[Written] The history of Eldesta and the creation of the Order of the Phoenix.

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[Written] The history of Eldesta and the creation of the Order of the Phoenix.

Post  Taki on Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:08 pm

The history of Eldesta and the creation of the Order of the Phoenix.

Following the destruction of the Old Kingdoms in 650 B.C.E., the known world was plunged into darkness for nearly two centuries. Under the heel of the four tyrants known as the Destined Few, most of the history of the Old Kingdoms was deliberately destroyed. Not until the defeat of the Destined Few in 422 B.C.E. were accurate records kept, but it is known that the Morad line was a noble one in the Old Kingdoms era and rose to prominence twice more: first in the form of Astor Morad and his defeat of the Destined Few, and again in the founding of Eldesta in 372 N.E..
The collapse of the true Crimson Empire (circa 1 B.C.E. – 67 N.E.) left a great void in the land that is now known as Eldesta, and though the descendants of the Harrison line would hold the title of “Crimson Emperor” until 372 N.E., there is little academic argument that the Crimson Empire died with the tragic passing of Emperor Coriel.
Most of the empire had been reduced to feuding governorships by 366 N.E., when Autuk Morad assembled several hundred men in an attempt to fight a crippling tax imposed in the southern province of Grenel. What began as an attempt to survive the upcoming winter snowballed into a rebellion when Morad’s men won several key engagements in the spring of 368 N.E. Years of poor rule had ripened the people’s appetite for an uprising, and by 369 N.E. the governor of Grenel had been deposed and Autuk Morad found himself in command of a sizable army and in control of nearly a sixth of the Crimson Empire.
By the journals he kept at the time, Morad himself was more than happy to stop making war and start building a new life for his people, but such was not to be. In the spring of 370 N.E. Salak Harrison, the 18th Crimson Emperor, died without an heir. Though the emperor’s writ carried no real power outside of the capital city of Elenguard, the remaining governors (save Morad) seized the opportunity and began clamoring to claim the title of emperor. Open warfare broke out when Jaric Corenn, governor of the Korisstan province in the southwest of the empire, marched on the province of Rasalon.
Seeing chaos in the empire, Autuk Morad assembled his army once again and set out to insure that the governor’s petty quests for power did not harm the people of the land. As before, Morad’s strength and virtue brought people flocking to his banner, and soon he had an army to rival any two forces in the empire. By the fall of 370 N.E., Morad realized that he was in a position to unite the entirety of the old empire and bring prosperity to the people.
Throughout 371 N.E. Morad’s forces engaged the armies of the provincial governors, and with each victory his forces grew in number and experience. When Morad faced Jaric Corenn in the winter of that same year, his forces outnumbered Corenn’s by nearly seven to one. Against such odds, Corenn surrendered and Morad had unchallenged control of the known world. Many pressed him to take the title of emperor, but Morad refused, calling the Crimson Empire “The echo of a great man, best left to history, as no one soul can guide a world from beyond the grave. Let night settle over that tired era and us begin a new morning for all people”. Before he could argue otherwise his followers proclaimed him King of the New Morning, and the nation of Eldesta (literally “morning” in the ancient tongue) was born.
Morad re-united the people under one set of laws and established baronies in place of the old provinces. A fair tax was imposed, with much of the profit from it going to improving life for the common people. Many of the practices that Autuk Morad began remain in place today, and his leadership set the standard for his descendants. Indeed, it could be said that his only poor decision was naming Jaric Corenn Baron of Korisstan. Intended to be a reward for his peaceful surrender, Morad’s forgiveness would cause him great pain in just a few short years.
Jaric Corenn never stopped planning to seize the land for himself, but actually supported Autuk Morad’s unification of the kingdom. He estimated that once united, the removal of Morad himself would allow him to take the kingdom as a whole and spare him the conquest of the individual regions. He waited for ten years, amassing followers and putting his agents into place. He scoured the kingdom looking for the perfect place to spring his trap, and found it at Harrison’s Pass.
Harrison’s Pass was a narrow gap of land in the middle of Astor’s Wall, an impassable range of mountains on the eastern border of the kingdom. Legend has it that when Astor Morad faced the Destined Few, he pursued Medara Serkaid (also known as “The Witch Queen”) to the east towards Peldegar. Home to all manner of beasts, foul creatures, and barbarians, Peldegar was a harsh wasteland and the Witch Queen’s home. Using her dark arts, Serkaid summoned forth the vilest inhabitants of the waste and sent them against Astor Morad and the remaining three of the Destined Few. Morad, faced with the option of fighting the beasts or continuing his pursuit and allowing them to rampage out of the wastes, decided to do neither. Summoning his own powers, Morad rent the very earth and created a wall of mountains several hundred miles in length. The place where he stood remained flat, but no creature attempted to cross the pass or Morad’s path as he marched toward his destiny.
Years later, the same pass was used by the first Crimson Emperor in his campaign against the corrupted Council of Equals. Known only as Devon Harrison at the time, the pass became known as Harrison’s Pass after he turned his back to the Council’s army to prevent a horde of demons from entering the land. Later, after being crowned “Crimson Emperor”, Harrison built a keep at Harrison’s Pass and stationed some of his finest troops there to protect the empire from the creatures of the wastes. Autuk Morad continued this practice and reinforced the keep during his first years as King of Eldesta.
Jaric Corenn’s agents infiltrated the keep at Harrison’s Pass and made contact with the creatures in the wastes beyond. From them he gained the magic of necromancy and their promise of allegiance against Morad. His plan was simple, drive Morad out of the capital with his undead horde, force him to retreat toward Harrison’s Pass, then open the gates and pin the king between his own ghastly army and the forces of his demonic allies. From either side, Harrison’s Pass was one of the most defensible posts in the kingdom, and with some of his best troops stationed there, it would make sense for Morad to fall back to that position.
When Corenn’s plan was put into motion, everything happened exactly as he had hoped. His undead army overran the capital and forced the King to evacuate his people toward Harrison’s Pass. His agents in the keep poisoned the wells right on schedule, and waited for the King’s forces to appear in the pass itself before they opened the gate to the waste and made their escape. Stepping over the bloated bodies of their former companions, Corenn’s agents disappeared into the night.
The King himself was stunned to see the keep seemingly unmanned and the gate standing open. All hope fled from the King’s army, and many made ready to die in defense of their lord. They certainly would have died that day, if not for a small band of men who charged out of the wastes and into history.
A detachment from the keep had gone into the wastes nearly a week earlier after scouts had reported strange gatherings of creatures on the horizon. One hundred men set out to disperse the gatherings before they could become a problem and found the gathering of Corenn’s demonic allies. Hopelessly outnumbered, twenty of the strongest men charged into the enemy, carving a path through the lesser creatures and trying to reach the army’s leaders before they were overcome. The remaining eighty fled back toward the keep, fighting a running battle with the army the entire way.
Exhausted beyond human endurance, slightly more than fifty men reached the keep just as the King’s army was beginning its battle with Corenn’s forces. They streamed into the keep and managed to close the gate just moments before the army of demons arrived at their heels. Some of the men took up places in the keep itself and began firing flaming arrows into the demon army. The remainder raised the standard of the King, hoisted the banner of Harrison’s Pass, and marched onto the field.
Jaric Corenn was shocked to see the gates of the keep slam closed, and even more appalled when men wearing the colors of the King came marching onto the field. In his fury he lost control over part of his undead army, and while only a temporary setback, it gave the King the chance he needed.
King Morad, surrounded by the men of Harrison’s Pass, hammered into Corenn’s army. The living members of Corenn’s force fled in terror as the entirety of the King’s army surged ahead. The King found Corenn and his guard, and the men of Harrison’s Pass took vengeance on Corenn’s protectors while the King himself fought and killed Jaric Corenn.
In the aftermath of the battle, the King expressed his gratitude to the men of Harrison’s Pass by elevating them to an elite unit within the kingdom. Dubbed “The Phoenix Guard” for their seemingly miraculous resurrection, they were given two duties to fulfill: to hold Harrison’s Pass against the creatures of the waste and to protect and defend the royal line. Of the original 100 men who went into the wastes, 27 survived the battle with Corenn’s forces. Of them, twenty had manned the walls and fired arrows at the demon army. The remaining seven were the men who had fought alongside the King and killed Corenn’s personal guard. Those seven were granted knighthood, and these new Phoenix Knights were installed as the commanders of the Phoenix Guard.
The Phoenix Guard served the kingdom of Eldesta for the next seven centuries. As they were granted more autonomy by the King, they found need for non-military tradesmen, scholars, and aids to assist the Guard in their duties. To bring these non-military types into the fold, the Phoenix Guard was expanded and became the Order of the Phoenix. The Order of the Phoenix included the tradesmen and non-military types as well as the Phoenix Guard and Phoenix Knights. The Order of the Phoenix, and the traditions of excellence and duty that it embodied, survived intact until the time of the Cataclysm.
After the Cataclysm, several members of the Order of the Phoenix found themselves in a land referred to as the Final Haven. While the fate of the Kingdom of Eldesta remains unknown, the survivors have reunited in the Final Haven and have re-established the Order of the Phoenix. They have pledged themselves to the defense of the people of Haven, to the cause of the Light, and the restoration of peace and order to the world.

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