The Dragon's Eye
The main Island of Corbo lies off the Eastern coast of Dast and Aetolia, directly to the south are the minor islands of Quinas, Ganion, and Faro with the two former being populated whilst Faro lies as a rocky wasteland devoted to gulls and seals. The Corbon mainland is dominated by rocky beaches, fields of wild razor grass, marshes, and of course, the great Dark Forest, home of the Dark Elves.
The first written history of Corbo began when Asparan sailors charted the inlets and coves, seeking safe harbour. Asides from the establishment of small maritime settlements, the island was for the most part uninhabited by humans until the 39th century Y.R. when Farúhnian traders demanded the island be assimlilated into the empire to facilitate safer trade with Northern Aspara-Yeorna Concordat cities.
Emperor Martus Iniac sent a great fleet and two armies commanded by his sons, Yaskel and Qi’Martus, to conquer the island in 3876 Y.R. . After the relatively smooth (albeit forced) capitulation of the various pirate strongholds and Freeholds along the coast, the two sons were sent into the deep central forests of the island, to ensure the conquest of the new province. Yaskel approached from the north, while Qi’Martus would march from the south. A week after entering the forest, Yaskel’s army stopped sending messengers to the shore and was declared missing.
Qi’Martus, who was delayed in his march by a storm between the isle of Ganion where his fleet was moored and Corbo proper, learned of the dark forest from the Ganion natives, who had a peculiar strain of Elvish blood. They spun for the future emperor a tale of their past: for they were once a peacable people dwelling midst the forest of central Corbo, the last of their kind remaining on the continent. After some great cataclysm that they called “The birth of the moon”, a set of ships landed on Corbo, baring refugees, their elven kin, but with skin of midnight and red hues to their eyes. The Dark Elves introduced the Elves of the Wood to their ways of steel and magics, buying their way to the top of tribes with gifts of knowledge or intricate artifacts of their Dark homeland. The Dark Elves became their leaders, and within an Elven generation, Midnight skin became synomous with affluence and power. Soon, unbridled by the strictures of equal habitation, the Dark Elves resumed the mysterious rituals that defined their magic. The Dark Elves’ Magic was an affront to the sacredness of the Forest, so said the Elders of the Elves of the Wood, but such resistance was far too late. Dissenters were executed, or taken away, the others were driven away from their sacred groves, displaced to the shore. The Dark Elves would take their woodland kin for rituals deep into the ever darkening forest, or simply slaughter them for sport. The last of the Elves of the Wood left Corbo, settling on the relatively barren islands of Quinas and Ganion, finally free from the torment on Corbo.
The Forest on Corbo was known to be cursed and unnaturally dark to the maritime settlers inhabiting the coast, and many horrid stories sprung from the place, sparking tales of death and mutilation and worse. Some said that the dead were bound to the forest, that their souls never escaped, but instead were trapped by the twisted gnarled trees, their faces becoming knots in the wood. Similar stories had been debunked on the mainland of Aspartame by the grand imperial Army of Farúhn time and time again, so much so that little heed was paid to the stories anymore. Yaskel had not heeded them, and so disappeared. Qi’Martus however was shaken by the tale of the Ganion folk, and so sent for all the empire’s cleansing clerics and ritual weavers. With them Qi’Martus began a campaign of cleansing fire on the ancient forests of Corbo, marching north in a desperate attempt to locate his brother. After leagues of burnt forest, the army of Qi’Martus finally found resistance, before them was arrayed a cohort of tree-creatures, four limbed with faces locked in an expression of utmost pain but covered in thick, dark bark. The battle was fierce and the fighting intense, but eventually the Farúhnians emerged bloodied but victorious.
This campaign continued for seven more months, with another pitched battle every fortnight, then leagues of burning the dark woods that were filled with ghastly traps and ancient blood magics that stole the very souls of those unfortunate enough to find them. The path Qi’Martus carved through the island became known as the trail of blood, lying barren and burnt on this day as it was the day they burnt it. At what was to be the final engagement, a new foe lined the edge of the Forest, men wearing the uniforms of Farúhn, but sickly pale, lined with growths of bark and ivy, and great dark pools for eyes. Qi’Martus had found his brother. The living fought the living dead, soldiers desperately cut down their former kin, kin who felt no pain or remorse with the single conceit of slaughter ruling them. Despite the now overwhelming size of Qi’Martus’ army and the prowess of his clerics, they were cut down to but a tenth of their force before they day was over. Beyond the battlefield, as the light descended to illuminate the trees, a great city of gleaming basalt was beheld, and from that city emerged a lone rider. A Dark Elf with a treaty of surrender already signed by his King, the enigmatic “Nereser”, met with Qi’Martus. The Island was yielded to the Farúhn empire, along with assurances of peace and acquiescence from the population of Dark Elves.
The hardest won province of Farúhn soon faded into the back of people’s mind as the Yolgen Imperium became the new preeminent enemies of the empire. Corbo was regarded as a savage backwater, and fell quiet for many years. The imperial ports grew into great cities, the wild lands were tamed into fertile farm land, and the Dark Elves became dutiful citizens of the empire, paying taxes, serving in the army, giving services as mages, and yet always remaining aloof of their human compatriots. They remained with their own kind, forming ghettos in the Imperial Cities, or simply staying in their own mysterious Basalt clad cities. Such was life on Corbo, generations of humans living midst the Dark Elves who seemed to live for milennia, ever being the most generous of neighbours. This simple peace persisted for the next two thousand years, until the Year 5889 Y.R. the year of the scourge. Beginning in the month of High Wind, a vicious plague wracked the human population of the Northeast. The worst struck by far was Corbo, entire cities were decimated in a matter of weeks, trade ceased, and the emperor declared a quarantine of the Isles. When Men returned to the island in the month of Lesser Frost, they found the cities empty save for corpses and wild dogs, the crops destroyed by frost, and the air foul with rot. After the scouts returned to Ferra, an envoy of the Dark Elves came to the city from the court of the very same “Nereser” as long before, offering to purchase the barren Island province for an unspeakable sum of gold. The beleaguered Empire agreed to the offer, with the caveat of alliance and free trading. The treaty Ferra was created.
The same year, the construction of a great tower was begun on the far Eastern tip of Corbo. Discovered by a fisherman by the name of Hapstead, humans now refer to the great structure as Hapstead Tower. Its true name is simply in Dark Elven speech “Nea Evas” or “The Tower”. The tower itself has a square base with each of its sides tapering towards the centre like a pyramid. In the centre is a large square turret that climbs high into the sky. Its façade is of sleek polished basalt, and contains no openings asides from a modest set of blackwood doors, and what seems to be a balcony at the zenith. The sheer scale of the tower dwarfs any structure found in the Northeast and is regarded as a wonder of the world, though none dare visit up close. Its construction ended in the year 5896 Y.R. and its purpose remains a mystery to this day.
The rest of the history of Corbo is murky at best, as humans no longer live there, but there some great events in history that they played a vital role in.
In 6779 Y.R. Corbon trade vessels ceased to commerce with any foreign nation, breaking the treaty of Ferra in the process. The pathetic Farúhnian attempt at retribution was met by overwhelming sorcerous attacks, and Corbo became truly an island.
In 7013 Y.R. During the height of the Great Farúhnian Civil War, a desperate delegation of loyalists pleaded with Corbo for assistance, citing the assurance of Alliance in the Treaty of Ferra. Corbo responded by unleashing a sorcerous miasma upon the populace of the war-torn nation, sundering it completely.
In 7294 Y.R. Dark Elves of Corbo plotted with mages from almost every nation on Aspartame to overthrow their governments and install an Arcanocrasy across the land. The rebellion failed everywhere but Farúhn on the Sea, but the chaos it caused is still felt today.
As of the present day (7862 Y.R.), Corbo is still very much as mysterious as it has always been. Myths of death and necromancy are the most common beliefs about Corbo held by humanity. Indeed, many seem to believe that a Lich-King has controlled the island since before the Empire, with the name of the King Nereser being their apparent proof. Regardless, it is a land both unwelcoming and unknown to most humans.