End of an Era

A brief history of an ancient people, written from the perspective of an outsider who is present during their final hours.....

This is a fantasy/fan-fiction based off of a piece of concept art created for the game "Shroud of the Avatar" which is being created by Richard Garriot. The concept art itself was created by Stephen Daniele, and is linked below.....

https://d2sx9mrt4zumaq.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/SotA_lavafield.jpg

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2. Conquest

The need to expand is a common one among growing civilizations. The Theresians were no exception to this rule. Nearly two thousand years after they had first settled the city of Praemak, the population had grown to the point that overcrowding inside the city was causing more casualties per year than the volcano had taken in centuries. Some Theresians had taken to living in small farming communities at the base of the volcano, where the rich soil had allowed their ancestors to grow enough crops to ensure that they never went hungry. This however was not a permanent solution, because if they developed any more of the farmland than they already had, famine would soon become a problem. So, they sought new lands to build homes in.

            The dangerous nature of the volcano had kept the Theresians isolated from other cultures for centuries, aside from the rare fugitive or bandit. Upon setting out into the world, that quickly changed, as the first pioneers who set out from Praemak encountered the Jenwhas. The Jenwhas were a powerful, warrior race, who believed in conquering all other nations. They had carved out a sizeable empire, and were always expanding. When they encountered the Theresian pioneers, their first thoughts were not of trade, but of conquest.

            Soon after the first pioneers had left Praemak, the Jenwhas returned in their place, bringing with them an army that had never been defeated in battle. Years of isolation had left the Theresians unprepared for an attack, and the first few days of battle left their defenses weakened. Walls that had been treated to fend off the heat of the volcano proved weak to the catapults and battering rams of the invaders.

            Then when all hope seemed lost, the ruler of Praemak and Kallet’s descendent, Finrav, stood up to do the impossible and defeat the Jenwhas’ army. He had the strongest mages of his people come forth to the front line, and draw upon the primal forces of the volcano to defeat the invaders. They drew forth magma and rock from deep beneath the land to wash over their foes. In mere moments, the army that had never lost was routed. The Theresians were victorious.

            Finrav did not stop there however. Before the Jenwhas had even left the horizon, it is said that he already had his people at work converting the factories of peace into factories of war. The magma of the volcano allowed them to smelt metals in ways that could never be achieved elsewhere. They crafted armors that no sword could pierce and that no mace could dent. They smithed swords that never lost their edge, and that could cut through rock as though it was bread. Then he amassed an army, battle-mages one and all, and set out to take new lands by force.

            Finrav’s army swept across the lands, decimating anyone and everyone they came across. Though their magics were weaker away from the volcano, the Theresians were still more powerful than other magic users of the time. They split the earth underneath their foes, and used barrier magics that had once held off the might of the volcano to protect themselves from arrows and catapults. Few races could withstand the sheer might of the Theresian forces, and none for long. The last foes that stood against them were the Jenwhas in their capital city of Lenmerth.

            The Jenwhas capital city was ancient, and had been built to be impenetrable. The walls were hundreds of feet high, and made of stone so hard that no weapon could chip it. The battle to take the city raged on for weeks, for months, with neither side gaining an advantage. The Theresians had raw power and were nearly invincible thanks to their technology and magic, but the Jenwhas had experience and numbers. Even with the might of their magic, they could not smash through the walls of the city, for it had been built by master craftsmen. It had been built by the Theresians’ ancestors.

            Upon realizing this, Finrav asked the goddess Theresia to aid him once more to do the impossible. It is said that that night, she came to him and reminded him that while his ancestors had been the best architects, they were still bested by one thing. Finrav realized what he would have to do in order to defeat the Jenwhas.

            He asked for one thousand volunteers from his army to aid him, in what would most certainly be one of the most powerful spells ever wrought upon the land. These one thousand volunteers gathered in a circle around the city of Lenmerth, and gave their lives as fuel for the spell that would signal the end to the long war the Jenwhas had started.

            The spell split the ground all around the city, and sunk it into the earth, all the while bringing up the fires from the bowels of the planet to engulf it. The city sank as the lava overflowed the walls, burning the inhabitants alive one and all. When the spell was finished, the city was a scorched crater, and the walls had ceased to exist. Where the city of Lenmerth once stood, now exists a lake, and at the center is the spire that was once the top of the keep.

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