The Fourth Age

As the death and destruction of the Dragon Scourge spread across Corell, a small band of heroes struggled to summon the metallic dragons from out of the feywild to combat them. Led by a brave and noble elf by the name of Korinare Starbrand, the heroes fought off the forces of Aakosar long enough to open a portal to the feywild. Once there, however, Korinare found that Bahamut’s Shinning Dragons still slumbered, and only a small handful could be roused to combat the Scourge.

Although disheartened by this turn of events, Korinare was still determined to fight on. Seeking to at least weaken the Dragon Scourge significantly enough that others may turn the tide, he lead his new found allies out of the feywild and into the heart of what he thought to be the encampment of the largest flight of Scourge. However, Aakosar had caught wind of Korinare’s actions and sought to keep the metallic dragons out of the fight as long as possible. He reached into the aether and attempted to seal off the passageway to the feywild, but this proved too much, even for Aakosar’s power. Instead of sealing off the feywild from the mortal world, Aakosar’s magic diverted Koinare and his companions as they passed through into Aedar. Instead of appearing in the middle of a dragon flight, they were sent hundreds of miles north, near the frozen steps of the Icespine Mountains, the gateway to the frozen lands of Winterhome.

Nearby, Dwarven warlord Regard Ironshield lead a caravan of Dwarven refugees into the same mountain chain seeking safety from the Scourge. A long forgotten Dwarven outpost, Granite Point, lay hidden away somewhere in the icy peeks of Icespine. The band of ragged dwarves had cautiously made their way across the burned and war torn land scape of Corell, only to find an army of Aakosar’s Kobold warriors waiting in ambush, accompanied by a flight of White Dragons. Ironshield and his people where grossly out numbered but they did what they could to fight back. The sounds of commotion drifted to where Korinare and his companions were resting, a full half of his numbers having been lost during the transit from the feywild. The elf lord did what he could to rally his forces, and soon they Dwarves found themselves reinforced by Elven archers and a handful of Bronze Dragons.

Despite the valiant actions of both Korinare and Ironshield’s men, it soon became obvious that defeat was inevitable. Korinare told Ironshield to take his people and continue the trek north; that he and the remaining Bronze Dragons would hold Aakosar’s forces here, laying down their lives in the name of Corellon so that the others could make their escape.

The thought of retreat did not sit well with Ironshield, but he knew he had little choice; his first duty was to safe guard his people. As they made their way through the mountains, ever aware what pursued them, the band of Dwarves came upon a small Eladrin village nestled against the side of a tall mountain. The village’s name was Northern Rest. The magics Aakosar had wroght to dispatch Korinare while he crossed over the boundaries between worlds had torn it from the Feywild, where it had existed peacefully since the end of the first age. The villages gave shelter to the dwarves, cloaking their city from the eyes of the Scourge.

Ironshield spoke to the Eladrin at length, telling them of the state of the world since they had withdrawn into the Feywild. Upon hearing of the release of Aakosar and the sacrifice of Korinare, the Eladrin where moved. They used their magics to help Ironshield reclaim Granite Point, then slipped back into the feywild to confer with others of their kind. Within the the dwarven city, Ironshield worked to turn the forgotten outpost into a fortress able to withstand a siege by the Dragon Scourge. Renaming it Granite Hold, he began the process of planning a counter offensive against the Scourge inside its walls.

Inside the Feywild, the Eladrin High Council debated their actions. For years now, the eladrin had become aware of a great elven city, a remnant of the first age, that still stood intact, hidden away, and shrouded these many years. Known as Ember Fall, this city holds many secrets lost since the fall of the first Great Empire. The devastation of the dragon scourge served as the necessary excuse needed to sway those eladrin hesitant to leave the relative sanctuary of the feywild into returning to the natural world and reclaiming their city.

The High Council sent emissaries deeper into the feywild then even the elves could travel. There they found Tyrium, commander of the Gold Dragon Flights; a mighty Dragon that rivaled even Aakosar in strength and power. The eladrin pleaded with Tyrium to awaken and lead the metallic dragons in battle against their chromatic rivals. Tyrium had no wish to see dragon fight against dragon again, but he knew that the bronze had leapt at the chance to come to the aid of the mortal world once more, and he did not want to leave them to fight alone. Being that before they where tainted by Tiamat, the red dragons where once gold, he also felt in some ways responsible for Aakosar’s actions. Reluctantly, he roused the rest of the dragons from their slumber and convinced them, even the cold and aloof silver, to deal with the scourge.

Time and time again, Tyrium and the metallic dragons clashed with the Dragon Scourge in the sky while the eladrin and the dwarves warred with the kobold forces on the ground. Over and over again, Aakosar and Tyrium battled, until finally the ancient red dragon retreated deep into the earth to lick his wounds and regain his strength. The eladrin high council was waiting for him, however, as where priests of Bahumat. They wove a spell around the weakened dragon, sealing him once more inside a magical prison. Leaderless, the remaining chromatic dragons fell into disarray. Most fled the mortal realm, back to the feywild or the astral sea, with the metallic dragons following close behind. A few dragons on both sides remained, however, setting up lairs in secluded places all over Aedar.

With the Dragon Scourge at an end, the eladrin agreed to assist the dwarves in rebuilding their society. Dwarven craftsmanship and eladrin magics created extensive roadways connecting great cities all across the face of Corell. The eladrin used their warforged sentries, massive suits of armor animated by magic to patrol the land and protect its citizenry. Slowly, peace returned to the land. With the backing of the Eladrin, the dwarves built themselves a mighty empire, and other kingdoms soon sprouted up underneath around it, taking full advantage of the new peace and security.

The heart of this new great empire was the ancient city of Ember Fall. Years ago, a mighty star known as Ember fell to the ground. It’s impact drove up two circular chains of mountains, one inside the other. Over time, the great forest tal’fora grew between the two rings, and in the very center of the inner most ring sprung a lake. In the center of the lake lies a single island where the great city was built. Over the following years, the Dwarves helped to restore Ember Fall to it’s former glory, building two massive gates, one for each of the mountain chains surrounding the great city. Each gate was itself a massive fortress and trading posts manned and operated by the dwarves. The elves and trents built cities and keeps in the forests between the two chains, and aided travelers form one gate to another. Several small gnomes villages sought refuge in the great forest, and in return for the empires protection, they used their skills and talents to protect Ember Fall. On the shore of the lake, halflings came from their river towns and rebuilt the pier and ferry that lead visitors to the great city. Ember Fall itself was virtually untouched over the many years since the first age. Towers and spires of polished marble and crystal rose up from the island, holding the many secrets of magic, science, and art long lost since the fall of the first empire.

For many, many years the dwarves and the eladrin maintained peace throughout the land. The armored Warforged of the eladrin, the Stormriders of Kord, and especially The Knights of the Azure Flame, patrolled the land, and kept the darkness at bay. Over time the horrors of the Dragon Blight where long forgotten, and anything other then peace and tranquility became an unthinkable impossibility.

More time passed, and as the people of Corell went about their lives unmolested, they began to look towards more lofty goals then ever before. Seeking to return to the glory days of the first elven empire, the Eladrin sought to expand their knowledge and power. The commissioned a fleet of great ships from the dryads, vessels of exploration that would depart from Corell to chart and rediscover the other continents of Aedar. Five were produced to start with, and they each departed on separate courses, charged with bringing back knowledge of the outside world.

The dwarves began to experiment with the mineral known as Emberheart, a strange substance found only underneath Ember Fall, believed to have come from the heavens when the great star first crashed on Corell. Embeheart crystals powered the Warforged. A rare and powerful substance, emberheart could be used to create great and magical weapons and armor unlike anything the dwarves had produced before. Virtually indestructible, and naturally attuned to the magical weave and flow, the dwarves where fascinated by the substance. Seeking more of the it then the Eladrin would allow them to mine, the dwarves began seeking out an alternative supply. They consulted star charts and ancient tomes, seeking out any meteor crashes that may have brought with them more of the mineral. They soon developed ways of tracking the substance down, through means both magical and mundane. Their search lead them to many small caches, but they still craved more. When they finally found their “mother-lode”, their augers showed it to be deep within the earth, deeper then they had ever gone before.

The amount of Emberheart detected was enormous, far greater then that found underneath Ember Fall. The allure of such a treasure proved to be to much for the dwarves, and they began a massive mining expedition. What they found when they reached the proper depth was something no one had expected. Instead of rich veins of Emberheart running for miles, they found a massive, ancient city constructed of the stuff. It was unlike anything the dwarves had ever seen, completely alien. Colossal buildings, vast maze like corridors, huge empty arenas, long, rambling aqueducts filled with stagnant black waters, all built with impossible angles, and constructed in such a way that it hurt the eyes to stare at them too long. A good distance away from the great city lay scattered tents and other simple, modest buildings of a much different design. Fomorians filled these small dwellings, along with their servants. From what the dwarves could see, they appeared to be clerics and monks of some sort, and appeared to worship the city, or perhaps the cities creators, from a far. The city itself stood empty. The only time anyone approached it was for a strange changing of the guard ceremony. Deep with in the city stood a large, locked chamber. A group of Fomorians, death giants, and cyclopes stood guard over its doors day and night. They came and left the city by a straight forward route every day, never deviating from the path, never lingering any longer then they needed to. It was obvious that while they worshiped the city, they feared it as well.

The dwarven expedition party felt ill at ease around it themselves, yet they where loath to leave behind such a large source of emberheart. The builders of that city where obviously adept at manipulating the substance, who knew what secrets they had left behind? The expedition force quietly retreated up to the surface to report their findings to the others. They all felt that before they would tell the eladrin of what they found they should get an idea about how many giants and formorians they where dealing with. They were in the process of organizing scouting and mapping parties when reports of activity by the mine shaft reached them.

It seems that the original expedition party had not left the mine unseen, and a great army of fomorians now occupied the mining encampment on the surface. Seeking to put down this problem quickly and quietly, the Great Thane ordered troops to the mine encampment. When the dwarven armies arrived on the scene they saw immediately that they where out numbered. The armies of the fomorians where far greater in number then they had ever suspected, and more and more continued to poor forth from the mine. Instead of driving them back, they did what they could to contain them in the mine, and the lands surrounding it. The dwarves had no choice now but to go to the eladrin with this news.

The eladrin dismissed any thought of war with the fomorians out of hand. The empire had grown so powerful, they thought, what force could stand against out might? Certainly not a rag tag group of malformed giants. They decided to open a dialog with the fomorians and let them know how futile an attack on the surface would be. The dwarves where skeptical at first, but soon realized that that negotiations with the fomorians could gain them access to the ancient city, so they threw their full backing behind the plan. An eladrin ambassador, Resdrin Farhome, lead a group of dwarves to meet with the fomorian commander. At this point the fomorians had broken through the dwarven forces holding them at bay. By the time Farhome arrived with his dwarven escorts the fomorian forces had taken over both the mining encampment and the nearby town of Caer Mordin.

The negotiations lasted for a fortnight before the high council received word that not only had Farhome negotiated a peaceful retreat of the fomorian forces, but they where open to forging trade agreements and mutually beneficial treaties. The ambassador reported of the many things to be gained through relations with the fomorians, from items of rich, cyclopean craftsmanship, to access to a vast, secondary source of emberheart, to the immeasurable storehouses of knowledge that the fomorians had recorded from the times before the first age. The council was elated, and immediately ordered a stand down of their forces.

The reasons for Farhome’s betrayal where never fully uncovered. He was seen few times during the war, and there is no record of fate. Rumors abound, but nothing definitive exists. What ever the reason, Resdrin Farhome gave the fomorians everything they needed to hold their own against the far superior forces of the Eladrin. He convinced both the high council and the High Thane to lower their defenses and to accept the fomorians with open arms. The first few cities surrounding Caer Mordin fell without any fight all. The fomorian army of giants, titans, azer, cyclopes, ettins and more road high upon terrifying Harbinger Storms called forth by the storm giants. They descended on whole cities, devastating everything in their wake. By the time the armies where rallied against them they had cut out a swath of territory surrounding Caer Mordin.

The war seemed to go on forever. The Knights of the Azure Flame took the lead during the war, delivering the most devastating blows to the fomorians, but taking the heaviest losses early on. By the was end, the Order was practically non existent, few knights having survived. Although the eladrin where powerful, there where just too many of the giant kin, and too much ground to cover. Kingdom by kingdom, inch by inch, the fomorians ravaged and devastated the land. What ever their armies came upon, what ever their eyes beheld, they took for their own. Everything except Emberfall. The great city remained untouched and unassailable during the war. Perhaps because of that it became an all assuming passion for the fomorians. Some say what ever dark gods they worshipped commanded that it fall. Whatever the reason, the fomorains soon gathered the whole of their forces in a single, massive offensive strike. They laid siege to the massive gates of Emberfall for a year. How the siege ended is still a mystery. Some say the great city fell to the might of the giant-kin. Others say that the eladrin simply withdrew the whole city into the feywild to avoid its destruction. What ever happened, the result was clear; the giant-kin armies shattered themselves against the walls of Ember Fall. By the time they returned from the siege, they where a pale shadow of what they once where. The remaining armies of Corell, lead by the Storm Riders and what remained of the Knights of the Azure Flame, rallied together and over time drove the fomorians back into Caer Mordin. The fomorians retreated into the earth once more, although the lands surrounding Caer Mordin are still haunted by fire giants and azer. They build great citidels and powerful weapons, egerly awaitingthe return of their masters.

Although though the war was over, the three quarters of a century of blood shed and destruction had taken it’s toll on the land. The Empire of Eladrin and Dwarves was shattered, and the various kingdoms of the land broken or bankrupt. Another dark age enveloped the Corell. The roads and ways forged by the empire became overgrown and underused as brigands and monsters crawled out of the shadows, roaming unhindered across the country side.

Yet one kingdom still remained. Alveron, tucked away on the coast of the Azure Reach, in between the ocean and the Great Wood, survived unnoticed throughout the bulk of the war. Armies of storm giants descended upon it towards the war’s end,but they where recalled for the siege of Ebon Fall before they reached the Wall city. As a result, King Wakelyn has managed in the years since the wars end to rebuild his holdings. He alone holds a standing armies strong enough to drive the forces of darkness from his kingdom’s boarders. The Walled City of Alveron still bares the wonders of the Fourth Age. Indeed, in Wakelyn’s eyes, the fourth age has not ended, and he is determined to see that the cycle of destruction that has existed since the fall of the Elven Empire end. To that end he has assembled teams of adventures to seek out the old roads and trade routes, to find lost kingdoms and cities and bring them together under the King’s protection. His offer is open to all, none will be turned away.

The Fourth Age

The Last Kingdom Thorn4344