Table of Contents

The histories tell of how, at one time, there were no humes, and no weres, only the ilim, who lived in harmony with the land. The ilim were the land, and the land was the ilim, and the two were ever in balance and kept one another in check. When, one day, the humes appeared, the ilim welcomed them to the lands of Azaleon, which at the time, had no name, and neither did the ilim, and offered to share their lands with the strange creatures. Humes, however, ever desire more than they have, and in time, began to establish territories, and steadily push the ilim further and further north, as they created their tribes, which became villages, cities, and soon, nations. The ilim, soon, knew war from humes, and nothing was more terrible than war.

Some hume nations and territories never fully turned on the ilim, and some remain allies and friends of the children of Azaleon, even now. Some groups of humes help defend Galace, the last stronghold of the ilim, from invaders, and the ilim know that not all humes are bad. In time, they even helped create, by chance, the weres, seemingly a hybrid of ilim and hume, fluidly changing between one and the other when the moon is high. The weres, stronger and better than either humes or ilim, longer lived, more durable, acted, for a time, as a frontline defence against encroaching invaders, but even the weres began to fail, in time.

One by one, the hume nations and kingdoms were conquered, until there were only three: Dalmasca, Jihon, and Macenia. Dozens of smaller city-states cropped up, scattered across western Azaleon, free of the nations' troubles. Dalmasca and Jihon, however, would see to it that someday, Macenia and Galace fall, and continue to war and fight with both, making slaves of their people and attempting to force them to surrender. To this day, they refuse.

Magic, running strong in both ilim and weres, even dragons, gave ilim an upperhand. But, one day, humes began to randomly manifest the ability to use it. Empathy and prescience abilities run only in hume bloodlines, and soon, sorcery was within hume reach. The people forgot about their fighting, for a short time, to learn to use their newfound abilities. The gift, however, came with a curse; those with the ability to use sorcery all one day went mad. The people became fearful of those that could use magic, called magi, as none knew when they'd reach their breaking point. Chaos fell upon the hume nations, thousands of magi were killed in an attempt to curb this tendency. The magi went into hiding, and those that survive do so carefully, as they, too, can still be executed for their powers in some parts of Azaleon.

Not all turned on magi, however; the western Free Cities began research in earnest, learning more about aura and how it interacts with the physical plane. This eventually led to the onset of auratech, man-made machinery infused with magic. The Free Cities became a power unlike the hume nations had ever seen, more of a threat than they had ever believed possible, calming the warring to some extent. But, all things end. Dalmasca and Jihon went back to trying to break Macenia and Galace. While they have, thus far, left the Free Cities alone, who knows how long it will be until they change their mind.

Soon, however, came a seer's prophecy, which foretold the rise of a mage called the Messiah, destined to 'rid' Azaleon of all humes incapable of magic. The anti-mage fervor was restarted in earnest, bans on magic use strengthened anew, and the peoples' fear reignited. Some purported that magic, and the Messiah, were divine punishments, sent from the gods. That humes had erred too much, and too long. But prophecies are fickle things, and the true meaning of the prophecy has been lost to Azaleon at large.

Yet, in Dalmasca, a small flame has begun to burn. A young master of House Essair, Kassandros, seeks to climb the Warlord ladder, and someday claim the throne of Dalmasca for himself. Some support him unerringly, but others seek to tear him down, and still others have yet to decide one way or another. His ideas are radical, the wistful dreams of a boy too young to know the difference between reality and fantasy, and yet, perhaps, wistful dreams are precisely what Azaleon needs.

Do you stand with the cobra, or would you seek to behead it?