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History of Eykaivial and the Dwarfgate Mountains Region

by Sheldon Morris

(This is based on work done by Aaron Nowack, Geoff Gander, and Thorfinn's mapping and contains parts of their works. Portions that contain my input are shown in blue.)

Of the Eastern Doulakki and the Hrokagar Dwarves

1500 BC: Free Traldar tribes fleeing the emerging Nithian Empire found Salonikos (later Selenica); the first major human settlement in what will become Darokin, around this time. They, along with other fleeing tribes, will emerge as a distinct culture - the Doulakki - over the next several centuries. The forming Doulakki culture strengthens itself in the broad Doulak Valley, from which they take their name.

1400 BC: To the south and west, Atruaghin unites several Azcan-descended tribes. Western Doulakki explorers and traders begin to call them the Atruaghin Clans.

Soon, the Doulakki slowly begin to spread out from the Doulak Valley and the Salonikos area. They push west the fastest, following the successful explorers and traders, but also head north and north-west where the open steppes attract many herders. They call these open steppes Eykaivial, (transformed into the Canolbarth forest by the Alfheim elves six centuries later), and encounter nomadic orcs who struggle to survive.

Still weakened by the cataclysm that created the Broken Lands, these orcs are descendants of some of the followers of King Loark that survived and wandered into the region. It has been generations since these orcs have seen a human and legends of the E'Tung-ar make them cautious of the intruders initially.

The E'Tung-ar were supposedly fierce spirits who rode the backs of swift mounts, overwhelming all in their path, and their wake turned the land upside-down; this was of course an exaggerated legend based on the Ethengars who crushed King Loark's Great Horde a decade before the Broken Lands cataclysm. They carefully measure these new invaders and soon realise they die just as easily as an orc; even though they still suffer ill effects from the cataclysm, they will not give up the land easily.

1300 BC: Several more Doulakki city-states are established in Darokin by this point, of which the largest are Dolos, near the modern city of that name, and Kanosis, in Eykaivial. Kanosis is founded as a defence against the increasing orcish attacks. It helps; the orcs generally keep a distance from it, however to the north and west, raids from both sides are frequent.

Conflicts between western Doulakki settlers and the Atruaghin become common as the Doulakki begin to settle the Streel Valley.
Concerns of defence and safety result in the western Doulakki peoples forming family clans and land claims. Clan prestige is important as it makes it easier to form alliances and blood bonds with other clans to ensure mutual safety. Among these family clans arises the large Strelos clan which occupies the eastern bank of the Streel River roughly between the modern locations of Favaro and Ansimont. It is this clan's name which is given to the river, and thus the valley-plains, and eventually changes into Streel.

1200 BC: By this point thriving, if small, western Doulakki cities on the sites of modern day Akorros and Athenos are established.

1000 BC: A gnoll invasion destroys several smaller city-states in the Cruth Mountains before moving south into the Traldar lands. Refugees are turned away by the rulers of Dolos and Kanosis, and eventually head further north into orcish territory, where they found the fortress city of Destaros.
Dolos and Kanosis are unable to support such an increase in population and send the Traldar refugees out in the hopes they will strengthen the nomadic tribes. Unfortunately, the refugees want no part of these herders and establish Destaros, a fortified settlement more to their tastes.

The orcs in Eykaivial are fully recovered from the ill effects of the Broken Lands cataclysm and their numbers have swollen in recent generations. Some of their numbers spread west into the Streel Valley, some end up in the Broken Lands, but many remain to fight for the Eykaivial steppes. This region won't actually see an all-out war for two hundred years but both sides initiate frequent small scale skirmishes and raids.

900 BC: By this point Kanosis has fallen to the orcs. Destaros is under near-constant siege, and will fall sometime during the next century. The survivors of the fall of Kanosis are the ones that end up reinforcing their nomad relatives and their camps. No one escapes Dolos free. Those that survive are enslaved by the orcs. The longest surviving slave only lasts for three years.

800 BC: Around this time, the Atruaghin successfully revolt against their orcish rulers, and orcish refugees flee into Darokin. As a result, the settlements at Athenos and Akorros are destroyed. At almost the same time, the elves arrive in Eykaivial.

When the Doulakki first see the elves arrive in Eykaivial, they know that the area cannot support themselves, the Traldar, orcs, and the thousands of elves. They figure that these delicate little humanoids are not likely to last in this meagre land, let alone the orcish raids. The humans have the elves settle in unclaimed lands to the north-west of them, putting them between their own lands and that of the orcs. But the elves utterly shock the first orcish raids with their lethal combination of blade and magic, and soon begin their ceremonies of weather-change.

Although this looked good to begin with, the orcs are unified under Thrahg who incite various tribes to war. To build morale after the crushing defeats at the hands of the new-comer elves, Thrahg leads his horde against the poorly defended humans first. These attacks are devastating and rout the humans in all directions.

The Doulakki that get displaced by the orcs are pushed from the centre of the Eykaivial grasslands outwards. Many end up against a spur of the Altan Tepes Mountains and settle down in more defensible locations. The humans spread out along the foothills enough to allow their remaining herds to continue grazing.

The few surviving Traldar encounter the Doulakki that were driven north-west and this time are received warmly. However, this doesn't mean the two groups' amalgamation is smooth. Although it was the orcs that decidedly removed these peoples from the steppes, they blamed the elves for inciting them and then not aiding in any defensive undertaking. Truth of the matter is that it was inevitable; the orcs were continuing to gain strength and were victorious in the vast majority of skirmishes.

With the human tribes sent scattering, Thrahg turns his force against the elves. By now however, the elves have their weather-changing magic well under way and have formed good defences. The battle is intense and the orcs are slowly forced back, but are certainly not routed. The elves are greatly outnumbered but have superior position and tactics. The orcs are forced to withdraw or be steadily wiped out.

Thrahg's horde maintain their organisation as they turn west and come to face what they perceive to be an easier target; the western Doulakki City-States. United, they wreck havoc on the humans in this area and within a few years become dominate. For the next hundred years, wars between the remaining Doulakki city-states and the elven nation of Alfheim will occur. In the Streel Valley, formerly nomadic human clans start to build permanent settlements for protection against the orcish threat.

700 BC: Around this time, a series of bloody tribal conflicts weakens the orcish hold on the Streel Valley. The surviving clans of humans, descended from a mixture of relatively recently arrived Neathar and the survivors of the destroyed Doulakki city-states, begin to grow in strength. Calling themselves the Eraeda, the human clans mostly settle in the region between the edges of the newly formed Canolbarth Forest and the Streel, with their southern border near modern Darokin City. The elves of Alfheim alternate between strengthening the Eraeda to serve as a buffer against the orcs and slaughtering the clans that move too far into the forest. Over the next several centuries, this has the effect of increasing Eraedan unity, as clans favoured by the elves prosper and their rivals quickly become extinct.

650 BC: The Inlashar, migrating southward after several harsh winters in their homelands, settle in northern Darokin near modern Corunglain and Fort Nell, with some tribes ranging into the Broken Lands. Their excellent cavalry proves too much for the area's orcish tribes, and the orcs are driven deep into the Amsorak region and the modern Orclands.

The eastern Doulakki grow up hearing tales of the Canolbarth forest forming from the Eykaivial grasslands in the period of time since their great grandfathers. This myth-like story leads many adventurous people to explore the woods. The few that survive return with tales of evil elves that infest the forest. Small battles occur from time to time between the elves and humans.

480 BC: The red dragon Calor returns to the region. He makes a lair on what will later be Itheldown Island, and sets about once again gaining command over the local orcish tribes. Over the next decades, Brethilad slowly falls more and more into a state of virtual siege. The main orcish populations now exist on the west side of the Streel River, to the north in the broken lands, and to a much lesser degree in the south. Calor attracts most orcs in the region to the western hills of the Streel Valley, attacking from the west.

475 BC: Dwarves begin exploration and colonisation of neighbouring territories. The dwarves seem to have long-distance, exploration oriented expeditions planed and these are launched around this time. Among these plans is a major westward land expedition lead by Feric Squinteye which is the first to be organised and launched.

450 BC: Dwarves, lead by Feric Squinteye, arrive along the eastern Savage Coast and build small colonies.

With the orcish defeat at Favaro, the great western horde is broken for a time, allowing Molharran, the Eraeda, and the Inlashar to drive them back with vengeance - almost to the very foothills of the Silver Sierras. Until its end, the Streel Plains are largely free of orcs, and are lightly settled by people of all three realms. The orcs are now restricted to the lands west of the Streel Valley and to the northern Broken Lands.

242 BC: A Dwarven expedition is launched into the north-west extension of the Altan Tepes Mountain Range in search of mineral wealth. They become aware of the humans who live in the foothills but both keep to their own regions and there is minimal contact. The Doulakki are still not trusting of any demihumans.

200 BC: By now, orcs control the land to the west of the Streel River, as far south as Akorros. They also control the Broken Lands, southern Glantri, and most of Ethengar. Humans control the areas south of Akorros, east of the Streel, and nearly surround the new Canolbarth Forest of the Alfheim elves; elves control Alfheim in the centre. Some dwarves have settled in Salonikos.

The dwarves in the spur of the Altan Tepes have discovered that these mountains are quite dangerous, even for dwarven standards. They also find tunnels and caverns to found new settlements within. Unfortunately however, rich minerals have not been found yet but they have discovered much iron ore. Thus, they concentrate on building numerous forts, citadels, and passages. They call the area "Hrokagar", meaning 'treacherous home'.

164 BC: With the bulk of the orcish might in the south, the Inlashar stage a revival, pushing the orcs back as far as the borders of Eraeda.
Several of the most prominent tribes of the day forge an alliance with the Eastwind Clan of Favaro against the orcs. Meanwhile, in the east, the slowly expanding borders of the ancient Doulakki city-state of Salonikos begin to encroach on the Canolbarth forest. Brief skirmishes with the elves soon flare into open war. Surprisingly, the humans win several early victories, as the elves, more used to fighting the disorganised tribes of the Eraedans or orcs, underestimate the militia of Salonikos.

162 BC: Finally taking the humans seriously, the elves muster their full strength and push them out of the forest in the Battles of the Weeping Trees, named after a passage from an elven bard's rendition of the campaign, in which she described how the trees seemed to weep blood in the aftermath. The elves pursue the humans back to the walls of Salonikos and briefly lay siege to the city before being pushed back. However, the humans are unable to reach the forest, and find themselves on the defensive.

161 BC: The City Council of Salonikos, desperate for allies, sends emissaries through the elven lines to Rockhome, with a mission that amounts to little more than begging the dwarves for aid. Thanks perhaps more to luck than skill, the diplomats manage to ensure the message is heard by King Sardal III of Rockhome. He agrees to consider the matter.

160 BC: Early this year, the elves again lay siege to Salonikos. This time, the humans are unable to break the siege and sue for peace. The elven King Alevar rejects the offers and makes clear that he intends to see Salonikos utterly destroyed, as a lesson to any human that might dare to consider invading Alfheim. Salonikos sends more messengers to Rockhome, but history does not record if they reach the dwarves or how they are received.

159 BC: Sardal III announces that Rockhome will not aid Salonikos, stating that the human city is not worth one dwarven life. However, many young dwarves, unfriendly to the elves at the best of times, still agitate for war, and some begin to form volunteer regiments with the intention of joining the war. Sardal III, angered, makes a second pronouncement declaring that any dwarf who marches to aid Salonikos will be forever exiled from Rockhome. In response, the number of young dwarves prepared to fight doubles overnight.

158 BC: In a grand battle lasting four days, the dwarven volunteers break the siege of Salonikos. Much of the city is reduced to ruins in the fighting, but at the end of it the elves are beaten back. King Alevar agrees to peace terms. (Some human histories record that his change of heart was due to the pleas of the elven heroine Sinian; elven chronicles are silent on the matter.) A border between Salonikos and Alfheim is agreed upon, which remains part of the border between Alfheim and Darokin in modern times. The Salonikos City Council offers the dwarves who aided the city citizenship; most agree and settle in the city, lending their expertise to rebuilding it. As a result, many of the oldest buildings in modern Selenica are of dwarven construction. Some dwarves that long for the mountains again travel to what will be called the Dwarfgate Mountains.

150 BC: By this point, the Inlashar revival reaches its height. For the first time in centuries, the entirety of the ancient Great Road of Inlashar is in Inlashar hands. Orcish strength is lower than at any time since the razing of Comaelle. A few documents from around this time refer to these years as the "Silver Peace", but the term never really takes hold.

128 BC: A new orcish horde forms in the west and advances into the Streel Valley, skirting the southern borders of Inlashar. They raze all save a handful of the remaining Molharraner villages north of Elstarath and raid the lands of the Ansimont Clan. The orcs then cross the Streel north of Favaro, where they succeed in destroying the few Inlashar strongholds in the region and again cut off Inlashar from the Eraedan clans.

122 BC: After years of skirmishing, the orcs overwhelm Inlashar defences near modern Corunglain, razing many strongholds and dividing Inlashar in two. The western half slowly falls to the orcs over the next ten years; the eastern section manages to put up more resistance.

120 BC: Attel Eastwind is born. By the time he is fourteen, he is known as one of the greatest warriors of the Eastwind Clan - if not all the Clans of Eraeda.

100 BC: Around this time, the orcs launch a major assault on the remaining Inlashar tribes. Attel Eastwind gathers a great host of men from the northern Eraedan Clans and marches to aid the Inlashar. The Clans do not hear of him or his followers again, and assume them lost.

98 BC: Rebellion against the corrupt King Bollo of Rockhome - the Rockhome Senate is established. As one of its first acts, the new Rockhome Senate rescinds the banishment of the dwarves who aided Salonikos against Alfheim. Many return to Rockhome, but some choose to remain in the city-state.

Some dwarves that were involved in either the rebellion in Rockhome or from Salonikos, venture out to Hrokagar to join those who left in search of wealth over a century ago. With the increase in the dwarven population here and the passage of time, contact becomes more common with the humans. Within one generation the mountains begin to be called the Dwarfgate Mountains; the doors to the dwarven homeland. Dwarves become more frequently involved in raids on the elves.

21 AC: Ansel Darokin declares himself King of Darokin, beginning the reign of the Eastwind Kings.

88 AC: Orcs make major gains against the leaderless Darokin humans, forcing the Elves of Alfheim to support Corwyn Attleson as a compromise choice to lead Darokin. The reign of Darokin Kings begins.

100 AC: Celedryl of the Erendyl clan is crowned king of Alfheim.

122 AC: In Darokin, Corwyn I dies after a long and successful reign. His son, Corwyn II, assumes power.

131 AC: Doulakki also discover some tunnels in the Dwarfgate Mountains and waste little time exploring them. It's cut short when they stumble upon some Shadow Elves who capture and interrogate them. This leads to the Shadow Elves learning of the Alfheim elves and the forest they created. The captives are killed. The Shadow Elves send a delegation to Alfheim, but in their jealousy and uncompromising demands, they are turned away by Celedryl.

150 AC: The Shadow Elves manipulate humanoids to attack Alfheim. Little is accomplished against the well prepared Alfheimers.

200 AC: The dwarven policy of colonisation outside Rockhome is well underway. Human communities and nations generally welcome their dwarven additions.

236 AC: The dwarves construct the underground, fortified trade-town know as Dwarfgate; its Dwarven name has been lost. It is now called Xorg by the orcs which inhabit it.

250 AC: The Alphatians begin colonising into the northern and central coastal plain of Ylaruam, enslaving and scattering the indigenous population. Some of the Ylari driven out by the Alphatian and Thyatian aggression migrate to Darokin. Salonikos experiences great growth from the Ylari immigrants.

293 AC: Last of the orc tribes driven from Darokin.

330 AC: A group of Doulakki humans exploring deep, dwarven underground passages find the Shadow Elves yet again, and rekindles their interest in the surface world. The Shadow Elves also discover paths that lead right to the heart of the dwarven settlements. Magically disguised, the Shadow Elves begin to manipulate the Doulakki in a similar manner to the way they used the humanoids of the Lands Below nearly 200 years ago.

Jealousy is entrenched into the Doulakki mindset for the elven lands, so rich compared to their bleak hill country. The Shadow Elves put the knowledge they had learned when using the humanoids against Alfheim to good use. They patiently built up the Doulakki and planned well. Many Hrokagar Dwarves enthusiastically joined the cause. At the same time, the Shadow elves prepare many Broken Lands tribes for a different assault.

338 AC: The Shadow Elves launch the Doulakki against Alfheim. The war goes good for the Shadow Elf forces in the beginning. They even manage to lay siege to Mealidor for a short time. The Alfheim elves regroup and counter-attack, first breaking the siege, then driving the humans and dwarves back. All that emerge from the Canolbarth are the handful of broken and scattered survivors. The Doulakki population is on the brink of disappearing. The dwarves retreat to their mountain homes.

During the invasion of Alfheim, the Shadow Elves release the humanoid forces into the passages that lead to the dwarves. The Dwarves have never encountered any kind of humanoid threat in their new territory before and are caught completely off guard. Several communities are captured before they can organise a suitable defence.

350 AC: The humanoids, mainly orcs but also including goblins, trolls and bugbears, now have a firm foothold in the area. They use dwarven fortifications against them as well as the myriad of tunnels and natural passages.

370 AC: By now, the humanoids have also discovered the Doulakki and raid them infrequently. The humans are so low in population and spread so thin that defences are almost non-existent. The few that make it south to Salonikos are the lucky ones; within the next decade the Doulakki in this area will be wiped out.

390 AC: Disastrous humanoid raid from the Dwarfgate Mountains on Alfheim. Some orcs captured. Again, this was stirred up by the Shadow Elves. The reduction in humanoid numbers in Hrokagar gives the dwarves cause for hope and thing look as though they may be able to push the unwanted intruders out. However, the underground passages that allowed the humanoids to come here are now fairly well known in the Broken Lands, and thus many more arrive.

450 AC: Many dwarves give up the battle for Hrokagar feeling that the area is not worth the cost. Trade that was once done with the Doulakki has disappeared with those people and the mountains themselves have revealed no riches. They gradually begin to return to Rockhome.

515 AC: The humanoids now control all of what was once dwarven territory in the Dwarfgate Mountains and also inhabit the surrounding foothills. Goblins and bugbears are eventually pushed southeast out of the mountains in between Alfheim and Rockhome. Trolls infest a dwarven keep they call C'Kag. In similar manner, orcs inhabit old dwarven keeps and rename them. The most well known of these are Xorg, Grukk, and Dast.

Over the next few centuries the humanoids make various attempts at attacking the elvish and dwarvish homelands but these crushed in short order. Thus, the eastern Doulakki tribes and the Dwarven region of Hrokagar cease to exist.