History of Kunark
Tonight, Vanusk sat in silence until I asked him to continue. He wanted to know what we had learned. When we started to recite the tales back to him, he silenced us and asked again what we had learned. The Bane’s leader ventured a guess and told him that the only constants seem to be struggle, death, war and deceit. He pulled back the edges of his mouth in what must have been an Iksar smile and said, “As goes Norrath, so goes Kunark. Now, you are ready to learn of my land.”
He sat back, leaning his strong tail against the railing of our ship and looked south. “Since the beginning,” he said, “Kunark has suffered under the shadow of the wurm.” His fantastic tale continued over the last days of our sea journey.
While the dragons took centuries to grow and organize, a race of intelligent snake men — the Shissir — assumed the forefront. The Shissir were a brutal race who enslaved the Iksar, using Vanusk’s ancestors for workers and food. From their capital of Chelsith in what is now The Overthere, they explored dark rites and forgotten evils which would lay the foundation for much of Iksar knowledge and philosophy.
As learned from the rest of Norrath, nothing is permanent. Eventually, the Shissir angered even their own gods. A horrible plague destroyed every Shissir; however, the Iksar survived unscathed.
Over the next several centuries, the Iksar grew to greatness on the buried ashes of their former masters. They migrated outward across the continent of Kunark and formed five principal tribe-states: Kylong, Nathsar, Obulus, Jarsath and Kunzar. This last tribe-state was led by Venril Sathir, a young and powerful warrior-mage, who raised an unyielding army of undead with the assistance of dark magic.
Sathir and his Kunzar armies conquered and annexed the remaining tribe-states under his rule as the first King of Sebilis, the renamed Iksar nation. In order to build his Sebilisan Empire, Sathir brutally captured and enslaved the Hill Giants, Forest Giants and Froglok of Kunark. Throughout Sathir’s life, the Sebilisan Empire quickly grew in might, power and grandeur.
The Rule of Rile
King Sathir aged, but, of course, he did not want to die. To cheat death, he made an unholy pact with Innoruuk to rise, undead and immortal. Rile, Sathir’s heir, had other plans and thwarted the ritual. Sathir’s soul was trapped inside an amulet that was hidden away as Rile cremated his father’s body.
Rile assumed the throne; however, little changed in the kingdom. The son of Sathir seized more valuable land and his ruthless reputation increased under the terrors of his warlords: Kurn Machta and Karatukus and the vampire, Chosooth. By the time these warlords finished, most of the continent definitely belonged to Sebilis &ldots; all but a few pockets of Giants and Dragons.
The Ring of Scale
The Iksar had left the Dragon lands alone, but their threat was easy to see. The Dragon lords convened the Ring of Scale and argued about how to proceed. Trakanon, the large blue, advocated swift intervention on behalf of all races against the Iksar. However, Trakanon was voted down and the Ring of Scale decided to intervene only indirectly.
Trakanon and a number of the younger dragons decided more direct action was required. They conjured a squall at sea that destroyed Rile’s warship while the King was on board. This action triggered a spectacular war among the Dragons that lasted for almost a half century. Since this Ring of Scale was, in all likelihood, responsible for the capture of our companion, we were understandably curious to learn as much as we could. Vanusk answered only one question with, “There are lesser dragons that fly across Norrath and pluck candidates for slavery to the Ring of Scale.”
Atrebe’s Iksar Empire
Atrebe, Rile’s first-hatched son, then became King. This young Iksar was different from his father. He was reclusive and enamored of the dark arts. All feared his use of the evil magic of the Shissir and his grandfather, Sathir. His foul experiments joined a dragon with an Iksar, creating the Sarnak, a race of intelligent Dragon-men. He also joined a Dragon with a Froglok, creating flying mounts for his armies, the Sokokar. On these flying beasts, the Iksar were deadly. Soon, only the hardiest Dragonkind stood unconquered by the Sebilisan Empire.
Iksar vs. the Ring of Scale
Over the next half century, Dragonkind struggled against the Iksar’ airborne army. Atrebe was succeeded by his son, Ganak, a most capable warrior. The war ended inconclusively over the Field of Bone with aerial duel between Ganak on his Sokokar mount and Jaled-Dar, then leader of the Ring of Scale. Both were incinerated by magic and fire.
The Dragons retreated, but not before destroying the imperial palace and all Ganak’s hatchlings in a daring final blaze of revenge.
The Emerald Circle
Instead of a new king, the Iksar nobles created the Emerald Circle, a body of five nobles who wisely worked to enhance the Iksar cities and trade, rebuild the navy, and return prosperity to the empire. Unfortunately, whenever the ambitions of rulers are involved, strife soon follows and the empire was ultimately divided into the original five tribal-states. Even that treaty was soon forgotten, as the tribes began to wrestle for supremacy over each other. Unbeknownst to the Iksar, the Ring of Scale had also rebuilt and was meddling in every alliance and affair, pitting the tribal-states one against another.
The End of the Sebilisan Empire
The slaves revolted in Sebilis. Goblin lords from Faydwer invaded Kunark. The Giants mustered an army and destroyed the warlord outposts before they attacked the cities. The final destructive attack on the Iksar came when Trakanon and his Dragon allies descended on what was left of the Iksar cities and reduced them to ashes and ruins. The grand Sebilisan Empire was no more. Free from Iksar restraints and rule, all the other races established themselves and began warring amongst themselves in their lust for domination.
Two last warnings came from Vanusk as we bedded down for the evening. Our new friend told us that the undead King Venril Sathir had indeed been brought back into existence and ruled in Karnor, in The Dreadlands, a place he recommended we avoid. The second warning was to avoid the Frontier Mountains. That foul bastard race, the Sarnak, had set up outposts there to breed Goblin and Froglok slaves.
And now, the hour grows late. My notes are complete and I have prepared a new parchment to record upcoming events in our journey. I pray that Rallos Zek guide our will and that Vanusk will agree to guide our way to these mountains of Veeshan’s children.