First Dawn User Guide & Encyclopedia
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"I fear thou art new in crossing this land.
Might you rest here a while, young travelling friend?
Shall I proffer to thee a warm meal and song?
I implore thee to pause and rest until dawn.
My fire and ear shall be thine for an eve.
Which of these gifts wouldst thou gladly receive?"
Welcome, weary stranger! May you find here warm bread and the beautiful song of my mandolin. On a quest for knowledge, you say? Should you rest alongside my fire, I shall relate in summary the story of our land.
I am considered, by all measures, to be an expert on these matters. My pilgrimage as a Bard has drawn me to the lovely city of Britain, though I have had occasion to spread song in Cove. A journey through Britannia would not be wholly understood without the knowledge I am inclined to impart. So rest, gentle traveller, and I shall begin ...
Long before the Stranger ever entered the lands of Sosaria and the four continents within — the Lands of Lord British, the Lands of Danger and Despair, the Lands of the Dark Unknown, and the Lands of the Feudal Lords — there came into being a young wizard named Mondain. As Mondain grew in age and knowledge, so grew his unquenchable thirst for power and discontent with mortal life. Eventually, he learned of the treasured Gem of Immortality, which grants unimaginable power and everlasting life to its owner. Surely, you have heard of this?
Now it is my opinion, as shared by most historians in this kingdom, that Mondain’s desire for immortality tainted with greed the moral wisdom usual to those who study the power of magic. His wishful longing for the Gem became all-consuming, and after much anguish, he was led to willfully murder his father.
Mondain’s name is still cursed in Britannia to this day, for anyone that turns a sword against those of his own blood without due cause is believed to eternally align himself with the Dark Forces. But alas, that is a subject for another eve. To truly understand our present hatred for Mondain, you must know more ...
After securing the Gem as his own, Mondain made plans to use it in a ritual that would give him ultimate power. During the ceremony that was to forever bind the Gem to Mondain, the Gem captured an image of the entire land, save the wielder of the ritual — Mondain himself.
Once imbued with the power of immortality, Mondain used the Gem as a means to rule the world — until a Stranger arrived, determined to destroy the very source of Mondain’s existence. Having journeyed for years throughout Sosaria, this Stranger’s quest was to free the land and people from Mondain's fearful rule. After many battles, he travelled to the ruler’s lair and felled the evil sorcerer by shattering the gem with the touch of a mortal. As the essence of immortality was loosed upon the land, the very fabric of the universe began to unravel. And with the power of the Gem gone, Mondain himself was eliminated.
We in Britannia celebrate this ever-elusive stranger once during the passing of a year as the Hero Who Smote Mondain, for alas, he parted and left no name behind for his legacy. Had he endured a longer stay, I choose to think the catastrophe wrought by the release of Mondain’s greed might have been lessened. Were it not for the benevolent spirits watching over the world, Britannia might not exist today.
You see, concerned by the results of the natural course of events — whereby one man’s quest for ultimate power nearly annihilated a world — our guardian spirits set into motion a plan to ensure that the land would come under the rule of the right. Aware of the devastation caused by the destruction of the Gem, they seized hold of the fabric of time and space and re-wove the fibers of Sosaria, which today we call Britannia. It is popularly believed that the ridges lining this island represent the mending seams, though I privately question this article of history.
It is also rumored that when the Gem was shattered, thousands of splintered fragments scattered across the universe. Within each facet purportedly lies the very image of Sosaria, just as it was captured during Mondain’s ritual.
No mortal has yet found the means to reassemble these fragments, though as a historian, I am particularly curious as to their existence. What would I give but my very life for a spell to reverse the flow of time to unveil this bit of history! But then again, perhaps another Stranger will arrive — one similar to yourself — who has the wherewithal to answer such questions.