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Tel-Akbar, Jewel of the South

Tel-Akbar, the Jewel of the South, the Eye of the Merchant Lords, City on the Bluff, the Freehold of Humanity; beyond the golden and lion mosaic gates of this grand city is a civilization given many names over the thousand years it has grown, fallen, rebuilt, and arisen again. It is like Paris in the renaissance, supreme in its cultural might, or Constantinople supreme as the center of trade in all the world known to it, or the Vatican City for the political power it holds over all lands that have heard its name. Tel-Akbar is a free city and both glorious and soiled example of the productivity of humanity, it's main inhabitant. Humans are not the only ones who dwell behind the Great Wall; it is said that representatives of all races, and all things, can be found in its broad parade streets, twisting alleys, and the vast underworld that is carved from the stone beneath it.
    It is entirely possible to live several lifetimes within the city Tel-Akbar and never look beyond its walls as many of its citizens have. The rulers of Tel-Akbar can and do look beyond their city walls though, wary of influence from the Eastern Empire and the United Kingdoms, the two greatest powers of humanity between which Tel-Akbar is situated. From east to west do these empires trade, and all of that wealth passes through the city called Tel-Akbar.
    Enter through its gates with wide and shrewd eyes, for it is both city and jungle.

History of Tel-Akbar

The roots of Tel-Akbar are so ancient as to be forgotten and lost beyond the dust of history upon which it rests. If it were not for an event so terrible that it re shattered humanity the time which the first dwellings of this city would be long forgotten as nearly 400 generations have passed since then.
    Our story begins just before the eighteenth century after the end of the UnHoly Wars (AC2559). Before this time humanity had spent several centuries at war with itself. Most notably the War of Five Kingdoms (AC1020 to AC1157) from which had emerged the eternal Eastern Empire - a testament to humanities banding together against the humanoid races of the world. Indeed, until this time humanity had mostly consolidated itself to the southeasterly reaches of the continent, known to humans, as Irendi. Breakaways and castaways from the Eastern Empire had fled to the area and formed small, coastal bandit nations. Anything inland between there and the Eastern Empire was a no-mans land, populated by giants, ogre-kind, hostile dwarves in the mountains and capricious ffolk (faerie kind) in the unexplored woodlands. During these times the lands must have been ripe with adventure, and not so tamed as they are now.
    The way was made fortuitously clear to humankind when a terrible plague swept the population of the giant-kingdoms and those who survived retreated into the oceans, the air, and to the distant and unexplored west. Citizens and rulers of the Eastern Empire were quite unaware of this development and merely took the drop of giant-raids upon their mountain borders to be unexplained good fortune.
    Then, at the end of several gentle summers and mild winters, the world warmed and the larders of the Eastern Empire full, there could not have been a better time for the Empire to be prepared against invasion - but they were not. In the rise of spring, U1699, after centuries of quiet sleeping, after only stories were told of such beasts for it had been so long since their last visitations, the dragons awakened. Not only did they awaken, but they hunted mankind, drove the remaining giants deeper into the mountains and further westward, and ate the ogrekind and drove those who survived underground. They burned endless numbers of human settlements, consumed and ravaged the full larders, and where the dragons made war on each other over the lands called the Eastern Empire there was nothing left but the dead of those who fled.
    Emperor Loraedros IIX himself was consumed when the battles and hunger of the dragon horde brought the beasts upon the center of the empire. His brother, Saedlid, who was away from the imperial castle, then ascended to the throne and began press laborers into disciplined martial forces, forcing a spartan lifestyle upon the whole nation. Abruptly, but a year later the dragons left the skies, presumably for other lands more ripe for plunder and making war across. Some remained behind, having martialed humanoid and human slaves under their command and vast wealth and mountain strongholds. After a time, later in the centuries to come, they too would fall quiet, only to reappear every few hundred years.
    Emperor Saedlid ruled cruelly and dealt harshly with those who displeased him. By his iron hand he nearly drove the nation to poverty. He will not be remembered for the many roads he built, or the vast and impressive strongholds which now are ruins in the countryside, nor for the rapid advancement of various technologies, for while he made progress on the land it was made on the bloodied backs of his people.
    It was inevitable that uprisings should begin against the Emperor and they became more frequent with each passing season that the dragons were not there to band the nation together. This came to a turn when Emperor Saedlid was traveling through the city streets and his guarded caravan was unexpectedly overpowered by the peasantry. He was dragged from his carriage, taken to the chopping block, and beheaded by the same commoners he had enslaved.
    His Uncle, King Eoric took the imperial throne and became second of his line to hold it. His first action was the use of his armies against his own subjects. Needless to say, his rule was not long and he is remembered as Eoric the Unsteady. These foul rulers caused numerous dissidents (who still had their heads) to depart westward and into the wilderness to seek their fortunes. There, they hoped, their numbers would protect them.
    In U1701 these settlers arrived at a majestic butte which overlooked several promising and fish-filled harbors, as well as a vast expanse of water that was later to be named Tel-Akbar, U1701 the Gulf of Biengyar (Ben geeyar). The villagers formed first a bailey on the high cliff side of what is today the High Quarter. After a couple hundred years settlements began to form around what are now the Port of Kings, the North Bay, and the Common Harbor; respectively, the villages were known as Skekton, Oliver, and Davonrey. To help defend themselves against the dangers of the wild the bailey on the top of the bluff was maintained in case of its need by the three villages.
    In U1924 a great revolution began in the Eastern Empire which caused another wave of dissidents to depart and flee westward. Those who did not flee westward were boarded onto ships and forcibly sailed across the Sea of Rains, eastward, to seek new lands for the glory of the Eastern Empire. The Kargan Revolution forced tens of thousands from the human homelands of the Eastern Empire and into the western wild. Though some decided to settle in the lowlands of the Crescent mountains, many others continued on and came upon the growing towns of pre-Tel-Akbar. This large influx of people brought with them disease and the land had not been cultured enough to support as many as there were. Fortunately, word of the human outpost of the three towns had reached the church of Arden in the Eastern Empire and a chapter of the church was established before the agricultural troubles could grow out of hand. With the healing powers and helpful nature of the church of Arden in the area the people flourished healthy and successful. Many other refugees from the Eastern Empire came through the area over the next couple years and the beginnings of the United Kingdoms were formed with the building of the mighty fortress of Stonegate, which still stands today. Other settlers built at New Zakher on the north most end of the Gulf of Biengyar. The city of Zeaburg now stands upon the ruins of ancient New Zhaker.
    In U1965, Emperor Dron II of the Eastern Empire began to condemn the powerful mages of the Eastern Empire who he thought plotted against his rule, which in truth they did. The Emperor sent his own Realms Wizards against those who would not take magical vows to bind them to the imperial throne. Those mages who did support the overthrow of the Emperor, and a great many who merely rebelled against the idea of taking magical vows to the empire, left westward. A few of these mages settled in the region of Oliver and Skekton, but most went to the quickly growing borderlands further around the gulf of Biengyar and quickly formed a powerful mageocracy. Emperor Dron II, tired of bandits from the west raiding the Eastern Empire, angered at the wizards who fled the Eastern Empire and plotted against him, and determined to bring the rogue refugees of the west Crescent Mountains under the empire's rule, gathered his armies and headed westward and began what is now known as the Mage Wars. The rogue colonies along the Gulf of Biengyar unified under the title of the United Rebellion. Eventually, in U1986, the Treaty of Trondor was signed, recognizing the United Rebellion as a sovereign nation and not beneath the rule of the Eastern Empire and also ending the terrible Mage Wars. Many soldiers, deserters, and refugees from the war gathered in the ancient lands of Tel-Akbar and the population again swelled and grew.
    Eventually the villages unified under the guidance of Sir Robert Klaud, a knight who had fled the Eastern Empire under political pressures. Klaud brought with him many advanced engineering skills and in U2005 it was his son, Tolman, who began the first stone walls around the original bailey walls of the bluff and also at Skekton. The bailey was, of course, not anywhere near as large as the modern High Quarter of the city and was more the size of a modest courtyard.
    In the spring of U2060 the bustling town of Davonrey was smashed by pirate crews. Leaving the place in ruin. During its rebuilding a fire struck the place and much of the town was burned to the ground. The Tel-Akbar, U1701 survivors, fearing a second attack by the pirates, moved north and inland a couple of miles so as to be closer to Skekton and Oliver. While building at the new site an ancient vein of gold was discovered. This was kept secret as the vein was discovered by a wealthier family who was digging in the basement of their stone manor. The La'cain Family, the ones who discovered the vein of gold, minted coins of their own currency with it and used it to procure the services of other townsfolk (who bartered or used what old Eastern Empire currency had been brought with them or there by wandering merchants). The La'cain Family was the first to erect a stone walled keep at the north end of the town, New Davonrey.
    Over the years the La'cain family became a powerful influence in the area. Their large farms became a fertile source of income and produce to support even more people in the area. The La'cain family was also recognized as wise managers of the land, resources, and currency. They were also charismatic and had strong relationships with other powerful land owners in the area. In U2092 Adam La'cain finished building the Cain Keep, the most massive stone structure for hundreds of miles around. This could not have been finished at a better time since just three years later the orc hordes of the mountains overwhelmed the Dwarven Clans which had kept them in check for so many hundreds of years.
    The rise of the orcish warlords in the Crescent Mountains became more a problem for the Eastern Empire and many years of war raged through the mountainous area. The Dwarven Clans retreated beneath the stone of the mountains and the Eastern Empire was unable to completely remove the menace. As a result, many settlers of the Crescent Mountain lowlands fled westward to the growing civilizations there and added their numbers to the growing townships and began two new settlements known as Ten Oaks and Mot-Brunan.
    Many years passed then as the towns grew. Fishing in the ports provided a steady and reliable food source. The arable lands in the southern region around Ten Oaks grew into sumptuous farmlands and trade from the Eastern Empire began to flow through Skekton while Oliver did well with trade from the still forming United Kingdoms. Oliver continued the wall building efforts of Tolman Klaud family and eventually finished the raising of walls around itself. Several smaller townships began to form along the roads between Skekton and Oliver. Warriors in Mot-Brunan built the stone walls of Hethgurd Hall and the lands to the west, behind Hethgurd Hall and Cain Keep Tel-Akbar, U1701 flourished in their protection from the occasional troubling orc raids. The port in Ten Oaks grew and two smaller keeps, Crag-Durog and Pal-Durig, were built on the islands that rim what is now known as the Common Harbor. This allowed Ten-Oaks to grow as a shipping port without fear of pirate raids. It also added to the growing Tel-tulan community.
    In the year of U2532 (F546), the United Kingdoms began to intrude into the territories of the Galiadre Elves, who called their home Alfheim. While the elves spent several years discussing this intrusion into their lands and what to do about it, the humans began to build several outposts. After some raids on these outposts by the elves, the still rather new United Kingdoms began to war against the elves. This caused yet another wave of refugees to flee from the United Kingdoms and southward towards Oliver and New Davonrey. It also provided a source of steady trade as the minerals and metals found in the earth in ancient Tel-Akbar were made into weaponry and sold to the United Kingdoms.
    Starting about U2590, Mot-Brunan, Newrun, and Begoer had begun to grow into a single large city. Part of what assisted this was the opening of a hall dedicated to the Brothers of Illumination, in between the three towns. The Brothers of Illumination are an ancient monastic group of healers and educators. This caused the gathering of other farms, homes, and shops to appear and fill in the small distance which previously separated these towns. About ten years later the township was formally known as New Akbar, named for the glorious city of Akbar in the Eastern Empire. Ironically, it was only a decade later that a terrible earthquake struck Akbar, in the Eastern Empire, and the city for which New Akbar was named slid into the sea and was destroyed. News of a gathering of a orcish war band in the Crescent Mountains spurred the building of New Akbar's walls which were successfully completed in U2623. Ten Oaks also built city walls and the ruins of the abandoned Bailey were refurbished and became a gathering place for mages and other studiers of arcane lore. A small village gathered around the base of the old keep. Oliver continued to grow as well and soon expanded its walls to the east.
    It wasn't until nearly twenty years after first word reached the human towns that the orc hordes finally attacked in full force. When the hordes attacked, though, they left decimation and destruction in their wake. New Davonrey was razed to the ground and its citizenry which did not flee to the protection of New Akbar or elsewhere brutally suffered.
    Hethgurd Hall was set aflame and even parts of New Akbar were ravaged. Mercifully, Ten Oaks and the more southerly towns were spared much of the wrath. For many years the human settlements struggled against the orc hordes. Then the winters abruptly began to lengthen and became much colder (U2626). The orc hordes which had languished within striking distance of Oliver and New Akbar retreated as their supply trains became bogged down in the snow and so they returned to their fortified lands in the east. For over six hundred years the terrible cold spell lasted. Plague broke out in Ten Oaks and much of Tel-Akbar, U1701 the city was put to the torch to contain it. Famine struck the final blow to the ruins of New Davonrey, sending its remaining citizens to Tel-tulan, Oliver, or New Akbar. Were it not for the Brothers of Illumination and the efforts of the temples of Arden and the mages secluded in The Bailey, it is certain that more people would have died.
    The cold brought relief from the orc hordes though and allowed the cities to rebuild where they could. Cain Keep stood gutted from the orcish flames, but its stones were moved eastward and it was slowly rebuilt and renamed the Fortress of Goth. Much of the surrounding forests were cut down for fire to heat the people's hearths and to help rebuild homes. During this time a series of smaller fortresses were built about twenty miles eastward of most of the populations. These were meant to hold back the hordes and prevent the catastrophe of their reaching the cities again. Some of the stones from these ancient keeps are now a part of modern Tel-Akbar's great wall.
    As the cold age began to finally lift the trade which was the life force of the cities returned. The land, long lain fallow, had become rich and fertile and after a decade of warmer seasons it reaped harvests ten-fold better then even those told of in the books that remained from before the cold weathers. The population rebounded and redoubled in size and in activity, preparing for the attacks from the orc hordes which had lain quiet during the hundreds of cold years. Legend told of the disaster wrecked by the hordes on the families of long ago and the descendants of those past times were determined to not let it happen again. Already the boarder keeps were sighting orc scouting parties and so it would only be a matter of seasons before the vile creatures struck again.
    When the hordes did attack the six boarder keeps had been mostly completed. Crom Hold, Fort Blackheart, Carag Keep, Roan Hold, Fort Davonrey, and Rog Crag stood in the way of the advancing orc warlords. Citizens of Tel-tulan migrated to what use to be Ten Oaks and refortified its walls and the fields were alive with training warriors and farmers gathering food for the larders.
    In U3279 the hordes attacked and the brave men and women who populated and defended the six border keeps held back the tide of destruction. In the decades to follow the orcs would continue their attacks on the keeps every couple seasons. Some were partially successful, but the stone and technology of the humans kept Tel-Akbar, U1701 the creatures at bay and allowed the inner villages, towns, and cities to grow in safety. Trade from the Eastern Empire continued to grow as relations between the Empire and the United Kingdoms slowly improved. The result of this was the rapid growth of Skekton, Oliver, and Tel-tulan. Wealthy nobles continued to guide the growth of New Akbar until its walls were swollen with the commerce which passed from one port town to the next. Quarries were rebuilt and excavated at the ruins of Cain Keep and with the help of the communities a great wall was begun to span the distance between the border keeps and forever keep safe the bustling human communities that they guarded.
    Trelgurd continued to grow as a place of learning and soon gained benefit from a chapter of Loremen, a guild which originally spanned the Eastern Empire. Not only was the area growing as a community and as a place of trade, but also as a place of learning.
    Decades passed as work on the border wall progressed. Eventually it extended all the way from Crom Hold to Roan Hold; and work was still being done to continue it to the sea to the south. After nearly a century of work, in U3392, the wall finally reached the southern shores. In those days the Great Barrier Wall was twenty feet tall in most places, and nearly as thick at its base. Millions of stones and magically moved boulders made up its bulk, though some sections were still made of stout wooden barricades. With the wall in place even the full might of the orc hordes could not penetrate further west onto the peninsula. And so, the hordes might was turned against other developing towns along the coast. For many years this forced many of the other settlements to move to New Akbar and the towns around it. Since nearly all of the trade done off the peninsula was made by boat and since there was plenty of fertile and unfarmed land, there was plenty of room for the cities to grow.
    In U3520, wealthy lords from New Akbar and Oliver began to build private keeps and manors atop of the lofty cliff sides that girded the west end of the peninsula. These edifices started the tradition of wealthy lords, merchants, and nobles building upon the high bluffs with the fantastic view of the seas. Lighthouses on top of the cliffs attracted more sailors to the protected harbors of Oliver and Skekton.
    All was well until a terrible fire burned through most of North Oliver during one night in the winter of U3523. Hundreds were killed and hundreds more died of exposure and from the smoke. The cold and desperate who could not find shelter in Old Oliver went to Hethgurd Hall which had been left uninhabited for almost one-hundred years. The keep, having been purchased by one of the wealthy nobles of New Akbar, was then besieged in the coming spring as the refugees who lived within fought to keep from being expelled from the hall by its rightful owner. It was not long when with the help of a sorcerer from Trelgurd that the keep was taken from the untrained peasants. Most were put to death, many others fled to Surley.
    A few years later, in U3527, Lord Jeresee began the building of a rather large keep in Surley. His employment brought new life to the beleaguered village. Lord Jeresee was the son of a wealthy merchant, and was a successful trader himself. His family was rather new to the area, being only a couple generations old whereas many families could count numerous generations. Even though his building was welcomed and his birthground was New Akbar, his family was not well liked by the established nobility of the region. Lord Jeresee did not see his keep finished as he was killed by highwaymen before its completion in U3536. That was when his father Aelof Jeresee came to live in New Akbar, having moved from the United Kingdoms, to finish the building of his son. This was even less well received by the locals since Aelof was a powerful lord already in the United Kingdoms and possessed lands scattered across the islands in the Inner Gulf of Biengyar as well as in the mainland of the Kingdoms. Many thought that his presence signaled a growing interest by the land hungry United Kingdoms and its powerful nobility. Jeresee passed away two decades after Aelof Castle was completed and his grandson Aelof III took control of its grounds, Surley, and the village called Baldin which had slowly grown nearby it. Meanwhile, other lords from the United Kingdoms were seen often bringing their large ships into the harbors of Oliver and purchasing land in the area.
    Powerful merchants in New Akbar and in Oliver, feared that soon the United Kingdoms would soon attempt to lay its rule upon the area and cut into the extremely lucrative profits that they enjoyed from the trade conducted through the city and between the Kingdoms and the Eastern Empire. It was also discovered that the Aelof family had been mining beneath the castles grounds and had found a new vein of gold and other valuable metals. Merchants and noblemen from New Akbar and Oliver planned the downfall of the castle before its influence could grow any further and to discourage the growing presence of the United Kingdoms. In a surprise attack, warriors from New Akbar entered into Aelof Castle in the dead of night and slew every member of the Aelof family who was present as well as every servant and advisor that called the castle home, and laid claim to the mining operations on the castle grounds.
    The merchants and noblemen of Oliver were outraged at the underhanded attack and the "thievery" of the lands and their resources which they had hoped to split evenly between themselves and the merchants of New Akbar. Oliver's merchant guilds were considerably weaker than those of New Akbar and the latter city was far more powerful than the former.
    In hopes of retaking the castle by force, nobles and merchants in Oliver invited and borrowed a large number of militia forces from the United Kingdoms, unaware that the forces that they procured were led by the uncle of Aelof III. When the forces from the United Kingdoms arrived in Oliver they were placed in barracks along with Oliver's militia to be prepared for an attack on Aelof Castle. In the dark of the night, within a week of having gathered his host in Oliver, Alfrod Jeresee - uncle to Aelof III, led a surprise attack on the city of Oliver and within hours the city had fallen to his army.
    Alfrod quickly fortified the city walls of Oliver and by his signal a large army entered the northern bay and into the city to make ready for war on Aelof Castle and New Akbar. In the bloody conflict that followed Castle Aelof remained untaken and was placed under siege by Alfrod's forces. Despite navel attacks on Crom Hold, it too held against Alfrod's armies. New Akbar, meanwhile, drew upon the resources of Skekton, Tel-tulan, the veteran warriors of the southern border keeps, and the sorcery of Trelgurd and fielded an impressive army. Alfrod's forces were forced behind the walls of Oliver the following summer where New Akbar laid siege against the city and pounded its walls with war machines. During this time Crom Hold fell to Alfrod's forces, but nothing more, and Alfrod's militia never advanced beyond either Crom Hold's walls or those of Oliver.
    In the end, after two years of battle, the city of Oliver was taken by New Akbar's militias. Crom Hold remained in possession of the United Kingdoms for another 15 years before finally coming to a bitter Tel-Akbar, U1701 surrender. What remained of Old Oliver (as one may recall the northern half had suffered badly during a blaze and was mostly deserted) was renamed High Akbar. In later years, around U3710, the two cities would grow together and become simply known as Akbar.
    The city, having established itself as independent from the growing United Kingdoms gained an improved status of political interest from the Eastern Empire, which to date, had lost every major conflict with what some leaders still considered the United Kingdoms to be, a rogue state. Many explorers from the Eastern Empire would reprovision at the city, considering it a last stop before heading further west through the largely unexplored Gulf of Biengyar.
    In U3809 an extraordinary thing happened. A merchant vessel known as Elexies took harbor in a small protected bay to make repairs after a terrible gale had raged up and down the coastline. While they were there, not far from the Akbaran Settlements (as they had become known), sailors from the ship discovered unexplained riches of precious gems, strange gold coins, and valuable jewelry strewn about on the beaches. The captain, James Broklin, quickly gathered up all the riches which could be found and continued on his way to Tel-Tulan. While en route, his ship mutinied in a bloody battle under the leadership of a Thaumaturge known as Mor Osurrus. The boat, still in need of supplies docked in the harbor of Tel-Tulan.
    Apparently, once he was in charge, Osurrus treated his crew cruelly for not long after putting into port the gruesome tale of Mor Osurrus' treachery somehow reached the port authorities of Tel-Tulan and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Mor Osurrus fled with his treasures and some loyal men to the sea caves which dot the cliff sides to the southwest of Tel-Tulan and disappeared. Men who attempted to find the mage usually turned up floating in the harbor - desiccated and their throats swollen with disease. Villagers were horrified when the bodies washed ashore as the nature of the corpses death became apparent - their intestines ripped from their belly and vomited up into their throats. They had died, suffocating on their own innards and in terrible pain.
    A few weeks later another terrible storm struck the coast and in its aftermath more of the strange jewelry, sculpted artwork, and ancient coins washed ashore along the coast between Skekton and Tel-Tulan. As the sun rose on the morning after the storm the valuable gems and wealth glittered half-buried in the sand. Spread on the ground, everywhere through-out the miraculous treasure, were the bloated bodies of fishes and birds. Natives of the nearby villages who rushed down onto the beach to gather up the valuables became quickly sickened - most of them dying within a couple days but others lingering on for weeks. So much of the treasure lay there in the sand, untouched and disappearing with each passing tide.
    There are many who tell a darker tale and say that it did not merely disappear under the sands. The legend is that Mor Osurrus had not found only wealth on the beaches but had found ancient magics as well. When the new riches washed ashore it was with some new dark magic of his that he cursed the shores and any that would walk them. Then, in the black cloak of night he would come forth from the caves to gather up treasure was there upon the sand and disappear again into the extensive catacombs beneath the land.
    Not all of the word of the treasure that reached foreign posts told the tale of the deadly beaches of Tel-Tulan, for it had also washed up onto the shores of some parts of the United Kingdoms and the islands that fill the Inner Gulf of Biengyar. Where the treasure came from would remain a mystery for nearly 700 years - and by then would be all but forgotten were it not for records of the event kept by the Brothers of Illumination. Tale of the treasure spread along the trade route like wildfire and it was not long before large groups of travelers from the Eastern Empire and the United Kingdoms began to arrive in the area of the Akbaran Settlements. As months and years went by the occasional great storm would turn up new finds on the shores. Many came from afar to dig in the sands in hopes of finding some gem, priceless jewelry. or ancient coin. The southern coast between Skekton and eastward until the coastline turns south became known as the Golden Coast. Brave, new immigrants settled along the coastline for the first time in known history and the town of Tel-Tulan, seemingly overnight, grew into a city of prospectors, merchants, pirates, and treasure hunters. No more gold was found in the sands of Tel-Tulan (some say it was all gathered by Mor Osurrus) and slowly the tales of the bloody beaches became just another tavern story.
    New settlers in the many small coastal towns that had suddenly appeared were mostly unaware of the dangers which had plagued the land for centuries - the orcish hordes. Ignoring the warnings of more experienced woodsmen to make their homes closer to the Akbaran Settlements, the small villages lived in relative peace for a couple decades, that is to say, until the hordes discovered how vastly unprotected they were.
    The Orcs had enjoyed several good summer harvests and were ready again to move southward into the rich lowlands of the Crescent Mountains. An advanced scouting party came across one of the villages not far from where the Clerical Abbeys of Berothin now stand. The village was unable to offer any true resistance against a veteran war band of vicious orcs and it was razed before the sun fell. The hunting band's morale was bolstered by their slaughter of the village and they returned to the warlords of the mountains to report the good news. The next year, in the spring of U3842 and just after crops and been sown, the hordes fell upon the unprepared coastal villages and slaughtered every human dwelling that was found. Some villagers were able to flee in advance, swimming out to passing merchant vessels or abandoning their homes and heading to the safety of the Great Akbaran Wall.
    Their blood thirst quenched for the moment and with thoughts of an assault upon the walls of Akbar and Tel-Tulan, the orcs settled into the coastal area in the wake of their destruction. Much to their fortune, the untended crops of the previous inhabitants yielded forth a good harvest which the orcs used to further entrench themselves into the area. Word of the riches and good bounty reached the ears of the warlords and plans were lain for the movement of a force of orcish armies the size of which had never been seen before. It would take four years for the forces of the hordes to arrive and assemble on the shores of the ruined Golden Coast; four years for the captains already there to observe the heavy laden merchant vessels which passed by weekly through-out the seasons that trade was possible and four years for them to contemplate the great floating ships which carried men out of their reach.
    Dtholgtagn of the Bloody Eye clan arrived at this time and, being a warlord of incredible resourcefulness, set out to build his own fleet of vessels with which to sail around the walls which protected Tel-Tulan, Akbar, and the other towns beyond the Great Wall which had thwarted his race for many generations.
    Around the frontier lands and in the lowlands of the Crescent Mountains the forests were plentiful and through-out the season Dtholgtagn built his ships in the hidden waters of small inlets along the Golden Coast, including what is now called Garnet Bay nearer to where Wereskalot once stood.
    Fortunately a band of mercenaries who hailed from the Eastern Empire and had traveled westward through the wilds ran across the orcish hordes in the lowlands and espied the ships being built there in the harbors. Their warning was brought to Tel-Tulan but, for whatever reason, not further. It was perhaps within the same season that the ships of the orcs set sail and marauded along the Golden Coast, practicing their skills and eventually attacking the merchant ships which passed through as the trade season came to a slow.
    When their ships arrived at the Akbaran harbors Tel-Tulan was prepared, but Skekton was not. Tel-Tulan, once fortified against attacks on its harbors by the old keeps Crag-Duroth and Pal-Durig, had let its defenses go unmaintained and the brave defenders of these keeps only barely kept the first wave of the orcish fleet from entering the harbor. It was not the harbors that the orcs wanted to raid though, but the rich cities and towns which lay beyond. Most of the boats beached themselves to the north and south of Skekton and south of Tel-Tulan. Many small villages vanished as the huge numbers of the orcs made their landing and moved inland. Tel-Tulan continued to stand due to its ancient walls and ample numbers of men trained to work at the border keeps on the Great Wall. Skekton, long protected by its sister cities to its east from all previous historical incursions was raided again and again until all of its population that remained had fled to the crumbling Bailey or north to Akbar.
    Meanwhile many orcish ships continued north around the coast and found the Isle of Minothrad to be to their liking. Others continued on to attack the ports of the United Kingdoms. The United Kingdoms possessed a fair navel fleet and for a time held off many of these invasions though in the future escalations against the orc kind would continue as the orcs solidified their hold on Minothrad Isle.
    What followed back in the Akbaran Settlements was the sudden invasion was several intense months of confusion and bloodshed as the orcs slaughtered the unprepared and long thought safe havens of humanity that had formed behind the Great Wall. Despite the ancient ruin and state of disrepair of The Bailey it continued to hold against the orcish invaders as the mages of Trelgurd fortified it with magic and unhesitatingly attacked all humanoids that approached. Skekton was taken by the beginning of winter and all through-out the cold season travelers remained within the walled Akbar and Tel-Tulan as the orcs spread out within the Great Wall. Most inhabitants from Old Tulan were slaughtered who could not flee to Tel-Tulan. Many from Moril's Turn were given enough warning to flee from their homes to Akbar, Roan Hold, or to Tel-Tulan as well. Briarly was lost within hours of the invasion and Akbaran warriors were routed at the Battle of Tulney. Most nobles of the fortified keeps in the northwest remained untouched and ignored though they must have realized that this would not last for long as soon monies began to pour from these households and into Akbar to fund the rapid training and raising of a militia to turn back the invaders. The North Harbor was closed off against the invaders with the help of mages from Trelgurd, keeping the city unapproachable except by a land assault.
    While Akbaran warriors trained behind the walls of their besieged city word spread through the merchant chains of the great evil fleet that had gathered in the seas. Fearing that the rapid nature of the orcish hordes growth, signaled by increased attacks on the Eastern Empires borders against the Crescent Mountains and the attacks on its merchant vessels, the Eastern Empire began to ready its own navel fleet. More powerful merchants sought to buy the protection of the great war vessels but it would be months before their ships would arrive at the Akbaran Settlements.
    The emerging orc menace was not ignored by the United Kingdoms either, whose lifeblood of commerce was trade across the seas and which had already built a fleet of its own to help defend its coastal and island territories against pirates. The hordes fleet, though large, was built on crude orcish technology. Their fleet, Juunik Shivar, was called "The Junkers" by the fleet captains of the United Kingdoms. The United Kingdoms navel power borrowed much of their tactics and technology from the formidable Eastern Empire which made their craft more advanced than the orc's vessels.
    Through-out the summer months the orcs continued to ravage the land behind the Great Wall. Meanwhile their fleet solidly established themselves on Minothrad Isle and continued frequent clashes against the United Kingdoms. When winter came their frequency diminished but as the attacks stepped up in the spring it was apparent that the horde had not been idle through the cold months and had continued their coastal deforestation to fuel their ship building efforts. The United Kingdoms had formed a navel barricade against Minothrad Isle but it was broken as fresh ships attacked the United Kingdoms ports and the line in several great navel battles. In the mid-summer relief finally arrived from the Eastern Empire in the form of several merchant vessels, guarded by a large number of Eastern Empire war frigates.
    As Tel-Tulan was at the brink of falling to the hordes (in fact, as their walls were being breached and their harbor was under the bombardment from harbored orc vessels) the imperial frigates arrived in harbor and with surprise in their hands they destroyed the hordes fleet presence there. The battle for Tel-Tulan is recorded as one of the most fast-paced and bloody conflicts waged on the shores of the Akbaran Settlement, with terrible losses on both sides. Marines from the Eastern Empire's frigates stormed the city from harbor side and clashed with the horde in the middle of city streets and on top of the cities battered walls.
    More vessels from the Eastern Empire, filled with fortune seeking warriors, mercenaries, and troops from the Eastern Empire continued to arrive in Tel-Tulan as the season wore on and soon Tel-Tulan was heavily fortified. Eastern Empire militia also pushed into the Crescent Mountains to find the homelands of the hordes and take the battle there. Then, for reasons unknown, the mages hall of Trelgurd withdrew their support and protection from Akbar. Meanwhile political and military pressure from the Eastern Empire offered the citizens of Akbar protection against the hordes if the Empire was given sovereignty in the area. While Akbar stoutly opposed this it became apparent that without the assistance of Trelgurd and with the sudden growth of power among the orcish shaman, that a course of action would have to be quickly decided.
    Then two things happened which changed the course of the war. The land bound horde of the orcs arrived outside the southern keeps of Roan Hold and Fort Davonrey. Orcish sappers had burrowed under the fortresses during the winter and with the surprise attack the supports of both keeps curtain walls were undermined. Roan Hold continued to stand as its defenders retreated into the inner fortress there but Fort Davonrey was lost as the bulk of the horde arrived to attack days later. The second thing to happen was the sudden disintegration of Akbar's southern walls as the orcish shamans brought a new powerful magic against them and the once hard stone flowed with rivers of mud. Armies from the Eastern Empire continued to press their offer as the horde poured through the broken Great Wall and brought their might against Tel-tulan and Akbar. With time and opportunity disappearing by the day, Akbar agreed to accept the Eastern Empires wardenship in return for their military assistance. Tel-Tulan was in no danger of falling as fresh troops had been continuously arriving for several months now. With the assistance of the mages of Trelgurd - who threw their efforts in with the Eastern Empires forces - the armies of the Empire violently waged war against the horde and by the end of autumn the horde had been pushed back to the fallen Fort Davonrey, the ruins of Bathony, and Crag Duroth.
    The United Kingdoms continued their efforts against the orcish fleets which began to crumble between the forces of the great nation and the Empire. Rather abruptly the war came to an end as the orcish hordes were overpowered on the seas. Most of the water bound horde fled to Minothrad Isle. Land bound orcish forces continued to fight for several more weeks and then suddenly left the field of battle. Presumably, word of the Empire's attack on the orcish homeland had reached their captains. By U3848 the hordes had been eradicated from behind the Great Wall.
    With the three ports of the Akbaran Settlements under Empire control the Eastern Empire was in a position of power and could demand higher trade tariffs against the United Kingdoms. Merchant vessels which did not stop into the cities ports would need an extra months provisions to do trade with the Eastern Empire and faced harassment by mercenary-pirates which the Empire occasionally employed against those who opposed Empire rule.
    Over the years which followed, Tel-Tulan was rebuilt and expanded to hold the swelling presence of the Empire. Merchant ships paid lower tariffs for taking harbor in Tel-Tulan's safer harbor then in those of what was Skekton or that of Akbar. Thus Tel-Tulan became a growing power in the area beyond what it was before the Empire had arrived. The city expanded quickly but despite the Empire's efforts and the wealth that poured through the city's harbor it remained a ghetto and became known for its cutthroat merchants, gangs, and mercenary tyrants.
    Rule by the Eastern Empire continued mostly in peace for nearly three centuries, except for the occasional clash between the Eastern Empire and the United Kingdoms merchant vessels. During this time Tel-Tulan expanded its walls around the western end of its harbor and continued to expand in that direction. Townsfolk from Bathony rebuilt their town on its ruins. Skekton, now called Dead Skekton, became even more a den of robbers and thieves and never was fully rebuilt. Moril's Turn never was rebuilt either. In place, a bit to the north of the original town, a village called Harrallen was formed and quickly grew on a newly discovered quarry which was mined to provide building stone for the further fortification of the Great Wall. Pal-Durig was rebuilt and renamed Brock Hall after a powerful merchant who had helped pay for many vessels that assisted in the battles against the hordes.
    The hordes vanished from the area and into the mountains where they continued to successfully defend their homeland against the Eastern Empire. The horde which had colonized Minothrad kept mostly to itself except when merchant ships came too close to its harbor. The Eastern Empire left the isle alone and for the United Kingdoms to deal with.
    As the centuries passed, the future generations slowly became more and more dissatisfied with the growing ghetto-like pestilence the presence of the Eastern Empire seemed to spread through the Akbaran Settlements. There were not a few wealthy lords who lived in their own keeps on the bluffs which tired of the Empires Tel-Akbar, U1701 taxation and truculent disposition. This dissatisfaction with the Eastern Empire's occupation of the area and its mismanagement of the land would continue to grow until U4099 when the powers of revolution would finally gain momentum.
    Many political nay-sayers moved to build hidden keeps among the many islands not far off the coast line. There, weapons were purchased and stockpiled from the United Kingdoms. There, "rogue" wizards found freedoms from the Eastern Empire's rule, where they could practice their magic without Realms Mages nosing into their business. There, was hatched the seeds of rebellion which would free the fledgling state of Tel-Akbar from foreign rule.
    The leader of this movement was Lord Mikolas, a Beretite from the southern lands of the Eastern Empire by heritage, therefore beyond questioning by authorities of the Empire, but a staunch anti-establishment figure in secret. With his trade connections he quietly funded criminal elements within Akbar, bribed dissatisfied bureaucrats who were more loyal to Akbar than they were to the Eastern Empire, and helped organize freedom loving, banished, and pirate elements of the island populations until a strong underground movement existed. These efforts culminated in the winter of U4103 when under the cover of solstice darkness Aelof and Hethgurd were successfully stormed by rebel factions. Their success breathed bravery into the unhappy populace and in a matter of days a very bloody rebellion had overthrown the ruling viceroy of the Eastern Empire and his stations of power. Fearful that the Eastern Empire would exact a terrible revenge for the uprising, when Spring winds allowed easy westward travel by boat, leaders of the rebellion spent the winter fortifying keeps and building in the caves beneath the bluff where they could retreat and strike out again should the worse happen.
    The worse did happen as the overpowering might of the Eastern Empire was turned upon the rebels, and they were driven below ground. It is said that soldiers of the empire attempted to follow, but strange creatures arose from the depths to consume them and fight side by side with the rebels. Secure below ground they led numerous attacks against surface fortifications and against supply ships of the Empire, until finally a truce was agreed to. This momentous occasion was called the Treaty of Mikolas, as it was engineered by the same lord who facilitated the rebellion, secretly profited from arms sales to the Eastern Empire, and who performed the final negotiations for peace. Naturally, the house of Mikolas continued to rise in influence.
    By U4700 the bounty of the area was filled with enough humans that no longer was the region of Tel-tulan and Akbar such an easy target for incursions by orkind and goblinoid. The two cities were well fortified and numerous keeps dotted the roads between. From Crom Hold to Rog Crag, well trained warriors provided early warning and shelter for the farmlands that grew about them. Above the massive Trelgurd keep the bluff was dotted with numerous manors of trade barons who had amassed tremendous wealth doing trade between the Eastern Empire and the United Kingdoms. Times were good and culture was flourishing all along the golden coast.
    Numerous temples and artisans had been drawn to the free culture that existed in the region, unburdened by regulation from larger empires. Priests of Roshani, god of trade, were welcomed without question through-out the region. Ly'ya, goddess of pleasure had a significant temple of passion, filled with hedonists who called out to any who walked along the streets of western lower Akbar. Arden, which had been such a prominent voice of peace was still welcomed, but gods which promised rewards in this world spoke loudly to a new and affluent generation that was not burdened by the threat of war. Unfortunately, this environment of religious expression and self-seeking worshipers looking for new experiences also bred growing cults to gods like Wehu, worshipped in gambling halls, and Marmon the Glutton, a god of greed and material wealth.
    As the temples of gods who called for temperance and compassion were shadowed by rising gods who promised good things in the world of the living, rather than in the afterlife, crime began to flourish. The governments of Akbar and Tel-tulan struggled with the problem, but a deeper corruption was spreading through them as well as worshipers of Thurdon infiltrated temples of Tennet. Soon, the scales which symbolized a law of impartial distribution were exchanged for the sword of tyranny. No longer did all men weigh equally before the law, but those who understood it and who wrote the laws rose as leaders over the weak, and were welcomed by those who were in power as necessary strong-arm tactics warranted by a generation of lawless hedonists. It was no longer danger from without that threatened the civilization, but a corruption from within.
    Thurdon, god of self-righteous rulership, swelled to prominence midway through the forty-eighth century after the Unholy Wars. It's priests were rulers and its worshipers were a police force which held sway over the populace. Temples of earthly pleasures were tolerated as they distracted the populace from the tyranny beneath which they lived. Groups of Thurdon priests and followers left the Eastern Empire and its embrace of Harushta, a deity of order and temperance, to join their religions rise to power along the Golden Coast. Arena's were built where criminals fought each other for freedom beneath the cheering screams of the citizenry.
    The rule of the High Priest of Thurdon, Bragius, was well documented as he loved to hire authors to write of him and artisans to create his likeness and statues to his and his gods honor. As part of his exaltations he constructed a great temple in Akbar and a second in Tel-tulan. Between these great edifices the homes of the weak were torn down so that a great parade causeway could be constructed and join one to the other. One hundred hands wide of hammered brick, pillars erected to either side, and gardens of trees stretched the five miles between the two cities, built by the labor of criminals and peasantry that essentially dwelt in perpetual slavery, unable to work off their debt to society. Spans of this highway can still be seen today, its columns supporting buildings and its cobbled walk forming some of the cities larger streets.
    Thurdon enjoyed a strong following in Tel-Akbar, but in those days even as in today, commerce was the true god of the cities. Though the state religion was cruel, the corruption and rampant consumption of goods in the city gave rise to economic prosperity that had not yet been seen in this part of the world. All along the Walk of the Just which joined the main temples in Tel-tulan and Akbar, sprung up smaller towns, places for people to rest and entertain themselves, merchant houses catering to pilgrims who walked the nearby promenade, and a hundred other services to indulge the eye and spirit were offered but for a bit of coin.
    This era of religious popularity would continue for hundreds of years and leave marks upon the landscape that would endure for thousands more. In the early sixth millenium, the last stones which renovated the Great Wall had been finally placed. In this time, the Walk of the Just was a corridor of city streets which effectively joined the two cities of Tel-tulan and Akbar together. Under the religious rule, the policy of the two cities had likewise merged, and a generation was born that did not distinguish between the walls of one and the other. Rather, there was but the world beyond the Great Wall and that within it. On the backs of slaves, Carag Keep and Roan Hold were rebuilt behind the old ramparts in more defensive positions. With this security in place there began a quiet and slow rise in the power of patricians.
    Recognizing their common welfare inextricably intertwined, representatives of each of the cities behind the wall formed the Grand Senate of Tel-Akbar in U5335. All other cities fell beneath the auspices of these two surging metropolises and so this was the first time that the name Tel-Akbar was heard in an official capacity, though merchants had been calling it by such a name for many decades. Senate leader, Thûram, who was also a high priest Tel-Akbar, U1701 of Thurdon, successfully used the senate as a means to bind the smaller satellite towns closer to the regional center of his gods power. Perhaps due to the strength of their religion in the region, senate leaders such as Thûram, Kaladus, Uziraf, Sarmarion, and Mahal would enjoy lengthy and effective rules over the populace of the city. Certainly there was a great deal of political back-stabbing, considering the nature of Thurdon to encourage twisting and abuse of the law, but high priests such as Thûram were masters of such manipulations and history quickly forgot the names of those senate rulers who failed to hold their position.
    As the city began to unify, the laws of one spreading and imposed over the others, the people began to question the doctrine of Thurdon, who had done much for those in power, but for several hundred thousand commoners it did little but keep the City of Pleasures from being devoured by rampant crime. There were some who accused the religious rule of being nothing more than criminals in disguise, but the state was too powerful for opposition to rise against it. Other towns were beginning to dot the coastline to the north, around the Bay of Luln, along the banks of the Sirrion River, near Garnet Bay where fishing harvests were excellent year after year, and on the Enchanted Isle which stretched to the south and free minded philosophers pondered the ramifications of a religious run state and other issues that were repressed in Tel-Akbar. The influence of these smaller towns kept the flame of free thought and expression alive in Tel-Akbar, though undoubtedly they were greatly influenced by the tremendous cultural influence that Tel-Akbar also represented.
    The demagogues of Thurdon might have ruled over Tel-Akbar for many centuries more had it not been for the awakening of an ancient great red wyrm called Ashmalorn. This beast opened its eyes deep in its underground cavern and heard the sounds of thousands of feet upon the surface, the calls of street vendors, and most of all it heard the sound of wealth exchanging hands. With its terrible mind it intruded into the minds of several high priests and once it had learned all there was of the new world, it slew their spirits while they slept began to puppet their bodies. Quickly, the rule of Thurdon became an iron-fisted and cruel tyranny. Its will oppressed the people as never before, demanding sacrifices and tax beyond any that had been called for in the past. Cults to dragon-like creatures began to arise in dark parts of the cities, and Ashmalorn fed well on the wealth and flesh that teamed above its lair. This would have surely continued on for many more years, but other dragons were awakening as well.
    In the Summer of U5632 Shararil the Black rose from the mountains where her dragonkin had been devouring the orkind and hoarding treasures pillaged two-thousand years before and took wing towards Tel-Akbar, bringing her dragon children with her. In a few short days she and her brood turned the streets of the city molten with their acidic breath and supplanted the state religion with a despotic worship of themselves. Ashmalorn became furious and it is said that his roar sounded like a great earthquake, causing many ancient buildings to fall as it emerged from the caves that peppered the earth beneath the city. Shararil fled as Ashmalorn arrived on the surface, leaving behind her young to be devoured by the great red dragon. Great swaths of the city were destroyed in the conflict simply by the great size of the dragons which fought.
    All over the world, other dragonkind were awakening. Ashmalorn must have sensed this for it quickly dispatched of other local dragons and set itself up as the de-facto power of the region, with the city of Tel-Akbar as the center of its influence. It built its lair among the ruins of the noble houses which dotted the bluff, turning their stones into a wall to limit access to its presence from the humans that dwelt in the city below. Later, this wall would be constructed and expanded to contain the High Quarter of what is modern Tel-Akbar. Worship of any gods was forbidden, Ashmalorn demanding that no other be fit for worship but itself, and the pillars lining the Walk of the Just were torn down.
    Ashmalorn's rule was absolute, but it may have saved Tel-Akbar from complete destruction by the avarice of other dragons for few dared enter into Ashmalorn's territory to challenge its might. Many parts of the rest of the world did not fair as well. Ashmalorn created its own children using its formidable magics, dragon-like men of great size, who patrolled the streets of the city and brought treasures to line their masters horde. Despite the oppression, humanity endured. There were few safe places to flee to in the countryside and many found it safer to live under the hungry rule of Ashmalorn than to live in the wilderness and risk being devoured by some hungry dragon.
    Slowly the years passed and slowly the younger dragons who survived began to return to a pattern of hibernation. The worst of the destruction came to a close around U5633, as the dragons battles among each other culled their numbers to a natural balance. Wielding new magics and powers, revealed by dragons to their minions, arose heroes willing to fight against their dragon rulers. Ashmalorn would devour many heroes seeking to slay it, for hundreds of years to come, before finally feeling the call of slumber and returning to its lair, leaving its young, Tormorn, to rule as it slept. Tormorn survived less than a year before the hero called Orus slew it (U6204) in a great battle atop the cliffs of Tel-Akbar. By this time though Ashmalorn deeply slumbered and no longer was aware of the goings on above where it lay dreaming. To this day, the lair of Ashmalorn remains unfound and legends say that it will again awaken to bring tyranny to the surface world once more.
    Named King, Orus began a strong and fair rule over the city. Though he was a poor politician, his popularity carried him on for fifteen years until he was assassinated by factions which opposed rule by monarchy. However, his tenure as ruler over the city returned the senate and its influence. However, this time the priests of Thurdon were no more. During the hardship of Ashmalorn, fairer gods of Arden, Esvren, and Prolitar were called upon to assuage the suffering of the populas. King Orus called Harushta and Karnot to be his own gods and so they became favored among the people too.
    The loss of King Orus was grieved by much of the populace and they called upon their senators to nominate a new king. The senate, new to their power and easily corrupted chose to raise a puppet king who claimed to be descended from ancient Aelof Jeresee. Even some historians had a hard time remembering who exactly Aelof was (see U3527) but there was an ancient castle named after him and so Folurian Jeresee must have been descended from someone important. He was quickly installed as king, but his rule was weak and after eight years he was poisoned and died in bed. His son, Prapsus, was too young to take power and so the senate nominated Lord Caelius to act as warden until Prapsus came of age. Any who expected Prapsus to survive long enough to assume rule was sorely mistaken; he died of consumption before the age of ten.
    Despite the means by which King Caelius gained his power, he proved an effective and cunning ruler. Having seen first hand how easily weak rulers were supplanted, he trained his son, Caelius II, well in the ways of kingship. Caelius too was a strong monarch and he continued his fathers tradition of kingship and passed it to his son. He also continued his fathers rebuilding of the city and raised institutions dedicated to scholarly pursuits, having determined that knowledge and magical skills would keep the city from succumbing to another cataclysm as the dragon Ashmalorn had wrought. His own son, Caelius III, became known as a powerful wizard, and when Caelius II died of old age, his son took the throne. For the next eight generations, the city of Tel-Akbar would be ruled by wizards born of the Caelius line.
    During the rule of King Caelius XI, U6420 a fiery trail split the sky in two as it hurtled from the heavens and eastward, the explosion of its landing destroyed stone buildings in Tel-Akbar, though it fell upon the distant Eastern Empire. By evening the sky was quickly darkened by boiling clouds and the sea receded to foretell the terrible tsunami that would flood through the Skekton and Tulan districts and wreak terrible destruction; though surely it would have been much worse had it not been for the wizards who erected magical barriers to shield the city from the worst of the watery blow. They must have thought it the end of the world though as hot ash, stones, and dirt rained down from the sky, causing further destruction. The cause of these events would be soon learned as nearly one-quarter of the Eastern Empire was destroyed in moments by a great meteoroid, instantly slaying millions and sicking its southeastern lands into the Sea of Rains. Ash and stones from the destruction even rained upon distant Tel-Akbar.
    The Second Winter was upon the world and it would be nearly twenty years before the skies were clear of heavy clouds of dust. Were it not for the great druids, the world may have perished. As it was, many still died of starvation and other perils as the world dwelt in perpetual twilight. Shadows and other undead became common place, populations were reduced to basic survival, druids aggressively recruited new members to their order in hopes of saving their world, and primal gods such as Arden and Zhakrin swelled in power as people sought explaination and comfort. Terrible monsters wandered the land beyond the city walls as populations retreated behind their walls, in the Eastern Empire, it could not have been much better.
    Even after the skies had cleared, the climate took much longer to recover. Glaciers had grown long in the mountains and the Second Winter would endure long into the next millenium (U7191). The United Kingdoms scattered into fiefs and petty kingships during this time, and the decline of trade, the lifeblood of Tel-Akbar, brought terrible poverty to its citizens. King Caelius XII sired no children to continue his royal line; he was too dedicated to seeking a way to end the winter that was upon the land and took no wife to his bed. Upon his death (U6514), the senate named his unpopular cousin Lord Vullis to be king. However, his rule would be brought to an end by an uprising led by Caelius' uncle, Lord Maecius. There were battles waged in the streets of the city between the two powerful Lords and for many years Tel-Akbar was split in two by the rule of both lords as each held their own territory. Lord Vullis was assassinated, but his son escaped and took up the mantle of rulership. Not as wise as his father, Vullis chaffed at the waiting game that Lord Maecius played and renewed his father's campaign with greater violence. Lord Maecius goaded Lord Vullis into single combat (U6521) and slew him, despite being twenty years his senior in age, and claimed kingship over the entire city.
    Lord Maecius was not a good king. Once his rule was firmly in his hands he openly consorted with evil wizards and demons. His police brought a new tyranny to Tel-Akbar and citizens taken beyond the Wall of Ashmalorn rarely returned to their families. The senate was disbanded and its deposed members made several failed attempts to overthrow King Maecius. From his harem were born terrible half-demon and half-mortal creatures which were quickly aged with magic into mighty warriors. Temples of blood ritual were erected and cults of Zhakrin reveled in a climate where the weak were oppressed. His rule would be terribly long, lasting more than four hundred years as demonic powers sustained him and the vile demon called Inuruš acted as his counselor.
    In U6976, a powerful priest of Harushta called Næchærra raised an army from settlements outside of Tel-Akbar, calling warriors of good to his banner. To his surprise, angels descended from the skies and numbered themselves among those willing to fight. In the Spring of U6977 the armies of Harushta descended upon Tel-Akbar, possessing a divine will and powers sufficient to break through the Great Wall. Blackheart Fort was destroyed in a holy conflagration and Hethgurd hall was also brought to ruin. In the High Temple of Inuruš, where the demon lord swam in the blood of innocents, Harushta's champion, Sacchobiad, slew the demon Inuruš. At the demons death, spirits of the infernal realms gathered about the tyrant Maecius, and he was taken away in a cloud of screams.
    That wrought by King Maecius and Inuruš was not so easily undone. It would take a couple of decades for efforts spearheaded by Sacchobiad to eradicate the major followings of Zhakrin and the many demonic cults that had arisen during the rule of Maecius. Sacchobiad was named Defender of Tel-Akbar and Næchærra erected a great temple to his god near the gates of the Ashmalorn Wall. Upon its completion, Næchærra was taken into the heavens by a host of angels, leaving numerous and inspired servants of Harushta to continue his work.
    Since Sacchobiad would not take the crown of Tel-Akbar, priests of Harushta and other good temples gathered together to name a leader for the city. A young priest, Polus, was nominated to lead the counsel and Sacchobiad took station as his counselor and guardian. Polus' leadership was occupied with rebuilding and noted Tel-Akbar, U1701 for its compassion. A great landscape of Tel-Akbar had been abandoned in the years of trouble that filled the rule of Maecius and in some parts of the city monsters had emerged from the caverns below to prowl through the ruin. Much of the time that Sacchobiad did not spend at the side of King Polus, was spent securing the lost city.
    As the world emerged from the Second Winter (U7191), Tel-Akbar began to once again flourish beneath the benevolent guidance of the priests of Harushta. The Senate was rebuilt and the scene was set for Tel-Akbar to become a shining beacon heralding the end of a dark age.
    The eighth millenium from the end of the Unholy Wars was rarely marred with strife in the lands which Tel-Akbar did trade with, and this prosperity flowed through the city and fed its inhabitants. Immigrants from the Hanois Peninsula brought wondrous finds from ruins discovered in the Great Daul Swamp as they fled from the sorcerer king, Saz. Many also came across the Gulf of Biengyar to improved their lives from the poverty of Hana, the teaming sister city to Tel-Akbar that had arisen to the far southwest across the waters. This period was also marked by the supremacy of the Free Kingdoms and its influence over the south. While the Eastern Empire still struggled with its identity in the face of calamity which continued to plague it (such as the sinking of the Pentish lands in U7320, forming the present Peril Swamps). In contrast, the United Kingdoms experienced a period of plenty that was only troubled by the Rebellion of Yalrum (U7228), the great plains fires of U7313, the Annex War of Minos (U7404-7408), the brief Woodhelven Uprising of U7598. These troubles were small in comparison and in this era the Free Kingdoms would prosper as separate kingships, expanding the influence of humans in south-central Irendi until finally reuniting during the rise of the demon prince Ilerth (U8010).
    By the seventy-ninth century Tel-Akbar was once again a city of champions. Its heroes were renowned throughout the south and word of its great size and might and its name was known even in the far away as the Seraphite Kingdom (later to become the Kingdom of Arend). Wealthy nobles built outposts along the Biengyar Interior Gulf to expand and secure trade routes, solidifying opportunities for land trade throughout the region. To the south, cities such as Chalsea and Kalaman arose to feed these new land routes and creating ever more trade. Marble from Chalsea was brought to Tel-Akbar in great quantities to rebuild several buildings which still stand today, such as the massive Senate Forum and colonnade (U7850), the Temple of Karnot (now temple to Daer-Koch), the impressive statues that line the Walk of Kings (U7884) in the North Port District, and the magnificent facade to the Bardic College. Artists and architects came to feed on the money of merchant lords who craved immortality, making possible the building of the great Gold Dome of Aulens and the billiant clockwork Pillars of Crontis. Guilds from neighboring nations erected powerful guildhouses and trade organizations based from Tel-Akbar. Under the guidance of King Sevolian (U7835 to U7888) Tel-Akbar's people became well educated, fed, cultured. Tel-Akbar had become a destination of majesty. Walking its streets, one could truly feel the world revolving about the city.
Abridged Timeline
The following abbreviations are used to denote regions in which certain events took place:
    UK: United Kingdoms
    EE: Eastern Empire
    TA: Tel-Akbar region
Non-denoted events affected multiple regions including that of Tel-Akbar.
AC1020War of Five Kingdoms Begins. (EE)
AC1157Eastern Empire est. (EE)
AC2559End of Unholy Wars.
AC4258First Dragonflight.
AC4258Emperor Loreadros IIX Slain (EE)
AC4259Emperor Saedlid Overthrown (EE)
AC4260Refugees from Emperor Eoric (EE) arrive in (TA) region.
AC4261Town of Skekton est. (TA)
AC4265Town of Oliver est. (TA)
AC4271Town of Davonrey est. (TA)
AC4483Kargan Revolution (EE)
AC4488New Zakher est. (UK)
AC4489Church of Arden est. in Oliver (TA)
AC4490Stonegate est. (UK)
AC4524Emperor Drom (EE) forms Realms Wizards.
AC4526United Rebellion est. (UK), Mage Wars.
AC4545Treaty of Trondor.
AC4564Skekton walls built (TA)
AC4619Davonrey razed by pirates, La'cain family discovers gold (TA)
AC4651Cain Keep est. (TA)
AC4653New Davonrey est. (TA)
AC4692Ten Oaks est. (TA)
AC4702Crag-Duroth est. (TA)
AC4703Mot Brunan est. (TA)
AC4722Hethgurd Hall est. (TA)
AC4808Pal-Durig est. (TA)
AC4825Tel-tulan est. (TA)
AC4837Tulney est. (TA)
AC4841Argoth est. (TA)
AC4853Begoer est. (TA)
AC4887Newrun est. (TA)
AC5090Brothers of Illumination open hall (TA)
AC5091(UK) intrudes into Alfheim.
AC5159New Akbar est. (TA)
AC5182Walls of New Akbar finished (TA)
AC5185Winter of 600 years begins.
AC5197Orc Hordes invade. New Davonrey destroyed (TA)
AC5239Fort Blackheart est. (TA)
AC5246Bathoney est. (TA)
AC5353Carag Keep est. (TA)
AC5358Ten Oaks renamed Tel-tulan (TA)
AC5403Trelgurd est. (TA)
AC5408Fort Davonrey est. (TA)
AC5421Crom Hold est. (TA)
AC5428Roan Hold est. (TA)
AC5431Moril's Turn est. (TA)
AC5795Winter of 600 years abates.
AC5802Briarly est. (TA)
AC5819Surley est. (TA)
AC5838Orc hordes invade (TA)
AC5892Loreman chapter opens in Trelgurd (TA)
AC5951First Great Wall completed (TA)
AC6079~Wealthy lords built atop of bluff (TA)
AC6082North Oliver burns (TA)
AC6098Castle Aelof est. (TA)
AC6150Baldin est. (TA)
AC6162Aelof Castle attacked by separatists, Aelof III slain. (TA)
AC6163Alfrod Jeresee conquers Oliver. (TA)
AC6164Alfrod Jeresee conquers Crom Hold. (TA)
AC6166Oliver captured by New Akbar militia and renamed High Akbar (TA)
AC6269Oliver and New Akbar merge to be called, Akbar. (TA)
AC6368Capt. James Broklin of the Elexies discovers abandoned riches. (TA)
AC6393Tolwen est. (TA)
AC6401Orc hordes raze villages along the Golden Coast.
AC6402Dtholgtagn of the Bloody Eye clan raids (TA) area by boat. Skekton lost to invaders. Briarly razed.
AC6404Fort Davonrey falls to orcish invaders. (TA)
AC6405Moril's Turn razed by orcish invaders. Bathony is razed. (TA)
AC6407Imperial marines repel last of orc hordes and control (TA) ports.
AC6415Bathony rebuilt. (TA)
AC6432Tolmshire est. (TA)
AC6439Rainen est. (TA)
AC6508Harallen est. (TA)
AC6662Aelof Castle and Hethgurd Hall fall to pro-Akbar seperatists (TA).
AC6663Imperial militias force rebellion underground. (TA)
AC6667Treaty of Mikolas. (TA)
AC7081Gog invades the United Kingdoms. (UK)
AC7309~Religious renaissance. (TA)
AC7399Bragius constructs the great temple of Thurdon in Akbar. (TA)
AC7425Bragius constructs the Walk of the Just. (TA)
Carag Keep and Roan Hold moved. (TA)
AC7579Castle Moscat est. (TA)
AC7756Etgurd Keep est. (TA)
AC7894Grand Senate formed. (TA)
AC8185~Ashmalorn awakens, the religious renaissance ends. (TA)
AC8191Ashmalorn defeats Shararil the Black and her brood (TA). Second Dragonflight.
AC8762Ashmalorn returns to hibernation, Tormorn rules in stead. (TA)
AC8763Tormorn is slain by Orus, who is made king. (TA)
AC8778King Orus is assassinated. Folurian Jeresee installed as king. (TA)
AC8786King Jeresee is assassinated. Lord Caelius becomes ward of young Prapsus. (TA)
AC8789King Caelius takes power. (TA)
AC8979The "Fist of Cynder" strikes (EE). The skies are filled with dust and stones fall.
AC8995~The Second Winter begins.
AC9058Korish War. (UK)
AC9080King Maecius wrests power from King Vullis. (TA)
AC9091Brock Hall razed by King Maecius. (TA)
AC9536Næchærra, accompanied by angels, slays King Maecius. (TA)
AC9537The Grand Senate is reformed. (TA)
AC9545Hom Castle est. (TA)
AC9580King's Port est. (TA)
AC9750~The Second Winter ends.
AC9787Rebellion of Yalrum. (UK)
AC9879Sinking of Pentish. (EE)
AC9963Annex War of Minos. (UK)
AC10280Bardic College built. (TA)
AC10409Senate Forum and Colonade built. (TA)
AC10425Temple of Karnot built. (TA)
AC10443Walk of Kings built. (TA)
AC10446Gold Dome of Aulens completed. (TA)
AC10664King Sevolian III overthrown. (TA)
AC10569Keriern breaches the Endless Emptiness, Ilerth escapes. (UK)
AC10571Ilerth invades the United Kingdoms. (UK)
AC10590City ministries formed. (TA)
AC10769The Grasping Death plague.
AC10858Sealing of the Dark Warrens. (UK)
AC10560The Free Kingdoms reband as the United Kingdoms. (UK)
AC11803Early warning watch towers secure harbors. (TA)
AC11092Trade riots. (TA)
AC11124Senate disbands Ministry of Commerce. The Guild War. (TA)
AC11125Articles of Law drafted. (TA)
AC12858Dark Warren Seals are found broken (UK). The Black Scourge begins.
AC12860The Twenty disappear.
AC12861Shaking Sickness plague.
AC12865United Kingdoms surrenders to the Dark God. (UK)
AC12866New gods appear.
AC12868The Dark God is defeated.
AC12870Divine power vanishes.
AC12871Seals of Chaos reforged.
AC12872Divine power returns.
AC12874Alfheim invades the United Kingdoms. (UK)
AC12879United Kingdoms splits in three. (UK)
AC12881 Orckind invade lowlands.

    The eighth millenium should also be noted for the growing influence of the senate and the declining power of kingship. As the city flourished, senators from parts of the city which enjoyed success gained in power and influence to a degree that kings had to find mutual agreements in negotiations. Some senators enjoyed broad popularity, such as Lord Brondin, a political philosopher and actor who used his influence in the Bardic College to sway the hearts of the common folk. Many thought that Lord Brondin would be appointed the throne should King Sevolian II not sire an inheritor, but that possibility came to a distinct end when Sevolian did finally bear a child and Lord Brondin was publicly assassinated during one of his performances at the Bardic College (U7914). King Sevolian II attempted to consolidate his power against the rising influence of the senate, but it was too late. Senate leaders had long enjoyed a measure of autonomy in how their districts were managed and it was too late to change the future. Young King Sevolian III, influenced by the tirades his father would have while still living, sought to disband the senate and was overthrown (U8105) from power by popular uprising. He would be the last king to rule over Tel-Akbar.
    In the year U8010 demonic powers continued to struggle for power in the world of Sulerin and achieved a significant success with the first fulfillment of the
Tolman Prophecies as the wizard Keriern Appourin, a demonist and powerful occult leader, sought to bring about an apocalypse by opening a rift to the Endless Emptiness. Keriern was partially successful, as a powerful entity lost beyond the Endless Emptiness manifested, slew him, and closed the gate. Deep in the Cruth Mountains, near the Free Kingdoms, Ilerth sought artifacts of power as ancient as the world. Dark forces gathered to the Tything Caves, answering the call of Ilerth and in U8012 a great horde of evil creatures, magical creations, demonkind, and worse, boiled from the mountains and razed the walled city of Yalrum with stunning ease, killing hundreds of thousands in mere weeks. At this terrible news, the Free Kingdoms bound together under ancient treaties to face this threat, erecting numerous keeps in the mountains. Humans, dwarves, and even the Galiadre Elves of Alfheim strove to contain the threat which simmered in the Cruth Mountains. Tel-Akbar received refugees, but continued to flourish with a steady import of treasures returned by adventurers from the Free Kingdoms and by providing the means to support a growing trade in military tools and services.
    In Tel-Akbar the battles to the north would continue to give rise to the power of merchant houses and guilds. Members of the senate either became figureheads for these powerful organizations or were supplanted by nobles made wealthy on their trade. Senate leaders took turns leading each counsel gathering, with each of its members focusing on their area of specialty. As the senate grew in power so did the Bureaucracy that surrounded it. Experts in law, city architecture, magic, trade, crime control, banking, foreign politics, intelligence gathering, and culture were made into ministries. Each ministry was to cultivate, ensure the success of its focus, and report back to the senate with their opinions on how the city should be managed.
    Tel-Akbar would not remain entirely unaffected by the evil spreading throughout the north. In U8210 a dread disease called the Grasping Death was brought to the city by merchant boats returning from the United Kingdoms. Despite magical safeguards against disease and the presence of many temples the Grasping Death spread like wildfire through the city streets. Riots were held before the gates to the Upper City where the wealthy bastioned themselves within their walled keeps and their keeps behind the Wall of Ashmalorn. Some noble houses would still fall to the disease, but the common populace was decimated by it. The pandemic spread throughout the lands south of the Cruth Mountains. The Galiadre of Alfheim and the Daernarthor of Deep Home and Stronmountain displayed a hearty resistance to the disease. Unfortunately, as did orkind and goblinoids. Incursions from the mountains increased as human villages were weakened. Non-humans hid themselves from public view in Tel-Akbar, not because they feared catching the disease, but because of the violent resentment humans displayed towards them. Many blamed the non-human races for bringing about the disease. While human cities shrank, non-humans who had become accustomed to living among humans returned to their ancestral lands in an exodus that polarized the regions geographical-racial boundaries.
    Plague, orkind incursions, and demonic creatures terrorizing the United Kingdoms would be enough cause for naming the era as dark, but other evils also rose in power. The tower of the demilich Agor-Thal had long remained apart from the world, surrounded as it was by wastelands of its own creation, but now terrible undead monsters began to travel out of the region, attacking any who traveled too close to Deathrot Tower, the lair of their presumed master. Assistance from the Eastern Empire against the demon threat was culled by the presence of undead, making it impossible to take armies through Storn Pass without facing major battles en route to the United Kingdoms. One spectacular failure to avoid the undead was the Eastern Empire's attempt to send an army through the ancient Underhalls, great underground highways that were created during the Unholy Wars for travelers to use since prolonged travel on the surface was too dangerous, but the underworld had become populous too and the first bands of warriors sent through those ways disappeared as they were attacked by Drakher, Silothreni, and other, less civilized, underground cultures. Some of these even brought their battles to the surface, within the borders of the Eastern Empire, and soon the plagued nation had too many problems of its own to help with the demonkin that infested the lands of the United Kingdoms. Many thought that the end of the world was truly neigh, though these troubles would pale to the destruction wrought during the time called the Black Scourge that would come to pass (U10300) two thousand years later.
    Ilerth was difficult to deal with because of its origins in the Endless Emptiness. Divinations failed against it and many divine powers failed to work against the minions that it created from its flesh. So the Cruth Mountains became known as a hive to demon powers who wormed their way through the earth and built great passages through stone to encircle the Free Kingdoms. Other demons took residence in the Ki'Kiri Jungles and made war upon the dwarven kingdoms that dotted the mountains. Many adventurers attempted to enter what became known as the Abyss of Tything, to slay the demon lord, but none succeeded for many years until Lo-Garon forged the Sword of Laurels at the gates of the Hall of Kings and with his heroic companions traveled into the Tything Caves. They mortally wounded the demon lord, but failed to slay it. Lo-Garon alone survived the retreat to the surface, leaving the Sword of Laurels plunged into the breast of Ilerth, and worked a powerful magic at the inner hall to the lower brood grounds of Ilerth, where it and its spawn dwelt, sealing the Abyss of Tything (U8299), thus ending the Ilerth Wars and beginning a new era.
    Calenders in the United Kingdoms and Tel-Akbar mark the beginning of this era as the zero year of the Sealing of the Dark Warrens (S0).
    The Free Kingdoms remained together and retitled themselves as the United Kingdoms, setting their center of power at Valorian Castle. Demon kin and evil cults would continue to thrive in the mountains and cities of the United Kingdoms for many hundreds of years, having permeated the land with their influence. The United Kingdoms proved able to the task of containing these evils without the challenge of Ilerth rallying them to its banner. Heroes defeated the lich lords who led the Cult of the Dead, that worked to release Agor-Thal from its imprisonment, and the undead uprising diminished. Despite the Grasping Death, there still remained enough humans to deal with the Orkind threat; though the battle was grim and very bloody. New fortresses in the Crescent Valleys bore the brunt of the sacrifice required to keep the Orkind at bay, though they would have failed were it not for the steady supply of warriors and funds that flowed from Tel-Akbar. Though the Grasping Plague would never entirely disappear, humans who have survived it are resistant to further infection and priests were able to use this immunity to slow its spread.
    The next few hundred years would be marked with growth of island populations, increasing ship borne trade with Tel-Akbar and between there and the "new" United Kingdoms. Places such as Minothad, Minothrad (both named for Lord Minothras, a ruthless and daring adventurer), and Irendi grew from being pirate communities into full fledged cities. Attempts were made to further colonize the Garnet Isle, but aside from small fishing communities on its beaches and the town of Minothad, the native fae of the interior frustrated further conquering of the landmass. Meanwhile, towns were growing in the interior of the land as small villages became walled towns along the roads and routes to where human settlements warred against the mountain orcs and giants. Many of these small towns are long, long gone; their wood palisades having turned to dust many years before present times. The trend was inevitable though, humanity had outgrown the shorelines and now desired the riches of the mountains and forests. This did not mean that Tel-Akbar's great outer wall would become obsolete. It still discouraged many armies from raiding the city (such outlaw armies would occasionally arise from fairer northern lands and come pillaging down the coast) and it also retained a sense of unity among those who dwelt behind them. However, the walls would not stop invasion by sea.
    Three times in the early first century after the Sealing (in S202, S209, and S213) seafaring and self-styled lords, born from the Interior Gulf of Biengyar, would make fiery raids on the ports of Tel-Akbar in retaliation for the tariffs that merchants based from the city would exact upon goods from their homelands. There were, undoubtedly, many smaller raids, but after the raid of S213 the city erected magical chains to span across the entrances to the harbors and put an end to such piracy. Later, around S225, the city would finish erecting a number of early warning watch towers among the islands, to send warning by mirror, magic, or fire, of approaching fleets of questionable intent.
    Meanwhile, within the walls of the city an interesting new conflict was brewing. The governing senate was becoming more and more dependant upon the advice and influence of the ministries. The ministries had evolved into agencies which acted as go between for various guilds and some of the ministries, such as intelligence gathering, had grown very independent and fought with intense inside competition between its leaders and the agencies which they procured their information from. Others, such as the Ministry of Arcane Arts, grew in independence because few senators understood anything about what was going on in the ministry. Few of them had any arcane training and those who did were deeply influenced by bribes and loyalties to local wizards guilds. Other ministries were becoming more independent because of their complexity. The Ministry of Commerce, responsible for organizing banks and regulating money had powerful influence throughout the interior gulf cities, all very carefully organized to keep the cities economy in good shape. The senators of the counsel each may have had their specialty, but in the face of a powerful ministry their voice became smaller and smaller. Some magistrates, such as that for the Ministry of Commerce, were treated like kings when they traveled, and they lived in palaces that rivaled the older senate families. When ministries became more expert at their responsibilities than the Senators to which they answered, they began to regulate themselves. Many already had their own rules, adopted from the large guilds from which they culled their members, and some of the ministries had their own guards to enforce these rules in the city marketplaces and shipyards. Further still, some taxes were regulated by the senate while others were regulated by ministries and still others were regulated by guilds. In a city built on trade these matters of money would need to be resolved.
    The first sounds of protest were ignored and it was not until S234 that the first riots occurred. Members of the senate treated the situation with petty scorn, particularly its leader, Lord Aelfred Mogadin. Later that year, the senate made a forceful attempt to disband the militias that the ministries used to protect their buildings, trade, and important personel. City guards and ministry guards (loyal mercenaries to the guilds and ministry officials) violently clashed with each other as tensions rose between the two political powers. Amid uprisings from the general populace in support of both sides (the "guilders" supporting the ministries and the established rich and patricians supporting the senate) the senate and the ministries agreed that a more political and less barbaric resolution would be attempted. For a time, this worked, though among the lower echelons of either party there still emerged periods of violence and distrust. These problems would simmer for several decades as the two sought to come to an agreement.
    In S266, tensions finally blew up. The senate attempted to disband and assume the powers of the Ministry of Commerce, which they accused of funding anti-senate factions. The other guilds rallied against the senate and for three days there was chaos in the streets as patricians and guilders fought with each other. With the help of wizards from the Ministry of Arcane Arts, the guilders seized the senate buildings and issued an ultimatum: to grant equal political footing or have the households of the senate come under attack. The senate acquiesced to these demands and leaders from both factions met under an uneasy truce to hammer out the details of how the city would now be ruled. The new Articles of Law were drafted and went into effect in S267. The ministry and the senate formed two balanced agencies whereby in foreign matters the former would draft resolutions for the latter to accept and vice versa in matters domestic. The defense of the city against outside aggression was placed in the hands of the senate and the policing of the city streets was to be managed by the ministries. New leadership appointments to either agency had to be approved by a majority of the other. This arrangement formed the foundation for Tel-Akbar's modern ruling counsel, and though many laws have since changed in the many generations gone by the city still functions on these basic premises.
    The last two thousand years have witnessed prosperity and turmoil. Fortunately, the stabilizing influence of long-lived races, the presence of clerics who venerate actively benevolent deities, and the application of magic has alleviated many of the hardships that accompany cities of such great size. Disease is often controlled before it becomes an epidemic and natural disasters are often forecast and prepared for. The tremendous resource of powerful heroes and skilled leaders in the city ensure that it continues to survive. Even were the Eastern Empire to completely side into the sea and the United Kingdoms fracture beyond recognition, Tel-Akbar would still remain because of its geographical position along natural trade routes. This is not to say that everything is perfect in the Jewel of the South. Corruption still rears its head in the Senate and guild halls. The city is a jungle and not all of its streets are safe, successful and powerful criminal elements make use of the same powers that the law does, ensuring their survival as well.
    The last century has been particularly noteworthy, enough that some have declared the beginning of a new Age. Most notable was the time called the Black Scourge, which followed the discovery (S2000) that the seals to the Dark Warrens were broken and the entity once known as Ilerth was again free upon Sulerin. Ilerth had been inadvertently imprisoned with what it treasured most, an evil artifact of power beyond the ken of most gods. It had fed upon that power for two thousand years and been transformed into a being of deific power. Its touch upon the world was first felt in the far north, where none knew of Ilerth and its history. The Dark God, as Ilerth was renamed, banished (S2002) the divine influence of The Twenty from Sulerin and without their divine powers clerics around the world where helpless to prevent sickness, undeath, and other evils. The Shaking Sickness (S2003) worked its particularly vile plague upon Tel-Akbar and the southern lands. As the Dark God gained in power its forces traveled south where it would crush nations, such as the United Kingdoms (S2007), whose heroes bound it into the Dark Warrens.
    Inexplicably, new gods rose from beyond to bring their influence upon Sulerin (S2008). This was in the darkest of times as great nations crumbled beneath the unstoppable advance of the Dark God's armies. As though its namesake made it the crown prize of the south, the Dark God's armies mustered before the walls of Tel-Akbar, most other lands already enslaved; this is when the Day of Earth and Fire took place. As the Dark God's armies waited to attack there was a rumbling deep within the ground and great fissures opened up, damaging the city and throwing most to their knees upon the ground as the world grew dark. Many thought that the Dark God itself was rising up to swallow the city. A strange wind blew down upon the land from the skies and then flames of white-blue and gold burned strangely from the air and radiated to the heavens. No living creature could have missed such an event; it was reported throughout all lands. As the flames vanished a terrible wailing came from the armies of the Dark God and one could see that vast swaths of its fighting force lay burning white and dying upon the ground. Some say that great heroes finally defeated the Dark God. Others cited the final fulfillment of the Khazraan Prophecies, though many still consider the ancient text to be senseless babble. Whatever the reason, those who had given their souls to the Dark God perished that day and the evil armies scattered S2010). Thus the Age of Divinity came to a close as mortals defeated divine powers and raised up new gods. What this new age would be called is left to scholars of the future.
    The death of the Dark God did not solve all the problems which it had caused. Great troupes of evil traveled the country-side and through-out the world there were nations in ruin. Many civil wars occurred in the time that followed, but while mortals made to recover their dreams, the fabric of the world had been dangerously weakened. True, no more did vast and unified armies of evil threaten nations, but something was not right. Magic was acting strangely, strange earthquakes were occuring with greater frequency, and odd events were being reported. Sages speculated that the presence of the Dark God was so great that it weakened the fabled Seals of Chaos (see AC0, the end of the Age of Chaos). There were even reports of the sun changing colors at mid-day and of sunken cities rising off the coast near Tel-Akbar. Fortunately, these problems were abated due to events that took place in other far corners of the world; but it is notable that the effects of the weakening Seals of Chaos were felt even in Tel-Akbar.
    In the latter half of the century, strife in the United Kingdoms continued, eventually breaking the kingdoms into three separate nations, split apart by the re-establishment of hereditary lands by Galiadre from Alfheim. This was actually to Tel-Akbar's benefit as it became a neutral trade hub for merchant fleets of the United Kingdoms that were otherwise hostile to each other. Meanwhile, a centennial incursions by orcish forces (S2023 suddenly turned into a full scale invasion into the countryside to the east of Tel-Akbar when the orcs morale was increased by sightings of an ancient orcish warlord ghost. Many inland cities were suddenly conquered (this is likely influenced by the fact that civilizations in the area were still recovering from the Black Scourge) and even cities such as Wereskalot were razed. Local free cities outside of Tel-Akbar aligned together and arrived at a truce with the orc invaders. Still, the orcs have filled the vacuum of power in the Crescent forests and will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.