Beginning in 1227 A.D., the graphic novel saga is only part of the story. Generations of struggle, development, and war stretch through the Dreamworld's history, deep into ancient times of legend. While an abundance of source material gives a clear window to some periods, others are shrouded in mystery. Use the timeline below to explore ages past, as written from the perspective of a modern Anduruna scholar...
A.D. - After Dominion
D.D. - During Dominion
|Much of the ancient Dreamworld epochs are lost to history. Records from these time periods are fragmentary at best, and often indecipherable. As such, the ancient days are largely a time of legend, myth, and superstition. Many religions and metaphysical philosophies find their roots in the tales of these times.History can lay claim to some likelihoods, however. Intelligible records from ancient eras share various common elements.|
Dreamkeepers in this time period proliferated far beyond the borders of Anduruna, and occupied city-states in far-flung, currently unexplored regions of the Dreamworld. Records of tributes and taxes indicate names of hundreds of cities, some dating back to 835 D.D. and beyond. These city-states had distinctive cultures, at least several of which appear to have converged and taken root in modern-day Anduruna. The causation of this geo-cultural oddity remains the subject of much speculation among scholars.
Warfare was a way of life for the ancients. Remnants of weapons dating to this period show a rudimentary grasp of metallurgy, but the weapon of choice would have been powers use for a culture lacking in technological advancements. Particularly potent individuals are memorialized in written and pictorial tablet form, and appear to occupy a place in civilization commensurate to royalty.
Many modern religions and celebrations originate within this era, including Sacrare, Anduruna’s mainstream polytheistic faith. Although its original practices focused on the acquisition of powers through worshipping spirits, that element of the faith has come to be viewed as largely symbolic in contemporary Anduruna’s cultural climate. Correspondingly, the Sacrare holy day Spirit’s Eve, once a coming-of-age powers ritual, is now a tame commercialized holiday. Other holidays were celebrated in ancient times as well, notably the seasonal Harvest Festival.
Beyond the few facts lies a rich tapestry of fantasy...considered fictional by modern Anduruna scholars, the myths of the nightmares have their origin in this long-lost period. Stories regarding these supernaturally evil creatures and other bizarre legends abound. Tales of nightmares that grew on the branches of dead trees, of a pilgrimage to the spirits resulting in a bestowment of greater power, the legend of path stretching over the sea, yarns of the earth swallowing villages, of magical talismans, of oceans filling the sky, of fiery mountains and armies of stone.
Rational minds in modern Anduruna do not allot plausibility to such stories. One sweeping trend does stake a spot in historic fact, however. Beginning in roughly 750 D.D., catastrophic change began to cascade across the face of the Dreamworld. Something initiated a widespread collapse of culture; legend attributes it to a tide of black death blanketing the landscape. Whatever the cause, panic-laced records of the time become increasingly sparse in the following decades, relating stories of mass population displacement and slaughter until, in 724 D.D., there is an utter blackout of recorded history. Not a single record, not a single page of parchment is left from this time. History is utterly silent for over 700 years.
Virtually no records remain from this vast stretch of Anduruna history. It is one of the great contemporary mysteries, and a source of much conjecture. What happened during this period to result in such a hiatus of knowledge? Were records kept, but later destroyed? Was there a ban placed on the act of writing?
We know that, going into the Silent Centuries, it appears that many dreamkeeper city-states converged in the Anduruna region. It has been speculated that these refugee populations were fleeing famine, pestilence, or warfare; the geographic isolation of the area by seafronts, mountain ranges, and deserts would make it ideal as a regional shelter. Archeological finds in and around the Anduruna landscape indicate that fortifications were built during this time, but later destroyed or dismantled.
The largest surviving relic from the Silent Centuries is the 'Outer Wall', or 'Sky Road', a massively fortified encircling structure spanning over 12,100 arpents (440 miles) in circumference. Whatever the purpose of this colossal edifice, it was erected at some point within seven hundred years of silence. Although no longer standing, several other curious constructions appeared in this time period: radial interior dividing walls which cordoned the city off into its current district areas, crude fortress towers in the center of every division, and an inexplicably ornate central mansion: the source of horrific legends.
The stories left to history are embellished beyond recognition, but the one theme in all accounts is that of terror. It is clear that the legendary palace inspired near religious fear in the populace of the time. Paranoid oral accounts told of infants being snatched away to the dark edifice for bloody rituals ranging from sacrifice to cannibalism. Other versions claimed that the diabolical residents preserved the corpses of children to decorate their stone halls, or crafted chandeliers from the bones of innocents, or held mock courts condemning dissidents to be fed live to domesticated nightmares.
Not a single contemporary relic remains to us from this castle, as the structure was apparently destroyed at or before 0 A.D. For years of recorded history, the fabled site was home to a field of barren rubble. One clue regarding the time period is the nomenclature of the Anduruna calendar. Dating from the end of the Silent Centuries and the beginning of modern history, 0 A.D. stands for 'After Dominion', and years predating this period are termed 'During Dominion'. This imaginative terminology has led many to assume that the Silent Centuries were a time wherein the population was subjugated by some sect or occupying force, but solid facts remain elusive.
We also inherit the legend of the Archives from this time period: the tale that dreamkeepers of the day crafted a secret chamber for the collection and storage of historic writings and records. Over time, the Archives have become a fanciful legend, transforming into a magical repository of endless knowledge and insight. Supposedly located in the network of caves somewhere below the site of the current Sabbaton Towers, treasure-hunting expeditions to locate the Archives have all ended in failure. Further searches are illegal, as concerns over foundational integrity of the Towers renders archeological excavation an unacceptable safety hazard.
Upon the end of the Silent Centuries historic records resume with enthusiasm, suggesting that the art of written language had been passed down somehow through the generations. The region was officially dubbed, for the first time, 'Anduruna' by its citizens. The origins of this name are unknown.
Anduruna was already divided into its seven culturally distinctive districts. A brief overview of the districts and their differences - interestingly, each district seemed to house a separate culture of dreamkeeper. Although these cultures weren’t fully developed in early Anduruna, their residents provided the memories and values that guided in their eventual fruition. The Norvondire district had competitive, brash, chivalrous cultural tendencies, and architecture that later tended towards crenellations and battlements. Theophanies was a center for faith and belief, reverence for the unseen but unequivocally known. The Kojiki district was reminiscent of oriental culture, with citizens generally very balanced and level in their thoughts. The Margate became a major shipping hub, due to its oceanic prominence and collection of fantastic harbors - with citizens tending towards exploration and curiosity, seeing home as more of a resting point between journeys. The Talocan district’s citizens were fun loving and outgoing, with quick tempers - impromptu duels were done with chalk knives, and treated seriously - but friendship and reconciliation would spring forth just as rapidly, erasing animosity. Fabled for their fun-loving and exciting personalities, the Talocan district later developed architecture rich in color and ornamentation, with abstracted, graphic animal sculptures mixing with terraced pyramidal stonework. The Ruskol district in the north, shot through with rocky slopes harboring frost nearly year-round, harbored very introspective and calculating individuals. Slow to place or withdraw loyalty, and keeping their emotions to themselves, the Ruskans made trustworthy allies, but implacable enemies. The Calypsa district, filled with streams, lakes, and swampy areas, was stereotyped as a home to the outlaw and thief. While the citizens could be secretive, they also held to an explicit sense of honor and conduct. They were innovative, as well - later developing their waterways into a citywide aqueduct system. The later architecture gives thought to elegant canals and arches.
But, returning to the Anduruna of 0 A.D. - before any of these rich developments. Not segregated by choice, the citizens of Anduruna stepped into history divided from one another by cold walls of stone.
|Life in 0 A.D. Anduruna paints an unflattering portrait of what the Silent Centuries must have held. Housing, sanitation, and sustenance were of a decidedly primitive quality. Except for the mysterious Outer Wall and district divisions, the most impressive structures were fortified stone towers in the center of every district. Even these crude rock fortresses were advanced when compared to the humble habitations of the populace.Dwellings were simple: piled stone walls complementing wooden thatched huts, streets of trampled mud, no plumbing, and no running water. The unsanitary conditions and lack of insulation during the cold months meant disease and death were an everyday facet of life. Strangely, dreamkeepers living directly subsequent to the Silent Centuries had no method or custom for disposing of the deceased. More disease and death resulted before they developed burial and cremation techniques.|
Subsistence was derived from simple agriculture and herding. The districts being sparsely populated, most of the land was used for crops and grazing. Animals raised included manekales, kerricks, knossus, and especially brambles, which were a staple food item.
Written language had, apparently, been developed for some time: but its application was cumbersome and rare. Text was used mainly for recording basic business transactions, ad-hoc legal declarations, or other practical applications. Most notes were used temporarily, and as such quickly scrawled tablets or bark-skin scrolls were the typical repository of writings. Permanently bound books and paper had not yet been developed.
Clothing was primitive - tanned hides and leather, rough hand-woven cloth wrappings, and braided cords. Life was toilsome, but using their powers and their wits these early dreamkeepers not only survived, but soon began to thrive.
The population grew swiftly, as evident rebound from centuries of controlled conditions. Although infant mortality rates were by all accounts sobering, the dreamkeepers of the time lived in exultation of their child-birthing freedom and safety. (The old myths had heavily featured nightmare baby snatchers.) Reproduction was rife not only as an expression of liberty, but as a pragmatic matter. Many children died before reaching maturity, and one never knew which children would grow up to develop a critically helpful power. In fact, certain powers could be valuable to the family in other ways, as the child could be loaned out to other districts that may have need of its abilities. This type of trade was one of the earliest forms of inter-district cooperation.
Though the citizens of early Anduruna had humble origins, they had clear ambitions for their future. They had the desire for improvement, for a more stable life. The innovative among them began imagining systematic harvesting techniques, envisioned harnessing the flowing Eridan to bring water wherever needed, desired safer warmer homes, and organized constructive leadership.
Anduruna began to slowly pull itself up from the squalid conditions of the Silent Centuries, improving their agricultural techniques and living conditions rapidly. It was in the midst of this burgeoning revival that a foreign dreamkeeper culture brought conflict, and eventually, all-out war.
|0 A.D.: The dreamkeepers of Anduruna began recording history once again, after a mysterious seven hundred years of silence. Their living conditions were squalid, but through vigorous effort, began to improve.Mid 1 A.D.: Hailing from an unknown and apparently more developed culture, clothed in exotic smooth garb, the ‘prophets’ arrived in the Anduruna region. They came with a message: that they were privy to the one true goddess of the world, and furthermore, all of Anduruna must worship her image or be forsaken. They had with them idols and images of their deity, and preached to all who would hear, urging conversion, loyalty, and worship of their beautiful goddess Serapis.|
Most Andurunans declined, having no desire to worship another culture’s idols. The Sacrare religious followers were especially contemptuous, seeing no reason to abandon their healthy variety of deities for a mere lone goddess. The locals began to call the prophets ‘Extollo’, or ‘worshippers‘, with a derogatory connotation. The Extollo - calling themselves Serapeans - warned that any who did not worship Serapis would be destroyed. The Extollo were eventually ejected from the city.
Early 2 A.D.: The Extollo returned, in force. A multitudinous army of Serapean dreamkeepers completed a vast cross-continental march, arrived on the southern plains of Anduruna, and formed up against the Outer Wall. Extrapolating their relatively instantaneous arrival, it is apparent they were on the march even before their forerunning prophets were rejected. Their army was intimidating - massive in number, easily 200,000 soldiers. Their armor was polished and uniform, the soldiers armed, and every one of their number trained from childhood in the destructive application and mastery of their power.
Shortly after this coarse rejection, the furious Extollo went to work unloading their mysterious caravan contents. Methodically constructing edifices on the field, some Andurunans wondered at first what these bizarre sophisticated structures could possibly be. Conjecture ceased, as the equipment tests made their purpose clear: the Extollo were building siege-works: rolling towers, ballista of all forms, and escalading equipment. Ironically, the Serapeans’ practiced siege preparations, lasting nearly a week, may have been the key to Anduruna’s initial survival. Those precious days allowed a totally unprepared city to muster for protection and stake defensive positions. Once the preparations were complete, war followed swiftly.
Although woefully outmatched, the spirit and vigor with which the Andurunans applied themselves to war must stand as a testament to their passion for freedom. Aside from the wall, this powerful attitude of unifying defiance and courage is what allowed them to withstand aggression from a superior force.
Using the Starfall forests as cover, the Andurunans began launching sorties and harassing raids, targeting the stockpiles and stores of the Extollo, and sending guerilla bands to plunder Serapean supply convoys. The powerful Extollo were not to be easily weakened, however.
6 A.D.: Finally the Extollo army broke in starvation and disillusionment. They struck a retreat march, leaving victory in the hands of the embattled and proud Andurunans. Many of the Extollo were terribly disenchanted with their goddess. In defeat, they felt betrayed: as though Serapis had gifted their enemies with greater power. Many Serapeans lost faith and chose to abandon their former beliefs. Additionally, the defeated Extollo saw something in Anduruna that was utterly unknown within their own culture: individual freedom. Soldiers were faced with the choice of returning, defeated, to a theocratic slave regime or remaining to start anew. The end result was mass defection, with hordes joining the side of Anduruna - weakening the retreating Extollo ranks, and augmenting the victory.
7 A.D.: The first council of Anduruna was held, and deliberations ensued. Their enemy in retreat, the question stood: should they remain to rebuild, and trust the war was concluded - or should they pursue their enemies and finish off the threat for good?
8 A.D.: Crossing through exotic and barren lands, the Anduruna army also came across various villages and outposts giving worship to Serapis. These residences provided ample opportunity for the Andurunans to raid and pillage, thus bolstering both their supplies and the ranks of disaffected Extollo.
9 A.D.: What happened next will stand as one of the bloodiest single conflicts in recorded history. The Andurunans, although weathered war veterans, were caught completely off guard by the tactics of the Serapeans. They had planned to besiege the vaunted stronghold city, Serapeum. It was assumed the Serapeans would wage war from behind their city walls, to minimize losses. The Andurunans were physically and mentally equipped to execute an extended circumvallating siege operation. They were shocked when, still days from the Serapean capitol, the landscape was shocked by a sudden earthquake. In the midst of the natural disaster, the Extollo army appeared from virtually nowhere, and immediately launched an all-out attack assaulting the Andurunans mid-march.
After grueling hours of bloodletting, the armies finally withdrew from one another in exhaustion. The 'Day of the Dueling Armies', as it is remembered, ended in an appallingly futile draw. Some records indicate that the casualties on both sides were as high as seventy percent.
History leaves no clear explanation as to why the Serapeans chose to expose their army to such devastating open conflict. Many historians have assumed that they were overly confident in their martial superiority, but others have conjectured that social-political motivations were involved. With their society based on theism, and the demoralizing impact of Anduruna victories in Serapean settlements, it is possible that the theistic ruling class feared the erosion of their religion following Anduruna victories within sight of the capitol city walls.
The armies withdrew to within sight of one another, and spent the next two days gathering and cataloguing their wounded, while making enfeebled attempts to appear formidable to one another through shows of arms. It is testament enough to their battered condition that, rather than exercise any martial stratagems, negotiations were turned to immediately by both parties.
The diminished Andurunan army was greeted by a Serapean messenger party. The Serapean dignitaries and Dayraider conferred for several hours, and as the story goes, reached terms for a peace between the two nations. A treaty was signed by both parties. Serapeum agreed to never again invade the Anduruna region, so long as Anduruna did not pioneer any new settlements beyond their 'Sky Road'. Exhausted after their bloody ordeal, the Andurunans accepted any agreement that ensured peace for the homeland. Treaty signed and truce officiated, they began the march back home.
10 A.D.: The remains of the Anduruna army returned, having paid dearly for the region's reprieve from war. They were welcomed back as heroes, and the city prepared at last for a future free of conflict.
11 A.D.: The celebrated military leader Dayraider of Norvondire, beloved by his soldiers and glorified by the populace, was unanimously declared the first king of Anduruna. Sadly, the peace in Anduruna did not long outlive his reign.
Freed from the oppression of the Silent Centuries and the threat of foreign aggression, Anduruna was ready at last for a period of peaceful growth. Dayraider's army returned from war to find living conditions already steadily improving.
11 A.D.: Returning to Anduruna at the head of his tattered but triumphant army, Dayraider (of the Norvondire district) was decreed king. Dayraider was forty-four years old, and set up his seat of rule in the newly built Norvondire palace, renovated in and around the old stone guard tower. Virtuous by nature, he ruled fairly, and to the benefit of all for the remainder of his life. He had a son, Thelek, born in 12 A.D.
41 A.D.: After the passing of Dayraider, his son Thelek Dayraider assumed the throne of Norvondire, ruling over all of Anduruna. Sharp discord greeted Thelek’s ascension. Most districts had developed largely independent systems of rule under the elder Dayraider's guidance, and many felt that Norvondire should not remain the dominant authority for the city. During the early years of Thelek’s rule, there was much grumbling and criticism from other High Houses. Many argued that rule should rotate between districts, but they failed to promote an alternate choice due to disagreement over which district should go next. Thelek calmed dissidence by personally delegating different aspects of rule to various district representatives, sharing responsibility. Thelek ruled quietly, living only a modestly elevated lifestyle. Also, Thelek traveled the entire city to speak with commoners and understand the needs of his people. Thelek soon became, if not accepted, then at least fondly tolerated by the other districts. Thelek the Gracious was gracious to a fault, however, as he lavished affection and luxury upon his beloved children.
73 A.D.: Failing to match the longevity of his father, Thelek died suddenly at age sixty-one in his sleep. Whispers in the Norvondire palace murmured foul play. Animrast, Thelek’s daughter, immediately claimed authority over Anduruna as eldest of the Dayraiders. The other districts had for years discussed succession, and several districts had strong leaders contending for the throne. Before his death, Thelek had expressed interest in conferring with other districts to name his successor. Instead, Animrast claimed absolute power, and proved to harbor much more ambition than her predecessor.
74 - 84 A.D.: A tense decade passed with increasingly strained relations between districts. Exported goods between kingdoms were heavily levied, with cultural differences aiding the polarization. Animrast, furious at the defiance to the noble Dayraider ascendancy, mustered a Norvondire army - an act immediately imitated by the other districts. Periodic attempts to force compliance with Norvondire policies resulted in bitter diplomatic and clandestine skirmishes. Delegates from the High Houses of Calypsa and Ruskol met, and conspired together against Norvondire. During yet another heated negotiation in the Norvondire palace, the Calypsan delegation suddenly opened the gates to a disguised army of Ruskol & Calypsan troops. Fighting was fierce, but short - and the capitol palace of Norvondire was taken. Although it was planned to take Animrast captive, she escaped the palace through secret passageways. With a disaffected local population she found no shelter, and had to surreptitiously petition Theophanies for protection. Calypsa and Ruskol announced themselves joint rulers of Anduruna in 84 A.D.
84 - 98 A.D.: Overtaking Norvondire, the High Houses of Ruskol and Calypsa declared themselves joint rulers of Anduruna. This claim to authority was rejected by all five other districts. Combat to retake the Norvondire district palace challenged the Ruskol/Calypsan alliance, as well as pre-emptive attacks against their home districts by neighboring High Houses. Thus, what had been planned as a quick and painless coup-de-tat against the Norvondire regime soon turned into significant inter-regional conflict. Simmering populist prejudices and long-burning aristocratic ambitions came to a head in this volatile atmosphere. Neighboring districts chose this time to make pre-emptive or retaliatory strikes against their enemies, as High House magnates made their lunge for expanded authority. Held in Theophanies under the pretext of diplomatic immunity, Animrast was a political liability and soon found herself imprisoned by her supposed benefactors. During the years of fighting, she was finally bartered in a prisoner exchange to Ruskol, and executed.
Late 98 A.D.: Eventually, there was not much left to fight over. District palaces cratered, homes shattered, crops ruined and lives lost, the redundancy of the conflict finally made itself all too apparent. Gradually blood quelled the flames of passion, and the patriotic urge to dominate drained from the armies of all sides. The few House leaders with the ambition to urge continued battle were, one way or another, discouraged from their convictions. At the power-laden insistence of their battered and diminished citizens, leaders from all districts were rounded up and locked in together until they could reach agreement. Days later, with hunger taking its toll, compromises finally began to take shape. Rule over Anduruna was granted to the district which had most vocally opposed the war, Theophanies. The king from Theophanies would rule until his death, when the next counterclockwise district would have its turn to choose their king of Anduruna. (This created a subsequent thriving black market for assassins and royal vanguards.)
Anduruna began its longest period of relative peace. Still harboring enmity, but tempered from the years of blood and destruction, the districts began to develop and rebuild once again.