaelon. A war mage by design, Belruel was both a princess of the Kelerian Throne and a land-owning Duchess, and thus had her own personal army to lead. Against the wishes of the Council (or perhaps even unknown to them, multiple accounts of these events exist), Belruel led a contingent of her warriors, plus a few of her closest Spiral Tower allies, to the Blackstone, Aruidair’s terrible keep. There, on the Goran Fields, such a battle was fought as to be remembered in all bard songs for eternity.

The battle was long and hard fought, but Belruel’s troops eventually progressed to within a few hundred feet of the Keep itself. Aruidair’s forces were nearly depleted; but Aruidair himself had not yet entered the battle. Belruel rode forth to the head of her column and demanded to speak with the master of the fortress. She demanded that he surrender his keep, destroy his forces and equipment, and turn himself over to Everhall. Aruidair laughed at her demands, and let fly with an arrow from his bow, felling Belruel.

Her medics and cleric attendees could only watch in horror as their field-rated healing powers had no effect on the poison seeping through her veins. In great agony she cried out, all the way back to Everhall. Her carriage had just made it to the Temple stairs, when the wailing suddenly ceased. A crowd of sobbing citizens gathered as her still body was removed from the carriage and taken inside. Many an hour and many a small fortune was spent to bring her back, but her body was too far gone, her soul refused (or was barred) to return.

Belruel’s death galvanized the nations. Both Keleria and Everhall immediately begun mobilizing their respective forces. The allied forces moved south towards the Wastes, from where the enemy forces were attacking.

Meanwhile, back in the Blackstone, Aruidair had successfully grouped the remainder of the Cult’s High Priests, and soon he began his own march to Dracheburg, the towering spire off the southern tip of the Kerdian Mountains. There, unbeknownst to the allied forces, he planned to use the area’s natural ley lines to break open a portal between the planes to summon Aggennon.

As the southern sky began to light up in unnatural colors, the allied forces grew in fear. They sent out flying units ahead of the ground forces and siege units on harassment missions, which slowed Aruidair’s forces long enough for the Allies to reach the Dracheburg.

But they were too late.

As battle commenced, a yawning tear ripped into the fabric of space above the Dracheburg, through which descended a towering monster, wreathed in necrotic energies; Aggennon had come forth. This new arrival decimated the allied forces, and Aggennon and the combined forces of Aruidair drove the Army of Light back to Kerdian Pass. There, the Archmages of Everhall had a difficult decision. They could link themselves together, increasing their magical output, hopefully to the levels where they could fight Aggennon, but the process, if failed, would probably destroy them all. They soon came to an agreement; their lives were too small a cost for the chance to be rid of this evil forevermore.

So the top thirteen mages, most of whom sat on the Council, sent away the remainder of the casters. Atop the hill that would eventually become the guardian city of Ironkeep, the linked together their minds and souls into one pure conduit for magical energy. All around them, the Army of Light and the Cult of Shadows clashed. As Aggennon approached, smashing even his own minions to the side in his lust for the magical energies of the circle, they released their trap; Aggennon was successfully trapped inside a prison, a small sphere of crystal which pulsed with malevolent energies. It took the remaining strength of the circle to keep the sphere from imploding.

With Aggennon’s bolstering presence removed, ninety percent of the Cult’s forces were instantaneously destroyed. With his undead support gone, Aruidair fled back to the Dracheburg. Most of the Army of Light’s forces gave chase, hounding Aruidair all the way back to the Blackstone. There they were eventually victorious, killing Aruidair and sacking his dread tower.

The remainder of the Army guarded the circle as they made all haste back to Everhall. There, beneath the Temple of Light, they sunk the sphere into the ground and covered it with an arcane mechanism that would focus magical energies into it. As the hold on the sphere weakened, eight of the mages dropped dead. Fearing for the wholeness of the sphere, other Spiral Tower Mages latched themselves to the machine, now known as the Infinity Fold.

With Aruidair and the Cult defeated, focus was shifted to reconstruction. Cities and lives were rebuilt. Ironkeep and the Barrier were built in Kerdian Pass, to watch over the Wastes should anything else arise. A tenuous peace came into being.

Kelerian troops withdrew into the Goldenwood after reconstruction, and almost the entire body of Kelerian nationals went with them. The forest covering the East Trade Road that led into Orodín, the capital city of Keleria, was allowed to overgrow; that road is now lost, and disappears only a few hundred feet into the Goldenwood. the borders of Everhall expanded to fill all the land between the Goldenwood, the Pembry Coast, The Kerdian Mountains, and the Barrier.

The Infinity Fold still stands, though its draw on the mages sustaining it is growing. Some scholars say that the sphere is flawed, others that Aggennon is regaining strength. the truth is not known, but what is known is that the keys to the Infinity Fold were sequestered away by the remaining archmages, and that a replacement mage is recruited every few months. The current population of Infinity Fold Guardians stands at one thousand twenty eight, all of whom must be fed and housed, which draws on the surrounding areas. The majority of the grassland controlled by Everhall has been converted into farmlands, which, although destroys the natural state of the land, is necessary to feed the safeguarding influence of Everhall. It is a small price to bear for the safe existence of civilization.

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BACKGROUND

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