Songs by the Hearth
Chronicles of Illia
Here you’ll find a chronology of events to give you a general idea of the history of Illia.
The Age of Dawn is the general term for anything that happened before civilization and recorded history. Stories were told about the ancient wars and battles, of mighty heroes and fearsome beasts, of gods and demons and dragons. These stories passed into myth, and myth became legend. The truth of these tales is a bit uncertain, but it does make for a damn good story.
Age of Earth
The earliest recorded natives of Illia were known as the Children of the Earth. “Children” is likely a figurative title, but it is known is that the natives were small in height and build. The Children wielded powerful magics that shaped Illia during the earliest of days, and worshiped the The Old Gods, the primal spirits that, to them, protected the world.
It is unlikely that there was much conflict between the Children; no tools of war from their time has been found. It is also unknown exactly how long the Children occupied Illia. It is estimated that their history dates back to the beginning of the world, but there lacks any proof of that.
Age of Blood
In another part of the world, to the south of Illia, a kingdom ruled by dragons and dragonborn had learned powerful magics with which they built their empire: Akrhosia. The dragons expanded from their island capital, arriving on the shores of Illia. Soon after, an event known only as The Great Cataclysm rocked the foundations of Arkhosia, tearing their island capital asunder and dragging it to the bottom of the sea.
The only survivors were those on Illia, and they wasted no time in rebuilding their empire. The Arkhosians warred with the natives, but the Children of the Earth could not stand up to the iron weapons of the Arkhosians for long, and were soon hopelessly defeated. Some Children fled into the ground beneath the mountains, some to the deepest forests, and some were said to have fled into the spirit world. The rest were enslaved.
On the backs of slaves, Arkhosia had been rebuilt. The Children of the Earth had changed: their magic dwindled, their connection to the earth was lost. It is said that in the darkest of prisons, a Child named Turath made a deal with the devil himself, promising his soul in return for the power to defeat Arkhosia. The bargain was struck and, with the infernal might behind them, the Children revolted.
The Children, who can’t really be called children anymore, rose up and conquered city after city with the army of demons and devils at their back. They formed their own nation, which they called “Bael Turath”, and from then on out they would be known as the Turathi. The war between Akrhosia and Bael Turath was unlike any that had happened before or since. Two thousand years of fighting nearly destroyed Illia, and only ended when both sides were so weak from fighting each other, that infighting and civil wars caused them to collapse.
The effects of the Blood War can still be seen today; the descendants of those cursed Children are known today as tieflings.
Age of Growth
During the Blood War, there were two factions that avoided the conflict: elves and dwarves. Both races had built up their own civilizations, but were forced to stagnate because further growth and expansion would bring them into contact with either Arkhosia or Bael Turath. That limitation was now gone, and both groups of people expanded further on Illia. Minor conflicts with the remaining Turathi occurred, but this was a time of great expansion for the elves and the dwarves.
It was about this time that sails appeared on the eastern horizon, and eventually on the shores of Illia. These explorers built settlements and within a few generations those settlements became cities, and a few generations after that these short-lived explorers had grown large enough to warrant an introduction from the natives. This meeting, known as the First Meal, is what started the rapid population of Illia, primarily with these explorers, who called themselves humans.
In the coming centuries the humans built a vast network of cities, ports, castles and roads. Even Arkhosian and Turathi descendants found ways of live in these cities. It was a true renaissance that lasted for almost two centuries, during which the Nerathan Empire, made up of the dozens of city states that were settled by the humans years ago, was born.
This declaration of empire-hood sparked some conflict with the dwarven kingdoms and the dragonborn, who still remembered the way the last empires on Illia fared. This conflict turned into a full on war between the humans and the dwarven/dragonborn alliance. This long war ended when the dwarves had been defeated, and their dragonborn allies driven from their native lands into the southern desert.
The Nerathan Empire lasts for several centuries more until uprisings, revolution, political unrest, and eventually civil war, caused the empire to fall and individual city-states to rule their lands individually.
Age of Heroes
After the fall of the Nerathan Empire the city states that made up central Illia grew to the point that human population outnumbered the natives, making humans the dominant force on the continent. This fueled the cycle of expansion, at least until the unthinkable happened.
Dragons, which had long been thought extinct, appeared to darken the skies and take revenge on the mortals of the world. Dragons razed cities, conquered nations, and toppled kingdoms. What’s more, they did it with an army of dragonborn that had marched from the southern desert on the order of their new dragon gods.
In a single day the world had changed; a good majority of the human city states had been demolished, with their people imprisoned. The dwarves were held under siege in their mountain, the elves had been routed and driven almost to extinction. This event is remembered as the Wings of Darkness.
But this is not called the Age of Heroes for nothing. During this tumultuous time, a group of individuals under the banner of the Order of Vigilance, resisted their new rulers, first breaking the siege on the dwarves and investigating the cause of this sudden act of war. As this group gained followers and momentum they were able to enlist allies in the most unlikely of places, even converting dragonborn to their cause. Perhaps most notable is this group traveled to the spirit realm and gained the aid of a faerie queen, who supplied a large amount of eladrin troops. Perhaps most importantly, they rescued the king of the city-state Alden; perhaps the most capable of reuniting the human forces.
These heroes and their newly formed Red Dawn army liberated the dwarves once and for all. In the fight against the dragons’ air superiority, these heroes create a flying vessel capable of taking the fight to the skies and the dragons. With this advantage they march on the city where the great red dragon Ashwing lairs, to end the war once and for all.
In a decisive battle the Red Dawn army stormed the city, and the six great heroes defeated Ashwing at the top of his own tower, ushering in a new era of peace.
Following the war was a time of rebuilding. A general during the war known as the Storm King led the humans in rebuilding their country, but renamed as Stormhold. Under their new leader the dragonborn built their own kingdom, Drakovar, with much help from the Storm King. Dwarves entered into an industrial revolution and began expanding outside of their ancient mountain homes.
It was also during this time that many found religion due to the crisis of faith that the Wings of Darkness caused. This led to the rise of The Ninefold, and eventually the creation of Kataan as its seat of power. During this time 2 other countries were founded: Mesa and Arran’ak.
Age of Enlightenment
The reconstruction left Illia a much different place: all vestiges of the Nerathi empire had crumbled in the war, the dragonborn united under a single banner, the faerie folk (also known as eladrin) had claimed a role on Illia and remained, and the elven genocide left what elves remained without a home.
A thousand years has past since then, and the political landscape has changed greatly in that time. Kataan grew into a very large and powerful force, as did Arran’ak, and there’s usually a crusade between the two every couple of generations. Belegost is a powerful economic force due to its abundance of natural resources. Stormhold remains a bastion of science and mathematics, and has driven the invention of many of the modern technologies.
This is the world as it exists today.