Nostalgia, it would appear, is an integral part of life among the mortal races. In times of great struggle or strife, many tend to look back fondly upon times in which things were simpler or easier and their troubles were few, though such reminiscing often occurs in times of great peace was well. And so it is during our own times of struggle and strife that my thoughts drift back to an earlier age, an age in which the Kingdoms did not make war upon one another, and age where we did not face extinction at the hands of some powerful force from the darkest depths of Dereth’s ancient history. Most importantly, my thoughts turn to those who oversaw that bygone era, the architects of the Golden Age that gave us that briefest moment of true peace and prosperity in an otherwise turbulent occupancy on this world: The Council of Races.
Most notable among the Council were the three Kingdoms, the most powerful and influential collection of Derethians (as well as several other races) in our short history. The primary of the Kingdoms was the Order of Dereth, a group that in some way or another, had existed since the first humans’ arrival to this island; though the Order was led by the great Asheron Realaidain, he was often represented in official functions by his second, an Empyrean pupil from ancient times by the name of Nalicana. The second Kingdom was the Shadow Kingdom, the dissenters of Bael’Zharon’s rule; led by the cold and brooding Isin Dule, the Shadow Kingdom was represented on the Council by the equally dark and mysterious Naokim. Last was the most unusual Kingdom, the Virindi Dominion; led by the enigmatic “Virindi Imperator”, these alien beings were represented by one they designated Claude, a creature who had apparently been a fixture in Dereth life since the founding of Ayan Baqur so many years ago. Their power matched only by their distrust and often antipathy towards one another, the three Kingdoms made and still make up the majority of authority amongst the citizens of Dereth.
Also representing people of Dereth on the Council were the various groups and organizations dedicated to aiding all citizens, not just those who fought under a particular banner. First amongst these groups was the Explorer’s Guild. Since the earliest days of Isparian presence of this world, there have been those dedicated to exploring the unknown reaches of Auberean, both for the sake of exploration itself as well as to better prepare newcomers for the existence that awaits them; the Guild of Explorers was the most recent such group. Even older than the Guild, though, was the Arcanum. For decades, the Arcanum had researched and chronicled the innumerable mystical arts and artifacts found across Dereth, all in the hopes of preparing us for future struggles, and under the watch of Magus Ciandra, they continued that mission. Even in her final hours, during the Fifth Sending that heralded the Devastation and the end of the old world, she carried out her duties, safeguarding the Arcanum’s stores of information and relics as well as preparing her greatest work, the Hero Shrine, so that future generations would be able to arm themselves against the dangers that Ciandra knew awaited them.
Perhaps the most important members of the Council of Races were the three primary races themselves. Representing the human nations was High Queen Sirda Strathelar, great-granddaughter of Saint Elysa herself. Representing the Tonk of Timaru was Shi Xamatah. Finally, representing the Lugians of Linvak Tukal was Matriarch Kytheos, who also led the entire Council. Though the Kingdoms and other groups stood in for various specific factions of Dereth, these three individuals acted on behalf of all Derethians, regardless of race, creed, or allegiance.
For the longest time, the various components of the Council of Races lived at one another’s throats. Kingdom made war against Kingdom, while each of the three great races fought countless skirmishes across the length and breadth of Dereth. But during the Golden Age, all of that changed, and through the Council of Races, all these groups and parties were able to come together for the benefit off all. The time of the Golden Age was so prosperous and so content that it all seemed like a dream, a fleeting thing that was too good to last. Unfortunately, it didn’t, but that is a story for another time…