Prelude to the Witcher (No Spoilers!)


Long before the rise of elven and human kingdoms,
the lands east of the Great Sea were populated by the Gnomes of Mahakam, and Tir Tochair,
considered to be the first peoples of the continent. In time, they were joined by the Dwarves,
a stout, hardy race who arrived by sea while the peoples known as Werebbubs came to inhabit
lands further south. The next people to arrive were the long-lived
Aen Seidhe, Elves sailing on white ships during the Age of Migration, roughly 2000 years before
the coming of humans. Engaging in a number of wars with the Dwarves,
the Elves eventually established a number of realms throughout the north, building magnificent
palaces of stone, and living in harmony with the natural world. Feeling a deep connection to the land and
creatures that inhabit it, the Elves were fiercely proud of their burgeoning civilization,
and so were equally heartbroken when it was lost. The beginning of the end, came during the
Conjunction of Sphere, an event which shook the very fabric of their reality, when a number
of universes connected together, allowing creatures and peoples to travel between dimensions,
and bringing a new energy into the world which could be harnessed into magic. As a result of the Conjunction of Spheres,
many monsters, beasts and peoples came pouring into the lands of the Elder Races, like ghouls,
graveirs and vampires, now forced to survive in unnatural environment. It was also after the Conjunction of Spheres,
that humans first sailed into the continent, leading the Elves to believe they originated
from another world which they destroyed. While some went to live further south, the
peoples of Dauk and Wozgar came north, settling in the lands later known as Kovir and Poviss. Although their peoples did not long survive,
some believed they introduced the worship of the Goddess Melitele, one of the most widely
revered deities in the north. Dividing their history into years before and
after a momentous event called the Resurrection, the next wave of human migrants came around
760 AR, when the Nordling people landed at the mouth of the Yaruga River. Once arrived, Jan Bekker discovered how to
control the force of magic which now inhabited the land, and used it to help establish human
settlements. Training others in the use of this power,
they discovered that a chaotic energy existed in all living things, and it could be harnessed
into elemental magic. Although anyone could learn to use it, the
most powerful Sorcerers were those few born with a natural affinity for magic. Known as a source, they were capable of unleashing
extraordinary amounts of energy, and required a great deal of training to avoid harming
themselves or others. Although humans did not live as long as the
Elves, they reproduced far faster, and in the coming centuries spread across the continent,
threatening the borders of their neighbors. Though some Elves and Men did attempt to peacefully
coexists, their cultures were radically different, as humans did not respect their environment,
and instead tried to dominate it, cutting down forests and wiping out animal populations. Though war inevitably came to the North, the
rise of the Nordlings could not be halted, and the Elves started to lose territory. Although some tried to heal the division between
them, like the human mage Cregennan of Lod who married the Elven sorcerous Lara Dorren,
and had a half elven child Riannon. Yet other humans could not accept this union,
and murdered both parents, while their half elven daughter was adopted by the Queen of
Redania. By the 13th century, the Elves lost all of
their territories, becoming a scattered people divided into those willing to work in human
cities, and rural folk who kept away from others and lived off the land. With Nordlings now ruling over all the Northern
Kingdoms, Elves, Dwarves and Gnomes became second class citizens, sometimes used as scapegoats
during times of hardships, leading to pogroms in which they were rounded up and massacred. As the Nordling Kingdoms came to dominate
the North, the southern half of the continent came under the dominion of the Nilfgaardian
Empire, a unified power which expanded beyond their borders to conquer a number of states,
they converted into provinces. From 1239 to 1257 the Empire was under the
rule of the Usurper, a nobleman who assumed power when he murdered the Emperor to implement
expansionist policies which saw them conquer their first Northern Kingdoms, taking Ebbing,
Maecht, Metinna and Nazair. Although the Usurper was eventually overthrown
by the rightful heir Emhyr var Emreis, their expansionist policies continued, and he prepared
for the next war of invasion. During the early reign of Emhyr var Emreis,
the remaining Northern Kingdoms were divided into Kovir and Poviss at the end of the world,
the Hengfors League, Redania, Kaedwin, Temeria, Aedirn, Cidaris, Verden, Lyria and Rivia,
Cintra, Sodden and the island of Skillige. Aiding the Northern Kingdoms maintain order
and peaceful relations, were the Brotherhood of Sorcerers, an organization which regulated
and oversaw the use of magic in the north. Although humans now dominated the continent
and were warring amongst themselves, others inhabited these lands as well, not only the
Elder races, but also intelligent beings like the dryads of Brokilon forest, female nymphs
who seduced men from other species to procreate and defended their home with extreme aggression,
killing almost anyone who entered their realm without permission. There were also the nearly extinct race of
unicorns, vampires, godlings, merpeople who lived in the sea, dragons, trolls and more. Yet there were also more primitive beasts
and monsters roaming the continent, leading to the creation of Witchers, human boys trained
to fight under brutal conditions and use simple magic signs in addition to undergoing the
Trial of Grasses, a highly secretive ritual which exposed them to dangerous mutagenic
compounds. If they survived, they gained superhuman speed,
strength, agility and sensory perception, along with longer lifespans and resistance
to disease. After graduating from a Witcher schools, they
went out into the world, wielding a sword of steel and another of silver to slay monsters
for coin, enduring the scorn and ridicule of other humans, many of whom saw and treated them as freaks and mutants.

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