Lore & Setting > Pre-Imperial History
There is little known of pre-awakening Ton’keena history. What is known is that more than a thousand years ago, the fey-folk known as the Unseelie dominated Heibesu and the world. They were organized in rich societies and civilizations, and believed themselves to be the rightful rulers of the World. They were given great powers, including Arcane knowledge. The Unseelie were ruled by the Seelie for a long time, but tales tell of a great war with an even more alien and magical race, the strange Elves, which almost ruined the world. Following the defeat of the Elves, the Seelie were branded traitors and most were forced into exile. In time, as legends have it, both the Seelie and the Elves died off.
The Unseelie were skilled with magic. They spoke a variety of dialects collectively known as Sylven, the Fey Language. There were cat-folk Ton'keena at the time, but they could not use magic, and lived in tribes. The Ton'keena were often hunted by the Unseelie, and usually enslaved. The legendary sorcerer, Nighblue the Skyrider, an Unseelie queen, championed the extermination of “lesser races”, and built a dungeon and tower in the middle of Crimson Lake for this very purpose – Elves, Dwarves, Ton'keena. It did not matter. The Unseelie belived themselves the paragons of the Heiki and Reiki, the spirits and deities of the world. Many Ton'keena resisted and young nations even locally threatened Unseelie hegemony. Brave Old Nisia was a Ton'keena warlord who lived near Crimson Lake who managed to pillage and ruin many an Unseelie ruin before finally dying in battle.
Without warning, the Unseelie people vanished without a trace. Overnight, they disappeared from the world, never to be seen again. Their legacy endured, in the form of vast ruins, remnants of architectural wonders of the past, but also as legends and tales in the young Ton'keena nations. As to their fate, one can only guess. Many theories exist, but none can be verified. Time eroded Unseelie fortresses and cities, the Ton’keena slowly reclaimed the land, and the Skyrider Tower, a symbol of the plight of the Ton’keena, eventually crumbled into the Lake, or so it is believed.
Centuries passed, magic had become all but forgotten, and the Unseelie became a mere legend. The Ton’keena thanked the Heiki, and in turn, became their chosen people. With the Elves and Fey-folks gone, the Ton'keena could finally expand and build on the ruins of the old order.
The Awakening is seen as the beginning of modern history. It all began when Sokomo Volcano threatened to erupt. Even though Sokomo is an island off the mainland, it was close enough and soon the skies were glowing red. The resulting eruption was a large tremor that shook houses down, and many of Sokomo's low-lying plains sunk into the sea. Yet it was no regular eruption, for the bright red lava turned into a blue-purple liquid, and the ash coming from the volcano was green, and dissipated into rain, a light rain pouring, for three days, over the whole world.
Most importantly, an Unseelie ruin became unearthed on Sokomo Island. What the Ton’keena of the time found inside was astonishing : arcanic grounds, preserved records, and a giant library. What they could understand of the Unseelie tongue helped them rediscover the lost art of enchanting, of runecrafting, of spellweaving. The Ton’keena had rediscovered magic. They called the event the Miracle in the West, and later, the Awakening. All dates are counted from this day in the Heibesian calendar.
Several people from several clans settled on Sokomo, and decided to erect a tower on the Unseelie ruin. While the tower itself took centuries to complete, the Unseelie ruin was turned into a magical academy, and a temple to the Void itself was erected nearby, on the Font of Void, a node of pure elemental energy.
Warlords and wizards greatly expanded their powers, and kingdoms rose only to fall overnight. In the chaotic years following the Awakening, three Kingdoms managed to hold onto their might. They grew strong, and formed treaties, and alliances with one another. Heibesu, Kitamoto, and Ninomiya became great cities; while in the north and east, Dazaifu, Oranda and Ido became important nations in their own right.
Elsewhere in the world, magic was rediscovered, either independently or as a result of Ton’keena migrations. It is unclear how certain people were affected by the Awakening at all. Most of all, it does not seem to have had an effect on other species, sentient or not. The Kitsune fox-people had always used magic; while the Kageshuju and Shiroishuju sub-types of dwarves never truly used magic at all.
In time the Three Kingdoms united into the Empire. A detailed account of the Empire is available under the Timeline section.