EarthDawn - The Age of Legends
The Theran Empire
Founded in the centuries before the Scourge, the Theran Empire quickly rose to dominate the entire Selestrian Sea region, creating an empire that spread across nearly the entire known world. Founded in the memory of the legendary Martyr Scholar Elenniar Messias, the Theran Empire backed it’s conquests with the magical might of generations of scholars, mages, researchers and explorers. Creating magical wonders and artifacts never seen before, they expanded across the globe, conquering and enslaving some, and forging pacts with others to secure their dominance. Behind the scenes, the Empire was managed by a council of Great Elves known as the Trismagestis, as a buffer against the power of the Great Dragons.
For centuries the empire thrived and grew, it’s influence rocketing ever higher. Early in it’s inception, the practice of slavery became legalized, and the Empire began capturing and enslaving indigenous populations in uncivilized areas, as well as introducing slavery as a punishment for crime. In the time before the Scourge, their lust for the magical metal Orichalcum sparked the Orichalcum Wars. The Orichalcum gathered was used to create three gigantic pillars on the isle of Thera, supposedly representing Therans of past, present and future. In reality, the pillars created a lock on the magic level of the world, preventing it from dropping after the Scourge ended. With magic stable, the source of the Empire’s power would never fade, and it would last forever. The Heavenherds had thought they would stop the magic level after it had dropped far enough to prevent the Horrors from remaining, but their calculations were incorrect and some Horrors were able to remain. The Deep Dwarf Jaron the Everliving believed that the Empire was heading into tyranny, and crafted a great sphinx to watch over the empire, waiting for the moment that Thera went too far.
After the Scourge, Thera emerged to a world that was no longer ready to accept their dominance. In the provinces of Marac, Barsaive and Indrisia, they found uprisings and rebellions had supplanted the governments they left behind. They began extensive military campaigns to recapture their territories, but few were successful. Barsaive repelled the Empire no less than twice, and fighting in Marac continued unabated for decades, neither side able to gain a clear hand over the other.
Nearly 50 years after the end of the Scourge, The Passion’s Champions left Barsaive to travel around the world. In each Theran province they visited, they destabilized the ruling powers and status quo, causing ripples across the Empire. They fomented rebellion in Vivane Province, Vasgothia, and Indrisia, and complicated their efforts in Marac, Creana and elswhere. Finally, at the direction of the Passion Lochost, they journeyed to the Great Isle itself to free the Theran people from the baleful influence of the Mad Passion Dis.
On the Great Isle, they attacked slave pens and processing centers, freeing hundreds of slaves in coordinated raids and causing chaos to cover their tracks. This was taken as a signal by other forces of malcontent to begin their own uprisings, and the entire island erupted into chaos and fighting overnight. The First Governor, who had given himself the title of Emperor in an attempt to inspire confidence in the crumbling glory of Thera, panicked at the sight of the fighting and sent his personal troops into the street to restore order by any means necessary. This was the last straw the sphinx was waiting for and it finally activated, reviving the long dormant volcano beneath the Great Isle and destroying the entire island and everything on it in a burst of volcanic fury. The Passion’s Champions barely escaped the destruction, but are credited with saving untold thousands of Name-givers from the destruction.
Since the fall of the Empire, a cloud of ash and dust has hung over the world, blocking out the sun and disrupting the natural balance. The various provinces have fallen into darkness, and no word has come from them of the fate of the Name-givers who lived there.