The end of the world as we know it…
In the old times, a great war raged against the races of the known world. Evil cultists, enticed by riches and rewards from their demonic masters, opened great portals to the Abyss, bringing forth great hordes of Tanar’ri to ravage the world. The world reacted, forming the Great Alliance between the most prominent races of the world. Humans fought side by side with elves, dwarfs, gnomes, and halflings against the demons. All though, was nearly lost as the demons could not be stopped. No longer wishing the the world to fall to the demons, the gods proclaimed a champion from the Alliance and was given a boon, an artifact of great power that will end the demonic threat once and for all. The cost would however, would be great. The Alliance then launched one final attack on the main demon gate, and nearly lost until the champion invoked the power of the artifact. The artifact then unleashed a powerful blast of holy energy, destroying not only the portals, but the entire demonic army as well. Without the gates binding the demons to the material plane, the demonic armies crumbled. The few survivors of the war looked around for their champion, but only his holy artifact was found.
The Alliance disbanded, but each of the races bound by pacts to reform only if such a great threat were to exist again. From the ashes of the lands, the great human Kingdom of Baele was formed. The Baelean dynasty rebuilt the lands and prospered through treaties with their neighbors, the dwarfs and elves. The Golden Age began.
The bliss however, would not last. A great wizard by the name of Kaedin, traveled to Castle Baele and destroyed it’s defenders and the entire royal family. Proclaiming himself king, Kaedin nearly brought the entire kingdom to his knees by his sheer power alone. No one dared challenge him except for four brave heroes. These great heroes: Chaos the Fighter, Arg Steelfoot the Cleric, Hollë Lightfoot the Rogue, and Yami Shadowstalker the Wizard faced insurmountable odds, fighting against Orcs, giants, dragons, yuan-ti, drow, and other monsters until finally dethroning Kaedin once and for all. Their legends are still sung by bards today.
Though the death of Kaedin brought an end to his tyranny, it did not bring peace. A civil war raged between two major noble families that rose to prominence in the former kingdom, the nobles of House Aramon, and the nobles of House Selentine. The legendary heroes, disgusted by such petty feuding for what remained of their once proud kingdom, disbanded and went their separate ways.
The civil war between the two houses finally was negotiated to an end by the remainder of the Baelean nobility. These nobles created a neutral zone that split the region into two. House Selentine would have the region to the northeast, and Aramon would have the southwest. This neutral region became what is called the Borderlands. The nobles became the Trade Lords, and the city of Cathalon, centered right in the middle of the Borderlands would be the new center of diplomacy and trade between the two major houses. Exploiting the resource-rich region of the Borderlands, the Trade Lords set up agreements with the two now-budding countries to fuel their empires in exchange for gold. This has made the Trade Lords of the Borderlands very rich, and with the resources provided, two great kingdoms were formed.
For two hundred years this tenuous peace lasted. To the southwest, the Kingdom of Aramon was formed. Keeping the old traditions of the Kingdom of Baele, the Kingdom re-established the old ties between the elves and dwarfs. Their military, while not large, is well equipped with dwarf steel and elven magic. Their capital is the city of Cravant, known as the white city by the pristine white marble used for the city walls and the Royal Keep. It is also a pious city, with the paladins and clerics of Pelor, Heironeous, and St. Cuthbert forming the Temple Knights, an organization dedicated to their patron deities and to the defense of Aramon.
To the northeast, the Great Human Empire was formed. The Empire rules through power and strength-of-arms. Their army is one of the most powerful since the days of the old Alliance. Though officially tolerant of the other races, the humans of the Empire believe that the age of humans has officially begun, making many of the other races second-class citizens. Those of orcish descent are either killed or cast out. Their capital city, Solhaven is one of the most defensible cities in the world. It is a massive citadel on top of a bluff, which is surrounded by the Silvermyr Forest. It is also one of the foremost centers of magic, the Mage’s Academy is itself a massive tower that could be seen for miles.
The world itself seems to be rebuilding. Peace and prosperity reigns throughout Aramon. The Empire has proclaimed victory in it’s Crusade against the Orcs of the Wastes. The Trade Lords of the Borderlands are getting ever richer through their treaties of the two kingdoms. All the while, there is an evil that is spreading itself among the races like a cancer. Unbeknown to the world, this evil is manipulating events through each of the empires for a sinister purpose. The evil finally comes to light not into any of the major cities, but of a small town in the Borderlands; a town run by a dwarf…