Lore of EverQuest (Initial Release)
In the Beginning
It is said that outside of space and time an entity known only as the Nameless exists, and that this being created all that there is and was and will be. It is also written in ancient texts that from His mind sprang not only the universe and its countless suns and worlds, but also a myriad of sentient, powerful, yet finite creatures whom one such as a man, or elf, or dwarf, would call a god. In aeons past came one of these gods upon the world Norrath.
The Age of Scale
Veeshan, Crystalline Dragon and ruler of the Plane of Sky, found this world pleasing and deposited her brood onto the frozen continent of Velious. With one swipe of her mighty claws, Veeshan opened several great wounds upon the surface of Norrath, staking her claim to this promising new world. Dragons then walked the land and flew the skies, powerful beings of great intellect, wisdom, and strength.
The legends of that time also tell that Veeshan blasted Velious with her breath, encasing it in eternal ice and creating a barrier of deadly ice flows and stormy weather. This marked the beginning of the Age of Scale.
The Age of Scale lasted untold millennia. From the tidbits of information passed down, it is known that a group of dragons mastered magic and spellcasting during this era. Additionally, dragons of power and influence among their kind gathered together and formed a hereditary ruling council known as the Claws of Veeshan, who rule the dragons of Velious to this day. Few of Norrath's inhabitants know more of this Age, and none that do would dare to speak.
The end of the Age of Scale was marked by the Gods creation of the other races of Norrath. Many of Veeshan's vainglorious brood perceived that they might rule over these lesser beings and left Velious. This splinter group became known as the Ring of Scale. Those dragons that remained upon Velious had little interest in temporal power, and were content to pass the millennia in homage to their goddess, and in quiet contemplation and the study of magics.
The Elder Age
In time the other gods noticed Veeshan's work, and being often petty and jealous beings, they too came upon Norrath, intent upon leaving their mark. Brell Serilis was first, and from his Plane of Underfoot, a dark realm of vast caves and endless tunnels, he quietly created a magical portal to a cavern deep in the belly of Norrath. Through this portal the Duke of Underfoot seeded the depths of Norrath with all manner of creatures. Brell then returned home, sealing his portal within a labyrinthine chamber of mystical Living Stone.
And when the other gods came to Norrath, Brell Serilis approached each of them, and after some time convinced them to meet as one to discuss the fate of the world. The Great Mother Tunare, and Prexus, The Oceanlord were in attendance, and Rallos Zek, the warlord, was also there, yet in mistrust kept his distance. Brell, carefully avoiding all queries as to the origins of his information, told of Veeshan's discovery of the new and potentially powerful world in which she had deposited her brood. Words befit of the King of Thieves poured forth from Brell's lips and he proposed that they accept an alliance of sorts, to which all save Rallos Zek agreed, ignorant of the fact that Brell had already released some of his creations into the Underfoot of this new world. The planet that would be called Norrath was divvied up between these beings of power for the purpose of keeping the Dragon Wurmqueen in check. Each would create a race of beings to watch over Norrath and keep a vigilant eye on the schemes of Dragonkind. Brell claimed the bowels of the planet and created the Dwarves, stout and strong, deep beneath the mountains of Norrath. In the abysmal depths of the oceans Prexus left his children, the Kedge, hearty aquatic beings of great mental power and stamina. And on the surface of Norrath did Tunare create the Elves, creatures of limitless grace and beauty, and Rallos Zek the Giants, fierce and formidable beings, intent upon the defense of their lands.
The Age of Monuments
It was inevitable that such energies involved in seeding planets with life would attract even more of the gods, and it was the Elves who drew the unwanted attention of Innoruuk, Prince of Hate. In a decrepit tower overlooking the dark decaying alleys of the Plane over which he ruled, Innoruuk waited, stoking the fire of his Hate until it was a raging inferno. He cursed his fellow gods for not including him in their pact and vowed to make them regret such disrespect. From the halls of the Elves' fair city, Takish-Hiz, the Prince of Hate snatched away the first Elven King and Queen. In his realm of pain and anger he slowly tore them apart, physically and mentally, over the course of three hundred years. He then gathered the quivering remnants of these beings of light and rebuilt them into his own dark sadistic image, a twisted mockery of Tunare's noble children. In depositing the Teir'Dal, as Innoruuk's Dark Elven creations would come to be called, back into the Underfoot of Norrath, the seeds for The Prince of Hate's final revenge were sown. Fizzlethorpe Bristlebane and Cazic-Thule came next to Norrath, and Brell met them, concocting a second pact with these latter gods, wishing another excuse to create more peoples into the world. Rallos Zek again watched from afar, determined to add to his creation as well, and this time Brell convinced the Warlord to join the pact, assuring him that it was indeed an appropriate time to fulfill his desires. Deep in the earth did Brell return to create the gnomes, resembling dwarves to some extent, yet more wiry and gnarled, consumed with tinkering with devices more so than their cousins. On the surface, away from Elves and Giants, Bristlebane made the Halflings, short and stubby folk, agile and with a propensity to meddle and even pilfer at times. Cazic-Thule, Lord of Fear, was drawn to the swamps and jungles of Norrath and there created the green skinned Trolls and reptilian Lizard Men. And Rallos Zek returned to the surface, pleased with his sanction to create even more peoples for his army. He made then the Ogres, massive, unmovable beings of questionable intelligence, and the Orcs, bred for battle and singled-minded in their desire for conquest.
The Fall of Rallos Zek and His Children By this time, those who are now known as the elder races of Norrath had begun to expand and mature. Villages became cities, and cities became kingdoms. Several of the races became bent on expansion and warfare became part of their developing cultures. And of all the races, it was the Ogres who quickly proved the most interested in battle and plunder, and their empire grew outward from their mountain home until it eventually encompassed a large portion of Tunaria, largest of the known continents. Their knowledge of magic grew as did their greed, until they became weary of only Norrath, and when they learned of other planes and dimensions, invaded the Plane of Earth itself. Rallos Zek watched with pride as his creations challenged the gods of that realm, and when they eventually knew defeat, the Warlord himself led a second invasion. The war that ensued shook the heavens and angered the greater gods. Through their combined might, Rallos Zek was finally thwarted and forced back to his domain, after which a great barrier to the Planes of Power was erected, denying entry to both the lesser gods and mortals as well. And then, in what some view as spite and others justice, the gods cursed the Warlord's creations. Thousands of Ogres were slain and their empire collapsed around them. The Giants were spread from one end of the earth to the other, forced to flee their homes as the gods brought snow and ice to their previously lush lands. And the goblins were also cursed, but no writings remain of their punishment as they no longer keep records of their history (which is perhaps some indication as to the severity of their curse). This is also the time that the Greenmist eradicated the Shissar of Norrath.
As the dust settled, the last of the gods came to Norrath. Mithaniel Marr, god of Valor, and Erollisi Marr, goddess of Love, created the Barbarians, a hardy race who settled the cold and rugged northlands, near the ruins of the Giant empire. Being the youngest race, they were generally unwashed and rugged, possessing very few social graces. And while they too had a warlike culture, there were those amongst them who began to believe in something more. By this time the other civilizations of Norrath had either long since declined, or were well on their way, and this small minority of Barbarians saw an opportunity to triumph where the others had failed. Perhaps this was a seed of wisdom planted by the Marr Twins, or perhaps it was only by chance, but as the Barbarians spread out across the lands, warring with both each other and any other race encountered, this tiny movement continued to grow. And so even amidst desolation and war, there was hope.
The Age of Blood
The last of the old races to decline was the empire of the Elves. The Elddar Forest spread across the entire southeastern quarter of Tunaria. Cities and villages built high into the trees housed thousands of Wood Elves, and the marble cities of the High Elves were built in the forest's clearings and meadows, their white towers and spires climbing out of the forest, higher than the tallest tree. But then came the last curse of the gods, as Solusek Ro, Lord of Flame, arched the spine of the serpent mountains, bringing heat from the burning sun to the ancient forest. The rivers ran dry, it rained less each year, and while the great elven druids fought long and hard, using their powerful magics to combat the change, they could only delay the inevitable. Slowly the forest gave way to desert, and eventually even great Takish-Hiz crumbled and the elves were forced to flee Tunaria, leaving much of their greatness behind.
The Lost Age This next period of Norrathean history as it relates to many of the races is the least known. It is surmised by the more knowledgeable historians that while the elder races regrouped and reestablished themselves, a small group of Barbarians were suddenly transformed both physically and intellectually. Most believe this to be the last major and direct act of divine intervention, and perhaps the reason so little is known about this period is that the gods wish it to be so, deciding afterwards that they would have less to do with their creations. In any case, this small and enlightened group were the fathers of the Human race, and they rapidly gained a foothold throughout the lands, studying the lost art of geomancy. The Combine Empire, as this lost race of Humans is called, spread throughout the known world, but then died even more quickly than it grew, and for reasons still unknown. And while they are the ancestors of every Human on Norrath and their relics and ruins still litter the lands from Odus to Faydwer, little history of this period remains.
After the fall of the Combine Empire, the remnants of mankind dwelled mostly in the center of Tunaria, inhabiting primarily the vast and fertile plains of Karana. Villages appeared and prospered, several reaching the size of towns, and two even became cities. To the west a strong and noble band of Humans, lead by Antonius Bayle the First, founded Qeynos under the lofty principles of law. Freeport, to the east, became an active and dangerous port of call for all who dared to venture into the Ocean of Tears. Humanity, much to the disdain of the elder races who watched from afar, remained strong, even daring to rename their home after one of their own instead of one of the gods. The great continent of Tunaria would forever more be known as Antonica. This is not to imply, however, that humanity was at peace. Competition was fierce, and when resources grew scarce for one reason or another many groups abandoned the promises and alliances of their past and fought. A few leaders spoke out against the violence, urging the masses to remember why they had fled the cold north. Others reminded them of their former glory and the might of the Combine Empire. These leaders insisted that humanity adhere once again to those principals to which all had agreed. Explorers and adventurers returned from afar with tales of elves, dwarves, and other strange creatures, as well as descriptions of ancient abandoned cities. A few even came back with limited knowledge of sorcery and the mystic arts. And when that discontent minority of leaders heard all of this, they became both jealous and determined.
A small, frail man of great intellect called Erud led this group, and he formed them into a council. They quickly became irritated, even disgusted, by their fellow man. Leaving a small network of spies behind, the remainder of Erud's followers fled the city of Qeynos and boarded a small fleet of ships. They sailed to the west and landed upon the barren coast of the island of Odus. The land was sparse and uninhabited and quite appealing to the council and their people. They quickly built a city of their own, dissimilar in almost every way to both Qeynos and Freeport, for it was almost entirely a towering castle. Erudin it was called, and within it the scribes and scholars, who called themselves High Men, gathered and analyzed reports, captured books and scrolls, and other artifacts brought to them by their spies. The first human mages since the Combine Empire were born - wizards, sorcerers, and enchanters occupied the great halls of Erudin and grew immensely in both power and knowledge.
The Age of Enlightenment
It came to pass some years later that a small group of Erudites discovered the lost art of Necromancy. They were branded heretics and great conflict arose. For the first time in several hundred years, the Erudites fought. They engaged in a civil war not entirely dissimilar to that which they had loathed and fled from back on the mainland. But there was one very significant difference - they did not use swords and bows, but rather magic, and the result was terrible. Lives by the hundreds were lost, great buildings and structures destroyed, and eventually the heretics were forced to flee Erudin, to hide and regroup in the southern regions of Odus. In one final battle, great mystic energies were released and an immense hole leading to unknown depths beneath the earth was created. Into the sides of this chasm the heretics built their own city which they called Paineel. And while both sides still seethed with anger and hatred towards one another, their fear of what the last battle had wrought has kept any further conflict at bay.
The Age of Turmoil
It is in this age you find yourself, an age filled with wonder. The elder races have begun to reclaim their former glory. The younger races have matured, and an active economy stretches across Odus, Antonica, and Faydwer. And while conflict and battle is hardly rare, it has also been centuries since open war has plagued the lands. A myriad of alliances and factions exist, friend and foe plot and scheme, and the world of Norrath is ripe for action. Equip yourself for adventure, seek allies and knowledge, and head out into a rich world of dungeons, towers, crypts, even planes and realities beyond your imagination. Learn skills, earn experience, acquire treasure and equipment, meet friends and encounter enemies. And whether you assume the role of a noble human knight, a vicious dark elf thief, a greedy dwarven merchant, or whatever suits your desire.