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Before The Falling
Very little is known of what happened before The Falling, as almost all records from that time were destroyed. Legends tell of fantastically powerful magic that dwells in lost tombs of forgotten kings and ancient sepulchres, magic that could change the face of the world or dramatically shift power to one of the warring factions.
What little is known about those times is that two great factions — the Loyalists and the Slayers — met in a great conflict, a cataclysmic event that started The Falling. The war was started when a startling magical discovery was made — the ability to slay a god permanently and then take the place of that god. The specifics of the ritual have been lost now, but the great war began when those calling themselves Slayers declared they would use the power of the ritual to become gods and promised great bounties to their followers, while those that opposed this view — mockingly called "Loyalists" by the Slayers — declared that they would defeat their enemy, and in doing to ensure divine favour.
The war dragged on for more than a century, before powerful wizards from the Slayers decided to use the ritual to ascend to godhood and lead their armies to victory. The ritual failed horribly, as the sun burned brighter than ever before, and great colourless flame washed over the bloodied battlefields and the warring cities, burning it all to ashes.
Few survived, fleeing underground to escape the wrath of the Great Flame, though most were kidnapped by vile creatures from far below the ground the survivors knew.
Then, almost a century-and-a-half later, the Great Flame subsided, and those that survived its wrath and the villainous horrors from far below found a ruined world, and only one deity that would respond to their pleas for aid, the previously almost entirely forgotten Thray, now split into several aspects that each thought themselves the only Thray. To this day, it is unknown which aspect the original Thray most represented, but the Aspects call for the blood of the others, a call that many have heeded, to start a new war — the War of the Aspects.
After The Falling
After The Falling, those few survivors quickly banded together, as ancestral members of the Loyalists and Slayers joined together under new banners, as old enemies became new friends. This was not to last, as almost fifty years later, the kingdom they forged — Tarrak — was besieged by the horrors they so narrowly escaped, as well as other monstrosities that were birthed during The Falling.
Tarrak was almost lost, but a group of six brave defenders fought off the enemy, sending them back to where they came from. During tense discussion to make sure no foe would ever come close to laying Tarrak low again, arguments turned to duels, as each had his own view and they would never accept that another could be better. Each of the six defenders: a great knight, a wild berserker, a powerful wizard, one of the clerics of Thray, a sorcerer who drew magic from draconic power, and a monk who thought that perfecting the body would perfect the mind, sided with one of the conflicting factions, as Tarrak was divided again.
The knight stayed in Tarrak, believing that the only answer was to live a civilised life, with law and order to guide men to perfection — remaining in Tarrak. The berserker fled to the wilds with his followers, preaching that the harshness of the blasted land would forge men into hardened warriors — forging the Wild Tribes. The wizard left to build a city of learning, where knowledge would endure — building Robinar. The cleric created a land where Thray's word was law, and his priests ruled as kings — Thrayan. The sorcerer left for an ancient haven of draconic influence — recreating the ancient Dragon Empire. The monk founded a monastery where training of body and mind was combined, and students trained in ancient martial arts that had survived the Great Flame — forming the Enlightened Hand.
Those who don't belong to these groups are feared as barbaric pillagers and bandits. Few of these raiders have any organisation or order, robbing and killing as they see fit, while the most powerful among them lead through force of arms, they all follow a mysterious figure called the Bandit King. Most of these groups follow one of the Aspects of Thray, though this drives them to war amongst themselves, as only the direct influence of their king has been known to abate such conflicts. Their barbaric nature causes conflict with the people of Thrayan, and their excessive drive for wealth and power puts them at odds with the Wild Tribes, so they rarely agree with what some — particularly the people of Tarrak — consider kindred spirits to the bandits.