Jason Malone
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A History of Ardonn, vol.I - The Birth o ...

A History of Ardonn, vol.I - The Birth of Ardonn

Feb 19, 2024

Originally published on July 18th, 2020 on talesfromardonn.com

Ardonn’s scholars divide the world’s history into three stages: The Age of the Gods, lasting 81,000 years; the Age of Edan, lasting 9,000 years (more will be discussed on these two in future); and the Age of Man, which is prophesied to last only 3,000 years, give or take a few centuries.

The Age of Man is further divided into three stages: the First, Second, and Third Age of Man. The First Age of Man was characterised by the supremacy of a single empire – the First Empire of Man – ruled by a caste of deified priest-kings whose dominion stretched to all corners of the World. The authority of these rulers slowly declined over the course of the millennium they were in power, until eventually they were overthrown altogether by a band of warrior-lords.

These lords took control of the empire, now named the Second Empire of Man, and brutally enforced their rule across the World’s continents, unifying the now-diverse peoples of the World not through religion, but sheer military force. On top of this, the Empire underwent a process of rapid centralisation and the sacred language spoken mainly by the priest-kings, the Ancient Tongue, became the Empire’s lingua franca.

This empire managed to last another millennium, but it slowly broke apart as the centuries wore on. Eventually the last stronghold of the Emperor of Man was captured by rebels, and he was executed as a traitor to the people. He left no heirs, and so what remained of his fractured empire fell apart.

Thus began the Third Age of Man (abbreviated as TAM), which is when most of our stories take place. However, the history of Ardonn as an independent state begins one year before the TAM when the rebel cities of Ardonn and Aedonn – and the surrounding peoples – broke away from the empire.

These two cities swiftly began to unite with their immediate neighbours through a mix of diplomacy and conquest, forming petty kingdoms mainly centred around the two rivers they sat upon: the Ard, and the Aed. Because of this, the two kingdoms earned the nicknames “the Twin Kingdoms” or “the River Thrones,” as both states held dominion over the banks of the Twin Rivers, named so due to the lake they both share as a source.

To counter the rise of the Twin Kingdoms, numerous surrounding cities formed kingdoms of their own. Thus, the land between the Northern Alps and the River Cris became a political mess of petty kingdoms in a state of perpetual warfare as alliances changed with the seasons and rulers sought to expand their influence and power in the region. Ardonn and Aedonn remained the dominant kingdoms, but supremacy switched back and forth between them.

Despite their political division the people who lived in this region shared similar cultures, languages, and religions, and were later collectively named “Crisans” after the wide river separating their lands from one of the Empire’s fragments, too busy fighting wars in the south to bother with the barbarians in the north.

This period of endemic warfare and political turmoil among the Crisans lasted about three centuries – but a dramatic turning point in the region’s history approached when Fyrdun, a volcano far to the north of the Crisans, erupted. Fyrdun devastated the surrounding lands and spewed so much ash into the sky that it blocked the sun for three years, even as far south as Ardonn.

The northern folk living around Fyrdun were driven from their lands by the destruction, famine, and political turmoil that Fyrdun’s eruption wrought. They migrated south in vast numbers, some settling on largely uninhabited islands or in the sparsely populated Glacier Cape, while others had greater ambitions.

The decades following the eruption would bring about an end to Crisan independence when two twin princes from the Black Coast – Eomund and Eored – saw the lands between the Alps and the Cris as ripe for the taking. Some Crisan kingdoms, including Ardonn and Aedonn, formed a united front against the northern invaders, however no alliance could last very long when its foundations were built on centuries of division and strife…

Read volume II of this series here.

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