History of Elona
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Over four hundred years ago, the bloodiest civil war in Elonian history came to an end. Almost sixty years beforehand, a series of pretenders to the throne attempted to unite the nation. Some claimed to be the descendants of legacies reaching back to the time of the Primeval Kings. Others raised the banners of long-lost dynasties, attempting to resurrect the ideals and beliefs of the past. Historians now call this period the Shattered Dynasty Era, a time when empires rose and fell in bloody conflict.
Warfare brought suffering, weakening civilizations against unseen horrors. By some accounts, widespread bloodshed and warfare strengthened malefic forces in the world. A few arcanists claim that such evils could very well have been the cause of such strife—yet wherever there is shadow, there is light. The Shattered Dynasty Era was a time when holy warriors roamed the countryside, learning the chants and prayers of the first few Dervishes to drive back the darkness. Paragons speak of a time when gods chose them as a select few: champions who would fight in conflicts more vital than the petty struggles of warring defenders.
The end of the Shattered Dynasty Era offered a time to rebuild. At this turning point in history, Elonians dedicated themselves to the ideal of a nation untroubled by the horrors of war. In 840 DR, long after the exodus of the gods from the world, the modern nation of Elona was born—a union between three provinces that has survived to this day.
Since then, each province has been equal but separate, answering to its own provincial government. Each one depends on its neighbors for trade and defense. Save for a few golden ages in Elona's history, the land has suffered each time one ruler has attempted to control all three kingdoms. The Order of the Sunspears has helped maintain this compromise, acting independently of the three allied provinces. Its heroes know that the stability of this alliance keeps the country from returning to an era of chaos.
Near the Fortress of Jahai, a monument endures as a testament to Turai Ossa, the savior of Elona. On that site hundreds of years ago, Turai Ossa defeated the undead lord Palawa Joko, the Scourge of Vabbi - an event that brought the end of an era, and the dawn of a new one.
Since the Shattered Dynasty Era, the three provinces of Elona—Vabbi, Istan, and Kourna—had kept their distance from foreign politics. Each province had its own plans for their defense against outsiders. The province of Kourna had a strong army, and the Istani were known for a navy diligently watching the waters. In the days of Turai, however, the merchant princes of Vabbi were confident that treacheous terrain to the north would prevent invaders from threatening their lands—a mistake that would prove fatal.
Palawa Joko led an army of invaders through the Vabian[sic] Mines, cautiously infiltrating Elona's northernmost province. Loyal guards stood watch over the estates of the merchant princes, but they were unprepared for the advance of an entire army. Caught by surprise, those loyal to Vabbi fell quickly. With lightning-fast raids, the Scourge of Vabbi captured the estates of the Vabbi's wealthy, driving his enemies before him.
From there, Palawa ruthlessly and systematically conquered the nation, piece by piece. Over many months, he drove back the armies of Elona, growing stronger with each conquest. Triumphantly, Palawa Joko proclaimed himself the nation's sovereign, beginning an era of tyranny and oppresion. Within two years, the Kournan army had been reduced to struggling rebellion, an alliance of fugitives led by a single renegade warmarshal: Turai Ossa.
Using the desperate tactics of hit-and-run warfare, Warmarshal Turai harried and hunted Lord Joko's soldiers whenever possible. The last remnants of the Kournan army were desperate for victory, but they could not last forever. His loyal followers were eventually surrounded near the Grand Cataract of Jahai, where they prepared to make their final stand.
The defeat of Turai would have meant an end to freedom in Elona, and his army would not surrender or relent. The result was a bloodbath that lasted for days. Each time night fell, the battleground remained unchanged, as neither army gave any ground to the other. To stop the slaughter, Turai Ossa bravely challenged the enemy commander to single combat. At dawn, Ossa and Joko locked swords... and the monument in Jahai now shows the exact location where Ossa finally triumphed over the Scourge of Vabbi.
Elona was humbled, but ready to rebuild. Shaken and stunned, the people of Elona rallied behind Turai Ossa. The princes of Vabbi used their recaptured wealth to rebuild what had been destroyed. Some believe Turai had been chosen by the five true gods to free his nation, and many saw his victory as a sign of divine favor. The people of Kourna praised him as their warmarshal, and the rest of the nation was in desperate need of leadership. Soon thereafter, Turai was anointed as the king of all Elona. King Turai Ossa had succeeded where generations of Pretender Kings had failed, unifying the nation as one people.
King Turai had wealth, power, and influence, but he yearned for loftier goals. Openly, he ruled a grateful populace, but secretly, he spent his nights studying ancient wisdom. The more he read, the more he contemplated the role of the gods in his life. If he had been chosen by the gods as the savior of his nation, perhaps he was destined for greater accomplishments.
Musing on mysteries, Ossa sought his answers by seeking Ascension, a state of communion with the gods. He knew the path to that ideal ran through the wasteland north of Elona—lands that had been ruled by Palawa Joko years before. Turai stepped down from his position of authority, passing the title of warmarshal to his son, Kunai. Since that time, the title of warmarshal has been a hereditary one in Kourna, passed down through the many generations of Turai Ossa's descendents.
Turai and his followers then began a great pilgrimage, marching north into the Crystal Desert, where the gods once walked among men. His loyal entourage erected temples, raising pillars toward the heavens... but Ascension eluded him. Instead of everlasting life, he found the torment of eternal living death. In ghostly form, he still walks the earth. Many of his followers died as well, and their ghosts have remained in the Crystal Desert.
Some Elonians remember Turai for his heroism; others remember him as a madman whose false pride led him on a doomed pilgrimage. Since that bygone age, no one ruler has reigned over all of Elona—the three provinces have remained separate but equal. Yet to this day, Turai Ossa's descendents still rule over Kourna. Warmarshal Varesh Ossa represents the latest generation; and she shares her ancestor's fascination with the role of the gods in the lives of mere men and women.
As for Turai, he maintains his vigil over Elona, guiding others who follow the path of heroes. Scholars of lore know of him as the savior of Kourna, the man who single-handedly defeated the Scourge of Vabbi—but for many, he is simply the Ghostly Hero, a champion who stalks the troubled wastelands north of Elona, eternally ready to stand beside its heroes.
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