Backstory - Midkemia Online Online Help

16.1 Backstory

Midkemia Online (MKO) is based on the medieval fantasy world created by author Raymond E. Feist. MKO diverges from Feist's body of work at the conclusion of his original Riftwar saga, which comprises the novels "Magician," "Silverthorn," and "A Darkness at Sethanon."

This help document gives a brief overview of the mythology and history of the world of Midkemia, up to the point where MKO's story diverged from Feist's novels and became driven by our players. While many players enjoy jumping right into the fray and learning about the world of MKO as they go, we hope this document will be of use to those players who have not read Feist's novels, but would like some basic information to facilitate their immersion in MKO.

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The Blind Gods of the Beginning wove and unwove the fabric of the universe. From these threads of power were formed the Valheru, the dragon lords who felt little emotion beyond the need to conquer. When not quarreling among themselves, the Valheru would band together, leave their home world of Midkemia, and subjugate all they came across. Civilizations fell and worlds were plundered. The Valheru took as their servants and slaves the Edhel, the race that would come to be known to humans as the elves.

A great upheaval occurred when the two Blind Gods of the Beginning vanished, and the threads of power gave rise to the gods of Midkemia. The Valheru, viewing these new gods as a threat, attempted to destroy them. Many gods were slain, but the Valheru were eventually defeated. During their mighty struggle, a time known as the Chaos Wars, a diverse group of races came to Midkemia, among them men, dwarves, goblins, and trolls (all playable races in MKO). 

Freed from the Valheru, the Edhel ("the people") fractured. Those that had served as gardeners and stewards of nature became the Eledhel ("the light people," a playable race in MKO), content to dwell in peace in their forest-home of Elvandar (the starting city for Eledhel characters). Those that served closer to their Valheru masters longed to take their mantle of power and subjugate the races new to Midkemia; they became the Moredhel ("the dark people," a playable race in MKO) and warred with those who opposed their will. Some, including the trolls and goblins, were seduced by promises of power and wealth, while others, including the dwarves and humans, resisted.

Time dragged on. The long-lived Edhel remembered their former lives in service to the Valheru, but for the new, short-lived races, knowledge of their entry to Midkemia, and of the Valheru, quickly passed from legend to myth, until few were aware of their origins, or that anything existed before the gods of current-day Midkemia.  

Eventually, the Moredhel began to lose their sprawling war with the humans, who reproduced at a drastically higher rate than the Edhel. The great human empire of Kesh began to drive the Moredhel to the northern fringes of the continent of Triagia. When their southern border was troubled by rebellion, however, the Keshians abandoned their northern outposts; the territory and much of the rest of Northern Triagia was soon absorbed by the young Kingdom of the Isles, as it expanded west, into the relative vacuum left by the Keshians and the weakened Moredhel. The Moredhel found themselves pushed farther still, beyond the mountain range known as the Teeth of the World. The mountains provided a natural barrier, and the war ground to a near halt, with little more than infrequent battles and skirmishes occurring between the two races.

In the years immediately preceding the starting point of MKO, the relative tranquility of the Kingdom was shattered by the appearance of a great rift, which connected the world of Midkemia with the distant world of Kelewan. The Empire of Tsuranuanni, a massive Kelewanese nation populated by humans and ruled by fractious noble houses, invaded the metal-rich world of Midkemia. The rift, located in the western portion of the Kingdom, soon became a war zone. The Tsurani forged a large foothold in Midkemia, but were stymied by the humans of the Kingdom, along with their allies the dwarves - many of whom lived in the nearby mountain village of Caldara - and the Eledhel, who were directly threatened by the closeness of the Tsurani incursion.

The war dragged on for nearly a decade. As an uneasy peace seemed to finally be within reach, the rift connecting the worlds was closed, in part due to the efforts of Pug, a master magician. Pug later went on to form the great academy of Stardock (a playable guild in MKO). A large group of Tsurani were trapped on Midkemia when the rift was closed. Rather than being treated as enemy combatants, the Tsurani (a playable race in MKO) were adopted into the Kingdom of the Isles. While they have begun to diffuse throughout Kingdom society, they still primarily live in the Kingdom town of LaMut, and retain many of their own customs.

The war left the hierarchy of the Kingdom in shambles. The King, his uncle the presumed heir, and Duke Borric conDoin, third in the succession, were all dead. The succession fell to Borric's sons, all of whom had distinguished themselves in the war. Martin, the eldest and illegitimate, renounced his claim in favor of his brother Lyam. Lyam conDoin now rules the Kingdom from distant Rillanon, while his younger brother, Arutha, rules as heir and ruler of the Western Realm in its capitol city of Krondor (the starting city for human and dwarven characters). Martin sits in his father's seat as Duke of Crydee, the westernmost duchy of the Kingdom. 

For a short time, peace reigned. However, the Moredhel and those who served them, colloquially known as the Dark Brotherhood, had not been idle while the Kingdom spent itself in war. In their dark fortress-city of Sar-Sargoth (the starting city for Moredhel, goblin, and troll characters), the Dark Brotherhood rallied under the leadership of a Moredhel calling himself Murmandamus. Under his banner, the Dark Brotherhood launched an offensive into the heart of the Kingdom. The conflict came to a head at the Kingdom city of Sethanon, where, during a massive battle, Murmandamus suddenly vanished. Disheartened by the loss of their charismatic leader, the Moredhel retreated north.

There, at the starting point of MKO, the Dark Brotherhood re-organized. Great clans, among them the mighty Dragons of Murmandamus and their most cunning rivals, the Ravens, began to contest for power and leadership while simultaneously seeking to subjugate both the humans of the Kingdom and the Eledhel of Elvandar.

The Eledhel, in turn, were torn between their natural desire to live in peace and their growing recognition of the dangers facing them. Their alliance with the humans, forged by the spectre of the Tsurani, was not certain to last forever, and their violent cousins, the Moredhel, posed a constant threat. Their Spellweavers strengthened the magical defenses of their home, while the elite warriors of the Queen's Guard readied themselves to meet any threat.   

The humans struggled to recover from the recent wars. The Dark Brotherhood lingered to the north, and the Empire of Great Kesh laid coiled to the south, hesitating to strike only because of the certainty of ensuing rebellion in its farthest holdings. In Krondor, the talented core of military trackers known as the Pathfinders redoubled their efforts to scour the land in search of any threat to the Kingdom, while a shadowy guild of thieves, the Mockers, took advantage of the post-war confusion to strengthen their grip on the dark underbelly -- and political landscape -- of Krondor.  

Over this rich tapestry act forces often unseen: powerful magicians with plans all their own; demons from the fifth circle of hell; the Dread, those creatures from the Void of unreality; the gods, who twist the lives of mortals in ways known and unknown; and others that we invite you to discover as you experience the world of Midkemia Online.