History of Shaya'Nor

In 2500 B.C., the lands to the northeast fell under a great darkness. The dwarves of the region-- believed to have been the originators of some of the earliest advances in metalworking-- were driven out or destroyed as Vainar laid claim to the region for his followers and chosen. A full third of the Fae population flowed into the lands, believing in their new god and his chosen path. 

Rapidly, the lands changed to match the corruption of the inhabitants. The skies grew overcast, and a kind of foggy mist seemed to cling almost permanently to the ground. Various practitioners of the dark arts rose to power, and creatures of corruption and undeath grew in numbers and in power. The most favored of the Shayakar were embraced as vampires or were-creatures, and entire populations of humans were enslaved and bred as feeding stock. Only those clever and ruthless enough to adopt – and master – the ways of their dark masters were able to escape the fate of their brethren. 

Eventually, an elaborate and byzantine society formed. Open conflicts between various families gave way to political maneuvering and intricate scheming. Occasional violence still breaks out, but most of the bloodletting happens on the individual level now-- Not counting, of course, the actual feeding on the populace at large that takes place.

Shaya'Nor. The Shadowlands, where all things dark and dangerous move. It is home to many Shayakar, zombies, ghouls, werewolves, vampires, and all other beasties born of Darkness. It is a place few dare to tread; those who do are either fools or seeking death. The sole possible exception to this were the individuals Gornon, Vrrll, Sable, Vance, and Almorek, who were part of The Dark Hunt Expedition in 3026 A.C., organized by the Galean crown because “evil never sleeps the eternal sleep.” What they found was that the land radiates evil from its very core, reported to be near or at Ey'Mord.  

The lands were not always populated with the dark and dangerous. Very early records show that it was once called Dranak'Or, where the Dwarves lived and breathed for many centuries, dating as far back as 4283 B.C. It is described as a picturesque land, full of majestic mountains, verdant valleys, and flourishing forests. It was here that the Dwarves perfected their metalsmithing and ironwork, as the mountains were rich with many metals. Great towns and grandiose stone cities grew. The land flourished. But then something happened to change the very lands and the forever mark dwarven history and memory. Early records found at Castle Gorgon, and some in the Elven lands, speak of a great and terrible black windstorm that fell upon the land:  

“It happened midday when the sun was at the highest and shone most bright. A sudden flash, which burned the image of two great burning eyes plummeting from the sky into all who saw. And then, a great and powerful wind swept its darkness across the valleys, mountains, and streams. The winds wrapped around the inverted body of a terrible black mountain, whose peak touched the earth. 

Everything. Everything in its path was swept away.” – Dain, 2500 B.C.  

A dozen more accounts state the same. What a great many witnessed was a physical manifestation of the fall of Vainar.

Many dwarven metal smiths write that the iron mined after the great windstorm of 2500 B.C. was much darker and more difficult to shape.  Much of what was mined was tossed aside as corrupted metal. These are the first accounts of the appearance of Black Iron in the lands of Shaintar.  

A shadow seemed to befall the land of Dranak'Or. Historical records show more and more creatures of Darkness seemed drawn to the lands. Pale-skinned elves – the Shayakar – gathered in the lands, which they renamed Shaya'Nor in 2400 B.C. More creatures and beings that follow Darkness converged in Shaya'Nor, and by 1700 B.C., the denizens of evil were united under one rule.  

Haarak Tuul, Vainar's right hand man, united them all and became the greatest and most terrible of the Necrolords who walked upon Shaintar.  In 1600 B.C. Tuul united his people to eradicate any and all dwarves in Shaya'Nor. It began the genocidal war that left no dwarf alive in the Shadowlands by 1603 B.C. After the dwarves were driven from Shaya'Nor, Tuul and Vainar began the centuries long preparation for conquest over the lands of Shaintar.  

The amassed power and strength of Shaya'Nor's armies began to sweep over the lands with the Coming of the Hordes in 700 B.C. Vainar and the first Thirteen Necrolords led the Hordes and engulfed almost all of Shaintar in what is marked as the beginning of Age of Darkness in 600 B.C. Only the dwarves of Hellstorm Mountains, the area of what is now called the Freelands, and Dregordia withstood against the terrible might of the Hordes.  

The Hordes ruled for nearly 300 years until the Ascended and their heavenly hosts once again walked the lands in 300 B.C. and drove back the armies of Darkness into Shaya'Nor. The first Thirteen were destroyed, and their condensed essences encapsulated in the Netherstones. But it was not without great cost, as it was discovered that the weaponry forged and wielded by the dark hordes could cause deadly harm to the Fae and other spirit folk. Thankfully, the forces of Light led by Vainar's younger brother, Saiderin, did not succumb: They pressed on and drove Vainar and his forces back. Vainar escaped into the realm of the Nether, but not before unleashing a devastating and terrible plague that wiped out nearly two-thirds the population of Shaintar. 

 Without direction from Vainar and the First Thirteen, the inhabitants of Shaya'Nor fell among themselves in petty wars and tribal warfare.  An occasional leader emerged to unite a few tribes to create minor havoc in the lands outside their borders, but it never encompassed one-tenth the scale of what happened in the Age of Darkness. Shaya'Nor remained splintered and without direction for over 2,000 years. Most all decent folk of Shaintar were more than happy to let the minions of Shaya'Nor stay cowering in the farthest regions of northeastern Shaintar. Centuries saw the rise of Ceynara, the Queen of Hell and Goddess of War, in the Goblin lands and Kal Empire. Vainar appeared to be all but forgotten. 

 But all was not as it seemed. Vainar once again emerged in 1998 A.C. Still recovering his strength from casting the deadly curse on Shaintar long ago, he quietly and secretly began building up his armies over the course of the next few centuries. Determined not to be defeated again, Vainar carefully planned out how he would defeat his foes and place the lands of Shaintar under one rule: his own. Vainar and his minions dug deep into the mines long abandoned by dwarves. Black Iron soon was crafted in titanic quantities into weapons and armor in preparation for a second Age of Darkness. 

 Vainar began placing his agents in the courts of Olara, Galea, the Freelands, the Kal-a-Nar Empire, and Camondel. In 2110 A.C. Harkor ki Doman allied himself a cabal of necromancers outcast from Shaya'Nor, and in exchange was granted unnaturally long life by Vainar (it is said he reigns to this very day). Many of the Goblinesh joined Vainar's growing army in 2189 A.C. 

 But plans for conquest were derailed by events that shaped the Dragon War from 2216 to 2234 A.C. The Dragonlords and the Dragons refused Vainar's invitation to join the forces of Shaya'Nor,  proclaiming that they were the first, true gods, long before Shanais and Targon. They instead attacked Shaya'Nor. For the first and only time in history, Shaya'Nor, along with the Empire, worked with the free peoples of Shaintar to defeat the Dragonlords and the Dragons.

The Dragon War was brought to an end in 2234 A.C. While the victory was a source of rejoicing by the free peoples of Shaintar, it was a bitter disappointment and major setback to Vainar, who lost most of his armies.  Shaya'Nor withdrew into the shadows for seven hundred years. What nebulous doing and dealings the nation undertook during this time remained largely enshrouded behind it's misty borders.

It was not until the outbreak of the Betrayal War in early 3021 A.C. that Shaintar once again felt the joined might of Vainar and Ceynara. It was reported that Vainar had accumulated most of the Netherstones and was going to unleash their contained power in Corelisia in an effort to fully corrupt that realm. The Seven Cauldrons were once again opened. Darkness and Flame had joined together and a terrible future akin to the Age of Darkness of 600 B.C. seemed a certainty. However, loyalty and honor are not qualities that the forces of evil have, especially when the desire to rule is overbearingly strong. Vainar betrayed his ally Ceynara by withdrawing troops and engineering the murder of an agent of Flame, Glain Nollan (the avatar of her son, Kolvos). Ceynara and Vainar were now at each other's throats. Ceynara and her minions were cast back into the Abyss and the gates shut. Vainar the Fallen, it was believed, was destroyed. 

 But belief, dear reader, won't mean dragon spit when the day turns: the wise know that evil cannot truly die. Shaintar may not enjoy the centuries of peace that we experienced twice before the Darkness rose up in attempt to blot out the sun. Nary a hundred years passed before signs and dark portents prompted the Druids and other benevolent Kingdoms to organize the Centennium Council in 3097 A.C. It seems that deep within the shadows of Shaya'Nor, Vainar may once again be poised to strike. 

-- Jonkeph Skein, Shaintar: Yesteryears and Today