In the many years since the portals to Auberean were opened, countless races and species have crossed the vast divide between worlds. Olthoi, Tumeroks, Virindi, even we humans–all have arrived on this world and carved out their own particular niche, established their own territories and empires. However, these are not the first creatures to walk this world, nor are they the first empires carved out of the land. Before all of us, there were another people that trod the forests and plains of Dereth, another group of societies that established their own empires on shores far from these. They were the first true masters of the world of Auberean, the four races of the Empyrean.
The earliest known race of Empyrean was the Falatacot. Due to the early time in which they lived, not to mention the time in which they became largely extinct, very little information of their culture and society survives to this day. However, we do know that their society was matriarchal in nature; using their formidable abilities in Blood Magic as well as precognition, the Falatacot matriarchs led their people and defended them from threats both within and without. Another knowledge the matriarchs possessed was in the art of necromancy, the art of turning a living being into an immortal walking corpse. It was initially believed that they themselves never went through the process of transformation into undead, but the recent appearances of undying priestesses in various temples on Dereth as well as on Bur has led to the revision of that particular hypothesis. At one point in their history, a great cataclysm brought the Falatacot to the verge of demise. Many who survived the time of chaos fled to the homelands of the other Empyrean in search of asylum, while others appeared to have departed this world altogether.
One of those homelands belonged to the Dericost. Again, the time since the height of their civilization has eradicated much information about them, but some important pieces remain. The King of Dericost agreed to allow several Falatacot to remain in his kingdom in exchange for the secrets of “immortality” that they possessed. In truth, those secrets were of undeath and necromancy, and so Dericost came to be ruled by a line of undying nobility. Under the leadership of this nobility, now divided among two factions–“Lords of the World”, who believed in ruling the living openly; and “Winds from the Darkness”, who believed in acting in secret–the kingdom of Dericost increased its power and influence greatly. When they tried extending this influence into the lands of their neighboring kingdoms, a great war erupted. For over a thousand years, the empires of the Yalain and Haebrous fought Dericost, and finally, on the frozen plateau of Gelid, Dericost fell. The undead nobility that hadn’t already fled for Dereth or other safer shores were destroyed, and the surviving peasants were driven from their lands and forced onto reservations. Though some of the nobles who fought in that great struggle still endure and even still dream of rebuilding their once great empire, they are too blinded by arrogance and power to see that the kingdom they once ruled can never be revived. These nobles are, quite literally, the ghosts of Dericost.
Next among the race of Empyrean are the Haebrous. Before the war with Dericost, we know of only one gruesome detail of their society: That many nobles, including the Haebran King and Queen, often attended brutal gladiatorial events in which prisoners battled one another to the death; the most well-known gladiator was, of course, Grael. However, the Millennium War brought and end not only to the gladiatorial games, but to most Haebran society altogether. Details remain sketchy, but the struggle apparently took such a toll upon the Haebran kingdom that it effectively collapsed after Dericost’s defeat and was absorbed into the lands of their neighbors, the Yalain. Though the Haebran people remained, to some extent, separate and distinct from the Yalain (and in the cases of Elithra or Kellin II, Cashtal Ronain, rose to prominence), their culture and society was assimilated into that of the Yalain and, for all intents and purposes, ceased to exist.
The last of the Empyrean races is the one we know best of all, the Yalain. Much of their history before and even during the Millennium was remains vague, but it was after the war that they came into their own. Now in possession of the shattered remains of both Dericost and Haebrous, the Yalain controlled almost all of Auberean, and soon the great Seaborne Empire was born. Over the next several centuries, this empire would rise to become the greatest power this world has ever seen. They would suffer through and ultimately survive a war with the forces of darkness itself and emerge with a tool that would come to be their true legacy until the end of time: Portal magic. Through portals, the Yalain explored countless other worlds, bringing back information and even tangible samples of many strange, alien places, all leading to the Empire expanding from Auberean out into the rest of the cosmos. Of course, we all know how that expansion ended…
The great races of the Empyrean–Falatacot, Dericost, Haebrous, and Yalain. Though vastly different in beliefs, customs, and cultures, all four of these peoples held two important things in common. First, each race held a position of some power upon this world at one time during their history, exerting untold influence upon the lands around them. Second, all four societies were brought down at a time when such a thing appeared impossible. There is something to be learned from their examples. No matter how great or ancient a nation may be, it is ultimately a fleeting thing. The most prosperous kingdom with the mightiest army can still be brought down, be it by war, divine action, or the avarice of its own people. We may walk through the bones of these mighty empires and bask in their great histories each day we live here on Dereth, but perhaps the greatest legacy left by the Empyrean is the knowledge that nothing can last forever.