World of Kiynan History and Timeline

The World of Kiynan is the high fantasy setting for The Kiynan Chronicles series. It is a medieval fantasy world peopled by many different cultures, each with their own histories, religions, aspirations and problems. Once ruled by the mighty Lethean civilization, the World has since been taken over by humans. Magic is produced by intense emotion and can only be wielded by those trained in mastering their inner feelings.

It is a world of political intrigue, clashing cultures, mysterious elementals, power-hungry nobles, self-righteous theocrats and heroes of every stripe.

Ornish ReckoningWestern EventsOrnland EventsStory
-4000Collapse of the Lethean EmpireThe Legacy of Lethe (Book 2)

Dawn of Magic (short story)
-1000Humans on Ornland master magic
0Founders’ War;
Formation of the Houses of Ornland
625 The War for Varice
640Founding of the Kingdom of Gaurvia
644King Byron conquers Varice;
Gaurvian-Qume War
First Conjurer’s War;
Destruction of House Scorn
The Ordeals of Ornland (Book 3)
650End of King Byron’s reignFall of Skywall;
Beginning of the Magician’s War
The Ordeals of Ornland (Book 3)
655Founding of the Duchy of New Ornland The Ordeals of Ornland (Book 3)
700Gaurvians and Fled begin trading
970Gaurvian War of Succession
990Blackheart is crowned King of Harg
994King Blackheart conquers Varice
1020High King Blackheart invades KiynanSecond Conjurer’s WarThe Conquest of Kiynan (Book 1)
1040The Red Relic resurfacesArchaeological ExpeditionThe Legacy of Lethe (Book 2)
1060Resurgence of The RevivalistsThe Ordeals of Ornland (Book 3)
1064Recovery of the Floatstone from the ruins of SkywallReturn to Skywall (Canonical RPG Adventure)
World of Kiynan Timeline

The Lethean Empire

Long before humans learned to build cities, the Lethean Empire dominated the World of Kiynan. At its height, it spanned across most of the world, including the continents of Ornland and Kiynan. They ruled for untold millennia before abruptly vanishing.

The Letheans were tall, lanky beings, with grey skin and no facial features other than a single, wide eyeslit. The Lethean eye was for both seeing and communicating among themselves, by flashing in complex patterns and colours. Their serene movements and silence created an aura about them that the primitive peoples of Ornland and Kiynan (Ornish and Valkans) found alluring. The Letheans were powerful magicians, having experimented with many forms of emotion, and were much more advanced than the humans and Valkans of their day.

A great deal of mystery still surrounds the Letheans and their sudden disappearance. Legends among the Ornish tell of strange, bright colours in the east that filled the sky and covered the land without warning. They lasted for hours before ceasing suddenly. Total silence followed, as though the World itself held its breath. As normality returned, the Ornish were drawn into the east by their curiosity to discover what had happened and found that only ruins remained, with no sign of the grey giants themselves.

Among the ruins, the Ornish found few but valuable artifacts and records relating to the powers of the Letheans. These were studied diligently for centuries and gradually, the knowledge of the Letheans worked its way into the Ornish consciousness. It mingled with their religion, their very concept of the world and their place in it. This would be central to the Ornish discovering the use and mastery of magic, although the connection to the ancient Letheans would be blurred by the intervening millenia.

The Founder’s War

For a thousand years since magic became prevalent among the Ornish, its use was unregulated. Any and all forms of magic were used and abused. Some rare individuals even managed to wield more than one form of magic. Famous magicians collected a following of students, teaching them their own approach to understanding and mastering the wondrous powers. Some believed in sharing knowledge for its own sake, while others became tyrants and warlords.

Feudalism reigned across the continent of Ornland, with kingdoms rising and falling over the years. Rulers were either magicians themselves or else employed retainers with magical ability, often coercing them into service by holding loved ones as hostages.

Many dreamt of uniting Ornland into a single realm, but only two rulers eventually amassed enough power and influence to attempt to subjugate the continent into their own empire. The smaller neighbours of these kingdoms were invaded and rolled up.

Desperation among the smaller powers lead to increasing use of magic, often with devastating effects, particularly when certain, difficult to control magic types were unleashed.

A group of magicians, not aligned with either major power, decided that non-magicians must never be allowed to control or coerce magicians. Feudal rulers could not be trusted, as their greed and ambition would always push them to use magic irresponsibly. It should be magicians and magicians alone that ruled, for the greater good of the people of Ornland. Furthermore, they determined that magic had to be regulated to protect from widespread harm. As such, several forms of magic had to be outlawed forevermore. This group envisioned a utopia where enlightened magicians served the Ornish people as benevolent philosopher-kings. Everyone would be protected and cared for, through the limitless power of magic.

To regulate, as well as teach and develop the use of magic, a set of Houses would be formed, each dedicated to a particular set of emotions and their magical effects. The founding magicians held a great conference to determine which magics should be embraced, and which would be stamped out.

The Houses were officially formed and began quickly attracting followers to their cause, as they offered to share their knowledge and power with anyone that had the natural potential to learn, regardless of their origins. Working together, the Houses fought and overcame all other rulers, rapidly conquering Ornland and converting the people to their philosophy.

The War for Varice

The inhospitable continent of Varice is home to the Iceborn. Since ancient times, their society organized itself into familial clans, populating every corner of the land, despite the unforgiving climate. This tradition was brought to an end by the rise of three great chieftains, who conquered their neighbouring clans and united them into feudal kingdoms.

Dominating the North of Varice, Harg the Heartless was said to have been half man and half polar bear. His hair had been white since birth, his eyes blood red. His people mined the rich iron deposits of the Red Mountains and armed themselves with mail and swords. On the edge of the great glacier known as The Drifts, he forced workers to toil day and night to carve out the Frozen Keep directly out of the ice, and made it his capital. His people would come to be known as the Hargans, flying a banner of a white bear on a black field.

From the South emerged Caim the Cruel, a giant of a man who would tear off the flesh of his living captives with his bare hands, and leave their rotting skulls in a gruesome pile at the site of his every victory. His people mined ore from the Skyclaw Mountains and wood from the evergreen trees of the Needle Woods. They fought with spears and bows. Caim chose a black skull on a white field as his banner.

From the East came Siv the Savage. He was a man of relatively small stature, but he was cunning and merciless. The lands of the East are tundra covered by permafrost. The Siv, as they came to be knwon, had little ore to mine and little wood to harvest. Instead, they armed themselves with spears and knives made of carved bone. Siv carried a banner showing a white fist clutching a broken spear on a red field.

The three great chieftains were never satisfied by their conquests. They desired dominion over all of Varice. The constant fighting and raiding eventually led to a single decisive battle. Their three armies marched and met upon the wide-open plains of the Field of Bones. In crazed blood frenzy, the three factions charged and locked into a vicious three-cornered struggle.

The Harg were the most ferocious fighters and carved their way through their enemies. Harg himself met Caim on the open field and slew him. Facing the fury of the Hargans, and with their leader lost, the Caimen host broke and fled to the South. Harg sought out Siv, but the marshlander pulled his men eastward, letting the Hargans drive them to the Blood Lake.

When they reached its shores, the Siv, armed with their light leather and bone weapons, broke and fled across the frozen surface of the lake. The Heartless one charged unthinkingly over the ice, and his people followed, wearing their heavy mail and carrying their heavy iron weapons. The ice cracked and the Hargan warriors plunged into the icy waters of the lake, many drowning, pulled down by their armour. But Harg ripped off his mail and swam through the icy waters to the other shore. As he came up on the other side, he raised his two-handed great sword and bellowed to his troops: “NO MERCY!” His troops took heart and struggled through the cold waters to fight the Siv awaiting them on the other bank. The Siv were knocked aside by Harg as he sought their leader.

Finally, Siv met him as Harg’s white beard and long hair froze stiff. Frost-bitten, freezing and bleeding, Harg fought like a demon and cut Siv in half with a mighty swing of his giant blade. Even as the few Hargan troops who had managed to swim across were slain by the Siv, Harg the Heartless fought on. No one could stop him in his berserker wrath. Finally, as the last of his host died behind him and no Siv dared face him, Harg stopped his screaming and thrashing, and stood perfectly still. There he died, frozen to death, stiff as a statue, and there he remains.

Byron son of Siv, later called Byron the Bloody, picked up his father’s broken spear and rallied his victorious troops. He marched South and finished the Caimen. Thereafter, Varice was ruled for six years by the sinister marshlanders. Upon the death of Byron the Bloody, the Hargans and the Caimen rebelled and reasserted their independence, dividing Varice once again into three kingdoms. This would remain the status quo for centuries, until the rise of Masc Blackheart.

The Founding of Gaurvia

While the Iceborn had always known conflict in their daily struggle for survival, the ceaseless warring between Harg, Siv and Caim brought new levels of suffering and death to the people of Varice. Many refugees sought to escape the fighting and in desperation, they fled across the Cold Sea using whatever watercraft they could get, including improvised rafts. Many did not survive the crossing, but those who did could not believe their good fortune when they arrived in the temperate, fertile lands of Kiynan. They began new lives and quickly prospered in their new home, which they named Gaurvia.

As Gaurvia thrived, it expanded southwards and the newcomers soon encountered the Qume, a population native to Kiynan that was itself expanding northwards. The two peoples were immediately hostile toward each other, which inevitably led to war. The Gaurvians had brought with them a martial tradition from Varice, along with more advanced metal-working technology, while the Qume were accustomed to plenty and had lived in relative peace for many years. Over several years, the Gaurvians won most engagements decisively and pushed their rivals further and further South. The Qume gradually learned to adopt the Gaurvians’ ways, as their only hope for survival. They hurriedly constructed a powerful fortress at the mouth of their home peninsula, which they named Gaurbane. It was at Gaurbane that the Qume were finally able to reverse their fortunes and defeat the Gaurvians. A truce was signed and although many minor skirmishes would occur throughout the following decades, the Qume were never able to reclaim any of the territory that they had lost.

Instead, an uneasy peace settled over the two nations and tolerance, if not acceptance, became the norm. Trade would pick up between Gaurvia, Qume and later, with the Sea Tribes populating the southern islands as well.

First Conjurer’s War

Following the end of the Founder’s War, a period of stability settled over Ornland. Over the centuries, the Houses enforced an increasingly strict theocratic rule over the Ornish, while tensions grew between the leaders of the Houses.

While it was a golden age, many free thinkers began to question whether the restrictions on magic types remained necessary, as they had been during the Founder’s War. A resurgence of interest in forbidden magic was sparked and some believed such magic could bring about an end to the stale-mate between the Houses.

Secret societies began to form, dedicated to delving into the all-but-forgotten magics. Most prominent among them was House Scorn, founded in secret by Daimin the Mauve, hidden among the ruins of Lethe in the easternmost part of Ornland, to be isolated from interference. Daimin succeeded in his magical experiments and found a way to conjure demonic spirits into the physical world. He and his followers summoned many such spirits, providing them with dead flesh to animate or with living vessels to possess. They created an army.

Fearing the damage that Daimin could inflict with his demonic horde, Cadvin the Blue, the Master of House Calm, organized a coalition of the Houses to put an end to House Scorn. The combined armies marched into the ruins to root out the Conjurers. The battle lasted days, and many magicians were slain by the demons but in the end, Cadvin the Blue, the most powerful magician to have ever lived, led his forces to victory. Daimin’s disciples were killed, the demons were banished back to the spirit world, and Daimin fell. The wraith that had been Daimin in life was imprisoned within the spirit world. For centuries, he searched for a way to return to the physical world to exact revenge on the Houses of Ornland. When he finally succeeded, it would lead to the Second Conjurer’s War and the events of The Conquest of Kiynan.

The Magicians’ War

After the destruction of House Scorn, the gathered leaders of the Houses decided to expand their crusade to expunge all illegal magicians, who had become the scapegoats for all of their society’s ills. Cadvin the Blue refused to cooperate, advocating for an end to the violence and a renewed dialogue, hoping to prevent more of the pain and suffering that had come from the First Conjurer’s War. He was outvoted and the coalition carried on without Cadvin’s leadership.

The armies of the coalition spread violence across the continent, giving their theocratic rulers tyrannical authority, while Cadvin continued to speak out against them. The leaders of the other Houses met in secret and blamed Cadvin and House Calm for having allowed the radicals to get as far as they had in the first place. Giving in to jealousy and greed, they agreed to turn against House Calm and divide its lands among themselves. Only House Despair refused, warning that the destruction of House Calm would plunge Ornland into further chaos. The remaining Houses proceeded regardless, and laid siege to Skywall, the floating castle of House Calm.

House Calm put up surprisingly little resistance and Skywall fell quickly, both figuratively and literally. Questions surrounding how and why House Calm allowed itself to be defeated so readily abounded and remain a mystery. Regardless, House Calm was no more and with it gone, the uneasy balance of power that had existed for centuries was destroyed, as House Despair had warned. The victorious coalition set about dividing the lands of House Calm between themselves, but tensions flared and their alliance shattered.

What followed became known as the Magician’s War, not a single conflict, but a collection of never-ending skirmishes, proxy-wars and battles that lasted centuries. Temporary alliances were formed between different Houses against others and broken as quickly. The people of Ornland suffered, as they never had before. The first few years saw the bloodiest battles and slaughters and many common Ornish were left with nothing.

Thousands of Ornish abandoned their home continent and took to the sea in search of a place to rebuild their lives and raise their children in security. These people became known as the Fled. The rest remained behind despite the violence, steadfast in their belif that their deity, Orn the Protector, would keep them safe and end the war. They became known as the Faithful, and while they suffered through the Magician’s War, they kept their traditions alive and continued to hope for the day when balance would be restored to their homeland.

The Fled sailed from what would be called Cape Destiny using a fleet of hastily assembled skiffs. The sea was ever calm and little wind was felt. The Fled sat in their ships, drifting along at an agonizing pace. The oppressing stillness of the Silent Sea weighed on them. Many starved, others flung themselves into the waters in madness. Finally, they sighted land in the distance and dubbed it August Point. They landed and discovered a lush, bountiful and unspoiled paradise, which was to become their new home on Kiynan. They founded a new country which they named New Ornland. Ever fearful of retribution from the Faithful, the Fled built a strong castle as their capital, christening it Haven. No assault ever came, and the Fled grew and prospered. They explored West along the coasts of Kiynan and soon came into contact with the Gaurvians and Sea Tribes. They soon began trading with these new cultures. The Fled found especially significant common ground with the Gaurvians due to their similar histories, and they became fast allies.

Gaurvian War of Succession

As Gaurvia prospered over the years, an appreciation for learning grew among the nobililty. Some began advancing the notion that everyone should receive education, which in turn would further prosperity for all. A division began to form between these advocates and the rest of the nobility who believed that such widespread education would undermine their power over the common populace. Chief among the education advocates was the crown prince, Manss Proudfist. Tired of the inane prattle of the courtiers in Vidliank, Gaurvia’s captial, he devised a bold strategy to foster rapid social change.

Against the King’s, his father’s, wishes, Manss rode North with his most valorous and wise followers. He began to transform a tiny fishing village into a fortified city, which he named Daybreak. There, he founded an academy teaching history, philosophy, herbalism, writing, mathematics, music and sculpture. He decreed that only learned knights could fight for him and that only educated peasants could serve him. As Manss had hoped, the promise of enlightenment drew many Gaurvians and others to him, and his city grew rapidly. The King petitioned his son to return to Vidliank, but he became deathly ill and could take no direct action. Soon after, the King died leaving Manss as the only heir to the throne of Gaurvia.

Manss refused to return to Vidliank. Instead, he raised a new banner of a golden sunburst upon black, and proclaimed himself to be the King of Paladia, the Northern peninsula. The other Gaurvian nobles were quick to recognize Paladia’s independence and each sought to stake a claim to the throne of the rest of Gaurvia.

No faction was able to take control and civil war soon broke out between the would-be claimants. Seeing a chance to retake some of their lost territory, the Qume immediately moved against the Gaurvians, burning villages and sacking the city of Nunliss. Divided, the Gaurvians were unable to oppose the invasion. When the Qume reached Vidliank, King Proudfist rode South with his Paladin army to lift the siege. His highly trained and disciplined force won a decisive victory and the Qume were forced to flee back to their peninsula.

Recognizing that he had a duty to end the chaos and bloodshed, Manss Proudfist named his cousin Rigar Stoneworth as the new King of Gaurvia. With Manss’ backing, King Stoneworth was able to unite the disparate factions. The Paladins soon returned to Daybreak and peace settled over the realm once again.

Paladia continued to provide education for any and all, and remained welcoming to immigrants from every part of the world. As a result, it quickly became the most cosmopolitan kingdom in the World.

Rise of Blackheart

Masc Blackheart was born the eldest son of Ulam Blackheart, King of Harg. For centuries, the rulers of Varice, like Ulam, had been content to exploit their power to keep themselves comfortable. While they would periodically engage in conflict with their neighbors, it was as much for sport as for any meaningful gains. At a young age, Masc recognized that he was different from the mindless brutes like his father. He possessed a keen intellect and burning ambition, and he was disgusted by those of lesser-mind around him. When he finally took the throne, he wasted no time in launching an all-out invasion of Siv.

The Siv were unprepared for the onslaught and were outmaneuvered by Blackheart at every turn. The Hargans saw in him Harg the Heartless born again. The fighting was short-lived and soon, Blackheart was marching into Caim, his army bolstered by new conscripts from the conquered marshlands.

Having seen the fate of Siv, the Caimen were prepared for Blackheart’s invasion and met them with an ambush as they entered the Needle Woods. Even so, the Caimen were no match for the much larger army and were forced to retreat. Knowing that a head-on confrontation on open ground would result in a massacre of his troops, King Haal Quickeye of Caim had surrendered his kingdom without any further resistance.

Blackheart had conquered the entire continent of Varice, bending the three hardened Iceborn peoples to his will. He had equalled the feat of Byron son of Siv, but he was not content. As soon as his conquest of Varice was complete, he began preparing to take his armies over the Cold Sea. High King Masc Blackheart the Conqueror was not satisfied. He wanted the World, leading to the events of The Conquest of Kiynan.

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