The Shattering

Roughly sixty years ago, the world of Madiras was locked in endless tension. The Gold Lords of Mesia constantly clashed with the High Church of Serva over the wooded frontier lands between them, while the once-great Empire of Tolari struggled violently to remain in control of their conquered territory, Mithras. Border clashes among all these nations were common, and many wondered when open war among all the major powers would be declared.

But that day never came. Without warning, ominous earthquakes began to shake the entire continent. For a week, the shaking rocked every nation (though rumour has it that the elves of T'nai and the dwarves of Khazadrukat endured a much weaker event). And finally, at the end of the week, the mountains arose.

Roughly outlining each nation, a single interconnected mountain range arose sharply from the bedrock and up into the clouds. Quickly, people discovered the mountain ranges to be nearly impassible; a curse settled on the mountains and the shattered ground surrounding them, sapping the strength of all who traversed them. All manner of dark creatures (somehow unaffected by the curse) settled into the mountain ranges, making the already difficult path beyond dangerous. In a matter of hours, the world was divided.

The frontier that Mesia and Serva had long battled over was now its own space, which evolved into the fledgling nation of Cruxhelm. Mithras, already on the verge of rebellion, suddenly found their oppressors on the other side of an impenetrable mountain range. Taking full possession of the Empire's isolated resources, the new Mithran Navy began to reconnected the nations which had suddenly lost all their overland connections. And Tolari, now completely cut off from the the entire rest of the world, saw the final collapse of their Empire as lack of food and resources split the tribes into little more than raiders and scavengers.

While some truly adventurous souls have managed to find ways to traverse the mountain ranges (usually to Tolari in search of profits), the world was largely forced into the water for travel and trade. However, given the roundabout nature of taking a boat around the outside of the continent, travel between the nations has vastly reduced over time. Only traders and those able to scrape up significant coin can afford to see other cultures, and the world has become significantly more isolated as a result. Tolari, in particular, has suffered greatly since the Shattering. Some dream of a world linked by air (like those who founded the Grand Shipyard), but such solutions have appeared to be vastly more expensive and inaccessible than sea travel alrady is.

Despite great research into the phenomenon, nobody has come close to determining what the cause of the Shattering was. In day to day life, few now concern themselves with asking what caused the original incident… or if anything like it could ever happen again.

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