History (Golden Legacy Supplement)
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Deep within the heart of the Golden Empire, shugenja of the Watery Veil peruse ancient writings and scry deep into the past, attempting to assemble a comprehensive tale of what had come to pass. It is an tedious, arduous task, but a vital one. Elven histories are incomplete, with much lost in the Thousand-Year War and its aftermath. The dwarven ledgers, chiselled forever in the stones of their fortresses, are narrow in scope and shared with no one. Other races are too young or disorganized to maintain useful records.
This is the official timeline of the world, unbiased by propaganda, as chronicled by the Golden Libraries of Tenjuku. Thus falls to them the burden of rememberence.
What Came Before
No records, Celestial or Material, seem to have survived the Cataclysm. Those who attempt to divine past that event percieve only anguish and sorrow, and often lose their sanity in the process.
Cataclysm (0 AC)
Cataclysm. The Celestial Plane is literally shattered in the war between the outsiders, with the impact of such a momentous event rippling through the multiverse. Fragments of the Celestial fuse with the Elemental and Paraelemental planes, while the rest striking the Material and Shadow realms and forever altering them. Where the Celestial Plane used to be, there is now only the Wound. A tiny population of Celestials, no more than 500, make it to the Material Plane, the rest of their kind dead or lost to the Wound.
Elves, which were presumably the dominant race on the Material prior to the cataclysm, are absolutely devastated. Any semblance of civilization that they may have had is absolutely devastated, and it is estimated that only a few thousand elves remained to rebuild their society.
The dwarves retreat to their subterranean sanctuaries, and though they were not numerous, as a race they survive the Catacylsm fairly intact. Centuries pass before they are again seen on the surface.
Aftermath (0 AC to 305 AC)
A seemingly healthy Celestial falls sick less than a year after the Cataclysm, and perishes shortly thereafter. The Celestials realize that, though they may have escaped the worst, they were not unscathed - the magical radiation from the incident drastically cut their otherwise long lifespans.
The last Celestial survivor is believed to have died around 305 AC.
The first Tear, Tensastu's Tear, is found by a hunting party in the northeast woodlands. This kicks off a massive, plane-wide search to recover and find all nine of the precious artifacts.
Elves discover that though they cannot interact with the Tears' divine magic, those with celestial bloodlines can. This begins the Technological Age for the Elves and Celestial descendants.
The Kazukis, the strongest half-Celestial bloodline, discover Kouryuu's Tear on an island in the northern coastline. Deciding to protect their family interests, they take the Tear further north, construct a large fortress-city into a mountain, and isolate themselves from the rest of the world.
The celestial bloodlines begin to thin. Other races are created by mixed breeding of the celestial descendants and the native races, with magical or biological adaptation taking place over the next few millennia.
The next few thousand years are a period of equal growth. The elves continue their empire, though they primarily focus on technological and magical invention and inhabiting new regions of the world. The Celestial bloodlines spread as well, and though more thinning occurs, strong bloodlines still remain, though none nearly as strong as Kazuki. Over the years, they form into the primary tribes that are now known as the High Noble Houses.
Elandir and Dolandir are born. Both of them quickly arise to political and military prominence: Dolandir becomes leader of the primary militia of the elven capital city of Aelleron, and Elandir becomes Supreme Governor.
Tensions arise between Elandir and Dolandir, both of them having different ideas of where to carry the future of the elven race.
Supporters of the brothers begin dividing into distinct factions. War is brewing.
After a century of simmering resentment, open war between the Free Elves and the Subjugators erupts. The Thousand-Year War begins. Most races join the forces of the Free Elves, but a few join the Subjugators, who have the elven number advantage. Others abstain entirely, preferring to not get involved.
The Free Elves begin to push back the Subjugators after the Battle of the Rising Planes, a decisive victory for the Free Elves.
House Kazuki emerges from seclusion and, to the surprise of all, joins the Subjugators. With their powerful divine magic and the aid of Koryuu's Tear, they quickly turn the tide and win the war for the Subjugators in just under a decade.
The Thousand-Year War ends with a surrender by the Free Elves. They are ordered into exile from the new elven empire and they scatter across the planes, finding shelter in their own settlements or with other friendly races. Both factions are severely weakened from the conflict - primarily the elves, who's numbers have dwindled to less than one-tenth of one percent of their original numbers. The new estimated elven population is less than 250,000.
Some members of the Free Elves and the allied races retreat into the northern mountains and establish the Order of the White Lotus. Rather than fighting through outright force, they gather their knowledge and expertise and begin spreading their agents throughout the land, learning and watching.
A few days after the Subjugator victory, House Kazuki reveals it has gathered the Tears and turns on the surviving elves, telling them to leave or be destroyed. Unable to marshal the power to resist, and not willing to fight another war after just finishing one, the Subjugators surrender and in a strangely fitting twist are sent into exile with the rest of their race. Though there is still some resentment, the Free Elves know that they have to focus more on staying alive and rebuildng than fighting, and they tenuously accept their former enemies into their settlements.
House Kazuki remakes Aelleron as Tenjuku, erasing all traces of elven construction from within its walls. They announce the dawn of the Golden Empire and crown the first Golden Emperor: Kazuki Ryuunosuke.
Several elves, working in tandem groups, attempt to steal the Tears from Kazuki possession, but only after the Kazuki learn to create lesser duplicates of the Tears for use as divine foci. Of these operations, only two are successful: Setsuna's Tear and Byakko's Tear are quietly taken to the northern mountains. One is taken underneath the Arkenpeaks to the elven city of Myrdrin, and the other is kept guarded at a hidden White Lotus monastery.
The Kubota accept the Golden Empire's offer to become a High Noble House. They are swiftly followed by the Shin and the Takuma. Lizardfolk and yuan-ti begin invading the southernmost of the former elven territories, capitalizing on the state of upheaval in the area.
House Mukade joins the Golden Empire following a particularly difficult skirmish with the lizardfolk and yuan-ti. The combined might of the Golden Empire repels the invaders.
Whispers of white clad assassins begin circulating as influential members of noble houses are brutally murdered.
The Juudai, a nomadic clan of hunters in the forested northeastern region of the Empire, stumble upon a magical phenomenon and are afflicted with lycanthropy. They beg the Golden Empire to tolerate their existence and offer absolute fealty; House Kazuki names them a Low Noble House.
Golden Emperor Kazuki Noboyuki and his legitimate heir die under mysterious circumstances, sparking a short but bloody succession war between his relatives. One branch of the family is cast off, stripped of title, and become known as the Ushinawa Reta.
The elves of Myrdrin manage to harness geothermal energy out of necessity. This begins a small Golden Age for the remaining elves, as they develop psionic techniques to compress massive amounts of steam into spheres that are then used to power machinery. This advancement allows their technological innovations to be more portable and smaller than other races can accomplish. The creation of these spheres remains a closely guarded secret, and the exact techniques for creating a steam sphere cannot be reverse-engineered as of the present day.
The Golden Empire begins aid efforts for the remaining Elves, recognizing them as an endangered race. Now several generations after the war, the elves are suspicious, but not willing to completely turn down aid when it comes free. Tension between the factions is still very much present.
The Yuroda Tribes dwelling in the northeastern forests suffer a direct intervention by Setsuna and are transformed into the first gnolls and minotaurs. They reach an understanding with the Golden Empire: as long as they continue to keep to themselves except for occasional trade, and don't cause trouble, the Empire will not destroy them.