I. The first civilisations:
Before BC 3,000: At this time Norwold isn't found at modern latitudes, but it's located north of the Empire of Blackmoor, in a subarctic and temperate area filled with mountains and luxuriant forests. Many races live in this virgin land, more or less in competition among themselves for the control of lands and resources. Among the most ancient inhabitants of this region are dragons and giants. The former, belonging mostly to the species of gold and white dragons, live in the mountains and in the glaciers of the highest peaks or in the northernmost lands. Giants are instead scattered all over the region (mostly so the mountain giants); they live in great halls inside the mountains, where they collect their treasures. Among the most numerous of them are the frost giant, which threaten this region from their arctic lairs near the old North Pole (modern Ethengar). At these ancestral races' side live the rakastas, found here since the prehistoric age (about BC 14,000) and divided between the species of Snow Pardastas, Mountain Rakastas and Lynxmen. In the Icereach Range area they're close neighbours and rivals of the Denas (Neathars-Beastmen mongrels, migrated here in the Icereach Range around BC 3,200 from central Brun). Likewise important and numerous are the elder dwarves, which have their holds in the foothills and valleys of the Wyrmsteeth Range, where they live in friendship together with the gold dragons and fight the mountain giants for the control of the mountains. In the last centuries of this age, pushed by the Blackmoor crusades against Beastmen, spare bands of elder trolls settle in the mountain ranges of Norwold, struggling to survive among the most numerous and strong dwarves, giants, dragons and rakastas.
BC 3,000-2,800: The Great Rain of Fire. Norwold changes its latitude, ending wholly in the subarctic zone; the northern part of it ends beyond the Arctic Circle, and begins to freeze. The drastic climatic changes, the nuclear winter and the radioactive pollution caused by the explosion of Blackmoorian engines in Borea put in serious danger the existence of the races of this region. The whole Norwold region is invested by a small local glaciation, that hits mostly the central areas of it, i.e. those found between the Great Bay and the Bay of Kammin. Frost giants are the first to be hit by the global catastrophe's effects; the previous North Pole (modern Ethengar) begins to thaw, becoming unfit as their habitat. Because of this, they leave their lairs and begin to migrate toward the new North Pole, that is found north of Norwold. Many frost giant clans cross the passes of the Icereach Range and, after a long journey, they settle in the large and cold island of Frosthaven; some of them stay south, settling in the glaciers of the Icereach Range. The elder trolls find their mountain lairs moved in the frozen north, where they risk to perish; many clans of these creatures die, while those who manage to survive migrate in the mountain ranges of southern Norwold, and some of them reach even the northern Known World. Also the elder dwarves are hit by the climatic changes, and more so than the other races they're pulled down by the disease caused by the radioactive pollution. Many members of this race die among terrible sufferings, other migrate south, searching better areas to settle; the elder dwarves' race migrates toward the Known World, but it'll never recover completely: gradually their halls will be abandoned and emptied, until the whole race will disappear utterly around BC 1,800, replaced with the fortified Denwarf stock by the Immortal Kagyar. The sudden reduction of resources and the worsening of the living conditions cause also fierce conflicts between dragons and giants in Norwold; the latter, eventually losers, migrate mostly toward north and south, leaving to the dragons the control of the central region. These battles between dragons and giants last for centuries and are represented even today in the legends of the barbarian peoples of Norwold.
BC 2,900: A few time after the Great Rain of Fire comes from northeast a human people, offspring of the barbarian people which lived to the north-west of the Skandaharians in the Blackmoor age. These people settle in the northern tundras and plains of Norwold, along the Landsplit river, and name this land Autuasmaa ("land of bliss" in their tongue) and themselves the Jääkansa ("ice peoples"). In a few centuries, halted in their expansion toward south by the local glaciation that hit central Norwold, they gradually turn to sedentary life, practicing subsistence farming in these cold northern lands. For them these centuries are also characterised by clashes against frost giants, who attack from Frosthaven several times over.
BC 2,700: The Denas, after decades of competition and fights against the Snow Pardastas and the Mountain Rakastas, begin to lose ground. Under the leadership of the she-warrior Jotakk, they decide to leave their lairs in the Icereach Range and migrate in the Denagothian Plateau.
BC 2,500: The local glaciation that hit central Norwold begins gradually to lessen, with perpetual snow receding toward the mountain peaks and leaving place to fertile and luxuriant valleys where great forests and large meadows flourish.
BC 2,400: The Antalians, a human people, come in central Norwold and built a full civilisation; they're a people of fierce blonde warriors which use bronze weapons, skilled in seafaring. Inland they fight viciously against the rakastas, the giant and elder troll peoples - now in decline - and against dragons. In short time they get the upper hand thanks to the knowledge of bronze and they expand all over Norwold, but mostly along the costal areas, where they built most of their settlements. Toward south their expansion is blocked by a strong realm of giants and elder trolls, that is found in the area that goes from modern Freiburg to Landfall. In the same time, Antalians meet the Autuasmaa humans, which, seeing the lands of central Norwold freed from ice al last, have begun a slow expansion toward south; this slow migration has however been blocked by the Antalians' arrival, so that the Jääkansa stay confined in the Landsplit region and consolidate their hold on this land, defending it against frost giants and building an unite kingdom, the first of this type to be raised in Norwold.
BC 2,100: Antalians have eventually settled in most of costal Norwold and in large areas of the hinterland; their expansion toward south blocked, they begin to explore and conquer overseas, founding settlements on the northern Isle of Dawn. By this time, the Antalian race has almost distinguished in two different stocks: the Antalians of the costal areas, skilled seamen and brave warriors, and the Vantalians (living mostly in the south-central area of Norwold divided from the coast by the mountain ranges), descendants of the pioneers who settled in the inland valleys, which still have a nomad lifestyle but have become skilled hunters and wilderness experts.
BC 2,000: From the northern Isle of Dawn the first Antalians, led by the hero Donar, come to settle the Northern Reaches and the isle of modern Ostland. In the mainland region they meet native tribes of Neathar and Oltec stock, with which they intermarry, giving birth to the so-called Thantalian tribes (forefathers of Thyatians and Kerendans). This age marks the lowest spot in the whole draconic history on Mystara: following the terrible losses suffered during the war against the Blackmoorian Dragonlord and because of the Great Rain of Fire, the draconic population has enormously been reduced in number. Some groups of dragons scattered all over Brun find shelter in the Wyrmsteeth Range and decide to gather in the caves of these unapproachable mountains their brethren living in the nearby regions. Dragons built the city of Windreach as seat of the draconic population of Norwold, and invite in their new domain members of the declining race of the Eldars, for which they still preserve respect and friendship. The ever-increasing migration of dragons in this area causes repeating clashes between these great reptiles and the giants; the wars between these two races weaken thoroughly both of them and allow the human cultures of Norwold to flourish almost undisturbed.
BC 1,900-1,600: During this time, known as the Age of Heroes in Northman history, the enterprises of epic characters now revered as Immortals - like Donar, Fredar and Fredara - bring the definitive fall of the realm of elder trolls and giants in modern northern Heldannic Territories. These creatures, much reduced in strength and number, gradually retreat in the valleys, seeking refuge in the caves, in the mountains and in the deepest woods, and leaving the valleys open for settlement. A few at a time, the Antalian tribes coming from the northern Isle of Dawn and from the Northern Reaches settle in this land, which they call Nordurland.
BC 1,725: The Great Horde of King Loark leaves Urzud, aimed toward east and passing through Borea. Neathar tribes belonging to the demi-nomad stock of the Vaeltajat, flee in front of the arrival of the huge humanoid horde, crossing the Icereach Range and finding shelter in the cold tundra of northern Norwold, where they hardly survive. There they meet the Jääkansa kingdom, which consents to host them in its bordering lands, where the Vaeltajat continue their life as hunters and nomads after the reindeer and caribous herds that cross the tundra. Other Neathar tribes of southern Borea, pushed by the humanoids, retreat beyond the Icereach Range, settling in the innermost valleys of Norwold or in the Denagothian Plateau.
BC 1,722-1,711: The Great Horde of King Loark invades Norwold, crossing the Icereach Range at the latitude of the Great Bay and bringing death and destruction upon the Antalian and Jääkansa civilisations. The northern kingdom of the Jääkansa and its nomad Vaeltajat allies are the first to be hit: the humanoid hordes come from the west and attach over and over again the kingdom, with a violence never seen since the days of the wars against the frost giants; the culture of these humans is hard-pressed by the war and suffers serious damages, but it survives. Many humanoid tribes of Hyborean stock manage to settle in the northern tundras, where they come in fierce competition against the Vaeltajat and the Jääkansa. The larger part of the Great Horde descend upon central Norwold, hunting for eleven years the Antalian population, killing or enslaving the peoples and utterly ravaging the Antalian villages and settlements. Immortals Thor and Odin, rightly thinking this human civilisation to be on the fringe of extinction, bring some of its communities in the Hollow World. The tribes shrewd enough to have realised the danger flee in the region before the worst has come: the tribes of Vantalian stock seek shelter in the valleys of south-western Norwold (where they're indirectly protected by the dragons' presence) or migrate at all from the region - crossing the Icereach Range north of the Denagothian Plateau and journeying toward the Midlands, or going south to seek refuge among their kin in the Northern Reaches (the Vandars tribe is one of these). Other tribes of Antalian stock, hearing rumours regarding the prosperity of the Denas in the Denagothian Plateau, migrate in mass there, seeking salvation from the destruction of their civilisation and a new homeland to settle in. Also the rakasta mostly hide on the mountains when the Great Horde arrives; the humanoid, more interested in plundering than in driving out the vicious rakastas from their unapproachable mountain lairs, don't bother them up there. In southern Norwold the giants and the elder trolls, driven out decades ago by the Antalians from their lands, seize the chance of the Great Horde's arrival to come out of their lairs and attack the humans alongside the humanoids. Many settlements of Nordurland are totally devastated but, thanks to the aid of the legendary heroes Fredar and Fredara, the Antalians of this region manage to survive along the coasts and to drive back a few at a time the larger part of the enemies towards south-west. The invasion project of the Ethengar steppes shown by Akkila Khan to King Loark saves at last those clans from the end of their kinsmen.
BC 1,710-1,700: After the passage of the Great Horde, Norwold and its inhabitants fall in a Dark Age of misery and barbarity; most of the Antalian knowledge has been lost, Antalian and Vantalian clans revert to a barbarous state and to a demi-nomad lifestyle based on hunting and herding. Also many tribes of humanoids (mostly orcs, goblins, bugbears and trolls), separated in the last twenty years from the Great Horde, stay in this large and cold land, contending to the humans the few resources left and fighting against them for survival. The humanoid tribes acquire many traits of the local cultures, of the Antalian one in particular, and the hordes that settle nearer to the coast manage with time to master the seafaring skills thanks to the knowledge of the native population. In the north, the Jääkansa kingdom comes out much weakened from these wars against humanoids. Frost giants from Frosthaven seize the chance to descend on it from the north and invade Autuasmaa. Thanks to the aid of some humanoid tribes, they easily manage to impose their domination on all northern Norwold, enslaving the Vaeltajat, the Jääkansa and also those humanoids that haven't allied with them. The frost giants set a reign of terror and fear, subduing the humans, whose kingdom is practically destroyed.
BC 1,700-1,500: After abut two centuries of ruthless frost giant domination, the Jääkansa and the Vaeltajat rebel against the giant yoke, led by some of their greatest heroes and aided even by some humanoid tribes intolerant of the giants' domination. With some bloody battles the frost giants are repelled to the north and return to Frosthaven. With the danger passed by, the Jääkansa and the Vaeltajat retake their ancestral lands, along the Landsplit river and the arctic tundra; the Jääkansa, whose kingdom is by now a memory of the past, assume a still sedentary lifestyle, settling in the lakeside lands around the Landsplit River and in the neighbouring areas (included some valleys on the eastern slopes of the Icereach Range); they live in villages of farmers, hunters, fishermen and woodsmen, each led by a chief and loosely united by councils of allied chiefs. The Vaeltajat preserve instead their demi-nomad lifestyle and follow the great reindeer and caribou herds, moving around in the tundra and the great plains of northern Norwold. There they still clash with the Hyborean humanoid tribes.
BC 1,700-1,400: Tribes of ogres and kobolds coming from central Brun and left behind by the great hordes of the past decades, come to Norwold, beginning more fighting against their kin and the forsaken human tribes.
BC 1,400-1,100: The ceaseless clashes against the human tribes and the scarcity of resources force many humanoid hordes to make use of the seafaring techniques learnt by the Antalians to begin overseas raids; the land chosen for these plundering is mostly the northern area of the Isle of Dawn. In the following centuries some tribes, seeing there a climate and a terrain much more favourable and rich, change their raids in true migrations which bring on the Isle of Dawn orcs, goblins, bugbears, kobolds, trolls, and ogres.
BC 1,000: The Nithian Empire starts its age of greatest expansion under Pharaoh Tokoramses V, driving its armies in the cold north, conquering the peoples of the Northern Reaches and, from the Isle of Dawn, founding bridgeheads on the Norwold coast, in order to reach the Great Bay. It's in fact a goal of the Pharaoh to have contact with elemental beings of the Plane of Fire and he wishes to set a permanent link of his empire with that plane, building a colony near the Arch of Fire area - where recently has been discovered a planar gate leading to the Plane of Fire. The main Nithian colonies are founded on the Walrus Island, at the mouth and on the isles of the Great Bay, on the Alpha peninsula and at the mouth of the White Bear River. Eventually Pharaoh Tokoramses V himself visits this latter colony, and from there he goes in pilgrimage to the fantastic Arch of Fire (BC 970). A branch of the gnoll migration, going north, passes through Nordurland and arrives in Norwold, where it scatters over the whole region, giving birth to other wars against the human and humanoid tribes.
BC 1,000-900: The Nithian Empire deports many halfling slaves in its Norwold colonies; these small humanoids are in fact considered more resistant to the northern climate and most of all easier to crush in the event of an uprising in these distant lands. The majority of these halfling slaves are awarded to the colony at the mouth of the White Bear River.
BC 700-500: The decline of the Nithian Empire gradually dooms its Norwold colonies; the minds of their rulers seduced by dreams of power suggested by the Immortals Thanatos and Ranivorus, they clash in useless wars against the humanoid and human peoples, impoverishing their domains and causing sufferings to the population. Some settlements are destroyed during slave uprisings caused by the exhaustion of the population, other fall in front of the counterattacks of the human and humanoid tribes that they themselves have angered. At the end of this age, all Nithian colonies in Norwold are disappeared or reduced in misery and also those who hardly manage to survive have lost every link to the mainland, by now ravaged by the civil wars. Within decades, the small Nithian population who settled here is gradually absorbed by the local populations and disappears.
BC 600-500: Many small groups of fair elves of the Shiye clan leave the Kingdom of Shiye-Lawr (in Alphatia) after domestic clashes and the disagreement they've nursed against the policy of their king. They cross the sea and scatter among north-central Norwold, settling in the deepest forests; they're mostly found in the great forest located to the north-west of the White Bear River's mouth. Soon these elven communities come to be known to other inhabitants of Norwold as the "Foresthomes". In the following centuries (BC 500-200), after the enterprises of the powerful elven she-mage Lornasen (that comes back from the Sylvan Realm with a seed of the Tree of Life), among the Norwold elves spreads both the worship of Ilsundal and the growing of the Trees of Life.
BC 490-300: Waves and waves of kobolds invade the underground civilisation of the gnomes, located under the Hardanger Mountains in southern Soderfjord. The gnome clans, in front of the slaughtering war begun against them by the kobolds, gradually perish; many gnome clans migrate toward north, abandoning their homeland. Some of them settle in the countries of the near north, where they built some cities (like Torkyn's Falls in the Wendarian Ranges); other instead go to southern Norwold, where they ally with the local tribes of Gnomish Snoutzer lupins that live in the forests; with time these gnomes will be known as the "forest gnomes".
BC 350: In the Northern Reaches, the kobold invasion of the gnomes' underground realm and the slaughtering of their race has put in danger the local halfling population (descendants of slaves brought here by the Nithians), which was allied with the gnomes since the times of its freedom from the Nithian yoke. Packed between the fierce gnolls, the aggressive kobolds and the powerful giants, the halflings decide to follow the omens sent to them by the High Heroes: they tell them that in the lost homeland of the Antalians, in the far north, a halfling clan was enduring great sufferings and was threatened with extinction; if they'd have helped it, together they'll have built a new homeland which would have been forever prosperous. Led by this prophecy and by their hero Usamigaras, the halfling set for the journey from the Northern Reaches and, braving the dangers of Norwold, they're guided by the High Heroes to the mouth of the White Bear River. There, they reunite with their kin, who stood here after the fall of the local Nithian colony, and they help them to rebuild their homeland. The County of Leeha is born.
BC 125-33: Prince Alinor, a very powerful wizard, younger son of the King of Haven, being destined not to inherit the father's throne, decide to build a personal realm in the wilderness lands of Norwold. With the money coming from his properties and with his father's aid - this way the king hopes to gain a new colony for his kingdom -, he assembles a numerous flock of followers: simple settlers, well-armed mercenaries, bodyguards and mages, adventurers and experts of logistics, building and every branch of knowledge he requires. Alinor trusts mostly in his vast arcane knowledge and in a wonderful rod of victory he possesses to assure the success of his expedition. Alinor's armies land on the Alpha peninsula, where Cape Alpha is founded, a harbour where the ships loaded with food, provisions, materials can dock and to use as bridgehead. Within a few years, thanks to Alinor's powerful magics, his armies open their way between the barbarian tribes of neighbouring areas, conquering large domains along the coasts of the Great Bay, both south-west and north of the Alpha peninsula, and along the course of the modern Sabre River. Alinor names this new kingdom "Alphia" and he have a great port-city built at the neck of the Alpha peninsula, including a large palace of him that overlooks the whole city and from which he hopes to rule for long time; many other settlements are built and many Alphatian nobles migrate in this region to grasp new lands (the southernmost of these aristocrat palaces is found at the spring of the Sabre River). Alphia's expansionist and aggressive policy - and its need of slaves to put into practice the building projects Alinor has in mind - bring continuously new enemies in conflict against the realm: the local human tribes, the humanoids, and eventually even the dragons of the Wyrmsteeth Range. Thanks to his powerful magics, Alinor manages to preserve the upper hand, but the dragons attack often in swift and destructive way, and the prince can't be everywhere at the right time. The mean rivalries which oppose Haven to the Alphatian throne, where the foolish Emperor Kerothar IV dissipates huge amount of moneys in the preparation of his empire's millennium, hamper the regular and useful sending of imperial funds to Alinor. The situation grows truly serious around
BC 40, when the dragons carry their first attack against Alphia's capital itself. Alinor decide to close definitely the war against the dragons: after diligent researches in the Alphatian libraries and in the outer plane of Old Alphatia, he begin to create an epic spell which will destroy a whole area of the Wyrmsteeth Range where the majority of the dragons lives. After years of lost clashes against the fierce dragons, he discover the spell he researched for and begins the long ritual to cast it. Unfortunately for him, the dragons someway learn his intentions and carry out the most violent attack against Alphia that was remembered in living memory: Alinor, taken unawares in his palace, can't complete the spell correctly and the released arcane energies work in a way opposed to what he thought, raising from the earth a harsh mountain range under the soil of the capital. The harbour is buried under the rocks, most of the city sinks under the earth or is overrun and destroyed, while the prince's palace is covered by the mountain slope and is left buried under there; the mountain range known as "Alinor's Ridge" is born. Alinor himself is crushed by the debris while trying to catch desperately his rod of victory, symbol of his past successes. Without the protection of their powerful ruler, the kingdom's population is helpless in front not only of the dragons, but also of the barbarian tribes and the local humanoids which, hearing the new of the destruction of the capital, seek revenge against those who have driven them out of their lands and enslaved them. Within three decades (BC 33-0) most of the Alphian settlements is destroyed and razed to the ground, or conquered by barbarians and humanoids; also those who survive, in the better case are reduced to tiny villages. To the Alphatian population that couldn't escape in right time is reserved the same treatment that she reserved for the barbarians: slavery and scattering. Only a settlement, that of Cape Alpha, manage to survive as a city, and is saved by the dragon's rage. The city is totally shaken by the earthquakes caused by the failure of Alinor's spell and most of its fortifications and buildings crumbles, but the raising of the new mountain range nevertheless wards it from barbarian raids. In the years following the fall of Alphia, the city resumes loose contacts with the Alphatian Empire, which however is not interested in the poor Cape Alpha and uses the city only once at a time as border site for the fur trade.
AC 5-14: Following the fastening of good relationships and alliances during the Thyatian Struggle for Freedom (BC 2-0) and thanks to the friendship of many jarls with Thyatian Emperor Zendrolion I, Ostlanders begin together with the Thyatians a series of colonisation campaigns aimed to the founding of trade and strategic settlements along the coast of Norwold - usually small towns or strongholds, where in the middle of the Northman majority lives a small but influent political and trading Thyatian enclave. These colonies are branches of this or that Ostlander clan, ruled by sons or relatives of the single warrior-chiefs; thus, after a generation or two, they become utterly independent, with an own ruling clan and without any subjection to the clan of their founders. On some of these fortress-towns the Thyatian Empire preserves a more strict control (usually they're the more strategic ones), sending there a Thyatian representative. One of these settlements is built by the Thyatians on the site of Cape Alpha - the old Alphatian settlement in full decline is conquered by the Thyatians - and provided with fortifications and a good harbour (AC 12). The Alphatian Emperor Alphas VI protests against this violation of the Treaty of Edairo, but receives from Zendrolion I a mocking answer: the breakers of the treaty are the Alphatians, because the settlement of Cape Alpha was already in existence when the treaty was signed (and that, according to Zendrolion I, makes it useless) and in whatever way before the Thyatians' arrival.
AC 14-16: Unpleasant misunderstandings - perhaps spurred by Alphatian influence - are born between many Ostlander chiefs and Thyatis; the situation degenerates and many jarls even appeal to the Alphatian Empire against the ally of some year before, beginning war actions against the Thyatian Empire. The swift Ostlander ships hit mostly the Norwold coasts, destroying Thyatian hold there (Cape Alpha is destroyed in AC 15); the Alphatian money is behind those raids. Thyatis' counterattack is swift and thoroughly: the Ostlander fleet is quickly destroyed, the rebel jarls captured and replaced with puppet rulers favourable to Thyatis - in short time Thyatis establishes a sort of indirect protectorate over Ostland isles (AC 16). The Thyatian Empire re-establishes its hold of the settlements founded years before on the Norwold coast, but this control doesn't extend anymore north of Walrus Island, given the difficulty to protect these bases from Alphatians and local barbarians; Thyatis wishes to have bases there mostly to overlook the entrance of the Western Sea of Dawn and keep the Alphatians out of it.
AC 50-300: At this time, thanks to the demographic recovery, the Nordurish peoples begin a slow expansion toward north; within two centuries, their settlers have reached the Oceansend Bay, trade with Thyatians and Northmen and their clan build farms, keeps and villages in this whole region. At the same time, many halflings coming from the south (they're the last clans left in the Northern Reaches and in Nordurland) settle in Norwold, living in the human communities or going to increase Leeha's population.
AC 112: A young Vatski priestess of Marzanna (the Immortal Hel) who have from birth arcane powers, named Akra, is cast out of her tribe after being accused to have charmed the tribe's chief. During here exile, she stumbles upon the ruins of an Alphian settlement by the times of Alinor; while exploring it, she finds a hoard of ancient arcane tomes belonged to some great wizard of that age - perhaps to Alinor himself. With the aid of her patron Immortal, she perfects and augments her magical powers, becoming very powerful in the mastering of the magics regarding cold energies.
AC 136: After years past gathering followers and studying frost magics, Akra assembles around herself a secret fraternity of witches, all followers of Marzanna and skilled in the use of cold energies. She gets also the aid of an huge white dragon named Quesa. This "Sisterhood of the Ice Witches" begins to expand its influence on many Vatski and Norsenian tribes, and to enlist to its service humanoid, ice creatures, giants and white dragons in order to come to rule the whole Norwold. Akra sets her residence in the Ice Cavern, in the depths of the modern Quesa's Massif.
AC 164-336: Joining the influence of her Sisterhood to her great magical powers and to the strength of her armies, Akra imposes her domination to a large part of north-central Norwold and proclaims herself "Witch-Queen of Norwold". Clans of frost giants and flocks of white dragons subdue to Akra's will the Viaskoda and Jääkansa tribes, other Norsenian and Vatski tribes fall under the control of her witches and more and more Akra comes to rule most of Norwold. Only the southern Vatski tribes, the eastern Norsenians tribes and the dragon clans of the Wyrmsteeth Range oppose her rule. Akra uses her powerful magics to transform Norwold in a land of ice to honour her patron Marzanna; snowstorms and blizzards run for months even in areas of central Norwold, while on mountain peaks glaciers are formed which become the shelter of creatures like yetis, frost giants and white dragons. The presence of such hostile force in Norwold poses a strong limit to Thyatian expansion, which is limited to the coasts. With the passing of time, groups of shamans and priests belonging to the tribes who oppose Akra's rule assemble their force to repel the evil Witch-Queen. After years of battles at the borders of her domain, a group of three ambitious witches belonging to the entourage of Akra rebel against her and, with the help of priests and warriors coming from the tribes who fight Akra, trap the Witch-Queen and finally kill her; the white dragon Quesa is entrapped in the Ice Cave by a powerful sorcery of the three rebel witches. The domain of Akra crumbles swiftly, the human and humanoid tribes recover their freedom while a counterattack begins against the ice creatures that were followers of Akra. The witches who were part of the Sisterhood are hunted and killed everywhere; some of them survive and take the bush, losing contact with their fellows. The three witches that helped the fall of Akra go to live on Mount Crystykk, north of the infamous Ice Cave from where the Witch-Queen ruled. They become a sort of protectors of Akra's secrets, which stay closed together with Quesa in the Ice Cave, and ward the human tribes of Norwold against the resurgence of similar threats. After some time, the three takes the role of protector of Norwold and become known ad the "Crones of Crystykk". The fierce white dragon Quesa is bound to the Ice Cave by the spells of the Crones of Crystykk; with time he manage to force these dweomers so that he can leave for a short time the Ice Cavern to which his soul stay mysteriously linked. In following centuries Quesa builds a small reign of terror around the Ice Cave: the mountain where he now lives becomes known as "Quesa's Massif" and many Viaskoda tribes of the White Banner are subdued by this fierce being, sending him tributes and sacrifices and serving him in the hope he spares them from his rage.
AC 200: Thyatian influence over Ostlander jarls declines and many of them begin to approach Alphatia to seek her protection against the rival empire. Thanks to these developments the Alphatian influence in the Western Sea of Dawn increases, enough to allow to the Alphatians the building of colonies in Alasiya much close to the ones of the rival (AC 250).
AC 200-500: Some dwarven settlers coming from Rockhome explore the mountains of Norwold and discover that they host rich deposits of minerals and metals. Many of them lead there their families and build after some time their own clans, which settle in various points of the mountain ranges of Norwold, mostly in the central part of the Final Range. Usually these dwarves are in good terms with the civilised human population, while they keep at bay the barbarians.
AC 316-328: Civil war breaks out in the Thyatian Empire (AC 313); while generals and politicians fight among themselves for the control of the throne, Alphatia seize the opportunity to launch an offensive against the rival (AC 316-328). In the course of the long war which follows, Thyatis loses its Norwold colonies, sacked and destroyed by the Alphatians or conquered by local barbarians. At the end of the war the Thyatian presence in southern Norwold has disappeared and the Western Sea of Dawn is finally opened to Alphatian penetration.
AC 450-510: Alphatian Emperor Volospin III begins the first attempt at colonising Norwold after Alphia's fall, five centuries ago; his goal is to build a colony that will provide the mainland of raw materials (precious metals, timber) and, if successful, could eventually function in following decades as a base for the conquest of Norwold and as a pincer to crush the Known World from the north. Taking advantage of the relative calm in relationships with Thyatis, the expedition is prepared with care; it's decided to found an Alphatian bridgehead in the Great Bay, at the mouth of Sabre River. Alphatian planning and the weakness of local clans and tribes favour the success of the enterprise, which in the turn of few years leads to the building of some Alphatian settlements on the south-eastern coasts of the Great Bay and on the Alpha peninsula. The main Alphatian colony is founded at the mouth of the Sabre River and becomes soon a town of good size, provided with magical defences and starting point for imperial forces going to ensure the Sabre's valley. Wishing to augment the fame and power of his dynasty with this conquest, Volospin III have large sums of imperial money transferred in the new Norwold colony; some ancient ruins dating to the age of Alinor are recovered and converted into treasure deposits. Alter the consolidation of the coastal domains, a vast military campaign is planned, with the goal of expanding the Alphatian control to the Sabre River's valley. The campaign, entrusted to a skilled general, goes on well, with the conquest of numerous local barbarian outposts and the scattering of hostile tribes. In these clashes the Alphatian estranges the elves of the nearby Foresthomes and most of all their protectors, the Wyrmsteeth dragons, which remember Alinor's attempt of five centuries ago. At home the opponents of the imperial dynasty don't like her strengthening, mostly when it's discovered that Volospin III has brought part of the imperial treasury in his Norwold fortresses without the permission of the Great Council - a happening which exposes him to charges of theft against the imperial treasury. While in Alphatia the scandal rages on and any fund dedicated to the continuation of the Norwold campaign is blocked, the barbarian tribes march in a desperate counterattack against the Alphatian army, lacking provisions and scattered in a large area. The imperial armies, abandoned to themselves because of the veto imposed by the Great Council on the campaign's prosecution, are repelled on the banks of the Sabre River where, in a great battle, the Alphatian army is slaughtered and its general himself curses the river's course, where he falls with his magical sword in hand (AC 507). The dragons continue the attack, raiding the Alphatian city at the mouth of the Sabre River and forcing the imperial personnel, the Alphatian troops and the inhabitants to escape from the region (AC 509). Volospin III manages to persuade the Great Council to send the imperial fleet in Norwold to recover the colony before all funds expended are lost; the great fleet is however intercepted and destroyed by the dragons in the waters of the Great Bay. After this failure, the responsibility of which is charged to the emperor, the Norwold campaign is abandoned and the project to create a new kingdom there swiftly fails. Within half century (AC 510-560) the Alphatian settlements are mostly abandoned, destroyed by the dragons or conquered by the barbarians, so that the Alphatian are even forced to leave there part of the imperial treasury (which, according to the legends, still lays in some abandoned keep of the region).
AC 895-904: Alphatian imperial prince Tylion is given by his mother, Empress Tylari III (busy in the search for Immortality), the duty to expand Alphatian influence on Norwold. Tylion, instead of starting a costly and risky military campaign, sends his agents and diplomats to meet the local clanheads, winning consent to settle small groups of Alphatian in their communities, helping the more trusted chiefs against the more rebel or ambitious ones, and generally presenting the Alphatian Empire as a great benevolent protector of Norwold from dangers. The success of this policy is enough that to some Alphatian nobles are awarded lands in reward for the help they gave to local clanheads; there they establish the first Alphatian dominions of Norwold in this century. They're in all regards formally independent, even if they preserve close informal links with the motherland.
AC 900: The Thyatian Emperor Gabrionius IV begins a new age of expansion; he's mostly worried by the first signs of Alphatian expansionism toward Norwold, and fears that the Alphatian may manage to dominate both sides of the Strait of Helskir (they already control Helskir itself). The Emperor wishes to strengthen Thyatian presence in south-central Norwold before this happens, first of all working for a reapproach to the Kingdom of Ostland and then alluring its king with promises of conquests in Norwold and on the Isle of Dawn if he'll help the Thyatians in this enterprise. After that, Gabrionius IV gives to the heroine Aline Sigbertsdatter - who have supported the emperor's father, Gabrionius III, during the time of civil disorders that have upset the Thyatian Empire in the last years - the duty to found a Thyatian bridgehead in Norwold. Aline had been given by Gabrionius III the promise of a region where to build her own dominion. With the full support of imperial officers and armies, and also with that of the Ostlander fleet, Aline chooses as location to build her colony the sheltered bay facing the Walrus and Dogs islands; thanks to the friendship developed during her youth and during her years as adventurer, she manages to peacefully win the support of the local clanheads, and finally she founds the city of Oceansend, which Aline has immediately provided with powerful fortifications and which becomes an important trade site between Thyatis and local peoples.
AC 900-904: The energetic policy of Gabrionius IV regarding Norwold warns Alphatia, and a diplomatic meeting is summoned in Newkirk to fix once and for all to whom Norwold - over which both empires assert their right - will belong; these talks, that are recorded in history as the "Trial of Norwold", eventually become an introduction of ancient documents in support of one or the other argument instead of a true conference aimed at preventing the war, in which accuses of treason, bad faith and trickery hail.
AC 904-912: The Trial of Norwold degenerates in the Bog War between Thyatis and Alphatia; the recently founded Oceansend, under the rule of Aline, soon demonstrates its firmness, repelling an Alphatian attack aimed to conquer it. The war, fought mostly on the northern Isle of Dawn, brings forth the decline of the Confederacy of Dunadale. At the end of the war, Thyatis preserves the north-western Isle of Dawn (Helskir included); the two empires agree to halt further expansionism beyond own areas of influence in Norwold (the Thyatian one from Oceansend to the south, the Alphatian one from Oceansend to the north).
AC 919: After the definitive disappearance of his mother, Tylion IV becomes Emperor of Alphatia. His first interests are direct toward Norwold, where he continues the work of penetration and influence over local clanheads begun during his regency years before, and halted by the burst of the war with Thyatis. Assured of Thyatian goodwill thanks to a series of treaties with his rival, the peaceful Gabrionius V, regarding expansion, spheres of influence and trade, he proceeds with the awarding of a series of dominions in the area of the Great Bay (one of these is awarded to Baron Meredoth, an Alphatian necromancer), answering directly to the Alphatian crown. However this policy must stand against a strong opposition within the Great Council, because many think it's aimed to form a new base for imperial power; given the restraint imposed over the funds allowed for this project, many dominions recently founded are abandoned, other have a difficult life, other utterly fail (as the one of Meredoth, in AC 921). The settlement of noblemen in Norwold slows until it becomes a sort of exile reserved to the ones who have been charged of some failure or that have fallen out of some powerful man's favour.
AC 920: After twenty years of wise and cunning rulership and after having been awarded the title of Archduchess, Aline start her journey in search of Immortality, leaving to her grandson the rule of the city founded by her. During these years Oceansend has become an important trade centre of the north, and the pivot of Thyatian defences in the Western Sea of Dawn; the city's territory has been expanded to include the Walrus and Dogs islands, while new Thyatian settlements or dominions allied with Thyatis or Ostland have been formed along the Norwold coast south of the city.
AC 930: Thanks to the strengthening of the trade route that from Ghyr goes to the Bay of Kammin, some small Heldanner coastal settlements located near the crossing of this trail with that going from Haldisvall (modern Freiburg) to Oceansend enlarge and develop themselves. The most exceptional of those is that village which grows until it becomes the city of Landfall, drawing colonists from the Heldann Freeholds, from Westrourke and even from Thyatian and Alphatian dominions in Norwold. The city soon frees herself from her Heldanner lord, but her chaotic grow favours the arrival of many not-so-desirable elements (outcasts, smugglers, pirates, and so on), which win her the unpleasant fame the city has still today.
AC 959: A new great war bursts out between Thyatis and Alphatia. While on the Alphatians' part every remaining interest for Norwold is lost, because the war drains every energy of the imperial court, on the Thyatians' part the autonomous Grand Duchy of Oceansend appeals to its alliances with the neighbouring clanheads to attack the scattered Alphatian dominions, some of whom are in fact conquered or abandoned.
AC 960: During the war between the two rival empires, an Alphatian offensive aimed against Oceansend seizes the islands in front of the city and threatens to assault the city itself. After diplomatic talks with Alphatian commanders, Oceansend declares her independence from the Thyatian Empire, this way preventing Alphatian attacks while Thyatis is busy in a difficult war against the rival (and likely wouldn't be able to reinforce the city). The son of the Thyatian governor - with the support of his father, which steps aside thinking this is the only way to save the city from Alphatia -, named Yarrvik, signs a peace treaty with Alphatia and is crowned king of the city.
AC 962: After the signing of the peace between Thyatis and Alphatia, the Thyatian Emperor Thincol recognises the independence of Oceansend - his old homeland - both as part of the peace treaty and to restore the bases for an eventual future alliance with the city. Still following the peace treaty, Alphatians leave the isles in front of the city of Oceansend.
AC 985: Alphatian Empress Eriadna restarts the expansion in Norwold, halted now by decades; she is firmly convinced of the strategic and economic importance of Norwold and of the need to widen the Alphatian expansion in order to have Thyatis dividing her resources on many fronts. Eriadna continues both the policy of her father, favouring Alphatian penetration with alliances and concessions, and, where this is not possible or useful, using the force of arms to subdue the lords, the clanheads and the local peoples to Alphatian will. On the peninsula where in ancient times was located Cape Alpha, Eriadna commands the construction of the port-city of Alpha, which becomes the centre of Alphatian expansion in Norwold and the seat of a governor with the duty of overlooking the operations in this new protectorate. The Thyatian Emperor Thincol answers to this renewal of Alphatian expansionism suddenly declaring war to Alphatia; the war will las for nearly twenty years among truces and armistices (AC 985-1002), will be waged mostly by provinces and vassals of the two empires, and fought mostly on the Isle of Dawn and in the eastern sea routes (first phase, AC 995-992) and then in Norwold (second phase, AC 1001-1002).
AC 990: At this time the vast majority of the coastal communities from Landfall to Alpha has subdued, at least formally, to Alphatian rulership over the region; only the city of Oceansend stubbornly preserves her independence but Alphatians, being in war with Thyatis, can't afford to besiege the city - also because this would cause a reapproach of the city to Thyatis. Meanwhile in Alpha the building of the grand Royal Castle begins.
AC 992: Empress Eriadna, after a relative halt in the war against Thyatis, awards the Protectorate of Norwold to her son Ericall with the title of king; he chooses Alpha as his capital. The Empress hopes that, with the right level of autonomy, Norwold not only could develop and progress, but also provide to its own defence - this way saving the resources of the empire for the war on other fronts. Annexed to the Kingdom of Norwold, the city of Helskir on the Isle of Dawn is granted to Ericall - a great offence for its governor Eruul Zaar, who has not been consulted at all before the decision.
AC 995: King Ericall awards to his half-brother Lernal the rulership of the southern city of Landfall; Lernal, who soon wins the nickname "the Swill", is an unfit and utterly corrupt ruler, which has the only goal of enriching himself and leaves the effective rulership of the city in the hands of the local Thieves' Guild. AC 997: King Yarrvik of Oceansend, repelling every Thyatian proposal for an alliance with the empire to ward off Alphatia, begins instead a series of diplomatic talks with Ericall, regarding his eventual oath of vassalage to the latter (but only if he could preserve the royal title). Thincol, realising the failure of the diplomatic ways, begins to send in Oceansend every kind of spies.
AC 998: In autumn, King Ericall declares the Land Rush, issuing a decree saying that all adventures who will come to his court in the next Spring Fair could aspire to win a dominion from the king and to try the settlement of the Norwold wilderness; many adventurers coming from every corner of the world (but also spies) come to the court of Alpha in the following months to prove themselves worthy to receive a dominion and to swear obedience to the king. This way Ericall hopes to consolidate the existence of an aristocracy loyal only to him.
AC 999: King Ericall, during the course of the Spring Fair (1st of Thaumont), receives adventurers and noblemen coming from all the Known World and proceeds to the awarding of dominions to those who have proved themselves most valorous and skilled during the tournaments and the tests played during the festival. The chosen ones go to their dominions where they take possession of the existing buildings or build some anew. During a diplomatic visit to his greater brother Ericall, Alphatian prince Tredorian is captured by a group of Thyatian spies and brought to Thyatis; with him Farian, half-brother of King Yarrvik of Oceansend - who was is Alpha to sign an alliance between the city and the king of Norwold - is also captured. Thincol threatens Yarrvik with the death of his half-brother, and the king is forced to renounce to his project of alliance with Ericall. On the other hand, the Emperor reproves hardly the abduction of Tredorian (because this could begin a total war between the two empires) and has the kidnappers executed; instead of sending Tredorian back home, Thincol sends to Sundsvall as counter-hostage her lesser daughter Asteriela (perhaps thinking to be able to use Tredorian as claimant to the Alphatian throne in the future - anyway better of how Eriadna could do with Asteriela). After the umpteenth occupation by the forces of the two empires (that have contended the city among themselves for years), the governor of Helskir, Eruul Zaar, declares his city independent from the Kingdom of Norwold and from both empires. At the beginning of winter a horrible red mist coming from the east reaches Norwold, killing persons and animals to its passage; Ericall receives an ultimatum from King Norlan of Qeodhar, who demands his abdication. The king of Norwold refuses and gathers his noblemen, assembling a fleet and going directly to attack Qeodhar. In truth all this event has been planned by the Immortal Alphaks, who wants a large-scale war to break out: thanks to the enterprises of some lords of Norwold, the diabolic plan is foiled and the Immortal Vanya returns all the peoples involved in this event back in time to the beginning of this year's winter. The lords of Norwold persuade Norlan, determined to kidnap the Alphatian princess Mariella, to go back to Qeodhar. Toward the end of the year, frost giants from Frosthaven begin a major invasion of Norwold, ravaging the Jääkansa lands, clashing against Viaskoda and threatening northern dominions of the Kingdom of Norwold and Leeha.
AC 1000: The frost giant bands, taking advantage of the freezing of the Great Bay this winter, cross it and besiege the capital, Alpha. The giants' army is repelled by the joined forces of some dominion rulers and the giants retreat north before the winter ends. In Alpha the construction of the grand Royal Castle is completed. In the capital is celebrated the marriage between King Ericall and Christina Marie Alanira, an Alphatian princess.