Excerpt from A comprehensive history of the Newathil by Professor Chance Arkledge
While of course any history cannot be easily subdivided, with the changes that affect entire continents taking decades at least, and millennia on occasion, It is still possible to group the history of Newathil in four distinct sections. While there has been some debate on this, I have laid out in these volumes my own interpretation of the narrative of our history, aiming for completeness over neatness. With this introduction, I hope to better explain the purpose of each book, to show that each is necessary in forming a complete understanding of where our societies have been, and how they have reached their current state.
While I have done my utmost to present this in a clear chronological order, to best create an understanding the sections, I have taken occasional liberties with period of time is covered in each book, and so cannot write the dates covered upon the spines as has become common practice. This is not a lack of due diligence, but instead an acknowledgement that history is more complicated that the old model gives it credit for. Each book includes its own extensive list of references, with most being available at Barolt University library. Some others I have perused in private collections, and where allowed I have noted down those sources. Still other references were obtained in more arcane and complex ways. Chapter 4 of book 1 has a detailed accounting of every source that may not be readily accessible to a dedicated reader, and I have done my best in each case to substantiate any evidence provided by such a means.
The Dark Times
This is an era for which nearly no records exist, and much of our understanding is really no more than myth or rumour. Despite this, there are a few firm facts that we can establish about this era of history. This era is defined in large part by the Endless Spire. It is unclear if there was a time before the Endless Spire, however likely something must have existed before it that allowed for the proliferation of the races across Newathil before such a pernicious force as devils intervened.
During this era, devils poured freely from the Endless Spire, and the entire continent, perhaps the entire world was blighted by their constant presence. Much folk myth that warns us against the unknown or the dark, children’s fables, use this time to instill fear in younger generations, and it is from this that we draw most of our understanding of the era. This analysis forms the basis of books 2 to 4 of my history.
Book 2 focuses on the myths of the era, and what information we can draw about the societies that did exist at that time, wo survived under such pressures, and the history of Tanarch Keep, the one building we know to date from this era. Book 3 discusses the major change that led to this age’s conclusion; the appearance of the gods, and how their efforts finally freed much of society from the constant pressure of devilish influence. Through their efforts the world is finally freed from a constant plague upon it that nearly scoured it of life. Book 4 deals with the emergence of civilizations that were freed from the devilish influences, and how those nascent cultures began to interact with one another.
The Daedra Imperium
With the devils gone, it took more than a millennia for societies on Newathil to grow large enough for a new power to form. This took the form of a racially segregated society ruled over by the most long-lived populous race on Newathil, the Drow elves, which at best relegated all others to second class citizens, and during certain periods a rather brutal form of slavery.
Book 5 focuses on how the city of Daedra managed to conquer and then maintain control over first the near region and then the area of the continent. It explores the way the elves’ long lives allowed them to establish cultural superiority during a long period of occupation, and how their druidic traditions allowed military advantages moving through the often overgrown and dangerous world. It also deals with the challenges of the United Dragonborn, whose defeat in many ways shaped the future of the Daedra. Book 6 then moves to look at how control was continued, explaining how the Daedra often left dangerous wild animals to roam, keeping the various conquered territories isolated from each other. This is where their longevity is explained in comparison to other Empires that did not survive through the period, even though they did not always come in to direct conflict with the Daedric Imperium. Book 7 deals with the Parictic rebellion, and explores this largest challenge to Daedric power during the Empire’s reign. The rebellion is credited both with establishing the Selacchi family as the prime family of the empire, as well as changing the tactics between the Deadra and their annexed kingdoms, ushering in more direct control. The drastic genesis of the New Gods is discussed in Book 8, where the Endless Spire was finally contained, and all twelve gods were able to spread their influence in the world. This explores how the establishment of the deific cities managed to occur, and the role the Daedra themselves had in setting up the regionally located power centres for the gods. While many see this as the end of Daedric hegemony on Newathil, the actual collapse of the empire is not until considerably later, and it must be understood that this change was one that the Daedra navigated most successfully of all the challenges they faced. Book 9 deals with the civil war, where the two branches of the Selacchi family warred for the throne and sceptre, eventually leading to the destruction of much of old Daedra, and the breaking of daedric domination more directly. While many individual drow continued as rulers and tyrants, these events brought about the end of a centralised control, and led to the move to deific power as the most important political focus point. To conclude an account of the Daedric Imperium, book 10 discusses what brought about their loss of power, from their increasing distance from the druidic magic of their early centuries, through the strengthening connections that the rebellion caused them to make between the various nations under their control, to finally the insular focus that made them lose track of the greater Empire. While there are some notable military defeats, in particular to some of the more aggressive deific cities, the main factors come from the structure of the empire itself in its decline.
The Age of Gods
While the age of the gods has some notable overlap with the Daedric imperium, it is important to understand it as a unique phase of Newathil’s history, with a considerably different social climate.
The 11th book focuses on creating a clear understanding of the events around the Endless Spire that allowed the gods freedom and action, and also explains the nature of the gods, and their presence, including their clear human ancestry. Book 12 goes on to give a history of the early days of each gods’ city, and how each god shaped their city differently to reflect their own ideals. In* book 13*, the churches are explored. Without the establishment and perpetuation of these organisations, the influence of the 12 deities may have remained limited, however thanks to priests, clerics and paladins, many areas that had been left with little inclusion in a nation were gathered up by the city states. This leads directly in to book 14’s discussion of the wars between the gods, detailing every major campaign or conflict, and details of particularly noteworthy battles between the deities, that informed the shape of nations as they still stand today. Likely this era of divine combat may have continued for some time longer, however the discovery of Katsina changed that. The first expedition to Katsina, and the establishment of trade with the new continent is examined in depth in book 15. While it comprises a small period of time, it is integral to a modern understanding of the world, and the prevention of large scale conflict between the two continents was integral for allowing the good will that was to save the world from the outbreak of the Endless Spire. The escape of many devils, due to the inattention of the gods caused devastation across Newathil, and extended all the way to Katsina. Book 16 explores the release of the devils, and how the aid provided by the Katsina monasteries helped avert an incredible tragedy, and start building a foundation for the relationships that have led to the formation of New Tarbolton.
With the monastic schools of magic from Katsina making their way to Newathil, there was a great opportunity opened up. The savage conditions of Katsina were perfect for allowing a robust and resilient kind of arcane scholarship to develop.
Many historians still question the singling out of Tarbolton in modern histories. To be blunt, it is unavoidable to discuss the city itself as being a new kind of political entity. While Barolt’s willingness to let anyone partake in the knowledge that has been created in his domain, the head start and concentration of resources that now exist in Tarbolton have created a genuine world power from this one city. An assumption of political dominance may occur, but it is only by understanding how the modern Tarbolton came to be that we can see its likely direction.
In Book 17 we explore the history of Katsina from before its first contact with Newathil. Most importantly we see what led to the the monasteries, a response to the threat posed by the orcish warlod Karrath’Myena and his demonic hoard, to explore a way that magic could be used to benefit the society as a whole through careful understanding. Book 18 then explores the diplomacy that led to prominent Katsina wizards to establish several universities in Tarbolton, and to expand the upper city beyond the direct domain of Barolt. Book 19 discusses the inovations in magic that changed the city of Tarbolton from an exotic collection of scholars in to the marvel of the modern age, earning it the nickname of ‘The Great City’ among a region with 14 other major city-states to contend with. The final volume of the history, Book 20, deals with the most recent armed conflict, where Barolt was forced in to direct conflict with Chidike. This war is pivotal in determining the place of the arcane in all of Newathil going forwards, and while this is primarily a book of history, this is where a few predictions of future directions for Newathil, and indeed the world, can be found.