Monday, October 24, 2016

Books of Arunia: On Alth'is and the Wild

This book was found by Fenrus' Very Best in the rooms of the Red Lances after their slaughter at Stock. It was first written in X.439 under the reign of King Lucas by the scholar Theodosius of Elborg.

IN THE SIXTH AGE the northern reaches of Craftsman's Reach were the location of a new revival of half-elven ancestry; the kingdom of Al'this, in response to the formation of Calantheas and Teraspis in the central Reach. The Althissan state encompassed the southern portions of what are now the Untamed Lands and the northern portions of the Reach, particularly around the Aelfwater. Rulership was confined to a number of families that grew up in and around the borders of the elven kingdom—many of the Althissan rulers were trained magicians and sorcerers who learned their craft in the haunts of Tailimisiä. This, of course, set the stage for the later antagonisms between the Thessalian lords and chiefs of the Reach and the elves of Talimisiä.

The Althissan capitol was built south of the Low Plain, straddling a number of small hills. It is, today, a windswept moor. Unlike other great cities of the past such as Temeros and Cathadria, the old city of Altem has no treasures, no secret caches of hidden gold, and no mysterious vaults. The rain and acidic soils have reclaimed most of the stone, leaving only a few great plazas of mosaic stone exposed to the bleaching sun. Perhaps it's because the kingdom was tenuous, small, and only lasted for a brief time. Perhaps it's because old Altem was never a city of any great size.

For a few brief centuries, Al'this clung to the north and its roots as a heritor of Ys. Part of that connection rested in the Al'thissan requirement that, like the later-to-follow Protectorate of Dorlinum, its supreme leaders and highest levels of functionary must all be magic-users. Wizards were the order of the day in Al'this, and a number of sites were chosen to serve as magistracies throughout the north of the land.

Contest with the dwarves of Mount Sirune and the foemen of Hard Heath and the Untamed Lands further north was inevitable. Battle rocked Al'this almost from its very first days, and Calanthea and Teraspis gave the Al'thissans no quarter along their southern border. It was with great perspicacity, then, that the Al'thissan rulers, who were known as Altharchs, made bargains with the remaining populations of stone giants throughout the Reach, drawing them inexorably northward, and awarding individual giants with generalship of the Al'thissan armies.

Even within Al'this, there was an intrinsically dangerous tension: the subjected Thessalians of the Reach, who thought of themselves as a noble people descended from the Spear-bearer, and resented the presence of Al'thissan sorcerers, who considered themselves to be descendants of the half-elves of Ys. The Thessalian retaliation that emerged in the centuries after the fall of Al'this was, of course, a concerted hatred of the Elvish powers, which ended with the war between Tholnia and Tailimisiä.

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