The History of Astrom (Part II)

This is the second in a two-part mini-series on the History of Astrom, a brief outline of its major events and themes. We rejoin the narrative at the dawn of the Third Chapter and the aftermath of the Great Betrayal. To understand what has happened and trace this history through from its inception, be sure to read Part I here first.

III

The Third Chapter was even more diverse and dramatic than the Second, for mortality accelerated the rate of change within civilisation and forever altered the way in which neighbouring nations interacted. To begin with, the faithful elves of Kalimar and Ithrill were aggrieved at the apostasy of their fallen kin in Hendar, Ciricen and Aranar, and assailed them in Prélan’s name, but before long this conflict subsided into watchful animosity. Soon enough the Mortals of different nations became too busy fighting each other to worry about the elves.

Yet it was out of a newly mortal land that two brothers came to change the course of Astrom’s history forever. Child prodigies Kulothiel and Kurundar arrived for tutelage at The League of Wizardry in Oron Amular just after a momentous revelation that there was another magic source in the world besides Oron Amular. The brothers set out together on the quest to find it and left all others behind in their adventures. Kulothiel withdrew, deeply wounded, at the last, leaving Kurundar to discover Oron Barazand alone. There, without supervision, he encountered power far too great for his maturity, and he swiftly fell into evil, dabbling in progressively darker arts. Concealing himself from the League of Wizardry, he procured unnaturally long life for himself and grew into a great enemy of the Free Peoples.

It was the rise of evil in the north that eventually put an end to nearly a thousand years of strife between the Free Peoples, as it slowly dawned on them that they faced a common enemy of tremendous power. Too late did they realise how great a force Kurundar had become, gathering the world’s evil to him, and even ensnaring many wayward Mortals. They paid for their lack of unity and vigilance by having to wage the First War of Kurundar, an epic struggle in the frozen north where men, elves, dwarves and armists fought together to rid the world of Kurundar. With the aid of the League of Wizardry the Free Peoples prevailed, at great cost. Yet Kurundar eluded their grasp, and fled into a dark corner of the world to slowly nurse his strength.

In the wake of this great conflict a flimsy trial of unity was conducted in the form of the Great Union, which, among other things, fostered a common speech between the different nations. Peace reigned and trade flourished…for a while…but all too soon the political edifice came crashing down and individual rulers began vying with each other again.

Along with Kurundar, Lancearon, King of Ithrill, was the second great agent for change in the long Third Chapter. One of the chief architects of the alliance against Kurundar, Lancearon was one of the few not fooled by his withdrawal into thinking that he would not return. Mindful of the enduring threat from the north, Lancearon resolved to replace the Great Union with another experiment: empire. If he could not persuade the kings and lords of Astrom to co-operate voluntarily, he would compel them to under threat of force.

Triggered by ill-considered Hendarian aggression, the political and military genius of Lancearon set out on a series of campaigns that would last a thousand years. Throughout this time the Silver Empire, ruled from Lancearon’s capital in Ithrill, grew and came to hold sway over most of the free world. Against the suffering, strife and bitterness that this dream of empire caused must be balanced its great redeeming virtue: it defeated Kurundar a second time.

Soon after the Silver Empire reached its heyday of power and extent, it became unmistakeable that Kurundar had returned and rebuilt his power. Not only that, but he had successfully infiltrated a declining League of Wizardry and suborned a great part of its strength. The very thing Lancearon had anticipated so many centuries earlier finally came to pass, and the Silver Empire was put to the test. Harnessing all the strength of the Free Peoples, it weathered the storm of Kurundar’s terrible southward invasion and fought back to victory. Without Lancearon’s imperial infrastructure and army, the Free Peoples would have been crushed and condemned to perpetual slavery and torment.

The Second War of Kurundar surpassed the First in every regard, bringing death and suffering on an unparalleled scale. It was such a near-run thing that the Silver Empire took its death-blow even as it defeated its great enemy. The result was, that as the Fourth Chapter developed, the Silver Empire collapsed and withdrew to its original Ithrillian borders. Kurundar also withdrew, again evading capture. Therefore, another period of uneasy peace was ushered in, with none knowing when the old enemy might arise again. 

*

At some point in the future I will be sharing a much longer, more detailed History of Astrom. Keep your eyes peeled for that, and in the meantime, let me know if you have any questions about this history. I’m happy to answer as many as I can, and even form some related blog-posts to tackle the bigger questions.

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Cover Photo by Kiwihug on Unsplash

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