Friday, 24 January 2020

History of the North, Part 2: A Myth of Unity



The Far North
All empires crumble. They begin with a single conquest, and before long, want and avarice overwhelm them. They grow fat on their power and plunders, and in time, they collapse under their own weight, as they must, for their grasp always exceeds their reach.
They conquer, and then conquer again, further and further afield until the crown can no longer contemplate the vastness of its territories. They are too far-flung; the distances are too vast; they sprawl out to this horizon and that, and beyond those, again. Where is that again, it asks? Tenh? The Quaglands? The minutiae of the day-to-day governance of so vast a territory overwhelms it, and it must then rely on its governors, for who knows their lands better than they? So long as the taxes are collected, what of it?
That’s all well and good until the governors take umbrage with sending the crown their gold, receiving naught in return.

 Anarchy crept into the Great Kingdom
300-350 CY         Anarchy crept into the Great Kingdom, and more and more of its northern provinces became increasingly independent. Some became lawless. Many became lawless. Petty fiefs sprang up, their rulers declaring themselves kings and barons and dukes and such. Where ruffians seized power, banditry prevailed, and they became known for such. Such were the Bandit Kingdoms, which called themselves a confederacy—a fancy word for what they might have been; but in truth, they could never be, because they preyed upon one another even as they clung together to ward against those who would annex them.
The Bandit Kingdoms are a collection of petty holdings. Each little kingdom is ruled by a robber chieftain claiming a title such as Baron, Boss, Plar, General, Tyrant, Prince, Despot and even King. In all there are 17 states within the confines of the area, ruled by 4 to 6 powerful lords, and the rest attempting either to become leading rulers or simply to survive. [Folio - 8]

310-360 CY         The fiefs north of the Nyr Dyv looked to their borders, both north and east, and discovered that they were bounded by villainy and evil. Something must be done, they realized, otherwise they would be pillaged and sundered by it. A vanguard of lords and knights came to the fore and banded them together, promising to keep them safe. The knights became the Knights of the Shield, and the lands took their name, becoming the Shield Lands.
When the Bandit Kingdoms began to grow powerful, the petty nobles of the north shores of the Nyr Dyv banded together in a mutual protection society. [Folio - 15]

When similar circumstances resulted, ultimately, in the formation of the lawless Combination of Free Lords to the north, the southern nobles banded together, forming the "Shield Lands" as a bulwark against the depredations and chaos of the north. Since the earl of Walworth commanded Admundfort, at the time the only notable city in the region, he was chosen as the knight commander of the combined forces of the nobles. Within a handful of years, the new capital saw the formation of the Knights of Holy Shielding, a Heironean order that both formed the core of the new national army and served as an example of good, clean living through dedication to strict, militaristic goals. [LGG - 104]

Veralos
318 CY  The North was vast. And for all its peoples, for all its scattered states, and for all its history, it was largely undiscovered. Few saw the foundations of the Ur-Flans kingdoms, but they were there for those tenacious enough to find them. Why, some would ask. They were swept aside, and of no concern. But not everyone was so foolish. Some knew what power they wielded, what wonders they forged before the rise and fall of Vecna. Zagig Yragerne was one of those. He wished to find the fabled city of Veralos, for he believed that a culture that could produce Vecna and sunder the Elven Empire surely must have produced a great many artifacts worth seeking. So, he and his Company of Seven, a young Murlynd and Keoghtom among them, left to much fanfare to do just that, and returning a year later, they claimed to have found and plundered the city, producing a wagon laden with treasures to prove their claim. Their expedition revived the legend of the lost citadel, and indeed, that of the Ur-Flan and their civilization, which had all but been forgotten since their Aerdy conquerors pulled down their ancient settlements and built their new ones on top of them, laying waste to Flan magic, art, and writings.

The Relentless Horde
320 CY  The Great Kingdom had not been vigilant in the North, but neither did it rule the North in its entirety, either. And even if they had, they most certainly could never have truly conquered it. Or defended it. Neither could the Rovers of the Barrens. And they had roamed it even before they had ever heard the name Vecna.
Nomads swept into the North from the West, but the northern steppes were so vast, the Rovers remained unaware of the Relentless Horde until it had already gained a foothold in their lands. And, by then, it was already too late to stop them.
Before too long, they had cut off Blackmoor and the Quaglands from the rest of the Great Kingdom.
Mixed Oerid-Baklunish nomad bands had gradually moved into and laid claim to the steppe lands beyond the Yatil range, pushing eastwards as far as the Griff Mountains. Border skirmishing with the southern nations went on as these wild horsemen pushed into the Flanaess. Perhaps the civilized states could have stopped their eastward progress had they not been busy fighting with the Aerdi for their independence. [Folio - 6]

The Relentless Horde pressed the Rovers of the Barrens ever east. Because they must. They had little choice; they too were being harried from the west, themselves forced ever eastward by the Brazen Horde, who were conquering the whole of the Paynims.
Soon, Kha-Khan Ogobanuk, ruler of the Restless Horde, had conquered most of the Plains. Ilkhan of Tiger Nomads ruled the western steppes in his name. The Wolf Nomads pressed on but could advance no further than the Cold Marshes and the Howling Hills. Their horses could not race across the former, and they met with the Rover’s resolve in the valleys of the latter.
The Tiger Nomads were driven from the southern plains by the invading Brazen Horde almost three centuries ago. Thrown together with the Wolf Nomads, and other bands of mixed Oerid and Baklunish refugees from the plains, they arrived in the northern steppes in defeat and disarray. Yet, within a few years, they grew strong enough for their ilkhan to command the whole of the western steppes under the great Kha-Khan Ogobanuk of the Relentless Horde (c. 320 CY) [LGG - 114]

Following the lead of the Viceroyalty of Ferrond, the outer dependencies of Aerdy too began to claim sovereignty. The Great Kingdom, ever riven by inner turmoil and its increasing decadency, was shrinking. And in its lessened state, it could do nothing to stem the tide.
Perranders, Velunians, Furyondians and Tenhas achieve success, establishing independent status one after the other in a series of minor but bloody wars. [Folio - 6]

The Quaglands
Even as Furyondy broke free of the Great Kingdom, they sought to lay claim to the Quaglands. But the Quaglands were isolated, cut off from the rest of the South except through mountain passes. Always a fiercely independent people, they had no wish to be or remain under their dominion.
Rebellions were endemic from the beginning of the Great Kingdom's presence in the Quaglands. Most Aerdi bailiffs were practical overseers, not given to excesses of taxation or punishment, but the intractable natives seemed unable to learn obedience in any form. Nor, it seemed, could they learn unity, as decades of Aerdy rule turned to centuries. Many mountain and lowland tribesmen eventually served in the military of Ferrond, then in Furyondy after 254 CY; from this they gained the experience and discipline necessary to mount a successful rebellion.
They took the first appearance of the Relentless Horde in the north (c. 320 CY) as the opportunity to break free of the yoke of their overseers. The bailiffs and the troops loyal to them were expelled, and the distracted kingdom of Furyondy was unable to spare the forces necessary to put down this last rebellion. [LGG - 86]

342 CY  The Theocracy of the Pale chaffed under the dominion of the infidel. Neither Nyrond nor the Great Kingdom followed the path of the blessed Blinding Light, so what right did they have to determine their destiny of the Faithful! The Council of Nine selected its first Theocrat to rule as the semi-independent leader of the Pale. And bided its time.
Ceril the Relentless, […] greatly revered as a patron saint of the nation […] founded the Council of the Nine, which organized the government of the early nation and chose the first theocrat from their number in 342 CY. Together, they fashioned a government in accordance with their strict interpretations of doctrine. The Palish considered themselves far removed from the politics of the overking and his court, whom they continued to fear and mistrust despite their separation. [LGG - 82]

345 CY  The Quaglands soon discovered that being part of a greater whole had its benefits when it was taken from them. The Hordes were sweeping across the North, and they as they pled for aid from the Aerdi and Dyvers, they were cut off. None came.
Hostilities were inevitable; the Tigers were warlike and desperate for lands to call their own; but if anything, the Quaglanders were crafty, and adroit at dealing with this new threat.
The nomads were indeed a threat to the Quaglands freeholders, and the Sepia Uplands saw many bloody skirmishes between the two peoples. Even the death of the nomads' Kha-Khan Ogobanuk and the division of the horde into twin nations (345 CY) did not completely end the hostility. [LGG - 86]

Tiger Nomad
Over the next century, the Tiger Nomads maintained their independence from the Wolf Nomads, but were unable to increase their territory; thus, a certain stability was achieved, despite chronic warfare. Raids into Perrenland and Ekbir continued as well, though the Perrenders became so skilled at negotiating with the nomads that often, raids would turn into exchanges of horses for liquor. Unfortunately, the nomads' consumption of liquor might turn any barter session into an attack, so the maneuver was hardly foolproof—but at least drunken nomads were more easily defeated.
[LGG - 115]

With their cousins, the Wolf Nomads, they were the terror of the north, from the Dramidj coast to the Griff Mountains. When KhaKhan Ogobanuk made his final journey to the invisible realm in 345 CY, the ilkhan of the Tiger Nomads withdrew from the Relentless Horde, forming his own nation of Chakyik. [LGG - 114]

[The Tiger Nomads] warred with the Flan tribes of the Burneal, whom they called the Uirtag, as well as the Guryik people from the Land of Black Ice. [LGG - 114]

Luckily for the Quaglands, the Nomads were far from unified. 
The Wolf Nomads consider themselves the true heirs of the great Relentless Horde that once challenged all the nations of the northern Flanaess. Led by the mighty Kha-Khan Ogobanuk, the host encompassed both the Wolf and Tiger nations until 345 CY. All the lands west of the Griff Mountains were under their sway, though by the end of the khakhan's lifetime the territory east of the Fellreev Forest was already lost. After Ogobanuk was laid to rest in the Howling Hills, the Wolf and Tiger Nomads became separate nations, though still bound by language and tradition. Both the ilkhan and tarkhan have followed the kha-khan's decree and studied the art of beguilement, for any ruler who cannot deceive his enemies is not clever enough to lead a free people. [LGG - 133]

The Short War
c. 350 to 360 CY     The Short War:
Keoland looked to their north and saw the vacuum the Great Kingdom’s retreat had created there. The Hordes were sweeping across the North. Newly formed Furyondy had shown itself to be less than unified. And Ket was increasingly belligerent. Keoland realized that they were vulnerable, for what prevented the Bakluni from rushing in from Ket? Nothing! They had done as much in the Quagmands, after all. And in due time, Ket did just that, and Keoland marched out from the Gran March to secure what had not been considered such until then.
Keoland held sway from the Pomarj to the Crystalmist Mountains, while her armies pushed into Ket and threatened Verbobonc and Veluna City (c. 350-360 CY). The Ketite expedition came to grief in successive battles (Molvar, Lopolla), while an alliance between Veluna-Furyondy ended the Keoish threat in that quarter (Short War). Coincidentally, the Olvenfolk within the boundaries of Keoland objected to the warlike policies of the King and began expelling royal garrisons in the Ulek Provinces and Celene. In the ensuing struggle, the freemen of the western portion sided with the demi-humans. Raiders in the far south took advantage of these conditions to harry the Keoish coast from Gradsul to Gryrax. [Folio - 12]

Bissel has long been the gateway between three worlds (the Baklunish West, the Sheldomar Valley, and the rest of the Flanaess), and as a result has been repeatedly invaded, conquered, and settled by a variety of Oeridian, Suloise, and Baklunish peoples. Some present-day villages and trade routes were established before the ancient Baklunish-Suloise Wars. The area shows the influences of many cultures, but the inhabitants tend to be untrusting of foreigners and keep to themselves. The land was eventually brought into Keoland (c. 302 CY), its troublesome peoples forcibly subdued by the Knights of the March, Keoish forces invaded Ket and Veluna from Thornward through 350-360 CY. [LGG - 32]

356 CY  The founding of Nyrond marked be beginning of the Great Kingdom’s decline. One might think that the founding of Furyondy had marked such, because in truth, the Great Kingdom had already begun to lose its furthest protectorates; but it had not looked to its Western Provinces in decades; nor had those provinces sought their aid or council, so when the Viceroyalty of Ferrond declared its sovereignty, the Great Kingdom hardly took note. It had grown myopic. Its focus was inward, its attention was rooted in the East, and that was where its interests lay; so, when its Eastern protectorates began to secede, the Kingdom rose from its stupor and took note.
The House of Rax, ruling Aerdi dynasty, was at the time sundered by an internal feud, and the junior branch, then known as Nyrond, declared it lands free of the rule of the reigning Overking [Portillan] and sovereign. [Folio - 6]

[T]he ruling dynasty of Aerdy, the Celestial House of Rax, had grown especially decadent. In response, the western province of Nyrond declared itself free of the Great Kingdom and elected one of its nobles as king of an independent domain. Armies gathered from all loyal provinces of Aerdy to suppress this brazen act. [LGG - 14]
 
Fate Takes a Hand
Sometimes Fate takes a hand. Nyrond should have fallen. But just as the Aerdi dynasty was marching north to deal with Nyrond’s illegal declaration of independence, an allied host of Fruztii and Schnai invaded, threatening to overwhelm the Bone March and Ratik. The Rax Overking Portillan diverted his forces to counter the barbarian invasion. Had he not, the March and Ratik would have fallen and the Barbarians would have swept into the North Province. They did not. The Aerdi held the line. The Aerdi pressed the Barbarian back into the sea. But at a great cost. So many perished in the Kingdom’s defence that Portillan no longer had the strength to put Nyrond to heel. He had no choice but to accept Nyrond’s independence.
A coalition of Fruzt, Schna and mercenary barbarians mounted a major foray into the Aerdian North Province. The Overking's army, raised to invade Nyrond, swung northeast and soon the invaders were crushed. The end of the campaigning season arrived before any action could be taken against Nyrond. [Folio - 6]
Of course, Fate may not have had hand in it, at all. Nyrond surely knew that the Kingdom would not take their declaration of independence lightly; surely they knew that the Kingdom would retaliate. So it isn’t out of the realm of possibilities that Nyrond may have sent emissaries to the Thillonrian Peninsula, informing the Barbarian tribes that the North Province might soon be vulnerable. And the Northern tribes just may have listened. Stanger things have happened. Of course, no one can say for certain if this really happened. But the timing is suspicious. Then again, sometimes Fate takes a hand, doesn’t it?

The Battle of Redspan
Nyrond’s secession was just the beginning. They pressed Tenh to join them in revolt, convincing them that this was the time to rise, that true freedom could be theirs. Tenh did not need much convincing. Tenh had always believed that they were independent of the Great Kingdom, had always believed that they were self-determining, but until then, they had never brazenly declared themselves so, fearing retribution, for the Great Kingdom was vast and strong, and they were small. They saw that now was the time to do so. The Aerdi were hard pressed, the Aerdi were weakened, so if not then, when? They rose up with Nyrond, and the Tenha cavalry routed the Aerdian forces at Redspan. And when that was done, the Duke of Tenh ended his fealty to Aerdian Crown.
The Battle of Redspan
Eventually, the Great Kingdom showed signs of decay. When the Nyrondal princes declared the end of their allegiance to the overking, the duke was persuaded to follow suit. The Battle of Redspan signaled the end of the duke's fealty to the overking of Aerdy. The Aerdy force was routed by the Tenha cavalry and pushed down the "Red Road to Rift Canyon" in an action made famous in the ballad of the same name. The army of the Great Kingdom was not actually swept into the Rift Canyon, as the ballad proclaims, but they were so thoroughly defeated that many of the Aerdi officers and soldiers chose exile in the Bandit Kingdoms over the punishments awaiting them at home.
[LGG - 113]

The Theocracy of the Pale, already self-determining, proclaimed its autonomy in the wake of Nyrond’s successful bid. There was little risk to doing so, they thought; the Kingdom would not reach them without crossing newly independent Nyrond. They were free and clear, they thought. They prepared for the possibility, nonetheless.

As the rot of cultural and social decay started to penetrate the Great Kingdom, many of the more devout and outspoken followers of the god Pholtus withdrew from the increasingly corrupt core of the land. Some of these settled between the Rakers mountain range and the Yol River. When Nyrond declared its independence from the Great Kingdom, so did these religious refugees. Thus was the Theocracy of the Pale formed. [WG8 - 47]

c. 357 CY        "And then it started like a guilty thing; Upon a fearful summons" [Hamlet]
Evil and decadence had corrupted the heart of the Great Kingdom. All knew it. They had cavorted with nether worlds and grown cruel.
It was at this time that the evil began to grow within the rulers of the Great Kingdom. The House of Rax became decadent, its policies ineffectual and aimed at appeasement. The powerful noble houses took this as their cue to set up palatinate-like states, and rule their fiefs as if they were independent kingdoms. [Folio - 6]

359 CY  Nyrond, the Theocracy of the Pale soon discovered, did not recognize the Pale’s right to self-determination. In its hubris, Nyrond did not see itself as divisible as it had the Great Kingdom. Nyrondal forces marched into Wintershiven, and annexed the newly formed Theocracy of the Pale, and, later, the County of Urnst. While occupied, Wintershiven was burned to the ground, and ultimately abandoned. And so it came to pass that New Wintershiven was founded twenty miles north of the old.
Some still claim that the invaders razed the city to the ground. Calmer heads disagree, citing nothing more than carelessness: apparently some drunken Nyrondese soldiers set fire to a barn, and the fire spread to destroy the city. [WG8 - 47]
The occupation was short. Nyrond chose to accept Theocracy and Urnst independence after the treaty of Rel Mord, in return for pledges of mutual protection. The Pale celebrates this day as the Emancipation.

Latavius of Rookroost
371 CY     The Bandit Kingdoms had never been stable. Only the strong ruled there, and woe to any who let their guard down. Robber Baron Latavius of Rookroost found that out, as many others had before him. He forgot that even as he kept his friends close and his enemies closer, that they were still his enemies, no matter what their title.
[Rookroost's] founder was an Oeridian robber baron named Latavius, and under his dominion the city enjoyed its most dynamic period of growth. [When] Latavius died suddenly -- under rather suspicious circumstances -- the throne of Rookroost was taken over by the former commander of Latavius's personal bodyguard. [WG8 - 3]

c. 400 CY              Stalemate is inevitable when combatants are evenly matched; attrition takes its toll, and before long, they dig in and wait for the other to “make a mistake.” They probe. They flank. But in the end, they fortify. Keoland raised sturdy walls to protect the Fals Road at Thornward; just as Ket raised Avernand to anchor its line of forts to either side of the Irafa Road. And there they watched. And waited.
After suffering defeats in Ket during the Short War, Keoland pulled back and made Bissel the "Littlemark," the kingdom's northernmost domain. Thornward, now a town of respectable size, was established as its capital to check Ketite expansion south and east of Bramblewood Gap; it grew into a major trade center between Baklunish west and Oeridian/Suloise east. Bissel also profited greatly from trade between Keoland and Furyondy through the Fals River Pass, and Mitrik became the destination of much overland and river traffic. Knights of the Watch have had much influence here over the last 190 years, serving in the margrave's court and armies. [LGG - 32,33]

The Flan in the Yatils
The Quaglands finally threw off the yoke of Dyvers. Furyondy had claimed them, but the freeholders discovered that there was little benefit to being within its fold. Furyondy offered little aid, yet demanded that the Quaglanders pay their taxes and fill the ranks of their legions. It was only a matter of time before they realized that Furyondy needed them more than they had ever needed Furyondy. If the ever had. 
The original Flan tribes dwelling in the Yatil Mountains were far more warlike and fierce than most of their fellows elsewhere in the Flanaess. Would-be invaders were absorbed by these powerful clans. Attempts at expansion into Perrenland were vigorously resisted by the inhabitants. These attempts brought the various clans together in a loose association under the banner of the strongest of their number, Perren. [Folio - 13]

Nomad raids continued for many years in the north, while Ket several times invaded the Wyrm's Tail and nearly took Krestible. The Quaglands and Yatil freeholders defended their borders tenaciously, but lacked the strength to make themselves truly secure. A plan was then devised to unite the defenses under a single leader, while allowing clan holdings to remain relatively independent. The freeholds were marked into eight cantonments, joined by oaths of mutual armed assistance called the Covenant of Concatenation. The leaders of these collected states elected the strongest of their number, Perren, to be their voormann, c. 400 CY. Such was their devotion to this great warrior and statesman that he was elected voormann five consecutive times; after his death, the young nation adopted his name.[LGG - 86]
 
430 CY  Few looked to the North. It was cold. It was savage. It had little of value, so thought the South. And so, it was left to its own devices. Thus, only the strong ruled. Vlek Col Vlekzed was one such.
Vlek Col Vlekzed
Who was he? Where did he come from? Some say that he was a Rover, who after years of plundering the lands around his, had fled to the northern peninsula with those Rovers and bandits who followed him. He was reckless and fierce, and took the lands of the Colten Feodality for his own, having lured them to their deaths on the pretense that they were to treat and come to an accord of peace.
Others contend that he was one of the Colten Atamans, and that he seized control of all their lands when he betrayed his peers, slaughtering them while they revelled in his Hold, besotted on his wine. Still others contend that he was from Tenh. Wherever he came from, and however he came to control the Atamans, he drew them into his fold, and collectively, they came to be known as the Hold of Stonefist.
The inhabitants of the area, the Coltens Feodality, were tricked into negotiation with Vlek. These negotiators and their escorting force were slaughtered, the remainder of the Coltens host routed by surprise and ferocity, and Vlek settled down to rule over the whole territory. [Folio - 16]

The Coltens folk had no place in this hierarchy, and many fled to the Hraak Forest, or beyond the Big Seal Bay and the northern thrust of the Corusks to dwell in the Taival Tundra, in the land of the Ice Barbarians). [LGG - 109]

The inhabitants of the area, the Coltens Feodality, were tricked into negotiation with Vlek. These negotiators and their escorting force were slaughtered, the remainder of the Coltens host routed by surprise and ferocity, and Vlek settled down to rule over the whole territory. [Folio - 16]

437 CY  The Great Kingdom continued to tear itself to pieces during the Turmoil between Crowns. The North took little note. Rauxes and Rel Astra were distant lands, and few Northerners had ever heard their names.
This name is given both to the decade of internal schisms under the rule of the last Rax overking, Nalif, and to the civil war which followed Ivid's ascension. [Ivid - 4]

The Second Short War
438 CY  The Second Short War
Ket, Keoland, and Furyondy continued their savage dance. Keoland wished to expand its influence north, and had little use of Rao and the Blinging Light of Pholtus. Furyondy had no desire to cede its hard won lands to southern kings. Ket wished to drive the infidels from the Barrier Peaks and Yatils. The borders were fluid, rarely found in the same place from year to year, short war to short war.
Furyondy vs. Keoland, ends Keoish influence in Veluna and wrests Littlemark from beneath Keoish control. Littlemark becomes a tributary state of Furyondy for a few decades. [Folio - 9]

Bissel was conquered by the combined forces of Furyondy and Veluna in 438 CY, which ended Keoish influence in western Veluna. The throne in Chendl kept Bissel's office of the margrave, but replaced the ruling family with nobles sympathetic to the affairs of the east. [LGG - 33]

c.440s-460s         Torn by its turmoil, the Great Kingdom began to break apart. Beginning with the Viceroyalty of Ferrond, the other western satellite states followed suit, Veluna, Bisset, Keoland. At first the Malachite Throne took no action. But as the tapestry of state continued unravelling, it had little choice but to rise from its stupor and take action, lest it lose the entirety of its lands. But try as it might, it could not stem the tide. The Iron League formed. Nyrond seceded. Alain II of Ratik declared his fief an arch-barony, not entirely willing to completely sever ties with the mother country, as yet. But in truth, he ruled Ratik as though it was indeed independent, as did the Marquis of Bone March. What choice did they have? The Crown was embroiled in what came to be known as the Turmoil Between Crowns, and it took no interest in the administration of its provinces.



One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”
Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.
 Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, Ivid the Undying, WGR5 Iuz the Evil, WG8 The Fate of Istus, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The World of Greyhawk Folio, and The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, The Living Greyhawk Journals, Dragon Magazine 293.

The Art:
All art is wholly owned by the artists.
Omen by cenyn
Veralos, by Kelman Andrasofszky, Dragon Magazine 293
Atilla-the-hun by miguelcoimbra
JUDICATOR-LET-THERE-BE-NOTHING by mitchellnolte


Sources:
1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
11742 Gazetteer, 2000
11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
Ivid the Undying, 1998
Dragon Magazine
OJ Oerth Journal, appearing on Greyhawk Online
LGJ et. al.
Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda
The map of Anna B. Meyer

Saturday, 18 January 2020

History of the North, Part 1, Arrivals



The North
Much had happened in the North, more than one might expect. It’s surprising how many peoples chose to settle in that unforgiving land. The Elves had prospered there, so had the Flan. There had been peace there for many years before the Ur-Flan had swept in and swept aside all who stood against them. Then they too prospered there.
Some might think that they were lesser than those who came after them, because, were they all that powerful, surely they would still rule all of the Flanaess, surely they would have brushed aside the martial fury of the Oeridians. They would have had they been interested in worldly affairs. They were not. They were concerned with extending life. With immortality. They were concerned with attaining power not seen since eldritch times.
Were the Ur-Flan wiped out? Those lesser ones, yes. But not all. No, not all. There were many who survived the coming of the Kingdom of Aedy.
We should hope that we never draw their attention ever again.

Keraptis
Some two thousand years ago, the wizard Keraptis established himself as "protector" of Tostenhca--a grand mountainside city of wide streets and towering ziggurats. But the wizard, who had extended his lifespan far beyond that of most mortals in his search for immortality, became more and more corrupt with increasing age. Over four centuries, the cost of his protection grew ever more burdensome, until eventually Keraptis was taking a piece of everything that the people of Tostenhca grew, made, or sold. With the announcement of yet another levy—one-third of all newborn children—the people rose as one, ousting Keraptis and his personal bodyguard of deranged gnomes. Homeless, the wizard and his followers fled to the cities of the south and west. But wherever Keraptis went, his reputation preceded him, and he found no other settlements willing to accept his "protection." During these travels, which lasted most of three centuries, the wizard acquired several implements of surpassing power. The secret gnomish conclave from which he drew his bodyguard gave him the hammer called Whelm. In return for aid that would enable them to crack their divinely ordained prison, the mythical Cyclopes presented Keraptis with the trident named Wave. While future-communing with the last living entities of a dying multiverse, he received the sword called Blackrazor. But true immortality still eluded his grasp. Three hundred years after leaving Tostenhca, Keraptis learned of a great volcano called White Plume Mountain, in which still-living druids of the Elder Age guarded the secrets of immortality. Within the volcano, the wizard found a tangled maze of lava tunnels and an ancient druid serving as the sole protector of Elder secrets. The two fought a titanic battle for ownership of White Plume Mountain and its ancient mysteries, but in the end the wizard prevailed. After casting the druid's remains into a sea of magma, the triumphant Keraptis penetrated to the Druid's Fane, a secret chamber protected by molten rock.
There, among other treasures of ancient sorcery, he found the archetypal iceblade Frostrazor and an enigmatic statuette. Keraptis used the figurine’s power to pronounce a heinous curse that laid waste to distant Tostenhca, thus exacting his revenge at last. Thereafter, Keraptis focused all of his vast faculties on the problem of death. He embarked on a dozen separate research efforts, all aimed at achieving eternal life without the need for constant magical maintenance and healing. It was one such project, empowered by the four enchanted implements he had obtained, that eventually allowed Keraptis to step forth from the Prime Material Plane into a distant shadowy realm where, he hoped, he would leave behind the constraints of mortality forever. Keraptis quit the volcano some five hundred years past. No one knows whether he achieved his ultimate goal or still pursues it in some far, dim dimension. Whatever his fate, Keraptis never came to White Plume Mountain again. [Return to While Plume Mountain  - 3,4]

Masterless, the company of gnomes loyal to Keraptis continued to abide within the active volcano, living off the gargantuan fungal gardens that the wizard had magically grown inside the caverns. Generations were born, only to live out stale, sunless lives and finally die within the mount a in. At last, some one hundred years ago, an invasion fractured the placid flow of days beneath White Plume. Lured by tales of treasure, several powerful heroes calling themselves the Brotherhood of the Tome burrowed into the sealed-off chambers of the volcano and stole the wizard’s four implements of power: Wave, Blackrazor, Whelm, and Frostrazor. The theft of these weapons trapped Keraptis in his shadowy realm, preventing his return to the Prime Material Plane. The residents of White Plume realized that more attacks might follow now that outsiders knew about the complex inside the mountain. Seeking protection, the gnomes opened the sealed caverns wherein Keraptis had conducted his research. Though they uncovered many wonders, it was the discovery of Keraptis-imprints that changed life under White Plume Mountain forever. As part of his research into immortality, Keraptis had tried for some time to embody himself as a being of pure thought in the matrix of a certain kind of spell. In that way, he reasoned, he could live forever in the minds of others. Though he ultimately abandoned this idea, the fruit of his research—several variant copies of the spell on scrolls — still remained. Each of these dweomers (called Keraptis-imprints or K-imprints) incorporated a full or partial copy of the wizard’s persona and knowledge, though all were in some way damaged or incomplete. Upon finding these scrolls in an opened chamber, an over-eager gnome immediately memorized one of them, thereby installing a copy of the absent wizard‘s consciousness in his own mind. Believing himself to be Keraptis, he rose up and began to gather back the stolen weapons of power that the ancient wizard had owned. [RtWPM - 4]
Historical Development of Keraptis: Erik Mona, Lisa Stevens, Steve Wilson

Thingizzard, Witch of the Fens
c.-800 CY              There were those who arrived without fanfare. Thingizzard, Witch of the Fens, was one such; she was already dwelling in The Great Swamp, north of White Plume Mountain, when the Elder Druid arrived, so who can say from whence she came. She certainly can’t. 
Thingizzard was already living in the Great Swamp when Keraptis descended on White Plume Mountain some thirteen hundred years ago. Though the wizard thought nothing of attacking the volcano’s Elder druid guardian, he chose not to trifle with the Witch of the Fens. It may well be that Keraptis thought her insignificant, but it is more likely that he left her alone because of his phobia concerning undead. Though she is not human, Thingizzard appears as an old woman with pure white hair. She doesn’t know her own origins and doesn’t care to learn them; her only interest is maintaining the peculiar” ecology” of the Great Swamp. In fact, regular infusions of Thingizzard’s necromantic potions have made this place what it is. The witch pours these concoctions into the water regularly to nurture her ”children” — the  bog mummies. She can call these creatures to her defense at any time [….] Not only is the Witch of the Fens very strong […]), she [can] also […]: animate dead, […] control weather, curse, dream, [and affect the minds of any within her sight.] In addition, her knowledge of herbalism and potion brewing rivals that of the most respected mages in the land. [RtWPM - 15]

Tharizdun Heretic
-563 CY Evil always finds a foothold. The Sueloise acolytes of Tharizdun had ventured out long before the Reign of Colourless Fire, spreading their master’s word of hopelessness and oblivion to any who might listen. Most found their message abhorrent. Just so the Highfolk. The Olven knew much after so many millennia, and they knew Tharizdun’s message well, and were ever vigilant against it.
The Temple was built in a previous age, a secret place of worship to Tharizdun, He of Eternal Darkness. It drew the most wicked persons to it, and the cult flourished for generations, sending out its minions from time to time to enact some horrible deed upon the lands around. However, a great battle eventually took place between Tharizdun and those opposed to his evil. Unable to destroy him, they were strong enough to over- come his power and imprison him somewhere, by means none have ever been able to discover. Thus Tharizdun disappeared from the face of the earth, and from all of the other known planes, and has not been seen again since. [WG4 - 3]

A temple to Tharizdun is located near the Realm of the Highfolk, it is cleared, but a mystic force keeps it from being destroyed. [OJ1] (4957 SD/1588 FT)

After a time his servants returned again to the Temple, deserted as it was of any manifestation of their deity. Amongst these wicked folk were many powerful magic-users and clerics. All sought with utmost endeavor to discern what had happened to Tharizdun, so that he could be freed and returned to rule over them once again. All attempts were in vain, although the divinations and seekings did reveal to these servants of Eternal Darkness that a “Black Cyst” existed below the Temple. By physical work and magical means they delved downward to reach the Black Cyst. What they discovered there dismayed and disheartened them. In the hemisphere of black needlerock (floating as if by levitation) a huge form could be seen. Was this the physical manifestation of Tharizdun? None could tell. The misty form was black and indistinct and enclosed in vaporous purple energy as well. No ritual, no spell, no magic could pierce the enigma. As time passed, the seekers ritualized their attempts to determine if this was their imprisoned deity. An altar of black needlerock was constructed directly under the 12’ long form so that it seemed to rest upon the stone. As generations passed, various other things necessary to survival in the Black Cyst were formalized into a paeon of lament and worship for Tharizdun, and endless services to awaken the being were conducted by route. Then, as time continued to pass, even this ritual grew stale and meaningless. The clerics of Tharizdun began to pilfer the hoard of beautiful gems sacrificed to him by earlier servants – 333 gems of utmost value [….] Replacing these jewels with stones of much less value, the former servants of this deity slipped away with their great wealth to serve other gods and wreak evil elsewhere. 
In the end only a handful of faithful clerics remained to repeat the daily ritual of attempted awakening. Some of this handful were slain by monsters, others eventually grew old and died. The last High Priest [Wongas], alone, wandered off into the place reserved for his remains in the dungeon, for alone he was unable to take his proper place in the Undertemple. Thus, a century ago, [Wongas] died, and the Temple was without inhabitant of human sort. [WG4 - 3]

Black Cyst
“You have dared all and descended the spiralling purple steps formed by the strange column of gray smoke, lilac light, and jet black. This swirling, pulsing column of radiation has opened a means of entrance to somewhere far beneath the surface of the earth - or perhaps to some place not of this earth. All of you feel the press of time, a sense of urgency. How long will this strange gate remain open? You all hope not to learn the hard way as you hurry down a seemingly endless flight of “steps” made of the purple radiance. Ten minutes seems more like ten hours, but at last you have come to what must be your final goal, for the stairs of light give way to more mundane ones of black stone…. [WG4 - 29]

-458 CY    The people of Oerid had been freed of the oppressive Suel. Their queen Johydee tricked them into teaching her their magic, and into moulding a most singular mask, whose clay had been secretly infused with her very lifeblood. And once free, they chose to leave their homeland west of the Barrier Peaks, for they knew the nature of the Suel.
About the year 180 OR, the council of [headmen] of this Oeridian tribal confederation, heeding the advice of their shamans, chose to lead the Oeridians out of their ancestral homeland and make them a migrant folk. Some of their gods had said the Oeridians were destined for unsurpassed greatness as a people, and the source of their power lay in the east. [TAB -55]
Abandoning their lands to the Baklunish and pursued by humanoid marauders who cared for nothing but looting and murder, the Oeridians headed for the great pass between the Barrier Peaks and Yatil Mountains. They crossed through the Tuflik Valley (now Ket) in 187 OR and began their generations-long trek to glory across the Flanaess. [TAB - 55]
The fierce Oeridian tribes likewise moved east, thrusting aside Flan and Suloise in their path. The Oerid migrations were similar in cause to those of the Suel, in that the Baklunish-Suloise Wars, and the hordes of Euroz and associated humanoid groups used as mercenaries by both sides, tended to pillage northwards and eastwards, driving the Oerids before them. [Folio - 5]

A Vision of Doom
-448 CY The Year of the Prophets. They read doom in the cards, the bones, and the tea leaves. Within the span of a generation the empire would fall, they predicted. Repent, they cried. Turn from your wicked ways, they plead, warning against worship of the Chained God, and warding against something they named Shothragot. To no avail. The masses laughed and turned their backs on the doomsayers. But it was plain in their eyes that their laughter was false. They turned their backs on their prophets because they knew their emperor was displeased, and they feared their emperor’s wrath more than their prophets’ doom.
Seven different prophets foretell of the destruction of the Suel Empire within 30 years. The Emperor, Yellax-ad-Zol has all seven drawn and quartered, even though one of the prophets is a High Priest of Beltar. [OJ11] (196 OR/ 5068 SD/1703 FT)

-447 CY Not all were deaf to the prophets’ warnings. The Emperor’s son, Zellifar, took heed, for, if seven prophets should face certain death to warn of impending disaster, who was he dispute them. Small wonder: Zellifar knew more than most. He heeded their warnings because he’d read the Lament for Lost Tharizdun, that foul scripture penned by that mad priest Wongas, who’d vanished mysteriously into the East a century earlier. And he’d seen with his own eyes what that dark lord demanded at His worship, when it had been fashionable to be seen to attend such things, and knew what that Chained God desired even if those other revellers did not.
Zellifar-ad-Zol, son of the Emperor, mage/high priest of Beltar, breaks with his father and takes over 8,000 Suloise loyal to himself, and flees the kingdom, eastward. The ferocity and magical might of the movement scatters the Oerdians in its path, causing the remainder of the Oerdian to migrate. Slerotin, called “the Last High Mage” causes a huge tunnel to be bored into the Crystalmists, through which the Zolite Suel flee. He then seals the tunnel closed at both ends, trapping one lesser branch of the family, the Lerara, inside. The Zolites continue eastward heading toward the southeast as well as to Hepmonoland. [OJ11] (197 OR/ 5069 SD/1704 FT)

The Suloise Migration soon followed. Not all were as powerful or as cruel and depraved as their ruling houses, and they soon learned that those not as powerful or as cruel were as dispensable as slaves. They were thrown into the war with the Bakluni, and they died in that war while their high Houses looked on, not risking their own sons. And so, they fled. And they brought their own cruelty and depravity with them. (5069 SD)
The Oeridians were not alone in their drive eastward. Suloise refugees fled in many directions from the cruelties of their tyrannical and war-ravaged empire. Many Suloise crossed the Crystalmists through the Kendem Pass, which they called the Harsh Pass, braving every sort of monster and privation to seek the fabled security of the uncivilized lands beyond. [TAB - 55]

-446 CY The Emperor was not pleased! Traitor, he screamed, when he heard of his son’s betrayal. His advisors and courtiers bowed and slunk away from their emperor’s wrath, for they knew it all too well, and feared their being heir to it in his son’s absence.
 The emperor commands that the Houses Schnai, Cruskii and Fruztii move [and] bring his son, and the "Unloyal" back to face justice. [OJ1] (198 OR/ 5070 SD/1705 FT)

-445 to -423 CY  The Zolite scatter the Flanae before them, and move south to the Tilvanot Peninsula. The three pursuing houses, unable to find the magical tunnel, turn north, where they are met by regrouped Oeridians and fearful Flanae who harry and drive these Suel Houses south. (5071 to 199 to 221 OR/ 5093 SD/ 1706 to 1728 FT/ 2216 to 2238 BH)

-423 CY Zellifar was not the saviour his followers had imagined; indeed, his reading the Lament for Lost Tharizdun had twisted him and he proved as much a tyrant as his father, so, soon after taking flight, there were those among them who saw that they had traded one cruel emperor for another, and they began to steal away in the chaos he fostered as they were driven further east.
One of Zellifar’s minions, the High Priest Pellipardus, slips away from the Zolites and takes his family. Zellifar does not pursue, fearing that this will take his attention away from the Three Houses of Pursuit: the Schnai, the Fruztii, and the Cruski. [OJ11] (223 OR/ 5093 SD/1728 FT)

-422 CY Zellifar parleys with the Houses of Pursuit. His Archmage, Slerotin, unleashes a mass enfeeblement on the mages of the three Houses, and a mass suggestion upon the other members of the Houses. Slerotin is blasted by magical energies upon the casting of these mighty spells, leaving the Rift Canyon as the only physical remains of this energy. The remnants of the Three Pursuing Houses flee northeastward.
The Houses of Pursuit have been mind-swept. They have no purpose and no direction and no mages whatsoever after they are hit by these spells. They do not know why they are searching or what they are searching for. They have two binders but do not realize it! As they move aimlessly, they begin to seek a homeland. They do not remember where they came from. The memories of their gods are virtually blotted out.
The three houses that eventually settle in the Barbarian States lose almost all contact with the more ‘civilized’ and good gods of their people. As they begin to multiply and prosper Kord and Llerg become major gods to them but Fortubo, Lendor, Lydia and Jascar are forgotten.
Farther south in Ratik a slightly different mix of peoples assembles. Gods like Phaulkon, Norebo and Phyton are still remembered. [OJ11] (224 OR/ 5094 SD/ 1729 FT)

Rain of Colourless Fire
Invoked Devastation and Rain of Colourless Fire Strike
The war waxed, and in their fury and despair, the Suel and the Bakluni used ever more powerful magic to defeat their enemy, until mere armies were nothing more than a mass of bone and blood to be ground down, and melted into the soil. Their magics grew until the Suel set the Invoked Devastation upon the Bakluni and the Bakluni gathered about the Tovag Baragu and called down the Rain of Colorless Fire in retaliation. Their lands withered and died, and burned, and before long, those once great empires were no more, and those people who survived the fury were fleeing for their lives, for those who tarried, surely died. They were met by their former thralls, who remembered their past bondage, and took steps to prevent their falling into such again.
These were joined after the Rain of Colorless Fire by a flood of weary survivors who walked through the Crystalmists by way of the Passage of Slerotin. This magically engineered tunnel, which was recently rediscovered and is now being exited at the border of present-day Yeomanry. Though the new land they entered was green and fertile, most Suloise pressed eastward, eager to put as much distance between themselves and their decaying empire as possible. [TAB - 55]
Some of the Suloise attempted to cross north of the Nyr Dyv, but they were driven back by tribes of warlike Oeridians who had followed the Velverdyva River downstream, still seeking their destiny. Many of these Oeridians settled along the Velverdyva, forming the core of the land that would be later called Ferrond by the Great Kingdom, and Furyondy and Veluna today. [LGG]

Zellifar enters the Griff Mountains alone
-419 CY Zellifar enters the Griff Mountains alone. None know where he goes or what he does there. [OJ11] (225 OR/ 5097 SD/1732 FT)

-417 CY Yellax-ad-Zol was enraged by his son’s betrayal and had sent out three of his most loyal Houses to slaughter his son’s followers and to drag his son back in chains. They had only just left when the Colourless Fire burned their homeland; they had seen the fire fall beyond the Crystalmists; they had seen the Hellfurnaces open up and spit their own molten rain into the sky. And though they continued their pursuit, as they were bid, they knew that they would never return.
The Three Houses of Pursuit move into the Thillonrian Peninsula. They turn to the gods they deem to be strong in the face of the harsh climate; Kord and Llerg. Magic is not practiced, and only priests, wise men and skalds may use it without fear. Witches are not uncommon, but are forced away from “normal” men. The skalds and priests develop a runic alphabet that carries mystic powers.
They do not know where they have come from. Their skalds do not know of the Suel Empire. They have retained memory of their more primitive gods such as Kord and Llerg. Some others like Phaulkon are still remembered but the more civilized gods (Lydia, for example), are forgotten! [OJ11] (227 OR/ 5099 SD/1734 FT)

-416 CY Zellifar, last scion of Emperors, teleports from the Griff Mountains back to the remains of the Suloise Empire. He is destroyed by the lingering magics and final throes of conflict in the area. Thus ends the Suloise Empire, mightiest and longest lived of Empires on Oerth, and its reckoning (although some skalds of the Northern Barbarians, and the Scarlet Brotherhood still use it to keep records). [OJ11] (228 OR/ 5100 SD/1735 FT)

Stories tell of a barbarian empire created by the warriors of Vatun, the "Great God of the North." The empire, if it existed at all, lasted only for the lifetime of the first fasstal of the Suelii. Some say Vatun was betrayed by a companion deity, but others blame a rival Oeridian god (Telchur) and his clerics; a few even say that the barbarians proved unworthy, being unable to sustain a mighty god's presence. Regardless, as recorded history dawned in the north, the barbarians' empire was only a tale of old. [LGG]
Their skalds sang epic tales of that time. They said that were the “Five Blades of Curusk” united, Vatun shall be freed from his imprisonment and work his revenge against Telchur and the Oerids. But those were mere tales of fancy. Everyone knew as much. Had Vatun existed, no mere southern god could have displaced him with such ease. But the old songs dwelt deep in their hearts. They’d been sang to them since they’d lain a-cradle. And so they raided the southern seas and the southern coasts, awaiting Vatun’s triumphant return. For that was what Vatun had commanded them to do.
And Vatun punished those tribes that did not, sending quakes and high seas and fierce winds until they set sail south once again.

The Spikey Forest
The Fruztii settled in the lands north of the Timberway and west if the Spikey forests where the climate tended towards a more temperate temperament. They farmed their fertile lands. They harvested the bounty of Grendep Bay. They even mined the eastern Griffs. But they also raided the southern coasts with abandon, for those people were weak.

The Schnai settled the land between the Corusk Mountains and the wide Grendep Bay, with only the Spikey Forest separating them with the Fruztii. Despite their identical climes, the landscape of the Schnai is more rugged than the Fruztii’s, though not so rough as the Cruski’s. The same could be said of the people, who are more factious than the Fruztii, but more united than the Cruski. It was these differences that inevitably brought their kin under their dominion.
They may not have always been the most powerful of the Suel barbarians, but they never come under the rule of either of their cousin states. Perhaps this is due to the superior seamanship of these barbarians, for they have never been attacked by land. [LGG - 106]

The Cruski settled further east upon Rhizia, the Thellonrian Peninsula, than any of their kin. Theirs is the coldest and most severe of the Suel barbarian kingdoms. Fiercely independent, they hunted and fished and whaled from their seaside towns and their mountain steadings. And like all of their kin, they built longships, for it was and is their way to raid south, and prey upon those plying their trade at sea.
The Cruski themselves are a people of pure Suel race, speaking the Cold Tongue as their native language. Though they have always been the least numerous of the Suel barbarians, their royal lineage is the oldest. The king of Cruski holds the title "Fasstal of all the Suelii," indicating his preeminence among the nobles of the Suel race and giving him the right to pronounce judgment on any of them. Politically, this has little real importance, for he has no power to enforce his judgments. However, it is said by some that the god Vatun granted this authority to the fasstal of the Suelii; if Vatun awoke, the full authority of the office would return to the fasstal, and a new barbarian empire would emerge under his leadership. [LGG - 54]

Post Devastation:
Centuries ago Vecna rose. And Vecna fell. Epic sagas could and have been sung of his dark deeds and exploits. His Occluded Empire lingered long after his passing, as have the cursed tomes he studied and laid down. But none have endured as did his Hand and his Eye, for they were a part of him, and still are.

The Eye and Hand of Vecna
Each time one of these artifacts has surfaced, disaster and ruin have followed. Paddin the Vain used the Hand to start the Insurrection of the Yaheetes, a rebellion the Emperor of the Malachite Throne later crushed. With the Hand's power, the so-called Vecna II held monstrous sway over Tyrus for 100 years. The Eye was instrumental in the extermination of the house of Hyeric, once the ruling dynasty in Nyrond, and Miro the Paladin-King was corrupted by the power of the Hand. Each time, the Hand and Eye have failed their owners at some crucial moment.
Over the years, a cult of worshippers has arisen to venerate the vile Lord Vecna and work to pave the way for his return. For this cult, the Eye and the Hand are powerful relics worth obtaining at any cost. Their servants are always watchful for any reappearance of the Eye or Hand, eager to track down and snatch them up from whomever possesses them.
The most recent of these reappearances occurred only a few years past, just prior to the great wars that engulfed the Flanaess, when both the Eye and Hand fell into the clutches of the cult. This event was marked by foreboding failures of magic and evil omens across the land. Fortunately by all accounts, the Eye and Hand were cast through the dimensional portal of Tovag Baragu on the Dry Steppes and lost in some unrecorded void of the outer planes. [Book of  Artifacts - 35]

The Cup and Talisman of Al'Akbar
Indeed, artifacts are slippery things. They pass from hand to hand with a rapidity that baffles the mind. Or, maybe not. They can be dangerous to own, and lethal to play with. A boon, and a bane, both. Such was the case with the Cup and Talisman of Al’Akbar, last rumored to be in Bandit Kingdoms, where they likely fell into the hands of someone of neither lawful, not of good, temperament. They have likely divested themselves of him, for they have minds of their own, artifacts, and fell into the hands of someone more suited to them, or someone who could transport them to someone or somewhere else, if not.
This pair of holy relics were given by the gods of the Paynims to their most exalted high priest of lawful [and] good [temperament] in the days following the Invoked Devastation. It was lost to demihuman raiders and was last rumored to be somewhere in the Southeastern portion of the Bandit Kingdoms. The Cup is made of hammered gold, chased with silver filigree, and set with 12 great gems in electrum setting [….] [DMG 1e - 157]

Unfortunately, the miraculous powers of the Cup and Talisman did not bring happiness to the people or peace to the temple. When travelers returned to their distant homelands with tales of these two wonders, emperors, kings, and warlords coveted the items. Driven by greed and fear, they marched their armies and sent their agents, to seize the treasures. Just what battles occurred and who won them is an answer lost with the names of those who warred for the artifacts. Perhaps one rose victorious over the others only to have the two treasures seized from him. Perhaps they were stolen by bandits in the chaos of war. All that is known is that when the wars finally ceased, the Cup and Talisman had disappeared forever. Even today, though, the legend of their miraculous power lives on in expressions such as "cured by the cup" for any miraculous healing or "By the star of Akbar," an oath to ward off disease. [Book of Artifacts - 30]

c.-400 CY              Once they were on the move, it was only a matter of time before the Oerdian and Suloise settlers arrived in the Flanaess.
           The inhabitants of this region have always been fiercely independent. During the Migrations, the warlike Flan tribes of the Yatil Mountains absorbed most of the Oeridian, Suloise, and Baklunish invaders flooding the great Yatils pass called the Wyrm's Tail, though several Flan tribes were driven from the lowlands by Oeridians who established freeholds for their own clans. [LGG - 85]

-366 CY    Not all Flan kingdoms were as formidable as the Ur-Flan were. And in the wake of those wizard-priests, they had settled into as far more peaceful and pastoral existence. And so, the coming of the Aerdy tribes incited panic among the citizens of Veralos, for it was only a city of artisans, highly skilled in creating the wonders of ages past, magical tablets and statuary and ensorcelled jewelry, even weaponry that was coveted by all the lords of Sulm, Itar, Ahlissa, and Nuria; but alas, they were not skilled in those arms. Legends say that an Ur-Flan prophet came to that ancient citadel of Veralos, and reaping their fear, he persuaded them to seek the succor of an ancient and sinister force. [Dragon #293 - 90,91] (278 OR/ 5150 SD/ 1785 FT)

-365 CY     Veralos committed the Dark Rites bid them, and the sleeping power rose up from the depths of the Rift Canyon and the city of Veralos was no more.
When the Aerdy came upon the Rift Valley, all they found were steep cliffs, howling winds, undulant grasses, and dust-devils. They said the dust-devils swooned and wailed. They said their dreams were plagued by visions of untold horrors. And they quit the cliffs of the Rift Canyon before too long, having never raised a single palisade to defend the howling plains or the twisted forests that surrounded it. [Dragon #293 - 90,91] (279 OR/ 5151 SD/ 1786 FT)

The Oeridians swept the Flan aside with ease. They were fierce. They were relentless. And they’d come prepared. They had learned from their former masters, and remembered those lessons well. They studied those Suel books and artifacts they’d taken with them. They tinkered. They failed at first to comprehend what they studied, and then one day they didn’t. Great magics were revealed to them. And the art of artifice. Leuk-O was particularly adept at such studies. And he was a wonderful tinkerer. He recreated those marvelous machines the Suel had used against them with such deadly effect. And he used them well. [D82, D299]
Restless and driven, great pre-Aerdy commanders of warfare such as Andorann, Leuk-O, with his massive magical juggernaut, and Tuerny the Merciless conquered vast swathes of land because this was what they had to do. No matter how rich and fertile any particular land might be, there was always an imperative to expand further, to head beyond, to conquer the vastness of the Flanaess and gain the longed-for glory of triumph and rulership. [Ivid - 6]

The Oeridians brought a handful of magical artifacts of extraordinary antiquity with them. Until its rumored destruction by the earth elementals of Al-Fasrallah, the Mighty Servant of Leuk-O—a huge war machine/juggernaut resistant to damage from weapons and magic—and the similar machine of Lum the Mad wreaked havoc on opposing armies. Orbs of dragonkind were used to capture dragons from the Griff-Corusk Mountains and press them into service. The effects of a squadron of dragons creating magical fear in a wide swathe was decisive in many a battle. Of course, such artifacts as these and the crystal of the ebon flame and Johydee's mask are well known to sages and students of history. Other artifacts of equal power of non-Oeridian origin are known to them also. But the timing of the use of the artifacts the Oeridians possessed, and the employ of planar travel and teleportation to move them from one site of battle to another with great speed, made the artifacts devastating in the hands of Oeridian combat mages. [Ivid - 7]

Orb of Dragonkind:         It is written that when certain of the good deities conspired to devise means to easily control the evil dragons plaguing mankind, demon servants of evil changed the magical forces involved so as to include all of dragonkind and then caused the Orbs fashioned to have inimical properties as well. In all, [eight] globes of carven white jade were made, [one] each for each age in a dragon's life span. The smallest is but [three] inches in diameter, the largest is about [ten] inches across. Each is covered with bas reliefs of entwined dragons of all sorts, the whole being of incredible hardness, and somehow imprisoning the very essence of all dragons. [DMG, 1e - 159]

-217 CY In time, the Aerdy conquered all the lands east of the Nyr Dyv; indeed, most of the Flanaess was theirs, save the Sheldomar Valley, the Thillonrian Peninsula, and the Tilvenot Peninsula.
The strongest tribe of the Oeridians, the Aerdi, settled the rich fields east of the Nyr Dyv and there founded the Kingdom of Aerdy, eventually to be renamed the Great Kingdom. [Folio - 5]

-110 CY Battle of a Fortnight's Length
After several decades of increasing growth, power, and prestige, Aerdy embarked upon a series of conquests, the greatest of which was the defeat of the Nyrondal cavalry squadrons at the Battle of a Fortnight's Length. [Folio] (534 OR/ 5406 SD/ 2041 FT)
Theirs was no longer just the Kingdom of Aerdy. In their hubris, they named their domain The Great Kingdom, for theirs was the greatest in their memory, surpassing even the breadth of that once vast Suloise Empire.
Thereafter, Aerdy was known as the Great Kingdom, whose monarch held sway from the Sundi swamplands in the south, westwards along the shores of the Telfic Gulf and the Sea of Yar, to the Nyr Dyv and from thence northwards through the Shield Lands and beyond the Tenh. [Folio - 5]

After the Battle of a Fortnight’s Length, the Duke of Tenh pledged fealty to the King of Aerdy, giving the Aerdian monarch authority over the duke and his personal holdings in Tenh and the Coltens, thus ending Flan dominion over the Flanaess.
Not all nobles and officials of Tenh bent the knee to the King of Aerdy, maintaining Tenh’s independence, but without support and armies to field, their declaration was tantamount to posturing. They were living in the Great Kingdom now, regardless their delusions of the supposed continuance of a bygone age.

The duchy joined in a short-lived alliance with the Nyrondal princes until the Battle of a Fortnight's Length. In the wake of that defeat, the duke of Tenh pledged fealty to the king of Aerdy, giving that monarch authority over the duke and his personal holdings in Tenh and the Cohens. Neither the Convocation of Knights and Marshals, nor any of the other nobles or landholders, ever endorsed the duke's pledge. They considered Tenh to be an independent realm, though they chose not to test the Great Kingdom's claim on the field of battle, effectively bowing to Aerdy for over four centuries. [LGG - 112,113]

1 CY       With his Declaration of Universal Peace, the first Overking was crowned in Rauxes.
The first Overking was Nasran from the House of Cranden. Proclaiming universal peace, Nasran saw defeated Suloise, Flan and rebellious humanoid rabbles of no consequence and no threat to the vast might of Aerdy. [Ivid - 3]
But for all his well-meaning words, all power was to be his, and all Houses were to bend the knee to his magnificence.
However, it quickly became clear to all the noble houses of the Aerdi that power in the Great Kingdom was being centralized in the hands of the rulers of Rauxes, and that the fortunes of the Great Kingdom would now rest with them. The needs and intrigues of the Celestial Houses would soon become subordinate to the politics of the Malachite Throne. [LGG - 23]

c. 100 CY                The fell sword Druniazth, servant of Tharizdun, had passed from hand to hand in its quest to release its master. Those who wielded it were themselves wielded, used and discarded as each in turn were found wanting, until, centuries after being lost by Baron Lum the Mad at the Battle of the Bonewood, it came to one who would not be so used, and it was cast into the Rift Canyon as she sought to rid herself of its influence.

108 CY  Overking Manshen desired to secure his northern border. The Fruztii Barbarians were a constant threat, and he meant to pacify the North once and for all.

In the spring of 108 CY, Aerdi forces massed in the frontier town of Knurl. With Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom in the vanguard, the force swept northeast, between the Rakers and the Blemu Hills, in a march to the sea. By autumn, after having been met with relatively light resistance, the Aerdi succeeded in uprooting most Fruztii encampments, and the foundations of a great stronghold were laid at Spinecastle. The Aerdi freed Johnsport in a pitched battle with the barbarians before the onset of winter. Sensing that this would be only the first phase of a long struggle, Aerdi commanders summoned thousands of contingents from North Province over the objections of the herzog, a Hextorian who had wanted to lead the forces into battle himself.
With the defeat of the Fruztii at Johnsport, the call went out that winter, and thousands of their kinsmen poured south along the Timberway the next year. Marching through passes in the Rakers, they assembled and attacked the works underway at Spinecastle, focusing their assault on the heart of the Aerdi fortifications. The defenders, including the bulk of the elite Aerdi infantry, were quickly outflanked and surrounded. A young Knight Protector of the Great Kingdom, Caldni Vir, a Heironean cavalier from Edgefield, commanded a large cavalry force patrolling the hills when the barbarian force struck. As part of the contingent led by the herzog into the north, he pivoted and headed back to Spinecastle while anticipating orders from his liege to counterattack. When the courier of the herzog delivered orders for Vir to pull back to the south in retreat, he spat in disgust and ordered the standard of the Naelax prince to be trampled in the mud. He then raised the standard of the Imperial Orb and charged.
Approaching the site of the battle from the north, he descended upon the barbarians from higher ground, and they were unprepared for the hundreds of heavy horse and lance that bore down on them in the next hour. Their lines were quickly broken, and the Imperial Army was rescued to eventually take the day in what would be called the Battle of the Shamblefield. The Aerdi drove the surviving barbarians out of the hills, controlling the land all the way to the Loftwood by the following spring. Overking Manshen recognized the courage of the young knight Vir, and raised him as the first marquis of Bone March. The land was so named for the high price paid for its taking, as the fallen imperial regulars numbered into the thousands. [LGG - 36]
Thus the Overking named Vir the first Marquis of the Bone March. And thus were the Fruztii broken.
It is said that the blood of those thousands of unsanctified and unburied Barbarian and Imperial corpses was pressed into the mortar of Spinecastle. It is also said that the Fruztii laid a curse on its unfinished walls. 

113 CY  The North was a mystery to most in the Flanaess, a bitter cold, savage land where monsters and barbarians dwelt. Bards sung sagas of what might have once been tall tales, myth, or even what might have been. Alisedran had wondered as much, and so, he set his mind to discovering how tall those tales actually were. He mounted an expedition to those wild lands, and a year later, he returned and published On Sledge and Horseback to the Barbarians of the North, an exploration of that far region, and about a curiosity, a mysterious hanging glacier that now bears his name. Where might that mysterious glacier lie? Who knows? The barabarians and the dwarves are rather closed-lipped about it. [Dragon  #191 - 68, #243 - 90, #265 - 58, FTAA - 67, WGR4 - 93]

The Ice-Shard Tome
The Ice-Shard Tome

Finally, the book contains an accurate map to the Hanging Glacier of Alisedran, with notation in no language known in the Flanaess, either current or ancient. [Dragon #243 - 89]

The Hanging Glacier of Alisedran
Another sight believed to be a holy place for Telchur and for over 450 years, is the Hanging Glacier of Alisedran. This structure, found in 113 CY by the explorer after whom it is named, supposedly lies somewhere in the Corusk Mountains. Though the priests of Telchur still search for it, the barbarians of the Thillonrian Peninsula bear them no great love and have made the search a fruitless one to date. [Dragon #265 - 58]

122 CY  Further buffer was required if the new lands were to be protected from further incursions by the Barbarians. The Fruztii were broken, and the Overking wished to capitalize on their weakness. General Sir Pelgrave Ratik of Winetha was commanded to lead an expeditionary force to push the Aerdian frontier back to the foothills of the Griff Mountains.
Ratik and his forces inaugurated their expedition by crossing Kalmar Pass, taking the town of Bresht in a blustery winter campaign that cost the Fruztii dearly. After brokering an alliance with the dwarven lords of the eastern Rakers, Ratik proceeded to force a retreat of the Fruztii up the narrow coast and into the northern fastness of the Timberway. He wisely refused to follow them into an obvious trap and instead broke off the pursuit and fortified his gains. He was immediately hailed a hero in the south and his legend grew quickly. [LGG - 89,90]

He established a fort overlooking Grendep Bay at Onsager Point that he named Marner, and used it as a base to solidify his gains. He fostered an alliance with the dwerfolk, with the gnomes. And he was also fair with those Fruztii who remained on their freeholds, so long as they declared fealty to the Overking.

128 CY  The Fruztii and Schnai pooled their strength to launch a concentrated naval attack on Marner. They almost defeated Ratik and his forces, for theirs were far greater in number than his. But Sir Percival Ratik knew that he could never defeat such a force in the field, so he set the approaches to Marner aflame, forcing the Barbarians into a narrow salient where they were cut to pieces by the siege engines of his fort and a squadron of the Imperial Navy. Bruised, the Barbarians retreat, only to find their longships ablaze.

130 CY  The Overking was pleased and elevated Pelgrave to Baron, and gifted him the Timberway as his personal fief. His doing so was a small thing, it cost him nothing. And the Timberway was hardly secure and he and Sir Percival knew it; but Percival was pleased, too, nonetheless, and he campaigned hard to defeat what resistance remained there. And so, again, the Overking was pleased. The walled town of Bresht was renamed Ratikhill in honour of Sir Percival’s victory. That too was another small thing, and that too cost the Overking nothing.
            The overking was sufficiently impressed with the victory that in 130 CY he elevated Pelgrave Ratik to the aristocracy, granting him the title of baron and the new lands as a personal fief. The family of Ratik gained the status of a minor noble house within the Great Kingdom, The walled town of Bresht was renamed Ratikhill in honor of the new baron, and it quickly prospered from trade with Spinecastle passing through Kalmar Pass. [LGG - 90]                

167 CY  Monduiz Dephaar was born in Bellport to noble lineage. He was elevated at a young age to its Barony when his family fell to Fruztii raids along the Solnor Coast.

c.         187 CY             
Monduiz 
As a member of the Knights Protector, Monduiz Dephaar distinguished himself defending against the seasonal Barbarian raids, fighting alongside such heroes as Lord Kargoth. He fought with a fierceness that was frightening to behold, and in time, as his reputation spread up and down the coast, his name came to be known and then feared by the Barbarians. His atrocities were overlooked, initially; but eventually they could not be ignored. The Knights censured him, but he carried on unabated, then shunned; and in his fury, he left, and settled for a while among the Schnai, where his sword was welcomed, and where he could continue to raid and vent his rage upon the Fruztii.

            198 CY     The Sage Selvor the Younger proclaimed a coming time of strife and living death for the Great Kingdom. Those in power had no ears for such words in their time of unprecedented contentment.

200 CY     Leukish founded.
Leukish began as a trading post between Ferrond and Nyrondal. Later the Duchy of Urnst's own treasures, precious metals and stones, were discovered, and the city flourished as the duchy's size and wealth grew. [WG8 - 58]

213 CY  Royal Astrologers at Rel Astra proclaimed the coming of the Age of Sorrow, vindicating the disgraced Sage Selvor the Younger.

The new Overking Zelcor began to distance himself from the Knights Protector, for public opinion had swayed against them and their favour.

233 CY The fell sword Druniazth, servant of Tharizdun, was discovered in the Rift Canyon “by a group of illithids, who traded it to drow merchants in 233 CY. Their caravan, however, was attacked and destroyed somewhere in the Underdark between the Rift Canyon and the Crystalmists and the blade passed out of living memory.” [Dragon #294 - 96]

254 CY  Far from the influence of the Malachite Throne, the Viceroyalty of Ferrond declared independence from the Great Kingdom, and was thereafter called Furyondy. This marks the beginning of the dissolution of the Great Kingdom. Never again would their influence reach as far. In truth, its influence had not swayed Ferrond for some time.

Thrommel I crowned in the city of Dyvers. 
The heir to Viceroy Stinvri (the Viceroyalty had become hereditary some years previously) was crowned in Dyvers as Thrommel I, King of Furyondy, Prince of Veluna, Provost of the Northern Reaches, Warden General of the Vesve Forest, Marshall of the Shield Lands, Lord of Dyvers, etc. [Folio - 10]                

The migration of Pholtusians from the Great Kingdom increased with the independence of Furyondy, citing religious persecution. The people there had turned away from the Flan gods, remembering the time of the Ur-Flan and Occluded Empire, and having embraced the gods of Oerid, they no longer wished to be reminded of those times and of Pholtus’ failure. Most travel through Nyrond and settle in the western valleys of the Rakers among the Flan in a semi-independent Flannae state.
[Their message] is simple: "There is now only one hope of salvation, Pholtus of the Blinding Light. Only those blinded to iniquity and its lures can hope to prevail in these terrible times. Look at how the rich live while you travail to pay their taxes; is this right? But this is how Nyrond is. Hence, Nyrond must be changed, and we're the men to do it, just as we are the men to root out the evil within these lands which matches the evils of Iuz and Aerdi outside." [WGR4 The Marklands - 66]

Tenh, still independent of mind, wished a return to their own dominion. They had heard of the Great Kingdom’s fall into depravity and despotism, and encouraged by the its attention being drawn increasingly inward as the Death Knights ran amok and its provinces gradually sought their own council, they declared independence. They prepared for what response might come. And waited.

Chendl
283-288 CY         The capital of Furyondy had always been Dyvers. Dyvers was prosperous, Dyvers was sprawling, and Dyvers, as one might expect of a thriving port, could be, and was, a den of vice and iniquity. Steeped in profit and pleasure, Dyvers had grown secular, and Thrommel III had desired a devout and shining city befitting the glory of The Blinding Light. He had Chendl remade, and moved his court and government there, to be closer to the Archclericy at Voll.
[S]everal decades after Furyondy as such was formed, the king, Thrommel III, decided he needed a new capital. Thus, a new Chendl was built: a beautiful wealthy, clean, and peaceful city, a city of wide canals and graceful temples. It took five years for the city to progress from plans to reality, and thereafter it has remained unchanging . . . perfect. [WG8 - 83]








One must always give credit where credit is due. This History is made possible primarily by the Imaginings of Gary Gygax and his Old Guard, Lenard Lakofka among them, and the new old guards, Carl Sargant, James Ward, Roger E. Moore. And Erik Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, Frederick Weining. The list is interminable. Thanks to Steven Wilson for his GREYCHRONDEX and to Keith Horsfield for his “Chronological History of Eastern Oerik.”
Special thanks to Jason Zavoda for his compiled index, “Greyhawkania,” an invaluable research tool.
Primary sources for this history were the DMG 1e, Ivid the Undying, WGR5 Iuz the Evil, WG8 The Fate of Istus, Return to White Plume Mountain, WGR4 The Marklands, the Greyhawk Adventures hardcover, The World of Greyhawk Folio, The World of Greyhawk Gold Box, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, From the Ashes Box Set, The Adventure Begins, Book of Artifacts, The Oerth Journal, The Living Greyhawk Journals, Dragon Magazine 82, 191, 243, 256, 265, 293, 294, 299.


The Art:
All art is wholly owned by the artists.
P-E-A-C-E by huseyinkara
Keraptis, by Wayne Reynolds, Return to White Plume Mountain, 1999
Rain of Colourless Fire, by Erol Otus, World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
Hand and Eye of Vecna, from Book of Artifacts, 1993
Forbidden-Tome by 1157981433
Glacier by mndcntrl
Monduiz Dephaar, by Adam Rex, from Dragon #291, 2002
Bastion by oliverbeck


Sources:
1015 World of Greyhawk Boxed Set, 1983
1064 From the Ashes Boxed Set, 1992
2011A Dungeon Masters Guide, 1st Ed., 1979
9025 World of Greyhawk Folio, 1980
9399 WGR 5, Iuz the Evil, 1993
9577 The Adventure Begins, 1998
9578 Player’s Guide to Greyhawk, 1998
11742 Gazetteer, 2000
11743 Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 2000
Ivid the Undying, 1998
Dragon Magazine
OJ Oerth Journal, appearing on Greyhawk Online
LGJ et. al.
Greychrondex, Wilson, Steven B.
Greyhawkania, Jason Zavoda
The map of Anna B. Meyer