Ythria was an ancient kingdom which lays claim to the discovery of dark magic, and inadvertently opened a great portal which caused their own destruction and led to the Demonic War in the Elder Days of Laria. The kingdom lay in the mountains, and although the coming of the demons destroyed the upper parts of the city, their ancient tunnels still remain, masterly crafted by dwarves and etched with glyphs and runes which tell their story and reveal many lost secrets. Since their fall thousands of years ago, these tunnels have since been occupied by abyssal creatures that live in total darkness, and it is assumed that there may still be demons lurking below that hail from the days of the Demonic Wars.
While the Southern Kingdoms discriminated against non-magic users, Ythria had not, thus being seen as friendly to them. This friendship led to the exiles’ friendly stance towards dark magic users in the future when they came to settle in the Bitter Heights, and led directly to the formation of the Kingdom of Uldurok.
Discovery of Dark Magic Edit
All discussions on the origin of Ythria start with the discovery of dark magic. Before moving to the mountains and building the grand citadel of Ythria, the pre-Ythrians were already a highly-developed culture living in the west with the rest of the Southern Kingdoms. Known for their open-mindedness and thirst for knowledge, the Ythrians were the first to discover a new type of magic known as dark magic. It is important to note that that in these times, “dark” magic was not considered evil but merely an antipode to light, much like fire is to water. The intentions of the Ythrians were clearly innocent and scholarly, regardless of the eventual outcome of their work. It is also important to remember that the universities that Ythria would go on to found made advances in nearly all schools of magic, and played an integral role in the Arcane Renaissance which laid the foundations of all spellcraft for ages to come. While official state sources often refer to Ythria as the perpetrators of the first evil and bringers of darkness into Laria, scholars tend to know better: that the Ythrians were brilliant arcanists but merely naive, and approached dark magic with only the desire to learn.
Founding of Ythria Edit
There were many kingdoms in the Elder Days that were founded in the Nahl Mountains, but none has so altered the course of Larian history than the Kingdom of Ythria. Founded by a group of open-minded mages seeking knowledge, the Ythrians had already been an established culture in the west before setting off into the mountains, where they sought the aid of the dwarven kingdoms already established there to build a grand citadel where they could study in peace. Ythria was built atop a grand gray mountain, and with the help of the skilled dwarven artisans its towers reached high into the sky while a labyrinth of tunnels delved deep into the roots of the mountain. It was on this location that the Ythrians claimed dark energies seem just beneath the fabric of the material plane, and thus they decided it to be the site of their citadel. Much of this information is gleaned from runes and glyphs inscribed in the ancient tunnels of Ythria, which are still intact today. However the rest of the city was obliterated at the start of the Demonic War, and has since been abandoned. Scarcely-visible ruins are all that remain today.
The Arcane Renaissance and Stratification Laws Edit
The discoveries at Ythria were so momentous that when the knowledge spread throughout Laria, it caused what is referred to as the Arcane Renaissance. This was an explosion of knowledge that benefited all of Laria, and changed magic forever. However there was one result of the Renaissance which certainly had negative effects, and that is called the Stratification Laws. The Southern Kingdoms, basking in the new magical knowledge, used it to glorify their kingdoms, bolster their armies and improve the lives of their people. However not all people saw an improvement. After the Renaissance occurred, magic became so highly valued that society began to be stratified into those who were skilled in it and those who were not. It came to be that in some cities, only those with high magical aptitude were accepted into the ranks of the nobility. This meant the decision-makers were magic-users, which led to further stratification. Some cities began relocating non-magical citizens, selectively hiring based on magical aptitude, and in general looking down at those who did not seriously pursue magic. This caused tension within the nations, as many people were marginalized. Ironically, it was the kingdom of Ythria which actively refused to adopt these types of policies, because their culture of openness and learning generated humbler attitudes.
This refusal to comply with the Southern Kingdoms generated tension between them, while at the same time, those who had been marginalized in the south began to protest or rebel. As the years wore on, violence broke out between those in power and those who had been marginalized (primarily commoners and fighters). Ythria, ever an advocate for equal treatment of all peoples, supported the rebels’ cause but did not approve of the violence, calling instead for a diplomatic solution. Reading fragments of printed media from this time, one can see that even as they called for peace, Ythria was demonized and claimed to be directly supporting the uprising. It did not help Ythria’s image when it was found that some rogue Ythrian generals actually had given the rebels weapons and tactical advice, against the wishes of their government. Relations between Ythria and the Southern Kingdoms sunk to their lowest point, and the south was wracked by social turbulence and discontent.
The Demonic War Edit
The governments of the Southern Kingdoms, through violence and use of magic, were able to keep their population under control. But almost predictably, they declared war on Ythria. A lone kingdom against several powerful and determined enemies, Ythria felt doomed from the start. Alarm ran through its people as the southern armies began their march towards their sanctuary in the Nahl Mountains. However the nobility of Ythria, composed of its most powerful and knowledgeable mages, had long known of a possible way to thwart such a foe. Their plan was to summon forth dark energies and forces which they knew to be waiting in other planes, accessible only through the most dangerous and complex rituals. With their very existence at stake, the greatest sorcerers and wizards of Ythria gathered at the highest tower of the kingdom and performed the dark rites. But in their ignorance, not understanding the true nature of darkness, and having never performed any ritual like this before, they were unable to control the incredible powers that they desired to bring forth. They found that these dark energies and beings had a malicious will of their own, and wished to breach into their realm. A grand portal opened up, a tear in the fabric of the plane, which spewed forth fel energies and all manner of demons and creatures. In the maelstrom of energy, Ythria was mostly destroyed, and those who survived had to contend with legions of demons which had never been encountered before. Nearly all the people at the great castle of Ythria were slain that day. After destroying Ythria, most of these demons moved towards the Southern Kingdoms, thus beginning the Demonic War, whose start signifies the end of the Kingdom of Ythria.
Ythria's Legacy Edit
A scant few Ythrian citizens, those who had been away when the demons came, had survived. Most of them were dark mages, and thus after the conclusion of the Demonic War they went into hiding, fleeing the powerful Keepers. When thousands of southern citizens fled north in the Great Exodus, so too did these last Ythrians, hiding their true powers so the Keepers would not find them among the exiles. The exiles from the south had belonged to various rebel factions before the Demonic War; the same factions which had received support from Ythria. The fact that Ythria had always stood up for the rights of the rebels made the rebels far more friendly to dark magic users than anyone else at the time, even considering what the Ythrians had brought upon the world in the Demonic War. This amicability between the exiles and dark magic users would eventually sow the seeds for the creation of the Kingdom of Uldurok hundreds of years later.
Today, the name Ythria is only known by scholars. The location of the ruins of Ythria is a highly-guarded secret, for in the depths of the mountain the hidden halls still remain and many dark secrets may still be gleaned from the writings on the walls. It is known that many of the most powerful dark wizards and sorcerers of the Present Era (including Ildrazza, the High Sorcerer of Ulfang) had visited the ruins of Ythria at some point before reaching their highest levels of power.