Introduction from Sentry, first draft November 1st, 2014
Raltha (pronounced "Rall-THAH") is the name of a world far in the future. At one time it was a striving interplanetary civilization with wonders of technology and science. Their technology progressed so far that their scientists were able to connect to other universes. They were able to bring back something from one of these other dimensions: a man.
After struggling through a language barrier, which turned out to be a long-dead language, they were able to converse with him and they learned that his world was described as the typical fantasy world common to the dreams of most people. The correlation between legend and the alternate reality were acutely disturbing. It’s important to note that this man was a magician - a wizard of legend and myth. History names him as Catalyst, but this wasn’t his true name. It was his role. His given name was lost over the millennia that has passed since.
He claimed that he was the greatest magician from his world which he called Thrala (he was mediocre at best, but he was certainly the best magician in this new world). His power was unexplainable. His power was something no one else had. This made him powerful beyond belief.
He slowly taught his knowledge to others who were able to tap into the power of their world at a high price. He became extremely powerful socially and financially, but others craved his power and had stronger propensity to the craft than this mediocre magician. The spark started a blaze of sought after knowledge. The blaze became an inferno. Wars were started. These wars are known only as the Knowledge Wars.
The natural magical energies of the sleeping world-unconsciousness (which all magicians name Arcänä no matter what realm they inhabit) swelled to the brink of disaster. The Knowledge Wars marched on killing hundreds of thousands of both soldiers and innocents alike. Eventually Arcänä woke from her natural slumber in a frantic panicked state.
It is said that all worlds have lulls and active states of magical energy. Arcänä was in the middle of a multi-thousand year lull, and now she was awake in full uncontrolled force. The physical world wasn’t ready for the energies now being unleashed upon the land. Energy storms wiped the landscape clean of vegetation and cities alike like tidal waves, tens of millions more died feeding to the energy of the world gone mad.
What happened next should have been an impossibility, but so should have having the Catalyst come across the worlds. Arcänä attempted to replace the life lost in these waking throes and recent wars. Reality ripped completely apart and the alternate worlds that are barely “just on the other side” of dreams started to displace and take the place of parts of Raltha as spacetime folded within itself.
Thrala’s enchanted forests became some of Raltha forests. Hartal, the world of demonic nightmarish hell, had some of its burning mountains become some of Raltha’s mountains. Some of the darker places of Lathar, the world gothic nightmares and dreams, became a part of the darker places of the world.
But the creatures and people which came through these strange pretzel-like twistings of dimensions weren’t enough. Raltha still didn’t have enough reach in her various incarnations to keep her primary world alive. She reached out to other worlds with violently explosive wormholes.
She created these wormholes to other, alien, worlds to attempt to keep from becoming a dead planet. Some of these aliens survived, most perished in the wars and storms that ensued in this nearly-new land. Some aliens were good, some were terrible and warlike. The storms and wormholes raged for centuries.
Eventually Arcänä calmed. The few humans that remained gathered in caves and bunkers preserving as much as their knowledge as they could. The world was no longer theirs. Humanity had choices: integration, confrontation or extinction. Humans being humans didn’t make a single choice.
Some integrated with the apparent newcomers to Raltha: the elves and dwarves from Thrala, the undead and monsters from Lathar and some even served the demons from Hartal in hopes of shelter. Humans were already a presence in the other worlds, so integration was already familiar to most of the creatures from the sibling realms.
The true aliens, however, had a harder time integrating between language barriers and true cultural unfamiliarity. Battles occurred with the more hostile races, while some of the less hostile races just stayed reclusive in their own, new corner of Raltha.
Other humans, who refused to integrate, holed up in their walled cities strengthening their technology and power to defend itself from the apparent invasion from hostile aliens and monsters. One such nation is named the Rikan Empire and has been a very strong presence in its corner of Raltha for nearly two centuries.
It was the Rikan Empire which defended the area in from the alien Trencian empire that threatened to exterminate all sentient life in the area. The Rikan Empire had technology, but nothing as advanced as the Trenches (the casual nickname for this particular race). The first two battles were terrible losses, but it was the innovation, curiosity and brilliance of the scientists and engineers that were able to leapfrog their technology to a state where it was a numbers game. The Rikan Empire had numbers, but still not the technology and arms. Eventually the high-technology and relatively small number of the Trencian empire fell to the numbers and tenacity of the Rikan Empire. The Trenches were defeated and was pushed east—far beyond the Undead Forest.
The scattered villages and towns to the north of the capital were homes to creatures of Thrala and humans who have chosen to integrate. The Rikan Empire turned its focus of hate towards these aliens, but held the active decimation of these relatively peaceful towns. It used the presence of these non-humans as a target of hate and solidarity of its citizens, most notably the citizens of its capital: Sentry.
Many decades passed. The collection of towns and villages formed a nation: The Pan-Kai Alliance. A cold war (which occasionally became hot) between the Pan-Kai Alliance and the Rikan Empire still exists. A mutual hatred and disrespect between the two nations. Neither nation would win the war. The Rikan Empire had the technology, but the Pan-Kai alliance had very strong magic and much greater numbers. This cold war has remained a stalemate for the last four decades.