THE LEAGUE

Society of elves following the theories of the light elf Artemidoreus seeking to understand the way of the human race as the key to find back to Avá's purity.

Principles of the "League". After the fall of the Great Nothern Elven Empire
a group of elves formed in the area which is currently known as the Ashmarian lands. One of the main characters of this group was Artemidoreus, a light elf of great fame and wisdom. These elves believed that the main reason for the failure of their race to create a perfect society was to be found within their own nature.

Their beliefs in brief are as follows (compare also the elven myth of the Cárpa'dosía): In the High Goddess Avá they see the absolute good, but as the Dream is her exact reflection it is evil by nature. The races are based on the four main elements and they influence the Dream according to the element they belong to:

According to the mentioned group of elves gathering after the fall, the ambiguous nature of Avá's Dream is reflected mainly in the human soul, and also the idea that the Dream should become pure again just like the First and Only One. These elves therefore believe that only under human rule can there be formed a perfect society, since the Firstborn had their chance and failed. Excerpt from one of Artemidoreus's writings explaining the chances buried within the human nature :

"The human fragile bodies and their short life span affect them positively and spare them from the elven arrogance but can lead them to egoism and lust for power in the face of Queprur without proper guidance. They know that they are weak and temporary, so they want to leave their mark in the world; something that will give them immortality through glory. Their insecurity is their cause for their virtue, because humans know they are weak and they try to explore their resources the best they can. Their insecurity may be the cause for their downfall to evil as well. That's why the humans need all the other races in order to gain reliability and not to destroy their system. They need the Air races in order to acquire harmony, the Earth races in order to gain stability and resistance and the Fire races in order to find the power to correct their mistakes as well as Avá's." (Artemidoreus, "In the Course of Time")

This theory was greatly disputed among the circles of the few surviving high elves. They couldn't see how humans were destined to take the lead nor how could this world be purified through flesh. Many Dark Elves considered that a blasphemy.

The supporters of this theory gathered around Artemidoreus and formed a society which would promote their cause. They named their organization the "The League". These elves would pick a human tribe, the worst they could find, and provide them with certain circumstances in order to record their reactions. If they managed to overcome the difficulties, they would be proven right. 

Principles of the "Pure". At the same time another rival society was formed by the Dark Elves. It was named "The Pure" and their goal was to destroy the League and lead the elves once more to world domination. According to their beliefs, the humans, as a Water race, were destined to be corrupt and destructive and that with their self centered temperament were too unreliable and not capable of ruling the world. According to the Pure only the elves as the most gifted among the races had the right to judge over their destinies.

These two factions fought against each other for many centuries and the League was very careful with its moves.

The Cosmological Experiment of the "League". [SW I] However, during the first Sarvonian War, when the Pure were busy fighting for their cause, the League stayed away from the battles and instead found the human tribe they were looking for in Kyrania. They were villagers living south of the Hèckra, near the Centoraurian border, in the plains of Altheim. They had been peaceful farmers until some day a band of rogues had killed an elven prince who was their friend for many years. His name had been Tacunija and he had been passing peacefully on his way to Vontron in order to promote a truce between the races. The elves soon retaliated with ferocity and the humans had turned in the High Fores for salvation. Although they were in constant dispute among each other, they felt that a strong bond united them, the bond of Tacunija's curse, which had predicted that they were to be purged three times by the element of Fire. They had taken the name Firedamned - in their own dialect Helcrani - and, because they had been constantly fighting for survival, they soon had become great warriors. This tribe had also already adopted many elven elements, not only because they had been friendly towards them till Tacunija's massacre but also because they were deadly foes after the murder. Furthermore the Helcrani lived in very close contact to the dwarves, whom they very soon incorporated in their society as well.

The humans found in Kyrania were a great opportunity for the League, since they provided both mortal disadvantages and unpredicted advantages. Indeed, this tribe very soon earned the respect of the Goltherrhim. A short time before the Great War ended, a plague struck Helcrah, the tribe's new homeland in the High Fores mountains. It was just when the Helcrani and the Goltherrhim had finally become friends. The Pure, who are believed to have initiated the plague, thought to have extinguished the Helcrani settlements. However, with the help of their new friends in Goltherlon, many Helcrani abandoned the mountains and sought refuge in northern parts of the lands. Many elves and dwarves came along. The League decided to intervene and mark a site for them to build their new homeland. They planted it in an island between Centorauria and Erpheronia, the Artapherana, the Trees of the Elements, which glowed in the dark as a sign. The island, and the hill where the trees were positioned took the same name: Efirhal. The city was named Milkengrad. There the three tribes lived together; however, they were in constant dispute with each other. Nevertheless, they were fully incorporated in Centorauria and in less than 200 years they took over the kingdom as the predominant Centoraurian tribe. However, soon they plunged into a civil war and a few years later their neighbours allied against them because they felt that they were threatened by their rising power, and conquered Milkengrad in 617 b.S. The city was burned down and the Curse was fulfilled for the second time (the first was when the elves burned two Helcrani villages and their residents so as to revenge Tacunija's murder). The destruction of Milkengrad is also considered as another victory for the Pure. However, the Helcrani managed to recapture their city and enslave the Turacanthian and Ashmarian invaders, who inhabited it after the Fall and the complete annihilation of its former population. Despite the rivalry and hatred, they behaved kindly to their new slaves and during the Second Sarvonian War the Turacanthians took arms in order to defend the city and the fortunes of their masters, when the island was invaded during their absence in a campaign. This way they earned their freedom and the right to call themselves Helcrani. The Turacanthians were granted land in the island west of Efirhal, where they live as Milkengradian citizens until today in the citadel of Turacanth. 

[SW II] At the end of SW II a special man from Erpheronia married the Helcran princess Curogana and became king. His name was Thar. He discovered there - with the background League's motivation of course - the first seeds of a united Sarvonian continent. This ideal he would follow till his death. Thar managed to equip the knowledge he gathered during his reign over Centorauria. He was later proclaimed king of Erpheronia and finally his genius managed to unite the northern part of the continent into Tharania. The Helcrani had educated the man who later on accomplished their destiny.

After this outcome, the League was convinced that they were right about the human nature and started infiltrating human societies promoting the idea of a united Sarvonian continent with the humans playing the leading part. However, the facts seemed to prove that a combination of all races would be most effective with the humans being first among equals and another high elf, Lycoborne, improved the League's theory at this point.

The League tried to pursue this goal during the centuries that followed. The formation of the Tharanian kingdom did not only stop the wars between the human kingdoms in Nothern Sarvonia but also imposed a period of harmony and cooperation for all the races in it's territory. The League however did not stay idle; the Pure were constantly trying to undermine Tharania and furthermore the third Sarvonian war broke out just when the kingdom obtained a solid bias. And besides from all this, the League was still constantly working on trying to establish a united Sarvonian Continent from Cap Strata to the Ashmarian Lands.

[SW III] During the third Great War, many members of the League joined the human and elven armies in order to prevent the Coór'Melór from taking over the whole Sarvonian continent. At this point it was decided that the presence of the League should be kept secret, and thus there are no exact records that can provide scholars with the name of these men, dwarves and elves. However, it is considered certain that many of those who were fighting with Serveran at Alvang and Hegedorn would be listed in these archives, if there were any. Certain also is that the Pure where fighting alongside with famous Saban Blackcloak when he decended to the Earthen Titan.

Members of the League were also advisors of Santhros, the first Santharian king. They were proud to see that one man, guided only by his superior intellect, managed in his limited lifespan to conclude what took them centuries to understand. Although they revealed their presence to Santhros, the League kept it's presence secret from the masses, until the time of Mantheros, Santhros' grandson. Mantheros, the legitimate heir of the Santharian throne was challenged by Staranos the usurper, his own cousin. Mantheros was hunted by Staranos and found support only in the south, where the people still remembered how the life under powerhungry kings had been. The events happened this way, because Staranos was very powerful and feared by everybody in Santharia.

Mantheros however, as all passages to the south were blocked, headed north in an attempt to find allies. The Kyranians didn't even allow him to enter their territory. From Elsreth he left with a few hundreds of men and headed to Centorauria. The Centoraurians almost arrested him and pursued him with their army. In Erpheronia Mantheros found some support. He received reinforments from the south, gathered an army in Jernais and rushed the preparations to fight against his cousin. Staranos on the other hand gathered a huge army in Tyr Throngolim. In this army participated regiments from all Santharian nations except the Stratanians, the Avennorians and the elves, who were wholeheartedly supporting Mantheros. The Centoraurians agreed to sent a great faction of their army including most of their elite troops, the Milkengradian Helcrani.

The League couldn't afford to let the dynasty of the wise king die. Staranos was too cruel and the kingdom would be ravaged by another great war. So, they had to manifest their existence. They sent elven troops to assist Mantheros. At the same time Cumragane, the human leader of the League, and descendant of the Centoraurian kings, returned to Milkengrad with a small army, where he revealed himself. However, the governor of the city persuaded the people that Mantheros had no chance and that they would suffer Staranos' wrath, if they helped the legitimate king. Cumragane and his men were thrown into prison.

As the usurper's army marched north through Caltheria to conquer the eastern harbors, which were supporting his enemy's supply lines, the Centoraurians with their army marched east to block Mantheros' retreat, while the Kyranians advanceed from the south. Mantheros couldn't afford a battle before his Goltherrhim reinforments arrived, so he retreated southwest towards Hèckra. Outnumbered and encircled, Mantheros was in deep trouble. 

However, Cumragane managed to persuade the Helcrani not to abandon their king twice, as they did with king Curgan in 617 b.S. But as the army was almost away, every Helcrani who was left behind took some kind of weapon and marched east. Actually this was an army of reserves and armed non-combatants, like women and youths. However, a wave of enthusiasm was spreading on their way. Staranos' veil of fear was shattered. The Santharians chose to fight and die - if neccessary - for their righteous king. When they reached the battlefield the main body of the Helcran army turned to Mantheros' side and along with them the entire army group. Staranos was deprived of his whole army (except his personal guard), as nobody wanted to serve him any more. Now, Staranos was trapped. He managed to escape to the Hèckra, but he was unlucky another time as the volcano erupted and burned him with his remaining supporters.

Officially the League was disbanded after this battle, but never ceased to exist. It was restricted to a very limited number of members, who until today look after Santharia and the wellfare of it's people. Nothing is known of the current status of the League or the course of their struggle against the Pure and Coór.

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THE AGE OF AWAKENING
(YEARS 1.655 B.S. - 822 B.S.)
1648 b.S. Capturing of the Hawkfeather Brownie Band
The elven ship "Helnaura" anchors off from Akdor after the Year of Darkness has ended. The entire Hawkfeather band, now numbering just over eighty individuals, hides themselves among the supplies on the landing boats, and so manages to find hiding places aboard ship. Weeks later, the ship's cook, noticing supplies missing and suspecting rats, searches for the culprit and finds the Brownies. He realises that they are sentient beings, so they are brought before the captain Macharean, member of the League (a secret elven society trying to find out the best way for a harmonical rule of the world). He spares their lives and brings them to Artemidor, the inspirator and leader of the League.
  

1647 b.S. The Brownie Co-operation with the League
The captured Hawkfeather Brownies found on a boat coming from Akdor are presented to Artemidor, the leader of the League, and are meant to be the solution to a problem he is facing. By that time the Council of the League has decided to proceed with an experiment to determine whether the human race will be able to bring harmony to Sarvonia as the leading element of a co-operation of the races.

As a symbol both of the experiment and the Tree of Life the League decides to plant the Artapherana, the Trees of the Elements, dedicated each to one of the main races. The place of the plantation was found a while ago and the necessary arrangements to prevent settlement of the area are already made. However, the trees need several centuries to grow to their full size and, until then, someone has to take care of them until the humans will settle in this area. The Brownies, with their small size, and now used to living and digging underground, can easily accomplish this task.

So Artemidor asks the Brownies for their co-operation in the quest. The Brownies, by this time thoroughly demoralised by their apparent abandonment by the spirits, and by their long living in hiding underground, are quick to grasp at hope, even if, for the moment, it is someone else's hope. They eventually come to share wholeheartedly in the elves' dream, and even to worship the elven Goddess, Avá the Beautiful.

The years that follow the Brownies are "educated" by the elves so as to be ready, when the time will finally come. This process is so deep that they adopt the elven language, Styrásh.
  

1600 b.S. The Planting of the Artapherana
The Artapherana are planted upon a hill in an island at the north-western border of Erpheronia and Centorauria and the Brownies are put in charge as protectors of the trees. Those gifted in Brownie Life Magic learn to bend and adapt the holy light deriving from the Artapherana, tricking the eyes of distant observers and making them entirely invisible outside the hill.

The next centuries the Brownies take care of the trees and often welcome elven visitors who provid them with lots of knowledge and information about the process of the experiment.
  

850 b.S. The League's first Contacts with the Humans
The League tries to re-introduce the elven civilisation to the humans. Among the first they contact are peaceful villagers living in the valley between Salsair and the High Fores. Elves from Goltherlon will visit them and familiarise them with the elven culture. Prince Tacunija from Goltherlon is the most important of them. Moreover, it will be interesting to monitor their reaction to the next human-elven war.

THE AGE OF THE BLOOD
(YEARS 822 B.S. - 50 B.S.)
803 b.S. The League choosing of the Erpheronians
The Artapherana Trees have long ago developed to their full size but still no human tribe can be found to match the criteria of the experiment. In this year the Brownies are informed that the tribe is finally found. It will be the Erpheronians.
  

800 b.S. The League's Choosing of the Helcrani
The Helcrani decide to seek refuge in a safer place but the League fails to guide them to the selected place and they resort to the High Fores for salvation where they accepted dwarves inside their society. After counceling the League decides to change the subject of the experiment, abandoning the Erpheronians, and chooses the Helcrani as the worst human tribe for the experiment. The Brownies are informed of these facts.
  

730 b.S. A Plague strikes Helcrah
A plague strikes Helcrah and Goltherlon and most of the humans, many dwarves and even elves follow Helronn and seek refuge in Centorauria. The Centoraurian king Arpalann gives the Helcrani permission to settle at the north of his kingdom as long as they swear allegiance to him and live as his vassals.

As the Helcrani reach the coast, the Brownies release their magic, revealing the trees and the refugees are guided by the light to its source. There they find the Artapherana and the Brownies, whom they name Milken ("small ones").
Founding of Milkengrad, the "City of Wonders"
Milkengrad is founded in Efirhal Island ("Firehill") around the hill with the same name. The name of the city derives from the Milken Brownies, who guide the Helcrani following instructions of the elven League - "Milkengrad" translates literally to "City of the Small Ones" according to the Brownies, while the humans claim that it actually means "City of Wonders". At any rate, from now on the Helcrani will share their history with the Brownies.

On top of the Efirhal lie the Artapherana, unique trees that symbolize the four elements, around which the Curonesta (the palace) is built. The Helcrani are organized in 7 fractions, called fratrae. Five of them are human and named after the villages and one for the elves (Styran) and the Dwarves (Nerterian). Milkengrad is also known by the Helcrani as "The City" in contrast with the settlements of Helcrah which are referred to as "The Villages".

Soon the city flourishes under enlightened guidance. Many monuments are built, the most famous among them the Temple of Avá, the only human temple ever dedicated to Avá the Beautiful. During the next decades an important merchant fleet is developed triggering tension with Erpheronia. Erpheronian attempts to conquer Centorauria are unsuccessful and the Helcrani are distinguished as the main Centoraurian strike force.
THE AGE OF CHANGE
(YEARS 50 B.S. - 172 A.S.)
78 Attempts of Interference of the Elven League in the Santharian War of Succession
The League, a secret elven-based organization which believes that only under human rule a perfect society reflecting the Dream of their High Goddess Avá can be achieved, face a terrible situation. The League cannot let the dynasty of the wise king die. Staranos is considered too cruel and the kingdom would be ravaged by another great war. The League's efforts now have to focus on supporting what they see as the one Santharian leader that could live up to their ideals - Mantheros. To do that they have to manifest their existence.

Cumragane, descendant of the first human leader of the League Allengard and descendant of the Centoraurian kings, sends Hecuran, the so-called "Elven Lion", on a quest to join the elves and form an army with every warrior available. This army, a total force of about thousand men, is placed at Mantheros' disposal. Cumragane then heads to Helcrah, his homeland.
  

79 Official Disbandment of the League
Officially the League is disbanded after this battle, but it might still exist in another form. It is restricted to a very limited number of members, who until today look after Santharia and the wellfare of its people. Nothing is known of the current status of the League or the course of their struggle against the Pure and Coór.

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