An Introduction to Ilshenar

306.1 S.Y. (Mar 16 2001) --Ilshenar
An Introduction to Ilshenar
From The BNN
By Jerno Milik, Grand Scholar of the Lycaeum

Introduction

Mondain ruled for 1000 years using the Gem of Immortality to control Sosaria and bend it to his will. Mondain’s reign ended when a Stranger from the stars arrived, destroyed Mondain, and shattered the Gem of Immortality. In the world we live in this was the end of the first age of darkness, but not in Ilshenar. Let us not jump ahead though. First we must speak of shards and facets and what we know about them.

When the Gem of Immortality was shattered an image of Sosaria was captured in each of the broken shards. Each shard from that point further, as far as we can tell, has its own history and peoples. In recent years we have discovered that within each shard there are what may be limitless facets that contain individual worlds - again with their own histories and peoples. The possibility of infinity inside of infinity has many people at this very moment rather upset and thinking if there are layers beneath our current layer, could we not be another layer under some other world’s layer? I leave that thinking to the philosophers.

In the world we know we now have our original facet, Felucca, and our new facet, Trammel. One must also consider that Minax too did come from another facet. As to the nature of her previous world we know very little, but I digress. Trammel is in itself an oddity for it did not exist until Lord British and Nystul cast their magicks to make it so. How exactly this sorcery works it beyond my meager knowledge, beyond the fact that Lord British and Nystul drew power directly from the Virtues themselves to make it so.

Then what of Ilshenar our newly discover facet? The first brave men and women to venture into this newly discovered facet have returned with some maps and some literature. Everyday more information is brought back to us and this new land’s mysteries unfold. I have put together a patchwork of documents and tried to follow the path of Ilshenar’s history from the time after Mondain’s defeat up until what seems to be a handful of years ago. In part this has been difficult as the people of Ilshenar speak two languages often at once. Being a scholar I find this most peculiar. The primary language is the common tongue we all know and use, the secondary is foreign to an extent. It contains a very similar style of speech to the magic words of power we use to cast spells. An easy example is one I have found in reference to Wisps. Their word used for Wisp is “Orlor”. In our world that would be very similar to “Ort Lor” which translates to “Magic Light”. In fact much of the language used in speaking of magic or arcane knowledge is often done in this strange dialect. It has been a long running debate as to where the words we use for spell casting originated, mayhap Ilshenar will hold some answers for us. It leads me to wonder if these people knew more about magic then we, but again I jump ahead. Let us start at the beginning.

 

The Shattering

We return to the time when Mondain ruled the world. He was the unchallenged master of Sosaria until the Stranger arrived and ended Mondain’s reign forever. Even the smallest of children know this story and know that the times which followed that glorious day, until the recent troubles in our land, have been prosperous and wonderful times of discovery, knowledge, and most of all peace. Ilshenar did not share our happy fate. The day the Stranger defeated Mondain is known as the “shattering”. It is a day marked by death and disaster. On that day all was not made right, all was undone. The whole of the world changed. This is a small part from a book found in Ilshenar called “All That Remains”. At this time I do not know if this was a true account or if it is a fictional account, but it gives the best feeling of what happened that I have yet to find.

“The world now fallen. All torn and undone until it is remade whole again but different. Where I was is no longer where I am yet I have not moved a step. Fate has swallowed the world and spat it out, gnawed, ruined, changed. We are lost in our own land.”


It would seem that their entire world was transformed into a something that does not resemble our world at all. One can only imagine the terror this would have caused in those who were still alive. From the first day after, stories began to sprout like weeds. I found this passage on a scroll that was brought back from the first expedition.

“It is all clear. The Anorlor have finally cleansed our world of its corruption and Mondain is fallen. Mistas is restored.”

As I spoke of earlier Orlor is the word for Wisp. Anorlor would seem to be a “dark wisp”. Mistas, which is used very often, seems to be the word for Balance. This author, it would seem, thought these “dark wisps” had been responsible. Possibly thinking they had cast Armageddon as Zog had done eons ago. This particular thought is set my hair on end. Thinking back to the Followers of the Armageddon and their “obsidian wisps”.

Another author wrote:

“All is for nothing. Mondain is Anilem.”

It took some time to figure out what “Anilem” was. The best we can decipher is that it means “he who destroys”. This would make sense if this author had thought Mondain responsible for the destruction of their world. Which in a crooked sort of manner he was.

This last excerpt is taken from a book found in a large temple in the northwest section of the world. The temple is known as Terort Skitas. This translates directly to Temple of Knowledge. This one line seems to translate closely to what we know to be our history.

“Avenlem est Anilem. Mondain est korp-kat. Sosaria est bal-kans”

Translated:

“Lost-one is Destroyer. Mondain is fallen death. Sosaria is doom consumed.”

This was not simple to decipher. The “Lost-one” literally translates to “not found one” This would seem to imply the author may have meant the Stranger had destroyed Mondain and thus destroyed their world. This is open to interpretation.

By all accounts the Sosaria of Ilshenar was far from what it had been before Mondain fell.

 

Recovery

The remaining people slowly recovered. From the remaining masses a leader emerged. Strong and confident, Ilshen took to organizing the people and restoring order. Ilshen began the rebuilding of civilization when she was only twenty-two years old. Little is stated about her other than her undying devotion to make sure all was put right in the world. We hope to find more writings about this young woman who started the rebuilding of the world.

The people gathered in the northeast area of the world and established a city on a mountainside calling it Montor. Long ago in Sosaria another town of the same name had existed in, ironically, the lands ruled by Lord British himself. At first I thought the name was just a reuse of a familiar town but you can translate the name to mean “Mountain Passion”. The later seems to ring true. In other texts it is listed as Mont-Or. The later name would befit a new city with people who survived such a catastrophe. This new city took about 40 years to complete. It was, by all accounts, a paradise of city and mountain with waterfalls that cut between buildings and the mountainside. In the years that followed Ilshen and a council of scholars set up laws and government and peace reigned.

Then twenty years after its completion Montor was destroyed. We still are missing pieces of all that transpired but it seems the mountain Montor was built on had a volcanic eruption. The city’s present state would back that up fully. It would also appear that the people knew it was going to happen and evacuated.

 

Rebirth and Separation

From the single city of Montor came several sects of people. This division was already well in progress before the city was to meet its doom. Even though the city was doomed some stayed. They moved down the mountainside and camped in tents and wagons waiting until the eruptions would stop so that they might return.

To the west the mountains had been breached with a road. A keep was built as a halfway point and as a fortress to keep out what ever lay beyond. The northwest section of this world is a huge forest that melds into jungle as it heads south. In the center of this area is Terort Skitas, the Temple of Knowledge. Much of the information we have about Ilshenar is from books are scrolls found here. It appears this place was being built long before the city would fall. It resembles what Montor must have looked like before it met its doom. As people fled Montor some came here. They called themselves the Anskitas. That loosely translates into Awakening Knowledge. It was a place for study and reflection. Judging by the description of the mostly empty bookshelves one would guess this great library might have rivaled our own Lycaeum.

More people than just the Anskitas came west. The remaining people were not suited for days of study and contemplation. Another scroll described these people as “…stoic and strong. Seeking the Balance of all things.” They headed south. In the south they found a race of lizard men that were less than friendly. The southwestern landscape watches jungle fade into swamp. At the most southern point is the home of the lizard men that would plague these people on a regular basis. This may explain the city they built. Looking more like a fortress, and rivaling Trinsic as walled cities go, it is a sight to behold. They called it Mistas. To the west of the city are two towers that mark the entrance ways to what appears to be a huge underground keep. All the information we have would indicate that these were just and honorable people.

Other people left Montor and headed south. We have yet to be able to explain some of the things were have found here. There is a city that sits on the water in the southeast section of the world. These people are still a bit of an enigma. They do not use the secondary language at all. They call their city Lakeshire, while the Anskitas refer to it as Mireg, translating to Water-Home. The people in Mistas refer to the people there as “lacking will”. All in all it is very confusing. Mayhap as we find more information we can sort it all out.

All around this area it would seem strange magicks are at work. In the center of the lake found here is a citadel. No one has yet entered to investigate but a passage found in a book in Terort Skitas describes those that built it.

“Est ven lem vas mani”

Translates:

“The ones seeking higher life”

One can only imagine what that might mean.

To the north of Lakeshire is another oddity. A small village built into huge trees And inhabited by what some have called Pixies. I find it hard to believe in such foolishness. The southern expanse also holds mystery. There you find large cairn stones that seem to mark boundaries. One party reported seeing strange figures in the woods here. To the west of the town is a ruined forge. It looks as if it was used to forge iron mined from a cave just next to the location. It is now overrun with vermin. Finally that last note on this area would be a large fortress built into the side of a mountain. No one has dared venture inside for the outside is piled high with skulls and bones. One passage in another of the Anskitas books speaks of this place.

“korp ku-nte reg de por-ilem-mani-lemi”

Translates:

“death within the home of she that takes life”

I fear for those who would be the first to explore this place.

 

Virtue

It seems that the Virtues exist across facets. Though not all have been seen by our exploration parties, the eight shrines of Virtue are spoken of in all the areas of Ilshenar. Ilshen herself had the first shrine built. That was the shrine of Compassion. Again, very little of anything involving Ilshen exists, this is one of the rare pieces, in the form of a poem.

“Ilshen stood with hands of light,
At sun’s height without a sound.
The Ankh was stood upright,
upon Compassion’s ground.”

Strangely enough a shrine to Chaos is also to be found. Lord Blackthorn is pleased by this news I am sure.

 

People and Mysteries

The biggest question we have to face is what happened to all the people of Ilshenar? Little by little we are finding the clues and are amazed at what we are finding out: knowledge that will change our view of things, forever.

Somewhere around 150 years after the “shattering” the most amazing thing happened. A brilliant mage name Ulvol opened a portal between facets. The Anskitas do not call them facets, they call them Arktermar or “hidden worlds”. Ulvol discovered that he could tune these portals like a lute string and find new destinations. At this time we are hoping to find a record of how to do such a wondrous thing, but so far to no avail. The people of Ilshenar traveled between facets like you or I would walk to the moongate in Britain in order to get to Skara Brae. This in itself is amazing. The question then is, where are these gates? The texts speak of permanent gates, called Vasgres, used for commerce between worlds. No one has found such a thing. Instead we found these passages in several different books in Mistas:

“The four traitors have been sent through the Justice Vasgres into the void. We who remain have ensured the bal-lem is imprisoned. The last Vasgres, at Sacrifice, between the Arktermars are now sealed. Ensuring safety of our people and of all who exist outside our world. We can live out our last days knowing we have done what is just and that we have restored mistas. To my friends who have sacrificed themselves, may Virtue shine upon you always.”
“The bal-lem (a word here is scratched out) has taken the north tower and made it rubble.”
“(a word here scratched out) has come. He is bal-lem, he seeks to be Anilem.”
“The bal-lem is in league with the Anorlor fiends. Together they seek our doom.”
“The eight have offered themselves to seal the bal-lem (a word here scratched out) for eternity in the prison we have made. May Virtue guide them.”
“The migration through the Vasgreses is near completion. If (a word he scratched out) will be held back so that all who wish to go may escape.”
Bal-lem is “evil one”. Everywhere it would seem to name this “evil one” the text has been scratched out. It appears that what ever the bal-lem was it is now imprisoned and most of Ilshenar has fled to other facets. This is a bit unsettling. Why if this beast were captured would they not return? Why destroy the Vasgreses between facets? Again I hope for scrolls and books to arrive soon.

 

Conclusions

Many things are not fully explained. It would seem to boil down to this place, Ilshenar, like Felucca and Trammel is another Facet of Sosaria. A world that was torn apart when the Gem of Immortality was shattered. A world that knew of the Virtues and followed them. A world set upon by some great evil that they conquered but feared so much that, even though it was imprisoned, they still not dare return. That simple fact has given some of us pause as to the continuation of our exploration for the fear that we may unwittingly unleash that, which has been imprisoned.