Welcome to the Far Wilds!
You are a warlord in the outskirts of the known world struggling to establish a kingdom in the wild lands. You must use strategy and wits to establish yourself and not be pushed back further into the wilderness.
It is said that in the times that were ancient even to the ancient ones, a star fell to the earth and was swallowed up in the sands of the desert, forgotten. There it lay, black and dead, for millennia; and during this time the world was prosperous.
Upon the earth, mankind forged a thousand kingdoms, which traded freely and rarely went to war. It was a blessing to live in those bright days. But then there arose a shadow over the city of Xos, for its rulers were frightened of death and sought immortality. They were called Varexes and Baltasar, and they pored over the ancient volumes in their libraries and archives, searching for the way to grant themselves eternal life and the powers to shape reality. In their ambition, they wished to make gods of themselves, and eventually they discovered the way.
They called it the flux, the flow of time and change as produced and twisted about by the will of the immortal soul. To their minds, if the spirit and the body could be unified, they would themselves become fonts of flux into the world, the grip of time released from their flesh and the power to move and shake reality at their fingertips. But there was no method, no way for them to pull the spirits into their bodies and unify the two, so they called upon their Gods for a revelation.
There was no word from the Heavens, and in an act of desperation, Varexes and Baltasar performed the rites and sacrifices evoking the dark God Ix, king of the underworld, lord of specters. The black gates of the dead formed up and opened before them, and Ix welcomed them into the underworld. They journeyed down, into the gloom, and met the dark God on his throne of skulls.
They had scarcely spoken a word of their plea when Ix reached out his hands and pulled their very souls right up into their bodies, granting them the power that they had sought for so long. He silenced the stunned kings, and said to them: “I have made a wager with the other Gods, who tired of your constant prayers. Those in the heavens contend that men would not sacrifice peace for eternal life, but they are naive.
Among the Gods, I alone know the hopes and fears of men. For my part of the wager, I must now warn you to stay here with me, as there is no place on earth for those who cannot die. To remain here in the underworld is to live forever as a spirit in darkness, but if you return to your world, you will bring with you the end of peace for all your kind.” But Varexes and Baltasar were unwilling to leave their world behind, and in their folly they said to one another, “With our power we can unite the kingdoms under our banner, and ensure that peace prevails forever. We need not heed this warning; we will alter fate itself.” And so it was that they returned to the world, bringing with them the end of the peace of the Thousand Kingdoms.
They traveled at first, using their newfound powers over the flux and performing great miracles of healing and creation. At the crosses of ley lines they opened wells to tap into the flux that flowed from the spirit of the land, and they used this power to fuel their magic, becoming greater and more spectacular with every passing day; but their dreams went unfulfilled for this reason: no matter how astounding their powers, the Thousand Kingdoms would not bow down to the thrones of Xos.
They became frustrated, and, as if to fulfill the words of Ix, they made war on the other nations. They empowered their armies with their magic, and when they saw what they could do by way of war and destruction, their hearts were wholly corrupted and they became dark lords. Their magic was twisted into spells of death and fear as they sought to conquer the Thousand Kingdoms, and they began to raise armies of the cursed undead to fill the ranks as their soldiers fell. And as they moved across the land, they discovered the Fallen Star.
To their minds it was a landform rich in flux, richer indeed than all the ley lines they had ever tapped, and so they set about opening a flux well by way of it, and they unleashed a thing far fouler than themselves. It was a monster from the stars, a cosmic terror that the foolish lords brought into the world. A poisoned flux radiated from its shadowy form, and it twisted and enthralled the armies of the dark lords. They fled as their own ranks turned on them, and made their way back to the city of Xos, where they called for a treaty to be drawn up in the face of this peril.
All the Thousand Kingdoms agreed to put aside their differences and unite against the greater Evil. What hope spread throughout the world that day, when the gathered forces of men confronted the twisted legions of the mad thing from beyond! The greatest battle that has ever been fought was fought that day, and still the wastelands and mountainsides are scarred from the cannon fire. Victory was won by all mankind when the forces of the cosmic evil were overwhelmed. The armies of men in their shining armor fought bravely, and despite horrendous losses, they drove the forces of entropy back.
The power of the beast was weakened by the rigors of battle, and with a spectacular act of sorcery, Varexes and Baltasar forced it through a hole in the very fabric of reality, and sealed it behind the cursed rock of the Fallen Star. When all of this had come to pass the world celebrated, but new happenings were afoot. Flux poured into the world; Varexes and Baltasar had opened most of the wells that could be opened, and things began to change on their own. The age of the Thousand Kingdoms was coming to an end.
Over the years, great evolutions occured. Those men who lived in the forests found themselves changing into the creatures that we now call Elves; the Dwarves and Gnomes of the mountains were formed the same way. The minions of Varexes and Baltasar lingered and changed more and more into their twisted selves, and in the wasteland surrounding the Fallen Star, the poisoned flux warped everything.
In the deserts and in the seas, and high among the clouds, Elemental spirits were awakened by the flux, and even trees and stones began to walk upon the ground. The world filled with change and magic, and as it did so, the old kingdoms crumbled. In their place there arose tribes and small empires as the changed peoples carved out their domains upon the earth.
This was the age when the Dwarves under King Hadarck built the great citadel of Karkzor and drove the forces of darkness and chaos from the mountains of Gorrakoth; and the epic songs of the bards told the tale of how the Gnomes of Glorn, led by Bilgrin the Brilliant, came to the aid of the Dwarves at the Battle of Mount Krall and solidified the alliance between the two races that has persisted through the years.
It was the age when Seirowyn, Mother of Elves, planted the first grove of trees that would grow rapidly into the forest of Kithil’aa- a wild and beautiful blanket of trees which would spread to cover one fifth of the world’s land mass. As the forest fed on the flux, grew wide and mighty and fortified itself with spirits, it brought about a relative peace within its borders; but on the outskirts, the elves and treents and all of their woodland allies have remained ever watchful.
This was the age, also, when Varexes and Baltasar realized that they had failed to bring peace to the world, and they each went more than a little mad. They turned on one another, and their cults went to war. On the battlefield, each one annihilated the other with powerful sorcery, and with the curse of Ix upon their lips they cast each other’s spirits down into the underworld, where they gnash their spectral teeth to this day.
Those men who were still men became frightened for their lives in this world of uncertainty. In droves they migrated to a place where none of these changes would take place, a place called the Pleasant Fields where no flux wells had been opened. Terrified of the effects of the flux and assailed from all sides by new threats, these remnants of the once-proud Thousand Kingdoms built a great wall around their lands, fortified it with towers and bowmen and guns, and founded a great city far within.
It would be the capital of their new kingdom, which they called Cor Mollion, the Land of Peace, the center of civilization. And now, after thousands of years, it seems that the world has settled into a pattern, or at least it has within the walls. Outside, all is changed and all is changing; all is flowing, all is strange. There is no lasting peace, no stability; only peril, confusion, wonder and glory in those Far Wilds.