History of Taris
History of Taris
Ancient History, the forgotten mysteries of Taris
The surface of Taris appears lush and beautiful, teeming with life. The verdant landscapes span across Taris’ diverse archipelago of continents, supporting all manner of creatures. From her bounty, countless tribes have risen to grand empires that reached islands far distant from the ones they called home. Great civilizations laid claim to Taris’ surface, and as they grew they soon found that while she could provide for many, Taris could not provide for all. So it was that these glorious civilizations turned upon their neighbors, and all soon fell into chaos. Sprawling cities were laid to waste. Entire peoples were lost. The once proud nations now cowered in ruin, their forgotten children fleeing the only lands they had ever known.
Taris reclaimed that which she had given, and she embraced the fallen majesty of the great cities back into her bosom. Only a faint whisper remained of what once was, spoken by the lips of the forgotten children. They returned to the fertile lands of their ancestors, and found that when all else had turned them away, Taris had not forgotten them. They were closer to her now, and she cared for them and gave them strength. Untold ages have passed for the forgotten children of the lost nations, the whispers that once carried their tale now but a passing note on the breeze.
The breeze sweeps across Taris’ landscape still; across her glistening oceans, over her verdant forests, flowering fields and majestic peaks. The breeze has not forgotten the legends of those who once were; the tales of great Kings, magnificent treasures and Mages who could nearly touch the realms of the gods. The breeze simply slips on by, the songs of the ancients kept safe within its zephyr. As it caresses the lands below, what secrets does it touch? What wind swept rock or moaning cave may lead to the realms so long ago reclaimed by Taris’ wilds? What adventure lies ahead, adrift on the whispering breeze?
Discovery of Taris, the death of Que’Ati
In the weeks before Que’Ati’s final moments, all those capable of wielding the most powerful of magic came forth and gathered in the ruins of the Archmage’s tower in Gerrard’s Hold. It was clear to all that not much time remained for their world. In his conquest to be deified, the destruction Daethus had wrought upon the land had caused The Dreamer to stir, and soon she would arise. As she awoke from her slumber, all things as they knew them would end. With precious little time to spare, a team of arcanists tirelessly constructed a gateway to lead their people to refuge elsewhere in the great beyond. The power to maintain the portal being limited, volunteers quickly surveyed as many realms as they could in hopes of finding one suitable for habitation. No more than a third of these teams returned, and those who did bore grim tidings of lands wrought with desolation and death. The sickening reality wore upon the arcanists that the great beyond was filled with nothing but lifelessness and void. Sanctuary was but a fleeting hope that drifted towards oblivion as The Dreamer’s slumber slowly came to an end.
Then, with reports flooding in to Gerrard’s Hold of a sundering world on the brink of collapse, a miracle pierced the shroud of despair that had lingered so vehemently about the council chambers. Ieth, a revered Silver Dragon, returned from a realm which he described as bearing beauty and rapture the likes of which he had never seen. This boon would be their salvation, and should they have the time, it would provide for every refugee which the arcanists could ferry.
The arcanists convened upon how to leverage this newfound blessing, and mustered every resource available to them. The power needed to sustain the portal was phenomenal, and doubts quickly gathered whether they would be unable to keep it stable long enough for the refugees to safely traverse the void between the two realms. Much of the magic of Que’Ati was fading away, being reclaimed by The Dreamer who now woke. It began to seem as though the discovery, once thought a blessing, was but fate’s cruel jest. Salvation was shown to them, but it might as well have been impossibly out of their reach. In these crushing moments of despair, surrounded by the last gasps of a sundering world, a second miracle was born.
With but days to spare before the inevitable consumption of their realm, the arcanists were approached by a radiant being, who descended upon a corona of light from the night sky. From what they could gather in their awestruck state, it appeared that this figure standing before them was nothing less than a star from the heavens. Although the creature’s tone seemed commanding, one could not help but find its words laden with compassion and hope. The entity was called Ka’au, and it offered itself in sacrifice for the salvation of its ancestors who still dwelled upon their dying world. While the dwindling magic of Que’Ati would not sustain the portal long enough to complete the exodus, Ka’au’s essence could. Although it would consume him, he felt honor and pride in being able to meet such a noble end.
With the last of the pieces in place, the arcanists pushed through sleepless nights and tiring days to gather every survivor they could manage. Even to the last fleeting moment they scoured the lands, frantically searching for but one more life to save. As the dwindling traces of magic on Que’Ati bled away to the heart of the waking Dreamer, the arcanists returned with the last of those who would make the journey and start life anew on the realm that was to be called “Taris”.
The Attaris Council, the securing of Taris
The actions of the surviving heroes did not go unnoticed amongst the dark pantheons. The gods of evil reeled from the crippling loss of their worshipers following their defeat alongside Daethus. Many of their number had fallen, and with them the gods’ strength diminished on Que’Ati. Unable to act directly in retaliation, it infuriated the dark gods that they could not exact their vengeance on the victorious champions of light. Neither on Que’Ati, nor on Taris did any of the evil pantheons have servants from which they could draw strength. None had the might to cut down the heroes that had slain their armies…none but for Tiamat.
The Avaricious one had sewn her brood far across the bounds of the great beyond. Before the time of mortals, Tiamat’s spawn laid claim to countless realms. Ancient now as the worlds upon which they preyed, the children of the Dragon Queen bolstered their mother, granting her influence far into the vast reaches of the great beyond. Her talons knew no bounds; her influence clutching even to the edge of nothingness, to the far and forgotten corners of the cosmos where not even Taris was safe. In a play for power Tiamat used the dark gods’ thirst for vengeance as a bargaining right, dangling the deaths of the heroes who had slighted the evil pantheons in trade for greater might. Still overcome with seething fury at their armies’ defeat, the gods agreed. Should Tiamat be successful in annihilating the heroes, and dooming the refugees to the death of their world, they would in turn grant Tiamat a portion of each of their power.
Tiamat wasted no time in her task. She appeared before her children on Taris, and prepared them for an assault on the portal. When it opened once more her brood would disrupt it, dooming all those who remained stranded amidst the crumbling apocalypse of their dying Que’Ati. Those who made it through would be devoured, and untold millions on both sides of the gateway between realms would be lost. Not only would she grow in strength by the other dark gods’ gifts, but her brother would weaken at the loss of his children. The Dragon Queen could not have hoped for a better bargain, and it would seem that even in the midst of the dark pantheon’s defeat, she had found a way to pry forth victory.
Across the vast nothingness of the great beyond, Bahamut could sense the treachery of his sister rising. He knew not why she appeared upon Taris, but it was not long before he was able to uncover her ploy. Having no followers to speak of upon the realm Tiamat invaded, Bahamut was unable to intervene. It would be up to his worshipers on Que’Ati to secure their own fate. The father of all good dragons appealed to the pantheons of light, and they agreed that their servants must find a way to forge onwards, without the aid of the gods. They would not, however, go forward blindly. Bahamut granted a vision to Ieth, a revered Silver Dragon, renowned amongst the survivors of Que’Ati. In this divination, Tiamat’s plan was revealed to Ieth, and his father asked that he and his allies do whatever they could to ensure the safety of the survivors.
Ieth approached the arcanists responsible for the construction of the portal and with a heavy heart he revealed the imminent doom that lay ahead, lurking across the great beyond. With time against them, and their forces still broken and battered from the conflict with Daethus, it appeared to the arcanists that there was little hope of combating The Dragon Queen and her brood. Although not nearly as strong on Taris as she would be in her own domain, Tiamat was still a deity, and her defeat would be neigh impossible. It was decided that a war council would be formed to spearhead the attack on Tiamat’s hold on Taris. Ieth assembled a representative of each of Bahamut’s children, the most venerable of all that he could find. These ancient wyrms in turn chose a human champion who pledged their lives in service to The Wyrmking. These ten would be The Attaris Council, and Ieth would be their speaker.
Bound for a war upon a vengeful god, the Attaris Council rallied every volunteer they could. Though weary and bruised, the armies that had fought against Daethus not a week before did not shy away from the call. The Council made no secret of their enemy, and it gave them greater strength to know that not a single soldier would deny the rally cry. Amassed and determined, the forces of The Council gathered about the site of the portal, ready to charge headlong into oblivion. At the command of Ieth, the portal surged to life. Shimmering orange fluxes of eldritch energy tore asunder the barrier between realms, and the gateway to Taris flared open. The Attaris Council sailed heedlessly through the rift, their wing beats borne on divine purpose. Behind them charged the valiant legions of Que’Ati, ready to forfeit their lives for the last fleeting hope that their people may yet have a chance to start life anew. Bursting forth from the gateway’s roiling rift, the champions looked to the skies to see that the battle overhead had already ensued.
Tiamt awaited the opening of the portal between realms, and at first sign of it tearing through reality she commanded her brood to strike. The chromatic spawn was not prepared, however, for the eruption of scales, teeth and claws that poured forth from the rift. The fight immediately took to the skies, and fire and thunder plumed the atmosphere. Peering upwards, the armies of Que’Ati found themselves looking not upon the heavens, but upon a forge of war. Arcs of lightning hurtled like sparks from hammering wing beats that struck the anvil of a searing sky. The furious arm of this otherworldly blacksmith was Tiamat, and she drove down relentlessly upon the anvil of her foes. Before her, all seemed lost. The Attaris Council brought every ounce of will they could to bear, reaching down into the depths of their faith for something to muster against The Dragon Queen. She denied them.
Through the portal, Ka’au could witness what would soon be the doom of his people’s future. He could not draw away, for the gateway would collapse and he had not the strength to open it once more. Here he must remain, watching the end unfold, powerless to secure the only chance to save his people. In his sorrow, Ka’au barely felt a hand set upon his shoulder. A whisper, soothing and serene followed, though wrought with purpose. The voice told him to go; that the two simple hooded figures who now stood beside him would keep the way open. He would have given his life to save those of the countless innocents behind him. A being capable of such a selfless act would be needed on the other side; the newfound children of Taris would be best served with one such as him to guide them. Ka’au knew nothing of the strangers that stood at his side, but he felt faith in them nonetheless. With but a simple bow of the strangers’ heads, the energy of the portal crackled and seethed, and the rift grew and strengthened once more. Ka’au focused the will of the heavens into his hand, and from its splendor forged a majestic spear. Wings flared, Ka’au told the pair that their gift would not be forgotten, and through the gateway he ascended.
The Attaris Council was sundered before Tiamat’s implacable advance, cast to the earth in a fury born of the hells. Valiantly they had fought, but their foe’s godhood proved to overwhelm the Council’s greatest convictions. Though broken they again stood, intent upon a final charge to take them once more into the fray. Solemnly they had accepted their fate, but not a single one would allow Tiamat to take them without first rending their last bit of life with her vile talons. Until then, they would fight for the dying hope of salvation. At their last rallying cry, a brilliant surge of light tore through the sky, like a bolt from the dying world beyond the portal. Unwaveringly it hurtled towards The Dragon Queen, colliding with the awestruck deity in a blinding nova of celestial wrath. Her five gruesome heads contorted in agony, Tiamat’s cacophonic shriek rocked the skies like a maelstrom of anguish. As the brilliance erupted about her, the Avaricious One was engulfed by the wrath of radiance. As the blinding luminescence waned, the visage of Tiamat could be seen no more. She had fallen to her domain in defeat, struck down by Ka’au’s celestial decree. In banishing The Dragon Queen, his radiant blow heralded the first dawn for those who would now call Taris their home.
Taris Year Zero, the age After Que’Ati
Beyond the ravaged lands surrounding the portal, Taris’ splendor and majesty did not disappoint the weary refugees of Que’Ati. As the last of them made the perilous journey through the gateway, the first light of the dawning sun rose to greet the new children of Taris. Ka’au, recovering from the strain of his exhausting blow struck upon Tiamat, trudged back towards the collapsing rift. In his weakened state, he was unable to struggle through the flooding crowd of the exodus. Beyond his vision, the portal wavered and waned, growing weaker as it contracted. The last of the refugees had made it through to Taris, and following them strode the hooded pair who had maintained the gateway for their passage. Despite his best efforts, Ka’au was too weak to reach the two before they simply bowed before him and strode away into the forests nearby. Ka’au would find them both, some day. He swore it. In the meantime, he certainly could not ignore the troubled feeling that overtook him as he gazed to the remains of the portal, and saw a seething shard of crackling arcane energy.
With those that could be saved now in search of a home in this unexplored realm, The Attaris Council was pressed to find them sanctuary. They too were concerned by the residual energy of the portal, and needed to ensure that it would not open once more to spill the cataclysm of their former world upon their new one. Ordering the refugees clear of the rift’s remains, The Council held conference while they watched over the flaring anomaly. Ka’au could not lead the masses, as he told The Council he must find the two who held the portal for their passage. The Council agreed, but felt that they too could not attend to those they had saved, for fear of what may happen if the remains of the gateway were left unguarded. It was decided that the task must then be turned to the heroes who made this salvation possible. The champions of legends past, and those of their current day would lead the people to their new lives. Each would take with them enough people to found a nation, and they would settle one of the many island continents that Ieth had discovered. These heroes and their newfound people would each forge a country of their own, and The Attaris Council would guard the way through which they had passed.
Ka’au, Ieth and The Attaris Council recognized the heroes before the masses, and they cheered their cries of approval at the choice of the three parties. Yama, Xiar, Tarsus, Leaf, Gerrard and their nameless Warforged ally would all be granted larger lands upon which to settle. The lands of Vladimir, Twoknives, Teth, Rick, Mordred, The Great Tiger and Adail would be less expansive, but equally as fertile. Each of the friends said their farewells for a time, and gathered the awaiting hopeful who would soon be their subjects. For a day the refugees rested, regaining their strength for the long journey ahead. But this time, it would be a journey that they could welcome. It would be a journey home. And so began the first year after the end of Que’Ati, the world they once knew. They were on Taris now, and they all sought to rebuild. They would make a new life, a better life. Here they would lay the foundations of their future, in this year Zero, After Que’Ati.
Modern Day Taris, 65 AQ’A
Half a century has passed, and the once refugees of a shattered world are now the thriving people of Taris, in the year 65 After Que’Ati. Though their still young history has records of conflict with the original native people, most of modern day Taris is peaceful. Incidents within borders occasionally rise between interest groups; and reports can be heard from outside the capital cities of skirmishes with goblins, orcs and the rare horrifying beasts that inhabit the parts of Taris still wild and unsettled. While the adopted children of Taris have made a home for what is now two new generations, the truth remains that most of the world is still untamed. There are those who would see them explored, charted and populated. To them, the world they now know should be safe and understood. Then again, there are always those who rather like it just the way it is.
Taris is a land ripe with the taste of adventure. While wars between nations seem to be a thing of the far past, each land still carries within its borders the legends of empires long lost to Taris’ wilds. Unfamiliar creatures still lurk in the shadows, just beyond the revealing light of day. Rumors spread of native tribes that band together to hold their ground against the expanding outsider nations. Glorious capital cities adorn the island continents, while whispers abound that their benevolent rulers soon seek their successors. Expeditions into the wilderness return with stories of treasure and grand adventure. Some do not return at all. It is the year 65 AQ’A, and adventure on Taris is calling…