Map of the Old Midlands

The Old Midlands

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This map is about three thousand miles in width. It is just about large enough to cover the ancient United States of America or the current city of Dlondai. Even at this scale, most of the features important to history on this map are too small to label, and most of them have been completely transformed if they still exist at all. To really study the history of the area, you should use the maps included in the historical texts. The coastline has changed, often by hundreds of miles, since that time and all the seaports that were famous in history are now 1700 feet above the waters of the Ttharmine, which is now almost completely covered with wildhull swamp.

This basin is famous thruout human space as the location of the Wars of Magic. That one event far overshadows everything else that happened here before or since. For most of humanity it is all they know of the basin. The reason for that is not because it was the biggest conflict ever waged, it was not even the biggest or most destructive war in this basin. The Fall was that, as it was in all civilized basins bordering the Ttharmine. The main reason that war so captured humanity's imagination is because its tale was told by one of the greatest historical chroniclers who ever lived. The other reason it has such a hold on our imaginations is because it has such a stark contrast between good and evil. That stark contrast between good and evil has as much to do with the viewpoint of the narrator as it does with fact. In truth there were atrocities committed by both sides and in truth there was some good in both sides.

The real stark contrast in the war was between the notions of dominance and coercion versus voluntary cooperation. The forces of the Dark Lord were coerced into service, often using genetic science to take away their individual wills. The forces opposing him were more likely volunteers. We must remember that in those days almost all were ephemeral and many would actually volunteer to go to war. As such it has become the defining point of modern Kassidor. From that point forward, the emphasis in mainstream Kassidorian civilization has been voluntary cooperation between individuals and not coercion of the common man by the powerful, as are most civilizations of Earth and the current civilization of Centorin.

The war masks a lot of other history in the area. The area was settled in prehistoric times by the same people out of the Yondure basin who entered the Old Lands in prehistoric times. They were joined by Trolls to the east and Dwarves in the mountains. The land is very rugged and travel was difficult. Many different regions developed on their own, establishing a pattern of small independednt states that lasted till the modern age.

The people from the Yondure basin did not evolve into Elves on this side of the ocean but into Hobbits, Leprechauns, River Folk and various other ethnicities in their isolated valleys. Some mixing, especially with Dwarves, was common. These people remained pastoral. The Dwarves of Morial had some accouterments of higher culture, but did not develop writing.

Late in prehistoric times Nordics began to enter the high valleys and traded for dried onions with the people of the lowlands. They fortified their villages against the Trolls, who would raid looking to capture the fair-haired and comely Nordic women. They were also of a high neolithic culture, but the closest they came to writing was line-drawing maps with some symbols on them.

In the deep valleys dactyls were common and were a common totem to the prehistoric tribes. Some tribes of the River Folk tried to capture great dactyls as protectors. There is no evidence that they were any more successful at taming or even appeasing these beasts than anyone else, though the caves full of offerings provide ample evidence that they tried. There is no scientific evidence for the fact that the dactyls of this basin roost in caves has anything to do with human intervention. There is fossil evidence that they have always roosted in caves in this area, but they never roosted in Morial, which was a great keda conclave until the arrival of humans.

Elvish settlement didn't really begin in this basin until the Thulitlanth Era. The Elves that came were literate and had a high civilization. It was an encounter much like Europeans and the natives of the Americas. They were at a close enough cultural level to understand each other, but the Elves were far enough ahead to have an overwhelming advantage. The Elvish kingdoms that were established as colonies in this era are household words today and don't need re-listing here.

During the Energy Age, these colonies were equal to the nations of the Old Lands, and the immense military base at Utumno was pivotal in The Fall. The Fall was a near total cataclysm in this basin. Most of the great cities were hit, the military bases were hit with impacters large enough to leave craters that are natural wonders today. The plume of darkness was not quite so bad in this area and only a few years were totally without harvest. That brought millions of refugees from the Old Lands, many of them carrying treasures and devices from Dempala and the other Old Lands.

During the early Troubled Times the Elvish kingdoms of the south coast were the centers of power on the Great Sea until a rival state was established on a large island south of present-day Darceen. The kings of that island eventually grew dissolute and overbearing. They tried to re-establish the military Empire of the last days of Dempala, and were able to activate many of the old weapons of the time.

The fall of that island laid the seeds for the Wars of Magic. On the surface they were about the control device for the most powerful of the Energy Age weapons. In truth they were about the power of one man, a scion of the Energy Age military who had come to possess one of the great crystals like the Kassikan has today. It was said he was the only simulated soul Kassidor has ever had, living on in the crystal for thirty decades after his death.

The crystal in which the Dark Lord's soul was said to be imprinted was not recovered from the ruins of his tower until 3825ad by a Centorin expedition using ground imaging. Until then it had always been assumed it was destroyed in the eruption when the tower fell. Unconfirmed reports say the team had some difficulty recovering that crystal but neither the Centorin military nor the Kassikan have released any further information.

After the Wars of Magic, the land was beset by random bands of Orcs and Trolls looking for plunder, but they were never well organized enough to succeed. Within a Kassidorian century those that hadn't settled peacefully were either killed off or run off. A few went to the high plains where their descendants remain to this day, most went south to the Pewpspway, where their descendants live to this day.

During the same time there was a lot of prejudice against the Elves and many Elves left the region and returned to the Old Lands or went on to new homes in the New Midlands or Uttermost West. Still many others of all races fled the region, settling in Korst, especially the Brothers Lowlands or south central Korst. Quite a few Dwarves and Nordics went to the Kyeb and Zhlindu basins, especially after the breakout when there were millions of square miles of newly fertile land free for the taking in those basins.

Thru it all the kingdoms on the coast clung to their existence and a melancholy ghost of the past until the breakout. With the sea now dozens or hundreds of miles away and the climate sweltering, most of the havens of the Elvish fleet were lost beneath a cloak of jungle.

In the 54th Kassidorian century (1879ad-2108ad) the tales of the Wars of Magic first became a media sensation and many places from the era were rebuilt as tourist destinations. Those events were 3900 years in the past when the movies were made, so nothing of the time remained. The black gates were rebuilt using concrete, but the black tower was never rebuilt. Some of the old ports were restored, though the water in the ports was just a canal.

Today that canal remains, but almost nothing of those tourist traps. Every time there's a remake of the movies, there's a spark of interest and some of the tourist traps are dusted off, but the concrete remake of the black gates looks like a few piles of melting snow out in the scamp fields today. There will probably be another spike in interest once a tubeway reaches the area. That might happen by 4200. For now what evidence you can find of those days is pretty tawdry.

Today the region is as varied as it was in ancient times. Each valley has it's own population, and the racial types may be pretty distinct. They don't fight wars any more, but they may tease each other about their drinking cups or the number of women they had last year.

Only in the city of Eridor does the full modern world intrude. This city of twenty two million now covers almost all of what was once one of the most important kingdoms of the seacoast. It is mainly an Elvish city, with long blond hair being common, on skin darker than their hair. The culture is pretty standard modern Elvish in the city, but not a copy of what you find in the Highlands. People follow old Elvish ways for sexual variety and there are numerous parks and bowers where one walks around and looks for someone interesting. As in the old lands there is little conversation, but plenty of petting and laughter.

The smaller cities of the basin are different from each other. Giliath today is reasonably modern and comfortable. The city today covers all of the plains where the biggest battle in the Wars of Magic was fought. It is mainly a Nordic city with some Wood Elves. The city of Glotdel dates from Roman times. It is in an area that was a dismal forest during the time of the Wars of Magic, but all that has been cleared and is densely farmed today. The city itself has changed little since it's founding, lots of brick and narrow streets and steep pitched roofs, but it is comfortable enough. The population is mainly Dwarves. Heilikon is a relatively new city full of all the races of the area, with Trolls in the majority. There is a pretty good entertainment scene and the inns are comfortable, but the residents are often quite poor. If you meet someone there, you might want to stay at the inn. Duust Yugol is considered to be in the Korst as much as the Old Midlands. It has quite a bit of Orc and Troll in the population, but facilities for travelers are serviceable.

Travel in the region is still pretty arduous. It is full of steep gorges and towering peaks in small areas. The weather is still very unstable with sudden snowstorms in the dark and quakes that can close roads for weeks. There have been a few tunnels put thru in strategic places that ease travel a little. The one thru Morial was put in during the tourist explosion but is still in use. The ruins in the caverns around it are no longer lit. In the North there are river packets that can get you into the center of the basin from the Brothers Lowlands. It can take you another local year to reach Eridor.

There is a sea passage across the Ttharmine from Darceen. It can only be used by people who have the Hotblood modification. It takes over a year in the swamp, half a year in open water. One in a hundred ships do not make it at all, no ship has ever made it across with every passenger intact. For most it is the most daring adventure available. Hotbloods inhabit some of the lowlands in this basin today, but there are no major Hotblood cities and they have not made a big impact on local culture.

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