The First Age - The Age of Humanity - Imperian Online Help

16.2 The First Age - The Age of Humanity

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THE BEGINNING - Year 0 AH
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As the waters of the Great Flood receded, the nomadic tribes of Aetherius began the hunt anew. They soon discovered, however, that the once bountiful herds were now few and dispersed. Without this source of food many began to go hungry. Despair set in as suffering and starvation spread. It was in this climate that a tribal leader named Ik'taru received what is believed to be the first communique sent by Avasyu.

While contemplating the fate of his tribe, he received a vision by an entity engulfed in mist. This figure spoke to him, and revealed its name: Avasyu, Lord of Creation. Ik'taru was then engulfed in darkness and felt a sensation of falling; within seconds he saw a continent below him, and just as he was about to hit the ground he jolted to a halt. He looked about and saw himself floating above his tribe's encampment. Suddenly he was propelled northward, spanning many days of normal travel. He soon came upon a fertile valley fed by a great river, and in this valley he saw people digging in the dirt, and within moments great fields had sprung up. He saw the people eating the plants that they had planted, and thus was taught the art of farming. When he awoke he knew that he had been given an important vision, and he must lead his people to this valley.

Ik'taru did just that, and soon his people arrived in this verdant place. Myth has it that upon their arrival, Ik'taru dropped to his knees and began crying "Caan! Caan!" for many hours, which means "finally" in a particular tribal dialect. There he taught his tribe what he had learned from his vision, educating them as to how to grow plants that could be eaten when meat was scarce. News of this Promised Land spread like wildfire, and many people came to join Ik'taru and learn of his tribe's farming techniques. As crops grew, so did the population, and mud huts were formed in what was considered the birth of civilization.

As this great tribe's numbers swelled, the various tribal languages ultimately melded into one, and the people of the valley began to share their thoughts, including their history and the story of how the valley was discovered. They were each and all grateful for Ik'taru's vision, and paid homage at every daily meal, chanting "Avasyu" to the heavens above seven times before commencing their feast. Soon the valley boasted thousands of inhabitants, each working in harmony in its fields, and each worshipping the Great Creator, Avasyu. Thus was born the Cult of the Creator, Avasyu.


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CAANAE, CITY OF PROSPERITY - Year 300 AH
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Afflicted with drought, sustenance in the land of Caan became scarce. Rival tribes from the outlands raided the grain stores of the valley tribe. Peaceful and disorganized, the Caan tribes were easy prey for the hunters from the harsher terrains. From what scholars can ascertain from the ruins of Caanae, a mighty warrior by the name of Urlic united the tribes in the name of Lord Avasyu.  Urlic instigated the creation of a central city and distribution source for the communal grain. This system allowed for better protection of resources and greater organization. This city becomes known as Caanae.

When rains ended the drought, a great feast was held. The feast's end was marked as the city stood and raised their eyes skyward, chanting their thanks to Avasyu. Showing their gratitude to the benevolent God, the people created the temple of Avasyu, The Creator.


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THE CULT OF PEACE AND LIGHT - Year 400 AH
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For hundreds of years, prosperity reigned throughout the land. Yaksha and Ayva, a young couple with the purest of hearts, laid down to rest one calm winter's night. They were both struck with dreams of future tribulations which forced them to cry out in their sleep. Suddenly, the couple found themselves on a forked road, one path emanating a sense of peace and the other a bright light. Husband and wife chose separate paths, but then awoke with renewed wisdom and faith. And thus were born the cults of Illuminas, God of Light, and Shallah, Goddess of Peace. Throughout their lives, Yaksha, Prophet of Peace, and Ayva, Prophetess of Light, spread teachings of peace and hope, and their position of Prophet passed down through the generations of their lineage.


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STAVENN, CITY OF WAR - Year 500 AH
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As was tradition, Kalika Aisling, the 20-year-old great, great granddaughter of Yaksha and Ayva approached the time when she would receive the telltale vision that marked her ancestors as either Prophets of Peace or Light. On the Dawn of the new month of Bellum, Kalika received her dream with boredom rather than trepidation - she wanted to be different, and she felt different. Her vision indeed had a dramatic difference. A third road, littered with remnants of battle, appeared down the middle of her Path of Fate. Curious, she followed the distant sound of clashing swords and screams of war to find a battleground stained crimson, and two looming figures locked in vicious combat. The God of War, Aesir chose her to be His Prophetess, and Kalika embraced her violent future. She fled to the south of Caanae and united those tribes who opposed the great city. Eventually, she established the city of Stavenn in the name of her patron God, and the horrible cycle of battle and death began as raids were staged between the opposing cities over the next 100 years.


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THE GENERATION WAR - Year 589 AH
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As the years rolled past, Stavenn's hatred towards the peaceful and content city of Caanae grew. Their envy and distrust led them to believe that Stavenn should be the ruling power, with all others bowing before them. A young, enigmatic leader named Czevak used this hatred to rise through the ranks of military and government, mixing tales of Stavenn dominance with concepts of purity and faith to create a religion of hate. The few standing between him and true power mysteriously vanished, never to be seen again. At twenty-five years of age, Czevak stood as the great General of Stavenn, uniting the bickering tribes of Stavenn under a single unifying banner.

In the spring of 589, Czevak launched attacks on the object of his desire, cutting off trade routes, poisoning the Great River with a foul toxin, and capturing outlying farmlands and fortifications. Preferring to take over Caanae quickly as opposed to a lengthy siege, Czevak sent forth nearly his entire army to sack the city.

Rather than bowing down and surrendering, the brave citizens of Caanae fended off the invaders, killing thousands in the skirmish. In defeat, Czevak executed his commanding general, making of him an example of weakness. This attack marked the start of what came to be known as the Generation War, so called because an entire generation of people were born and grew to maturity knowing nothing of peace other than the stories of their elders.

For twenty-five years, Czevak's attacks grew more daring and aggressive. However, Caanae somehow managed to repel and shame them each time; this lead to rumors of God-given healing and mighty celestial beings aiding the valley city. Dismissing this as fear and imagination, Czevak instead blamed his warriors. The resulting executions rivaled the failed assaults in terms of numbers slain. By then, Czevak was perceived as a dangerous madman, and yet his people followed him out of a strange combination of faith and fear, naked greed and desire for dominance overcoming their common sense.

At the approach of his fiftieth year, Czevak decided that only an attack led by himself could possibly succeed against the enemy. Marching northward, Czevak camped his entire force on the plain of Mertashi, before the Caanae holdings. For two days they launched attacks of arrows from afar at the enemy. On the third day the full might of Caanae marched out from their holdings, matching the forces of Stavenn in number and might, lead by Elder Nathariel. The battle itself endured for a day and a night. Thousands were slain, turning the very earth red with precious life-blood.

As the moon set the next day, Nathariel and Czevak met in battle. Nathariel, armed with his great silver spear, and Czevak wielding the Reaver, a blood-red iron bastard sword of massive proportions. Lunging forth, Czevak scored first blood, a large cut across the arm of Nathariel, nearly forcing him to drop the spear. Backpedaling, Nathariel continued to defend against the Over-General, parrying every attack until his body betrayed him and slipped, sprawling upon the ground. Readying himself for the killing blow, the Lord of Stavenn lunged forward, yet at the last moment the Elder's spear rose up. With an agonizing howl that echoed across the plains, Czevak impaled himself upon the spear.

Believing Czevak more a God than a man, fear and confusion tore through the Stavenn ranks. Abandoning their weapons they fled or surrendered to those they once sought to dominate. Bearing Nathariel up, the Caananites returned to their homes victorious in what was later called the Red Siege, as the color of the soil never quite lost its scarlet tinge again.

Thus ended the great Generation War and conflict gave way to peace.


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THE TIME OF PROSPERITY - Year 700 AH
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Advances in technology, medicine, mathematics and the arts lifted the city of Caanae into a time of high prosperity. The southern city of Stavenn also experienced growth, but remained jealous of the northerners.

Medicine
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During the blistering summer of 714 the days were hotter and longer than anyone could remember. Hundreds died of exposure to the harsh rays. The ruler of Caanae, Iktov Sholet, invested his riches into developing protections from the intense heat. Scholars and herbalists searched the world trying various combinations of plants and roots. Zangrilla Sylvia, a specialist in forestal herbs, discovered that by consuming the root of the nightshade plant the immune system provided a barrier to solar allergy.

This discovery gained the herbalists a new respect in the eyes of the people. Sholet granted resources to these herbalists and commissioned a new section of the city, devoted specifically to research. Thus on the first day of the year 715, Academia Herbalis was founded. Over the next two centuries, cures that have been taken for granted by modern cultures were discovered. They revealed that boiling a combination of ingredients together would form elixirs with healing and protective properties. Sylvia's nightshade cure was further developed into an elixir of frost. When imbibed this elixir chilled one's skin enabling them to easily endure the scorching heat of the desert.

Able to traverse the desert, additional types of plants, as well as snake skins and venom sacs were brought back to Caanae and researched at the Academia. While trying to extract venom through the fangs of live snakes, Sylvia was bitten. She became flush and blood began to drip from her nose. Her legs went weak and she began to cough up bits of lung tissue. As blood began to seep from her pores, her entire body went limp. Sylvia's death cast a long shadow over the work of those in the Academia. Just before Sylvia's funeral pyre was lit, Sholet declared that Academia Herbalis would heretofore be known as Academia Sylvalis.

Sadly, just one month to the day after Sylvia's death, Ars Voyria discovered that boiling just the right amount of venom sacs, roots of the wormwood tree and roots of the dogs tooth plant would produce an elixir to negate the effects of the poison that killed Sylvia.

Mathematics
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In time the Academia welcomed scholars investigating disciplines outside of herbal cures. Very complex formulas were devised to help calculate the trajectory of shooting stars and how to engineer tall structures. Efficientuse of these formulas fueled a great architectural golden age in Caanae. A high wall was erected with watchtowers at each  corner. The Temple of Avasyu was enhanced to include tall spires to enable clerics to feel closer to Him, in the hopes that their prayers would be answered more expeditiously.

Arts
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By 745 the Caanae skyline was visible to travelers still a day away on foot. While working to discover cures, the scholars had found that many ground ingredients were leaving their hands stained in various colors. Some people began to use these colors to create large murals on the sides of the new buildings. A young stonecutter named Iba Ebven started to chisel blocks of stone in the semblance of animals. As his animals became more lifelike the Academia wondered if it might be possible to create statues that could be infused with herbal remedies to give protection to those around it. In order to test this theory, they commissioned a great statue of Zangrilla Sylvia to use for tests. Ebven labored for seven years to create the enormous statue. Upon completion, the statue stood at the center of the Academia surrounded by an herb garden. The herbalists spent many months pouring elixirs over the statue and then giving someone an affliction while they stood next to it.

After some one hundred citizens died of their afflictions they finally gave up on this idea, but kept Ebven busy teaching the art of sculpture to others by commissioning statues of other prominent figures from the history of Caanae.


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PREFACE TO WAR - Year 800 AH
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In 775 the Stavennites sent a group of scholars to the Academia in Caanae in the guise of architects looking to build a great Temple to Avasyu. During the daylight hours they would sit and learn the architectural formulas, slipping into the astronomical archives by night and copying the formula for shooting stars. Upon their return to Stavenn, work on combining the architectural and astronomic formula began in earnest, led by Czezlo Tota. Tota was certain that this would enable them to build a massive weapon, allowing Stavenn to claim its rightful dominion over the rest of the world. Within a few short months the Stavennites had created a siege machine that could hurl large boulders through the air, and had become fairly accurate at hitting their target. When Caananite traders returned home with word of this weapon the scholars of the Academia realized they'd been duped. All Stavennites were cast out of Caanae and all work at the Academia became focused on offensive weaponry.


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THE WAR OF AVARICE - Year 850 AH
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Due to the jealousy and covetousness of the people of Stavenn, war erupted between their city and that of Caanae. This war is known as the War of Avarice, beginning and ending on the month of Ultio. Lasting for seven intense years, both sides declared a victory as supplies and soldiers dwindled.