Ancient History of the Bright Desert

Of the ancient history of the Bright Desert, much still remains concluded. Of the time before the Twin Cataclysms and the Great Migrations even Uhas of Neheli in his Chronicles of Secret Times is silent. Only Rexidos’s A Chronicle of the Flan People provides any insight into the times before Shattados’s ill-fated decision to don the Scorpion Crown.

- Reydrich Sharn

Long before the perfidious archmage Rary set his thrice-starred banner above the Brass Hill’s wind-blasted peaks and even before the Bright Desert was naught but the insane dreams of a forgotten god, nomadic Flan wandered the belt of arid grasslands wedged between the Abbor-Alz and the Gearnat Sea. Simple folk, who worshipped primitive spirits of air and earth, they lived in harmony with nature, moving their rude tents as the seasons swept across the ocean of grass that was their home.

Bounded by the arid, monster-haunted peaks of the Abbor-Alz to the north, west, and east and set hard against the storm-wracked waters of the Sea of Gearnat to the south, events transpiring in the wider Flanaess troubled the Flan little. Only two passes –contested by fierce, predatory monsters – cut through the great crescent of the Abbor-Alz and the Flan had little knowledge of sailing. Countless generations lived and died without being troubled by what lurked beyond the grasslands’ bounds and, while they were poor in the sciences of civilization, they were for the most part content. Over time they consolidated into six great tribes – the Durha, Itar, Ronhass, Rhugha, Sulm, and Truun,– each claiming a portion of the grasslands as their own. Thus, did the Flan live in peace for centuries uncounted until events unfolding in far-off eastern land shattered for all time the peace of the grasslands.

In the fifteen centuries since it was formed, the sands of the Bright Desert have scoured much of the Great Tribes monuments and buildings from the Oerth. Only the mightiest or best protected structures “many of which hail from Sulm“ yet stand above the sands. Occasionally, powerful sandstorms uncover smaller ruins such as temples, palaces, or tombs from their centuries-long burial. Many still contain ancient treasures that fetch a good price from collectors or scholars. Most such items find their way to market in the City of the Scorned; indeed, many fortunes have been made plundering the forgotten places of the long-dead kingdoms of the grasslands and it has become something of a minor industry in Hardby during the last few years.

History: Forty centuries before the golden sun of the Aerdi rose in the east and the rampant lion of the Rhola and Neheli crushed Vecna’s undead legions, a twisted civilization rose and fell upon the fertile plains of the Dragonshead Peninsula. Caerdiralor was a fell land dominated by Tiamat-worshipping priests and mystics. Obsessed with eradicating the dwarves and gnomes of the Headlands, the masters of Caerdiralor waged terrible war on them, giving no quarter. However, at the struggle’s climax Caerdiralor’s capital, Myrsyrna, was overtaken by a sudden and devastating catastrophe that all but wiped the city and the realm’s ruling elite from the face of the Oerth. A few priests and their adepts survived the devastation, however, and fled to the west across the Sea of Gearnat, carrying certain relics and holy texts of ancient provenance.

Wrecked upon the shores of the lands of the Rhugha, the newcomers initially parleyed with words of peace and rich gifts the like of which the indigenous tribes had never seen before – subtle secrets and scraps of knowledge saved from the fall of their land. Initially welcomed by the tribesmen, their coming also presaged bloody war, betrayal, and the eventual doom of all those dwelling amid the grass-sea. The fall of their homeland had not changed the hearts of the newcomers. They were still black-hearted and evil and the natives quickly divined their true nature. Where once words of peace greeted the newcomers, now volleys of bronze-tipped arrows drove them from the nomads’ camps. In desperation, they sought escape but the harsh terrain of the Abbor-Alz and the many monsters dwelling therein frustrated their attempts (as they would the wandering bands of Suel escaping the utter destruction of the empire four millennia later).

Trapped between the rugged wall of the Abbor-Alz and the vengeful Flan tribes, the wanderers went to ground, hiding themselves away in secret places, passing on what remained of their ancient lore across the generations and praying to their dark gods for the means to regain the dimly remembered glory that they had lost across the sea. Perhaps in answer to their supplications, the dark priests discovered sites of ancient magic, wellsprings from which they could build their power once more. They established new temples, and slowly began to rebuild their shattered heritage.

Other changes were afoot in the grass-sea. A new influence was growing among the tribes – that of Vathris the Maker, the Subtle Teacher. Said to have been born as a mortal man, Vathris, through his knowledge, deeds and wisdom, raised himself to the cusp of immortality, embodying the ideals of progress and ingenuity. Under his influence, the tribes ceased their wandering and began to plant and sow and harvest. Their camps became settlements and their settlements became towns and cities. The six great peoples of the grass-sea became six realms.

It was among the mightiest of these realms, Sulm, that the dark seeds of Caerdiralor found fertile ground in which it put forth its insidious malfeasance. Emerging from their hidden fanes, the dark priests won the favor of the ruling house of Sulm, promising that their gods would bring power, wealth and glory to the Sulmi. Thus it was, that after centuries of peace, ambition and hubris, fanned by their mastery of these new sciences, sent Sulm’s iron-shod legions marching against her neighbors.

Bright Desert

Ancient History of the Bright Desert

Greyhawk Samaryllis Samaryllis