|Languages||Common, Skodje, Dwarven, Isldarrin|
A storied, secretive, and war-torn land, Ellador is a remarkable source of Nelfin and Dwarven strongholds. The history of this land involves many peoples, from the Seraph to the Drovv to the Dwarves to the Isldar. It has also seen many conflicts, between the Dwarves and the Isldar, the Ailor and the Isldar, and the Dwarves against the now lost Dakkar. Scholars, adventurers, and mercenaries once flocked to Ellador to both uncover the secrets of the land and partake in the furious conflicts of the last few years. These efforts are now hindered by the Isldar, who have seized most regions for their own, making travel through the continent’s interior difficult. Despite this, Ellador is and likely will remain a land of tragedy, glory, and opportunity.
Ellador boasts a lengthy history stretching back to the time of the Seraph, with several of the civilization’s ruins dotted across the continent though many are now buried in deep snow. Later, the region also held small populations of the Drovv, but it was a small group at the very edge of the continent. In later years, Velheim Ailor and escaped slaves fled to the bountiful pine forests that covered a once far more ecologically rich Ellador. There they found the Dwarves, who had survived for centuries out of contact with the outside world. Another party that soon reached Ellador were the Isldar, a cult of Dragon worshipers from Daen. They fled their homeland to escape the destructive Fracture of Allorn (the collapse of the Allorn Empire). But some factions attempted to follow them and made pacts with the Dwarves for aid in dispelling the Isldar who had set themselves up within the mountains that the Dwarves underneath them called home. These pacts were also largely begun through blackmail and manipulation by the Altalar who created them. Ultimately, soon after the Dwarven-Dregodarian War began, the Dwarves were abandoned by the Altalar. Ellador was too far away for any real aid to reach them and the two Races didn't trust each other. The conflict was fierce, but it ended in a horrific manner. Pushed to their breaking point and as their last Black Scale Mountain Dragon died, the Isldar performed a magical feat only mages before the Cataclysm could dream of accomplishing. As one, they sent a massive magical blast of icy wind across the landscape, birthing the Great Ice Dragon Frostwing. This blast annihilated the Dwarven forces and transformed Ellador into the land of snow it is today, but it spread even further, striking Jorrhildr and Cain before it finally stopped. The climate of these regions, already at a northern elevation, was now dropped considerably and few would ever see snowstorm-less days again.
The Dwarves, jaded by the world, locked themselves in their ancient Holds and dug ever deeper into the earth while the Isldar ascended into the mountaintops, becoming almost mythical for several decades. As for the Ailor, many froze to death within days of the climate change but others persevered, and over time, they survived. The Hedrylli Empire, in southeast Ellador, was one of these places. At first, their raiders headed out to bring back food, clothing, and anything to help their people. But as time went on, the raids turned solely to wealth and valuables as Ellador settled into its now climate and the Ailor acclimated to it. For nearly 100 years, the Hedrylli were masters of the Altar and Great Middle Seas, but it ultimately came to an end with the Cataclysm. Dozens of ships never returned as the seas threw them against newly forming lands, or sunk them to the depths of the ocean. Hedryll would no longer have a raiding Empire, and they refocused themselves on their homeland, to repair the damage of the Cataclysm. Deep under Ellador, the Dwarves barely felt the tremors of the world as they dug ever deeper down. They discovered new metals, new minerals, but still sought the point of no return. Unfortunately for them, they found it in the Dakkar.
This first meeting between Races was not one of peace and cooperation, but one of desecration and vengeance; the Dwarves’ mining tools accidentally bore through a cavern wall in the Dakkar tunnel homeland, resulting in the destruction of a sacred Dakkar shrine to their god. In their rage, the Dakkar slaughtered the Dwarven miners and began a full-scale campaign against the mighty Dwarven Empire. Within nearly two weeks after their discovery, the Dakkar had managed to wipe out the majority of the Dwarven Holds, resulting in the survivors either fleeing to the nearly inhospitable surface, or barricading themselves within Ølovomm to make a final stand, leaving the Holds of Aldruin and Grebor with only a scant few platoons of Dwarves to keep standing. With Ølovomm named as the last capital of the Dwarven Empire, most of the Dwarves believed focusing their forces here would turn the tide of the onslaught. They were gravely mistaken, as the Dakkar had pillaged the previous Holds, taking the Dwarven weapons and using them against their creators in their crusade. This led to the mass slaughter of Dwarven civilians and warriors within Ironhall, and the eventual razing of the Hold. The diaspora that followed this loss was great, with many surviving Dwarves fleeing to Aldruin and Grebor while others came to the surface only to find a much different world than before. But ultimately, the Dwarves survived. As for the Dakkar, they too followed their foes. In doing so, they came into contact with the surface world for the first time in their history and spread out to various regions which shattered their religious unity and led to infighting.
As for the Ailor of Ellador, their lives were also embroiled in warfare. The now Kingdom of Hedryll found itself beset by Vampires, dark spawn of some unknown design who were spreading across their lands. Desperate for aid, the Velheim were saved by the oddest of figures, Vladimir Kade. At the end of the Great Vampire Wars, he arrived in Ellador with a personal army bent on defeating this threat before he augmented his forces with local tribes and even recruited some lumbering Ogres to aid him. They were ultimately victorious but the fighting cost Hedryll much, most of their inland Elladorian holdings destroyed by Vampires. From this defeat, Vampirism then spread across Aloria and to other areas of Ellador, like the western islands where Dorkarth was founded. After these intense conflicts, Ellador remained peaceful. The Dwarves still fought the Dakkar, and there was almost weekly conflict between the many Ailor regions against wild animals and each other, but there were no grand marching armies of unified efforts (save perhaps in the Dwarven mission of preservation but even then, no more grand armies just ragged defenders with hit and run tactics). This changed in recent years. First, the Dakkar left the world, unable to survive above ground any longer due to the cure to a terrible infection having filled Aloria’s air. This cure, while it saved all other Races, slowly turned the Dakkar to stone unless they went back down into their ancient homeland which they all did, ending their chapter in Alorian history thus far. Then, rumors began to swirl that the Isldar were on the march. Revealed to the world over the years as fact instead of fiction, they had remained an enigmatic Race with a limited number of Isldar found outside of their high mountaintop temples and an even more limited number beyond Ellador as a whole. But these rumors turned into fact as the Great Ice Dragon helped to enforce what is now an almost total takeover of the continent. They fought none but the Dwarves, seizing Aldruin before parading the survivors away in chains leaving Grebor as the last Dwarven Hold. But then, the Dwarves fought back and have currently reclaimed their recently lost hold under the leadership of the warrior Andinn Blackhammer. Despite this, Ellador remains a mysterious place, with the Isldar ignoring the resurgent Dwarves to fortify their holdings elsewhere, following the mysterious guidance of their living Dragon god while all others either continue to live their lives under this new rule or worry that they will be the next to be seized.
Ellador is located far to the northeast of the Regalian Archipelago and is southwest of the Northern Expanse across the Frozen Passage. It is located east of the Inner Storm Sea and is located across the northern border of the Altar Sea. Ellador consists of four grand mountain ranges that form something of a circle around the outermost edges of the land. The ranges curve slightly to emphasize this shape, and in the dead of night, if one is on elevated ground, they can spot the soft white tops of each mountain range in the far off distance, almost lighting the way to each range. This has led to their collective name as the Moonlit Mountains. Each range is specified by its cardinal direction. The northmost range is called the Northern Moonlit Mountains, and so on. By the Northern, Moonlit Mountains is a collection of Isldar holds, with Essälejollona serving as the primary home of all Isldar. Snowy tundras surround this entire range, as well as the northern parts of the Eastern and Western Mountains. Frozen rivers, lakes, and ice plains surround these mountains, and few trees of any sort can grow. The Eastern Mountains holds many ruins of old settlements, long since abandoned and forgotten by their denizens, along with many Dwarven ruins. They also hold the nation of Hedryll, stuck out on the Hjemkysten Peninsula which shelters the small Hjem Bay. The territory of the Western Mountains hold a variety of nations but is unique as it was fractured by the Cataclysm into several nearby regions. Grebor sits on the northwestern shoreline with the Dorkarthi Islands and the Vampire nation of Dorkarth above them to the northwest. To the southwestern coast of Grebor sit the Ennganghel Islands, which once held Aldruin as well as Trollar. The entire area contains a mix of sprawling spruce forests and snow-covered open terrain. The Southern Mountains are home to little more than evergreen and pine forests with scattered Velheim townships and nomadic groups trying to live off the land. All of the Moonlit Mountain Ranges are subject to spontaneous blizzards, most of which are so strong that anyone caught out in them without shelter is guaranteed to freeze to death. These mountain ranges are also crisscrossed by dozens of tunnels, some made by the Dwarves but others naturally formed.
Being a tundra in most parts, Ellador boasts practically no flora life across the entirety of its barren surface aside from scattered patches of pine and evergreen forests. However in the cold forests and near frozen waters, one can find Ogrebait, a common tool in the kit of an Elladorian hunter seeking to topple a tall Ogre, and the Modrá's Root, which is commonly used by both Velheim Ailor and Dwarves for tattooing and in some rare cases, cooking. Aside from these, one is most likely to come across mushrooms and other fungi in Ellador, which grow deep in the underground caverns hollowed out by the Dwarven people, Dakkar and nature itself. Flora found underground include plants such as like Brightmoss, a Dakkar related glowing plant, and fungi like the Undercity Shroom, which grew in Dwarven city and now populates many of their ruins.
The wildlife of Ellador have adapted to their inhospitable climate and its hazards, producing some of the most dangerous animals in the known world. There are beasts like the devilish Antelabbit, ever a danger to nomads as it will attempt to slaughter folk on the roads and trails about the continent. Another is the fearsome Dire Wolf, known to stalk the northwestern island, claiming lives beyond measure yet dwindling in number due to constant hunts by Ailor and Dwarves. Lastly is the hulking Frosthorn which remains a larger threat than even the wolves as it is said to be able to annihilate armed retinues with ease. The rarity of these creatures and their associated goods has led to a greater demand, and a higher payoff for the merchant to sell the desired items. In turn, the Direwolf has been hunted down to dwindling numbers, and the Frosthorn has taken to avoiding people altogether. Beyond these are the Ogre and Troll groups that roam about Ellador, both particularly present on Trollar thus lending that nation its name.
Politics and Demographics
Due to the diverse Races that inhabit the continent, the political climate of Ellador is highly variable but has also rapidly changed over the past few years. There are only two Dwarven Holds remaining, Grebor and Aldruin. The Isldar, who destroyed Aldruin before carting its resident's off in chains, no longer bother them and so the Dwarves desperately rebuild. As for the Isldar as a whole, they dominate much of Ellador today. Since seeming to receive directives from their living god the Great Ice Dragon Frostwing, they have laid a blanket of snow over Ellador and rule it absolutely. The regions they control are merely occupied, and it seems the Isldar are intent to keep it that way as they recently made sure the populations under their control do not starve or freeze to death. As for the Ailor, they are spread out at the edges of Ellador. The Kingdom of Hedryll is weak, but yet unconquered by the Isldar and currently lends aid to the coalition of Velheim Ailor who oppose the Regalian Empire. In Trollar, the savage Ailor found there fight among themselves and the beasts that live in their small shared landmass, ignoring outsiders and barely even registering the actions of the Isldar as it neither benefits nor hinders them. Finally, the Ailor of Dorkarth continue their same Vampiric and raiding ways as they have for over 100 years, turning away from Ellador and the Isldar takeover to eye Jorrhildr and even Cain’s settlements for blood cattle. The presence of the Regalian Empire is no longer felt here and what settlements they had in the region are long abandoned or now under the control of the Isldar.
List of Dwarven Holds
- Ølovomm: 700 BC to 27 AC
- Skorr: 600 BC to 26 AC
- Østrey: 600 BC to 93 AC
- Tehl-Humm: 600 BC to 130 AC
- Æthrammar: 600? BC to 69 AC
- Brohl: 56 BC to 180 AC
- Grebor: 56 BC to Present
- Aldruin: 56 BC to Present
- Fummd: 500 BC to 27 AC
Ølovomm was once a great Dwarven city in the Western Moonlit Mountain Range, laid to ruin by the Dakkar who sieged it from within. Decades have passed since then, yet the architecture that remains intact is nearly pristine; a testament to Dwarven craftsmanship if ever there was one. The reason for the Dakkar not destroying it is murky, but some believe a call for support in other regions called the conquerors away. Now, centuries later, Dwarves are known to visit these ruins to look upon the majesty of their once great civilization. Great walkways, stunning statues, and forgotten artifacts exist within the city’s limits, with smaller ruins from offshoot settlements and structures surround the larger city above and below ground. On the surface, the great open and empty doorway down serves to invite adventurers further but also perhaps make them reconsider. Unfortunately, the area in and around Ølovomm is riddled with large chasms and steep drops, even underground, into total darkness. Many have unfortunately plunged to their deaths here seeking the treasures of the Dwarven past much to the dismay and irritation of the former inhabitants’ ancestors living elsewhere on the continent.
Isle of Ice
Located just south of the Northern Mountains, the Isle of Ice is a site for Isldar pilgrimages but what purpose such actions serve is for outsiders to only guess at. The Isle of Ice is a glacier with a misshapen surface, covered in frozen hills and caverns which few outsiders have dared to explore, though none have returned alive. There are many theories of what is found here. Some believe there to be strange ice-beasts like Frost Wyverns existing within the caverns in a wild state the Isldar enjoy to witness and interact with. Some claim it is where hidden Dwarven slaves work away at constructing the greatest blades known to Aloria for use by the Isldar’s elite. But the one the least believe, but is likely most accurate, is that the site has an interesting effect on acoustics. Sounds within the glacier’s caverns and hills tend to echo, vibrate and reveal “perfect sound” as the theorists claim. The Isldar obsession with sound and music, therefore, draws their greatest music makers to this place as the ideal location to practice their instruments and songs.
Wolfswind Bay is a small bay located along the southern coastline of Ellador with a much more recent history to the outside world. A Velheim raiding base was once located here before a group of Direwolves, and other wolf packs moved into the region, making it firmly their territory resulting in the surrounding Velheim fishermen from retreating. Some of these simple folk even spoke of wolfmen who fought their “less developed cousins” that eventually morphed into a myth that the entire bay was populated by wolfmen. In reality, this was one fantastic tale of an Url hunt led by a Wildland Url from Jorrhildr, but even after the Regalians pointed out the truth, the myth persisted. Hunters from across Aloria converged on the location, some to hunt the wolfmen, while others more sensibly sought to topple a few of the vicious Direwolves. Since the Isldar takeover, however, these hunters have scattered, but the wolves remain, as to their ghostly howls carried on the powerful wind serving to remind those even miles away of their continued presence.
Essälejollona is the chief Isldar hold in the icefields far north of the Northern Mountains from which all Isldar go forth into the world. Not much is truly known about this place, as it lies beyond the Wispwind Mountains, a smaller range that signifies the beginning of truly inhospitable lands to any but the Isldar. No outsiders have ever seen it, but it is said to be a cold, barren place of great ice pillars, frigid floors, and whistling wind. It is also said to be cursed by the souls of Ellador’s long-dead warriors, who waft through its hall as lonely souls unloved like the Isldar they are now forced to serve. It is rumored that the Great Ice Dragon also has its home here or nearby, though it is now active across Ellador helping to enforce the Isldar’s will over the continent. In truth, the region is far less “cold” than outsiders paint it, with the settlement-temple regularly serenaded by singing female Isldar and illuminated by special means.
Fjellsterk is the name for both a village and a contest said village hosts each year. The village is a major fishing settlement on Hjem Bay and rests at the edge of Hedryll territory. The town itself has a long history, but it is most well known for its grand hunting contest. The tradition is said to have originated with a dare at a feast during the golden age of the Hedrylli people between two brothers on who could return with the most impressive catch of fish. The modern contest involves all registered hunters having a year to bring back the fiercest beast in Aloria. As a result, the town has received some truly fascinating animals dragged before its citizens from a dead Haurmann to a juvenile Longtail Gryphon. All the finds are then judged by a panel of distinguished local hunters and the local leadership for the greatest find. The winner receives a feast in his honor, and the beast is expertly taxidermied, being placed in the main local hall. As a result of all of this, the contest and the town draws in attention from many Velheim hunters along with others from the Regalian Empire, usually New Regalians who seek to undermine the Velheim’s claims to greatness by beating them at their own game. This contest was last held in 304 AC, which added a large and matured Triton Scorpide to the town’s collection of fauna. Though, due to the Isldar’s control of Ellador, it is uncertain if one will be hosted this year as Hedryll might find itself suddenly with new Isldar masters.
- Ellador’s coastline is filled with various coves and fjords, practically beckoning people to come and settle down in these regions.
- Andinn Blackhammer, so named after he took down a dozen Dakkar single-handedly with his Metalitra Warhammer, “Blackhammer,” is revered as a hero among the Dwarven people. His return with the Urdweld Subrace and their resources have exalted him to an even higher status.
- Rumors said a third Dwarven hold survived the Dakkar’s assault. Their Hold had no name, and no concrete evidence of its existence save one report from a group of hunters who stumbled upon it. Rumors persisted of an entirely different species of Dwarf living within it, unbothered by the wars of recent years. With the arrival of the Urdweld, these rumors seem confirmed and serve to teach that not all tales are as tall as they seem.