Chapter 1: Rosethorn
It had been long argued among the sentient races of Norrath that the Elves, the children of Tunare, were the first of the races to wield the art of wizardry. So stated Aros`Thalinor, an ancient bit of evidence supporting that theory.
It was difficult to find any buildings of mortal make older than the Rosethorn Spire (or Aros`Thalinor in the Elven tongue). None knew its exact age; in fact, no one was even certain if it was constructed by the Elves. There were Elven influences to be found in the architecture; but whether this was inherently Elven, or a foreign influence that the elves eventually copied, was unknown. The spire was ancient indeed, but the elves had expanded upon it. They used their powerful magic to guide the black stone into useful shapes. A balcony was formed in recent years. Below the spire the Elves also shaped the surrounding stone, creating the many vaults that hold much of the artifacts and knowledge of the Koada`Dal wizards. During these recent excavations, the elves found a strange room carved from the same black stone, but of vastly different architecture. The style of the wall carvings was completely foreign to the exploring elves and had stumped all scholars. In addition to the room, a sarcophagus and an arch were found. Both were carved from a stone not found anywhere on Antonica. The mystery of the tomb held the attention of many elven scholars and historians for nearly a century.
During this century, the destruction of the Elddar forest fell upon the Elven nation. Attention veered from the tomb’s mystery to more important endeavors, such as saving the life of the dying forest and fighting off the sudden incursions of a new race of blackened Elves from the Underfoot.
Aros`Thalinor fell into peril. The advance of the embittered Teir`Dal proved to be too strong for the elves, especially after suffering under the jealous hands of Solusek Ro. The Spire was in grave danger. It held all of the accumulated knowledge of Elven wizardry that tutored all talented Elves choosing to walk the path of the wizard. But, wizardry was no paltry pursuit. The masters of the Spire brought the awesome power of the weave itself to bear against whatever horde that the dark elves hurled at them. Subconsciously, the master wizards knew that, if they so had desired, Aros`Thalinor could be moved. The whole of the island could be torn from the land and sent floating among the clouds, sailing to far off Faydwer where their cousins settled after fleeing the dying forest so many years ago. They decided to await the march of these spiteful elves and defend the Spire.
Only the arrogance of the elves doomed Rosethorn and the wizards that held it. The foul art of necromancy was known to the elves but none dared delve into it; the costs were too high. And the Teir`Dal knew these costs as well. They also knew of necromancy’s destructive power. The dark elves decided that acquiring the power was worth the cost. Through the necromantic arts, a legion of dead warriors was raised to assault Aros`Thalinor. The legion of undead joined with living warriors from Neriak. They fell upon the Spire, and were slaughtered as the Elven wizards’ wards held them off. From atop the Spire, the wizards rained down the greatest firestorm that the world had ever seen. Thunderheads of roaring flame swept across field of battle, incinerating all life (and unlife). Lightning poured from the clouds and streaked across the skies, ensnaring the dark Elven army in a web of crackling blue energy. An entire legion of undead and living became heaps on the ground, or floating bodies in the Lifire river threatening to choke and flood the area. The Elven wizards, high atop their Spire, looked down upon the carnage and were satisfied with their work. They believed that the surviving Teir`Dal generals and their inferior necromancers would eventually flee after realizing what had happened. But the wizards were wrong. The necromancers did not fled. In a few moments after the battle, they began to laugh.
“They are insane with rage from their defeat” thought the wizards of the Spire. When the laughing ceased, the master necromancer declared his victory over Aros`Thalinor. His deep booming voice carried magically to the ears atop the Spire.
“Fools!” cried the wizards. But the necromancer had the last laugh. He told the wizards that they were doomed.
The art of necromancy was power over life and death. A life could be snuffed out as easily as a body could be raised to unlife. Poisoning was used extensively in necromancy, souring the flesh and draining life from it. Anything could be poisoned: water, air, sand, and even mana, the substance of magic, itself. The Elven faces blanched as they fully realized the incredible power of the Teir`Dal, to taint mana itself, the aether, the weave that all magic drew life from. The necromancers announced they would leave and then return to claim the Spire after the fool wizards died off. The elven wizards fell to their knees in disbelief and lamented their folly.
Despite the Spire’s tragic downfall, it was still an awe-inspiring sight that continued to exist as a center for learning and development; even though the wild rosebushes that once surrounded it were now dry and withered. Many wizards still traveled from afar to learn from the potent keepers of the Spire. Even Teir`Dal wizards were welcomed, though necromancers and the art of necromancy were reviled. All but four of the wizards of the Spire were dead in their tombs. The remaining wizards were dying and would soon join their fallen brothers even though they labored to undo the poisoning. Only the necromancers prevented the wizards from venturing into the vaults to research the poison still coursing through their veins. Instead the wizards relied on adventurous wizards from other lands to claim the books and artifacts from the vaults. The wizards of Aros`Thalinor had been known to give advanced lessons to those who had the talent and to those who helped in their struggles. If a wizard wished to gain a deeper understanding of the endless mana sea, it was Aros`Thalinor that he or she traveled to. Newcomers would be tested to the limits of their ability; but their greatest challenge was to overcome the overwhelming sadness and anger that permeates the Spire of Rosethorn.