The Rift Wars

THE RIFT WARSLong before humans came to this part of the world, dwarves and elves made their homes in Caspia. Neither group bothered the other because they did not desire the lands of the other. After a time, however, their racial incompatibility began to wear on them.

Since their basic attitudes and outlooks were so different, their infrequent encounters became less and less civil. Eventually, their leaders forbade their subjects to have anything to do with the other race. Feelings of mistrust and dislike grew as the years passed, eventually blossoming into hatred. Often, the younger, more hotheaded dwarves and elves disobeyed the orders of their elders. Members of each race began to stage guerilla raids on the other.

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Finally, the elves and dwarves declared an all-out war.The elves, armed with powerful magic, reduced the fortresses of the dwarves to rubble. Their skilled archers also decimated the dwarven offense in the forest.

Defeat for the dwarven army seemed certain, but the dwarves were not to be easily beaten. Exploiting the blustery winds of the Rift, the dwarves lit and burned large tracts of woods. Either to avenge the burning forest or to escape the mounting flames, the elves poured out of the woods in droves.

As they emerged from the flaming trees, half blinded by hot ash and choking smoke, the dwarves mowed them down. The blood of these two peoples ran thick in the Caspian River.Meanwhile, the truly evil god Morgion with his orcs and goblins capitalized on a chance to wreak havoc on two of their most hated enemies.

They began to covertly destroy the villages of both elves and dwarves, knowing that the feuding creatures would blame each other for these atrocities. The young, the old, the crippled, and the infirm of both races began to feel the bite of both lawful and chaotic blades.For a time, this ruse worked perfectly.

The slaughter of the innocents served to inflame the passions of the combatants, and they fought all the more fiercely because of it. The elves and dwarves might well have exterminated one another, had not an elven child escaped the carnage in one of the orc raids and told his rescuers of the monsters who were actually responsible.Then the elves and dwarves met under a flag of truce, where they agreed to set aside their differences and deal with the common enemy. Their combined forces were mighty enough to crush the hordes of the evil Morgion.

The goblins that remained alive fled into the Burning Hills, hid in the deepest holes they could find, and the orcs left Caspia altogether.Now the dwarves and elves, their populations equally ravaged, withdrew from the war-torn plains and went deep into the mountains and forests to heal their wounds. In time, the dwarves made a new home in the Farolas Hills while the elves moved to the southern portion of the Gauntlin Forest.

They actively avoided contact with all other races, except the halflings.Through the years, kingdoms rose, and fell outside of Caspia, and refugees from the wars of succession came to the valley. Dispossessed knights, master thieves, powerful clerics, and assorted mages came to Caspia and found it to their liking.

Several of them led followers here, and they built villages prospered under wise rule by their leaders while others failed miserably. A few made their livelihood by raiding the goods produced by the other villages. There were even those who negotiated with goblins and orcs.

Then, a strange plague struck the valley. It swept through the craggy fortresses of the dwarves, into the burrows of the halflings, and under the trees of the elven forests. Despite the best efforts of healers from all of the races, much of the population of Caspia died and rotted away. Even more strangely, evil creatures were not affected by the epidemic; indeed, the disease seemed to make some of them stronger for a time. This led some to assume that Morgion, God of disease and decay, assisted the vile monsters in their cause, for they surely had the upper hand now.

Once again, the dwarves and elves saved the good races of Caspia from total extinction. The greatest dwarven and elven clerics gathered their spells and prayers, and they cast their wills into the preservation of all their allies. Many of them, spent by this effort, slipped exhausted into death, but their magical and spiritual efforts finally triumphed, and the allies were able to hold off the onslaught of the monstrous god they called Morgion.

The orcs and goblins were subsequently driven deep into the hiding places of Caspia, and relative peace finally descended upon the canyon. The dwarves and elves began to rebuild their shattered communities while the halflings invited settlers into the valley to repopulate their depleted numbers.