Tome of Dorgoth

The Northern Arm

The Northern Arm is the northern portion of the continent named Khandiin by the dwarves or, somewhat confusingly because they name almost everything this way, Laeryll by the elves. It is separated from the Southern Arm by the mountainous region where The Porcupine is situated.

History of the Northern Arm

The original schism of the elves

Many millennia ago, the Northern Arm was almost entirely covered by forest, with the exception of the present-day Labarean peninsula. Through their sheer beauty, several spots in the heartland of the Northern Arm opened up small openings to The Wild, from where magical creatures such as elves and pixies entered.

The elves especially made the Northern Arm their new home and they built communities in present-day Qosid and Silimanis, where they subsisted from hunting and gathering. It was their belief they were sent to the forest by the Bird Gods, to protect its nature and wildlife. While having a talent for magic, their creed was to limit its use to small daily conveniences.

All of this changed when The Shimmering came about. Magical energies flooded the newfound home of the elves and transformed some of them into living conduits for magical power. This is when the elves were split into wood elves, who maintained the old way of life, and high elves who actively pursued magical knowledge and were eager to reshape the world.

The high elves went eastward, leaving behind the wood elves to found a new community around a particularly tall tree, called the Temple Tree. Through their prayers, devotion and arcane rituals, the high elves caused the tree to grow bigger and bigger, and around its base a town emerged that would ultimately become the great city Prydisyrr.

Elves united

High elf communities around Prydisyrr traded goods and knowledge and the region quickly became an ordered political structure, forming Dathyll. Slowly but surely, this led to similar high elf structures appearing elsewhere, even outside of traditionally elven environments. The fertile hills of Pothael became a land dedicated to creating wine and good meat. Barael, not connected to the other regions but instead located south of The Porcupine, on the Southern Arm, became the place where elves mined and processed valuable ores.

During some ten thousand years, these regions grew distinct from each other (in Barael, the elves even became stout elves) and while never explicitly hostile to each other, their division weakened them. Pothael suffered from orc raids, the wood elves in Silimanis had difficulty dealing with human pirates, and Dathyll depended on trade with the other regions to prosper.

For this reason, the Prydisyrr leader Olyxx the Uniter set out to bring the regions together under a single flag. From 1903 BLC onwards, the elven regions became united in the Kingdom of Laeryll, a kingdom that proved able to protect the Northern Arm from great threats. Its influence grew and together with Zhai and the Northern Kingdom it was one of the great kingdoms of the ancient era.

The rise of Labar

The peninsula in the southwest of the Northern Arm never was of much interest to the elves, but it wasn't uninhabited either. Gnomes, small creatures the size of human toddlers, lived on its western coastal strip when the Kingdom of Laeryll was founded, in underground dwellings or hollowed out trees.

Around 1000 BLC, these dwellings had spread across the peninsula and grown in size. Towns and even cities of tinkering, bartering and scheming gnomes arose. Unlike the high elves, the gnomes were engaged in cutthroat competition and around 500 BLC the Labarean city states were known for cloak and dagger operations by the largest merchant families, known as Estates. Alliances between Estates often escalated to military conflict, despite (or sometimes because) of intermarriage and corporate takeovers.

By 150 BLC, the city states had become so intertwined that a movement called the Federation of the West argued that all should be unified politically under a single Board of Estates. While popular among the Labarean merchants, the idea ultimately had to give way to the political mastermind Jalion Clankweedle, who set up a different system through political intrigue – one that put him in control of the Estates in 56 BLC. Clankweedle was crowned king in 0 LC, as he decided the international stage demanded a monarchy at the time and he founded the Kingdom of Labar. The name he chose was telling for the power relations of the time: he named himself Jalyxx, a faux-Elvish aristocratic name.

Bothandal the Crafter

In the meantime, two kings had led the Kingdom of Laeryll after Olyxx I: Thanyal the Singer and Bothandal the Crafter. Bothandal transformed the political and economical structure of the kingdom, by seeking out peace treaties with encroaching humans and setting up institutions such as the Province Keepers. The peace treaties with humans are controversial to this very day: when humans appeared on the Northern Arm in the fifth century BLC they were not considered civilized and their expansion and sometimes violent conflict with elves did nothing to improve their standing. Still, Bothandal offered a Decree of Tolerance in 189 BLC, which allowed humans to settle between the coast of Silimanis and the Forest of Guharr. This led to an exodus of mostly wood elves from the coastal strip and paved the way for a conflict that would shake the kingdom at its roots.

The War of the Sisters

Main article: War of the Sisters

By the time king Jalyxx I claimed the throne of the Kingdom of Labar, the Laeryllian king Bothandal the Crafter had died and the kingdom was inherited by his daughters Morsyana and Galythiel. Bothandal's reign had changed the kingdom: his legacy was that of a peacemaker and democrat.

While Galythiel took a similar stance towards politics, Morsyana did not. In fact, her aggressive stance towards humans led to the Toktar Massacre in 8 LC and caused a rift between her and Galythiel. In 9 LC, Morsyana took over the city of Prydisyrr, thereby overthrowing the dual rule she held with her sister and claiming the throne for just herself. The exodus from Silimanis was reverse during the Great Reclaim. Galythiel scrambled to find loyalists and allies and in 11 LC, she demanded restoration of the Diarchy. Morsyana's refusal and the defeat of Galythiel's troops proved to be the opening shots in the great War of the Sisters.

The War of the Sisters saw many shifting allegiances. Originally, traditionalist elves such as the wood elves from Qosid sided with Morsyana, but as her use of dark magic became clear, they (with exception of the Flametongues) moved to Galythiel's side instead. Galythiel was allied with King Clankweedle's forces, who blocked Nossed and angered the dwarves, but the dwarves ultimately sided with them to quell the civil war in the Kingdom of Laeryll. Loxo mercenaries fought against the dwarves for Morsyana. The Red Rock Elves could be found on both sides.

In the end, most of the Northern Arm was involved in the war, which ended with the defeat of Morsyana's forces as she found herself stuck in Dathyll, between Galythiel's onslaught from the west and a dwarven guerilla moving in from the east. Morsyana fled towards the Thracyll Mountains with all her surviving followers and Galythiel reclaimed the throne in 39 LC.

The human age

Main article: Human territories on the Northern Arm

The War of the Sisters left Silimanis in disarray. Formally a province of the Kingdom of Laeryll, it was turned into a battleground as Morsyana's forces did not tolerate the human presence that had been enabled under Bothandal's rule and set out to repopulate the region with elves during the Great Reclaim. With countless human communities destroyed and the province occupied by Labarean and Laeryllian soldiers, the latter expected that Silimanis would again become uncontested elven land. Queen Galythiel, however, decided that Silimanis would become a safe haven for humans instead. In 39 LC, she pledged to protect the humans against any future threats.

Her kingdom had suffered greatly due to the war. King's Swamp had been overtaken by orcs from Lorr Tahak, Dathyll was left with a generation lost to combat and the communes in Qosid had to deal with lost lives and an inflow of wood elves from the Silimanis region. Galythiel started looking inward, in order to repair the damage that had been done.

The humans meanwhile, managed to not just repopulate Silimanis within a century, but also to thrive. Between 100 LC and 600 LC, they set up farms, towns, temples and infrastructure. They moved westwards and settled in the region around The Mouth, while some of them even proceeded into Labar, where the gnomes hired them as powerful, intelligent operators of their machinery. Prone to protect their tribe and due to their short lifespan, the humans had a large number of conflicts with each other, which led them to fragment. This made them easier targets for raiders, and the humans in coastal towns suffered from pirates, while those closer to Arkos Plains had to deal with orcs, a problem that exacerbated in the fifth century, when orcs in the Furnace Mountains organized. During all this time, the humans found new ways to travel, fight, farm and trade. Their versatility and drive, however, would soon turn against them.

The Labarean Empire

The humans who worked as operators in Labar were initially treated well, albeit with disdain. In the eyes of the gnomes, humans were merely intelligent cattle and required little compensation. However, as the human lands themselves prospered, it became less and less attractive for the humans to work for the gnomes. As the Labareans saw their operators leave, they resorted to drastic measures. Factories started caging workers and shackled humans became a common sight. There were no laws against this and the early fifth century even saw Labarean slaving expeditions enter human lands, stealing infants who would be raised as slaves.

This change coincided with a grander vision of the Kingdom of Labar. King Jalyxx II saw a religious mission for the gnomes, and referred to the 'empire of knowledge' from Dorgothian scripture when discussing the future of Labar. Accordingly, he was crowned emperor in 592 LC by the Dorgothian Church and started working on an expansionist politics for the gnomes.

Jalyxx II set up BRIGHT and LAMBCOW, which increased the mechanization and energy demand of the young Empire. This meant getting in more operators and by the 7th century, this had become synonymous with human and orc slaves. While the gnomes bred their own, their production could not keep up with demand and more slaving expeditions were necessary. In fact, the slaving expeditions quickly turned into outright occupations of neighbouring lands. In 605 LC, the Labareans occupied The Mouth. Thereafter, they marched onto Lobster Bay and halted just short of Silimanis, in the knowledge this was still a protectorate of elven kingdom, now led by Galythiel's grandson Olyxx the Young (Olyxx III).

The Kingdom of Laeryll, however, was still struggling with internal strife. The wood elves in Qosid, resentful about the loss of Silimanis, seceded from the Kingdom in 699 LC. A bloody campaign brought them back under control of the Laeryllian Crown, but the situation had severely weakened the position of Olyxx III and the military power of the kingdom. In 724 LC, the Labarean Empire invaded Silimanis. As the gnomes had expected, Olyxx III did not send troops to aid the humans, regardless of his grandmother's promise. Moreover, he decreed that all Silimani elves were to leave the region, instead of helping the human resistance against the gnomes.

This human resistance was more powerful than expected, and the Labareans had to send in captured orcs to help them win the war. In 726 LC, Silimanis was completely under Labarean control.