History of Shattered Haven Edit
It was a few hundred years ago when they first came. I was a youngling then, barely into my prime when I first saw them. Before they came, it was a peaceful time. A time of wonder and happiness, where the races were one, a whole. Sure there were fights back then, but they were petty things, squabbles of babes that did no more than tweak another's nose or leave a bruise that faded in a decade. It was a golden age, a time of peace. Prosperity. People laughed back then, out and openly, and we thought that the age would last forever.
But then they came. How long ago was it, you ask? Well, I don't right remember. Time seems to flow and ebb when you get my age. I barely remember a time when my legs didn't hurt just from standing, just from trying to move around this old body. And even I am old as us elves get. There was a time when we didn't have to hide underground, away from the baleful eye of the--yes, yes. I understand. On with what happened. It's important to remember history, y'know. Else we make the mistakes of the past time and again.
And so they came. Great portals tore through the air, and spewed out their endless numbers. They came in droves, clad in strange pieces of metal adorned with crystals that blotted out the sun wherever they walked. They crushed all in their path, tearing straight through magical defenses and physical armor as though they were naught but butter before hot knives. The humans were hit first, and they fought. Oh, how they fought--tooth and nail, clawing and biting and screaming to the last man. But it wasn't enough. Before they fell, they came to us, and to the others as well. But we didn't listen.
The first human nation fell, then the next. We told ourselves we were safe within our verdant strongholds, safe within the grasp of our Mother and Father who watch over us, that the gods would protect us from any disaster that befell us. I'm sure the other races felt the same, the dwarves within their hearths of stone and steel, the halflings hidden just below the surface in their burrows or plying trade along the rivers or in caravans, the orcish tribes warring upon the open plains.
Finally though, it became apparent to all that nothing would sate the invaders but the complete subjugation of the world, and so we banded together. Too late, though, too late. We were too late to stop them. I don't know if it was our unwillingness to fight from the beginning, or the hope lost from the fighting, but fewer and fewer heard the call of the gods. They slowly drifted away, as less people were born who could stave off the darkness. The connection began to fade, and less paladins existed to stand for their beliefs, fewer who could rally the hearts and minds of the people who continued to struggle. They say that as less people believe in them, the gods have less strength, and thus can affect fewer people--a vicious cycle that is nearing its endpoint with those who call to them grow fewer and they are all but forgotten.
As you know, my brethren--the cowards--left their homes. I don't know why or how the Great Council decided to bow before the invaders, but they did. Perhaps to save the young. Perhaps to wait and plan for something to come. Perhaps simply to save their own hides. I and a few others fled, and continued to fight--what's now known as the Resistance. And there were others who would not lay down their arms. The dwarves continued to fight within their strongholds, and the invaders lost many and shed much blood, but even the dwarves were defeated in the end.
Others fought in different ways. Mighty mages of all kinds gathered in one of the last remaining human cities to fight, to struggle against their fate. There they hatched a plan--I do not know what. I was still a mere youngling at the time, and was far away fighting against them myself. But what I do know is that the sky cracked soon afterwards. Was it their plan to deprive the invaders of the sun, or the retaliation of those who had invaded us against the audacity of the mages? Regardless, the sky was broken, and great clouds of grey and yellow filtered in, and the sun was gone. And then the corruption set in. Slowly at first, starting with the plains where the orcs hunted and gathered for their ancient rituals. Having been hit first, the orcs learned to survive the corruption, and now are most prominent of the raiders who take what they need from this city.
But they were just the first. Soon more and more died. And the mages began to disappear. Did they undertake a mass exodus to save their kind, ripping great portals in the air and escaping just as the invaders had come? Were they killed by those who had entered our world? Or did the corruption take them? Whatever the cause, whatever the meaning, the mages became few in numbers, and those that remained were unilaterally slaughtered. Few remain around who know of their ancient magics, and who knows how they learn to conjure beings from nothing or create great gouts of flame from thin air? Not I.
The city then rose. A great cry entered the minds of all the world, a disjointed scream, almost as though someone had come in a hurry to ransack your house and leave a note by the door as to why and what to do. It was... jarring to say the least. But that's how the city got started. They--the Exalted, as they were now calling themselves--declared a new city that would be safe from the corruption. As the rivers blackened and all that was green turned to dust, they promised a safe haven for all those who would come as long as they threw away their arms and obeyed the Exalted.
It is now centuries from then--more than half a millennium, I'm sure. People came to the city. They live here. Work here. Try to etch a living from the dirt, safe from the corruption that covers the land. But for how long? What will be our destiny? Is this our path, to live under their lash and whip until the end of time, or are there some who may make a difference? Who knows, perhaps you young'uns will be the ones who forge a new path into the wilderness, who will find a way to save this city under siege from within. But leave me now. I'm tired, and the days feel longer. Perhaps another day I'll tell another tale. But for now leave me.