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New Beginnings

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s the influence of Kharud spread across the lands many fled the turmoil and persecution, whilst for others war became a time of opportunity. As the old cities bowed under the power of the sorcerer, a new land began its rise to prominence.

High in the citadels of Lor-Angur, the High Lord Protector resolved to remain neutral and refused to challenge the growing threat of Kharud. Angered by the inaction of the ruling council, a group of renegade mages voyaged to the secluded peninsula of Illarion. Here they founded their own academy in the south east, naming the establishment Runewick. Amongst them was the elf Elvaine Morgan, intent on protecting the magical emerald he had now been custodian of for thousands of years, from Kharud. The mages created an immense arcane structure with four elemental towers rising above the forested isles and instated Elvaine Morgan as Archmage.

Only a year earlier the dwarven merchant Tommaso Guilianni and his son Valerio had arrived in the north west of Illarion from Gynk. Kharud's grip on the land cut off many traditional trade routes and having heard rumours of vast gold deposits in the foothills of the Nameless Mountains the opportunistic dwarves sought to establish new supplies. Their prospecting did not go unnoticed by indigenous dwarven clans and fierce altercations ensued. Astoundingly, within just a couple of years the rebellions were subdued and the victorious Tommaso named his mountain stronghold Galmair. The young Valerio made no secret of the exploitation of his father's magical obsidian to quash the unrest.

Even Kharud's advance, however, could not extinguish the bitterness of a family feud. Resentful of his father and impatient to succeed him, a young Albarian prince seized many of the King's riches, including his most precious possession, a magical topaz. As the now defenceless old King succumbed to Kharud, his impatient successor lost the inheritance he had so desperately craved. Fleeing from the ravaged lands, Prince Edward along with his servants and mercenaries, arrived in Illarion just a couple of years after Runewick had been established. The Prince founded the first settlement of Cadomyr near Sentry Forest, west of Runewick across the waters of Snakehead Bay.

As the war against Kharud raged on, racked by guilt for the loss of his family's honour, Sir Edward led troops from Cadomyr in support of the Albarian Empire. He fought valiantly but fell mortally wounded on the battlefield. As life ebbed from his broken body, he bequeathed the magical topaz to his loyal comrade and cousin, Sir Reginald in the absence of an heir. Sir Reginald returned to Illarion immediately to be pronounced the new King of Cadomyr. After ten years of war, only Ann-Korr remained of the once proud Albarian Empire. Following the collapse of Salkamar, as always feared Kharud turned his attentions to Lor-Angur. Under guidance of their Archmage Elvaine Morgan, Runewick offered support and provisions to aid the people of Lor-Angur.

Within a couple of years rumours began to emerge that Galmair was supporting the Sorcerer, supplying ship loads of fine weapons and armour for his now numerous legions. Tension grew between the realms of Illarion and soon bitter conflict broke out across the peninsula. The combined forces of Runewick and Cadomyr soon had Galmair under siege, cutting off supply to Kharud's armies. Don Tommaso Guilianni was given no choice but to join the Archmage Elvaine Morgan and King Reginald in battle against the Sorcerer.

War lasted for many more years and as others succumbed to the advancing legions only a few isolated colonies such a Gobaith escaping the conflict. The resilience of Illarion did not pass unnoticed and Kharud soon found his attention drawn to the remote peninsula as the rulers of the three realms stood against him unbowed and unexpectedly powerful. Before too long Sorcerer's spies confirmed his suspicions, that each held one of the magical gems bequeathed to mortals by the Gods. Whilst some of his legions continued to lay siege to the last remnants of the old empires, Kharud turned towards Illarion, intent on acquiring the gems that would affirm his ambitions as undisputed overlord.

Vast fleets of warships coursed across the ocean, amassing on the horizon to the north east of Illarion. Utterly confident of victory and convinced none would dare betray him, Kharud's impatience for victory bettered him. He divided his forces, sending forth three generals, each armed with one of his magical gems. Only a few know precisely how the wisdom of Archmage Elvaine Morgan, the bravery of Sir Reginald and shrewdness of Don Tommaso Guilianni overcame their foes but undoubtedly each played their part in this unlikely alliance. With the loss of the magical protection of the gems the remaining legions of the Sorcerer were quickly vanquished, the smoke of war rising to the north. None speak of what happened to Kharud himself, but from that day forth he was never seen again.

So it came that the three rulers of Illarion became the custodians of six gems of power, only the diamond remaining out of mortal reach. The passing of Kharud was marked by the resetting of the calendar, a reminder to all of how close annihilation had come and the danger of the gems falling into the wrong hands. Whilst the old empires crushed by the Sorcerer struggled to recover their former prestige, Illarion flourished.

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