An excerpt from The Origin and Subsequent Development of the Civilized Nations of the World, by Professor Diligent Whiting of Accord University in Fossen
As you no doubt have heard, two great empires once dominated the Shallic Sea: Alok to the north and Nebor to the south. The eastern lands were mostly uninhabited at the time, though a collection of small tribes lived along the border of the Neborite Empire, largely ignored by their more powerful neighbor.
History has forgotten what first set the Alokites and Neborites in conflict against each other. Some say they fought over powerful magical artifacts, since both empires were led by mages. Others say that Nebor attacked to free the thousands of slaves upon whose backs Alok built its empire. However, most scholars who posit this theory are committed to the modern efforts to abolish the slave trade and are, perhaps, reading their own prejudices against Alok into their view of history.
Whatever the reasons, war raged between Alok and Nebor for years, perhaps decades, and soon took on the characteristics of a religious crusade, in which each empire considered itself bound by holy duty to end the atrocities of the other. It was this chaotic time that gave rise to the Sakussar Alok sect, those zealots who dedicated their lives to ridding Alok of all foreign influences and modern advancements that might alter their sacred traditions, and who still revive their efforts from time to time today.
Perhaps five years before the Destruction, the prominence of the Sakussar Alok movement prompted an Alokite warlord by the name of Badra Pora to turn against his tal-badra and desert from the Alokite war effort, taking with him approximately five thousand soldiers and at least three times that number of craftsmen, farmers, and their families from his principality. By various means, they acquired the “hundred ships” of legend — though in truth, given the size of ships at the time, they likely collected well over a hundred vessels into their fleet — and set sail into the unclaimed east in hopes of escaping from the war and establishing a new land of peace.
In time, they landed at the mouth of a broad river and established a city which they named Sorba, an ancient Alokite word meaning “new home,” which they later altered to Soruva as the colonists’ dialect shifted. They quickly expanded upriver and began constructing the great city of Porasis, where Pora built his palace; this, of course, was the origin of Poravia, named for its vaunted founder.
But as the self-styled King Pora began laying the foundation for his new nation, the war between Alok and Nebor raged on more fiercely than ever. Finally, Nebor’s starwatchers, magicians who were said to have prophetic abilities, proposed a plan to break Alok’s power once and for all. A great fleet sailed north, every bit as vast as Pora’s hundred ships, and landed on the eastern border of Alokite territory in preparation to march on the Alokite capital of Gath. While this army mustered in the wilderness, the Neborite mages prepared a spell such as the world had never seen before and, gods grant, will never see again: they called down fire from heaven, a rain of meteors to obliterate their enemies.
However, the Alokite mages were every bit as powerful as their Neborite counterparts, and as soon as they saw the spell of destruction taking shape in the south, they began weaving their own counterspells. Their reaction came late: before they could stop the Neborites, the city of Gath was destroyed, leaving only the broken ruins that still stand on their hilltop eighty miles east of the modern city of Alrose. But the mages managed to save their other great cities, deflecting the rain of fire away from Alok and turning the destruction back on its casters. The ancient Neborite city of Makpashir was burned to cinders, and the Great Circle Temple where Nebor held its deepest secrets of magic was shattered to pieces.
Despite this vast scale of destruction, most of the meteors the Neborites called down never struck either empire: instead they were pushed eastward by the clash between the mages, flung away into the ocean where, so the mages supposed, they would do no damage. However, one of the strikes fell at the eastern edge of Alok, where the Neborite army was gathered. The rain of fire and the resulting tidal waves destroyed their vessels and forced their army inland. Trapped in unfamiliar country with no shipwrights to rebuild their fleet, they had no choice but to begin building houses instead. They welcomed a number of Alokite refugees fleeing from the destruction of Gath, in particular a large delegation of women seeking relief from their harsh treatment as slave-wives. These women willingly married the more egalitarian Neborites and helped them to establish a prosperous settlement which eventually took the name Ellond.
Some years later, once the Ellondese had established themselves and begun relearning the art of ship-building, they sent an expedition south in hopes of returning to Nebor for aid. Halfway there, the travellers were astonished to find a large archipelago of islands that none of them had ever heard of. They quickly determined that the islands were newly formed by volcanic activity, and they concluded that the meteors that rained down in the ocean split open the earth beneath the water and birthed the chain of islands. One ship remained behind to explore the rich, fertile new land and to report back to Ellond, while the other ships of the expedition continued south toward Nebor.
As the Ellondese discovered, Nebor was still in chaos, its greatest cities destroyed and its forests overrun with strange new monsters born from the vast outpouring of magic during the Destruction; they had no ability to aid their lost army. On the contrary, hundreds of Neborite citizens took the chance to flee their ruined country: as soon as they heard the Ellondese expedition’s report about the island chain, they sailed north to claim new land and new lives for themselves. Many of the Ellondese chose to move there as well, since the islands were much warmer and more fertile than Ellond, and in time they named the archipelago Fossen and established their own traditions and language, separate from both Ellond and Nebor.
As decades and centuries passed, each nation naturally took on its own character and established its own rich history; indeed, the eastern nations became so independant that to this day, they often deny their Alokite or Neborite origins. The only nation which remained largely untouched by the Destruction and its aftermath was Taxia, which in all honesty was no nation at all, since each of its tribes remained autonomous and nomadic. While the rest of the Shallic Sea developed new technologies and treaties, Taxia remained solitary and inward-focused, so absorbed by its own affairs that until this very year, their culture and values remained almost entirely unknown to the other nations of the Shallic Sea.
But let more august historians reason out the isolated development of Taxia; for now, let it suffice that they changed very little over the years, while other nations rose and fell around them. One may write a hundred treatises on the history of each nation, but at its heart, the development of the Shallic Sea rests on one cataclysmic event: without the horror of the Destruction, the nations as we know them today would surely not exist.