The Era of the Wanderers
As distant in the past as we can tell, this ancient Era is shrouded in the mists of time. Precious little is known about it; we can only deduce little scraps of it from the occasional footnote in ancient history books, and make cautious guesses from folklore. There are no surviving artifacts from that time, neither writings (there were probably no writing systems in existence) nor any known landmark nor any other such trace. All we know is that it was a time when the Ebisédi were still nomadic, and travelled in very small groups from land to land. There were probably a great variety of different languages spoken during this Era. Survival was probably very difficult. Resources were scarce, and travel was perilous. Dangerous beasts roamed the wild, and there were rivalries with other nomadic groups. Many groups often died out leaving only solitary survivors.
The Era of the Villages
The earliest part of this Era is not very well documented. Some communities probably had no writing system at all. Among those that did, there were no commonly-accepted systems of writing. The little fragments of writing we have from that time appear to be all written in different, unknown languages which have since become extinct. There is not enough material in any one language for it to be decipherable. Nevertheless, based on what we do know, the transition from the Era of the Wanderers to this Era was probably gradual, and lasted over a significant period of time. The nomadic groups of the Era of the Wanderers slowly formed into larger groups, and eventually discovered feasible ways of farming. Villages were thus founded.
By the middle of this Era, villages have become large enough to have more widely-spoken languages and more widely-accepted writing systems, and, most importantly, people surviving into the Era of the Kingdom who could translate these ancient languages into Ebisédian, thus preserving the written history of the latter part of the Era. It is from these translated writings that we obtain most of our current knowledge about this Era.
The main factor in formation of the villages was the fear of travel. Besides the danger from roaming beasts, this was also a time pre-dating the Theory of the Portals—the common villagers did not understand how the portals worked, and travel was plagued with many mishaps. This caused them to fear travelling, and to prefer to remain in the village community. However, land resources were difficult to extract, and the methods of farming employed were too primitive to be sustainable in the long term. When the villagers could no longer obtain resources from the land, they had no choice but to migrate. Such mass migrations were usually only barely successful, due to the inexperience of the villagers in travelling. Entire villages could become extinct because of this. Furthermore, resource-rich lands were rare, and migrating villagers in search of new land would often only find barely-fertile land. After living on it for a relatively short time, they would have to migrate again. It was only towards the end of the Era of the Villages that more stable villages were founded.
Ironically, one of the most significant developments in the Era of the Villages was the emergence of a group of nomadic adventurers who began to understand the nature of the portals and learned safe ways to travel. They were named the Wanderers after the nomads of the previous Era, because they shunned the relative stability of the villages and preferred to explore the lands and brave the wild. They often began as messengers between villages (because the common villagers were afraid to travel) or as solitary travellers thirsting for adventure. Eventually, they teamed up with each other and became a distinctive group that covered a very wide geographical area. This would eventually be one of the key factors in the rise of the Era of the Kingdom.
The Era of the Kingdom
The Era of the Kingdom is the most well-documented Era in the history of the Ebisédi, thanks to the prolific scribes who kept very detailed records of almost every aspect of life in the Kingdom. It was the Golden Era of the Ebisédi, which saw many revolutionary developments in all aspects of Ebisédi life and culture. This extraordinary Era was begun as follows.
The Theory of the Portals
Towards the end of the Era of the Villages, with the establishment of stabler villages, inquisitive people in different villages began to independently perform experiments with the physical behaviour of the Ferochromon and develop a rudimentary understanding of Ferochromon physics. With the help of the Wanderers, who served as part-time messengers between villages, these people found each other, and began to share their discoveries. They soon developed into a realm-wide group of researchers studying the nature of the Ferochromon. Ferochromon physics was born.
One of the most important open questions at the time was the behaviour of the portals. After mastering the rudiments of Ferochromon physics, the researchers turned to tackle the problem of portal behaviour. Initially, they met with little success. Their theories at the time proved inadequate for explaining the behaviour of the portals. However, they eventually broke new theoretical grounds with the Theory of the Ether, a radical theory which was met with cold skepticism and ridicule, but which found favor with the mystics.
The mystics were a secretive group of Ebisédi who practiced what was known as the `Flame Powers'—the ability to manipulate Ferochromon physics through inner exertion. The surprising success with which the Theory of the Ether explained the mystics' practices and experiences emboldened its proponents to seriously pursue it. This resulted in a revolutionary unification of Ferochromon physics and the Flame Powers. The mystics found a sound basis for their practices and experience in the Theory of the Ether, and the researchers found a surprisingly practical outlet for their discoveries in the mystics' exercise of the Flame Powers.
It turned out that the Theory of the Ether became the theoretical basis for one of the crowning achievements of Ebisédi history: the Theory of the Portals. This theory successfully described how portals worked, how to safely use them, and how to manipulate them. Once some researchers had accepted the Theory of the Ether, they were able to derive the Theory of the Portals relatively easily. The theory was an instant success. Its modest predictions fitted in beautifully with the tried and true methods of safe portal travel, which had been practiced by the Wanderers for generations. Its more radical predictions were found to be sound in practice, and completely revolutionized portal travel, giving the Ebisédi the control over the portals that they had long sought for. The researchers and mystics became overnight heroes.
The success of the Theory of the Portals prompted these three groups—the physicists, the mystics, and the Wanderers—to join forces, and they became the founders of the Experts (hoKasanii'). Armed with the Theory of the Portals and the Flame Powers to apply it, they became the heroes and miracle workers everywhere they went. The villagers greatly respected them for facilitating safe travel and vastly improved inter-village communication, and greatly admired them for the seeming miracles that they performed with their Flame Powers. They became the guardians, the warriors, the builders, the educators, and eventually the rulers. Later, the poets and writers joined them, and became the Expert scribes whose meticulous work gave us the bulk of the writings about the Era of the Villages and the Era of the Kingdom.
More major breakthroughs happened among the Experts, this time in biological research. New species of plants were discovered, which provided radical new ways of extracting resources from previously infertile lands. Then, the explorers among the Experts discovered hidden natural repositories of a form of extremely nutrient-rich matter. It became feasible for the Ebisédi to maintain larger communities than was possible before. Previously uninhabitable lands which filled the vast distances between habitable villages were suddenly available for residence, through the new resource extracting techniques and through the transportation (thanks to the Theory of Portals) of supplies obtained from the rich repositories. Obviously, the Experts who pioneered these developments became recognized as the leaders in these new communities. Their impeccable code of conduct made them the ideal benevolent leaders. The rest of the people greatly respected and trusted them to properly manage the repositories. The Grand Expert became the first King over the people. The Kingdom was born.
Thus commenced the Golden Age in the history of the Ebisédi. The Kingdom rapidly grew through the Experts, whose reputation had already been well-established throughout the three realms. It was voluntarily accepted everywhere. In a short time, all known inhabited lands in the three realms had united under the rule of the King.
Through the help of the educators among the Experts, the diverse dialects and tongues of the time became unified into the language we now know as Ebisédian. (Historians disagree, however, over the exact origins of Ebisédian: some believe it was a spontaneous creole that arose from the meeting of the diverse tongues from the Era of the Villages, while others insist that it was the creation of the scribes.) The scribes invented at least three writing systems for Ebisédian: sanokí, the common writing; køromokí, an abstract writing made of color patterns; and another spatial writing used by architects to etch artistic patterns on the walls of their buildings. Countless literary works were produced by the scribes.
Architecture flourished. Grand designs of every kind were conceived and built, including the pinnacle of Kingdom Era architecture, the Grand Palace, constructed in the latter part of the Era. It was a gigantic complex filling almost the entire land it was built on. It was a self-sufficient city in itself; and underneath the land it was built on was one of the largest repositories of compact, nutrient-rich matter known at the time. A vast underground complex was incrementally built as the resources were mined from the rock. The mined resources supplied the entire Palace abundantly, and were also exported to the communities on the neighbouring lands. The lands surrounding the Grand Palace were large, densely populated cities sustained by the abundant resources it produced.
Many Kings ruled throughout the Era of the Kingdom. Although there were a few bad Kings, almost all were outstanding leaders, who wisely managed the resources mined from the rich repositories, especially underneath the Grand Palace in the latter part of the Era. The Experts had a grand vision of turning all stable lands into habitable lands, with no deserted land in between. They succeeded in creating thriving communites in thousands of lands around the Grand Palace in this realm, and in similar central locations in the other realms.
Since the Era of the Kingdom, such a renaissance that covered vast geographical regions in all three realms was never to be attained again.
The First Great Calamity
The First Great Calamity was one of the most tragic events in Ebisédi history, but also one of the least understood. Because of the mass destruction of almost everything that had developed during the Era of the Kingdom, including the written historical records of the last days of the Era, a lot of details about the Calamity remain obscure, and a lot of questions are still unanswered.
No one knows for sure when the Calamity began. Surviving records show that during the reign of the last King (or a short time before that), some of the Experts who administered distant lands began to fall away from the Kingdom to an unknown, unidentified Enemy. It is most unfortunate that to this day, no one knows who, or what, this Enemy really was. No records survive to this day that give any clues to the Enemy's identity. Only inconsistent and contradictory legends from folklore remain. All we know is that some of the leading Experts in the distant lands began to fall under the influence of this Enemy, and the conspiracy eventually spread into the Grand Palace itself. Under the hand of the unknown Enemy, these renegade Experts for unfathomable reasons began a massive mission of destruction, unleashing their powers in destructive ways to mindlessly annihilate everything that was ever accomplished during the Era of the Kingdom. Allegedly, they were accompanied by the Enemy's armies, which consisted not of warriors but of hitherto unknown beasts and other bizarre beings bent on genocide.
City after city fell, and the influence of the Kingdom rapidly waned. The Experts faithful to the King were inadequately prepared for defending themselves. Unlike the renegade Experts, they had very little experience in the offensive use of their Flame Powers. They were put on the defensive, sieged, and then overrun. The rampant suspicion and paranoia that arose between them, instilled by the emergence of the renegade Experts who were often within their own trusted circles, did not at all help in mobilizing a coherent response to the attack. Eventually, all the cities in the other realms were overrun, and the Enemy's troops surrounded the Grand Palace. The last stronghold of the Kingdom fought valiantly and managed to keep the invaders at bay for a long time; but the renegade Experts found a way to break through by means of portal manipulation.
What happened next is perhaps the most puzzling, and most infuriatingly unanswered question in the entire history of the Ebisédi. We know that the Grand Palace fell and was completely destroyed, bringing an end to the Era of the Kingdom. However, all surviving historical records also indicate that the mysterious Enemy was also simultaneously defeated. How this miraculous feat was accomplished was something that has frustrated countless generations of historians. We have absolutely no records whatsoever of this event. Unsubstantiated legends claimed that the King himself took matters into his own hands, and, with a few of his topmost officers, somehow infiltrated the Enemy's headquarters while the Grand Palace was under siege, and miraculously managed to destroy the Enemy. This legend is probably fictitious; but it is the best theory we have which is consistent with the historical records. None of the other theories put forth could explain what was consistently reported as confusion, disarray, and sudden bewilderment on the part of the Enemy troops throughout the lands after the Grand Palace was destroyed, as though after their triumph, they suddenly lost all sight of whatever goals they might have had.
We may never know for sure what really happened. All we know is that the Era of the Kingdom ended with the total overthrow of the Kingdom along with the destruction of almost everything that was accomplished during the Era, with nothing to replace it.
The Era of Scattering
The Era of Scattering marked an abrupt transition from the consistently well-documented history of the Kingdom to the sporadic, poorly documented history of diverse groups that survived the Great Calamity. From the little that we can glean from surviving records, the destruction during the Great Calamity was so extensive that none of the infrastructure of the Kingdom remained and none of the Kingdom Era communities were left intact. There was a great scattering of all the survivors, fueled by rampant distrust and paranoia, resulting in small isolated groups struggling to survive. Apparently, the unexplained defeat of the Enemy had been so sudden that the remaining hordes simply turned loose, wandering about the lands in incoherent patterns, and causing random damage wherever they went. Surviving Ebisédi were constantly on the run for almost the entire early part of the Era of Scattering.
Much was lost during this time. The cities of the Era of the Kingdom were desolated, plundered, and left waste. Most of the educated people from the Kingdom were killed during the Great Calamity, resulting in a major regression in knowledge and culture. Much of the groundbreaking discoveries and development of the Experts were lost; we are only now beginning to rediscover these through recently recovered documents retrieved from newly-found ruins dating from the Era of the Thriving, during which much of the artifacts of the Era of the Kingdom were preserved. Much of the history from the last days of the Kingdom were also lost, leaving us with only inaccurate and inconsistent legends that had been distorted beyond recognition over time.
These losses were exacerbated by the Great Separation of the three realms of Ferochromon: for as yet unknown reasons, naturally-occurring inter-realm portals ceased around the latter part of the Era of the Kingdom or the early part of the Era of Scattering. This divided the survivors into three isolated realms with no interaction whatsoever between them, further diluting the historical record. (In fact, the existence of the other two realms were largely thought to be fictitious embellishments by the Kingdom Era Experts until their recent rediscovery. Much work is currently taking place between our historians and the historians from the other two realms to reconstruct a more accurate history of Ferochromon by putting together our respective historical knowledge.)
During this dark chapter of Ebisédi history, the Ebisédian language diverged into many daughter tongues amongst the isolated survivor groups. Among these languages were Tamahi, Sendam, Rohue, Tyuwa, and other lesser known tongues. Many of these languages survived into the multi-lingual Era of Thriving, and much written material were preserved by the librarians of that Era. Tamahi is exhibited in the Languages section.
The Era of Thriving
It is not known what happened to the remnant hordes from the First Great Calamity that plagued the Ebisédi during the Era of Scattering. They probably either died off or vanished around the end of that Era. The trend in preserved historical records was that the frequency of encounters with hostile beasts diminished over time. It is difficult to tell whether these encounters were in fact with the same strange beasts reported during the First Great Calamity, or merely with ordinary Ferochromon predators. At any rate, the distrust and paranoia from the Calamity had eroded away by the end of the Era of Scattering, and communities began to group together and flourish once again. Thus began the Era of Thriving.
As with the Era of the Villages, it is likely that the Era of Thriving was a gradual transition from the Era of Scattering. Increasingly larger communites formed in different geographical locations at different times, and eventually grew into large metropolitan communities with a wide geographic distribution. Some of the knowledge about the portals and the techniques of farming were independently recovered by each community, and they began to thrive.
The large cities of the Era of Thriving were never united under a common rule as during the Era of the Kingdom; each regional group of cities spoke a different language and had a different culture, and no attempt at unification was ever made. Nevertheless, communication was frequent, and the more successful cities became centers of traffic, and trade became common. Most importantly, Expert training and schools were revived—albeit never attaining to the scale and influence they did during the Era of the Kingdom—and attempts were made to recover the lost knowledge of the Kingdom Era Experts. Extensive explorations were made to find any remains of cities from the time of the Kingdom, and to retrieve lost artifacts.
It is the effort of these Experts in the Era of Thriving that gave us most of the preserved records from the Era of the Kingdom. Most of the sites they explored had since been plundered or permanently destroyed by natural processes; but the important artifacts and historical records had been safely retrieved and preserved in the libraries and museums of the Era of Thriving. They were also aware of the importance of ensuring the preservation of written history, and made sure that every library held copies of everything found in other libraries. It was due to this diligence that we still have a more or less complete set of documents from the Era of Thriving, including the copies of the documents from the Era of the Kingdom, in spite of yet another mass destruction at the end of the Era of Thriving known as the Second Great Calamity.
(However, the site of the Grand Palace was never found by the Experts of the Era of Thriving, and nothing was preserved from the Grand Library in the Palace where the most up-to-date records of the Kingdom were kept. It is likely that the land on which the Grand Palace was built had since been consumed by natural processes, and with it, all the records in the Grand Library which would most likely have held the answers to the frustrating open questions we have about the last days of the Kingdom.)
Out of the exploratory expeditions to recover lost artifacts, a group of bold, highly-trained Experts emerged. These were the Pioneers, dedicated to the exploration of uncharted lands far beyond the most distant reaches of inhabited lands. They became pioneers not only abroad, but also back in the cities, where they pioneered Expert learnings to new heights through the experience they gained in their travels. It is believed that in the later part of the Era of Thriving, they re-discovered inter-realm travel and visited the other two realms of Ferochromon. However, it never seemed to have attained the widespread accessibility as it did during the Era of the Kingdom.
The Second Great Calamity
In spite of the meticulous care that the Experts of the Era of Thriving put into preserving Kingdom Era records, they were poor recorders of contemporary events. Many details were omitted in their accounts. News sources and journals were regarded as less important than the ancient writings, and so were not as consistently collected in the libraries. Nevertheless, the little that did make it into the libraries were very well-preserved, and gives us enlightening information about the tragic Second Great Calamity in the history of the Ebisédi.
The Second Great Calamity was described an horrendous phenomenon of cosmic proportions that spread through the lands, destroying everything in its path. Called the “wall of death” by many accounts, it consisted of a spreading, thick, dark cloud above land, accompanied by floods of a mud-like substance on the lands that it passed through. This cloud was reported to be utterly immense; it was much larger than any known celestial object, and seemed to stretch across the length of the entire realm. The largest celestial objects seemed like little specks of dust in comparison, and were engulfed and swallowed whole by it as it passed. On the land, strange, hitherto unknown creatures and beings were reported to arise spontaneously from the mud floods.
This “wall of death” was first noticed by the Pioneers who were exploring very distant lands, well beyond any known inhabitable land. At first, they did not pay much attention to it; but they soon realized that it was spreading, and slowly but surely approaching the inhabited lands. They began to realize its overwhelmingly immense magnitude, and quickly brought news of it back to the inhabited lands. At first, they were met with ridicule—after the betrayals and the in-fightings among the Experts during the First Great Calamity, the population no longer held the Experts in very high esteem. However, the Calamity soon advanced and reached visible distances, and it became clear that not only was the threat very real, but if they remained where they were, they would be consumed. Widespread panic and chaos ensued. Everyone fled the cities to escape from the impending doom. The Calamity pushed on, and soon overran the inhabited lands, destroying most of the cities of the Era of Thriving.
Then, just before it totally annihilated everything, the Great Calamity inexplicably stopped spreading. As the countless homeless people watched from a safe distance, it slowly disintegrated and dissipated, leaving behind desolate, corroded ruins where cities once stood. Only the few small cities at the periphery of the inhabited lands were not reached by this massive disaster before it stopped.
The true magnitude of this Great Calamity was not realized until we recently discovered from our Expert contacts in the other realms that their respective histories also recorded a Great Calamity around the same time period, with almost identical descriptions. Now we realize that this was a truly universal Calamity, spanning even all three realms. Before the discovery of its inter-realm magnitude, the Calamity was widely believed to be an unusual kind of starburst which somehow achieved cosmic proportions. The reports of spontaneously generating monsters were widely dismissed as exaggerations inspired by horror. However, now the starburst explanation no longer seems possible. The fact that the Calamity transcended the boundaries of the realms seems to rule out the possibility of starbursts. The descriptions of the spontaneously-generating monsters in the records of all three realms also match perfectly, suggesting that there was much more to the Second Great Calamity than had previously been thought. As of this time, no plausible explanation has been forthcoming.