The Hidden Continent
Insulated from the rest of the world lies, what most gamers know as Faerun, the Hidden Continent. In our game this is where all our adventures take place. This area is called the Hidden Continent because of its isolated nature. Surrounded on one side by the Western Sea and on the other by nearly impassible mountains, the area has been cut off from the rest of the world. Its inhabitants have lived here for thousands of years undisturbed by the events of the world and unknown to the civilizations of the east.
There are literally thousands of years worth of history that take place in this area prior to the arrival of humans to the area. I will just make mention of a few important points. This area was dominated by a nation of Dwarves and Elves. There were, of course, several types and tribes of both races present that all formed a loose nation held together in times of war and strife under the leadership of the dominant tribes. There are many stories of legendary wars between the united Elvin tribes and the Dwarvin clans. It is uncertain how much fact resides in these stories but it is also clear that there is enough tension between the two nations to support the stories.
Our history officially begins with the arrival of humans to the area.
The Golden Age
Rising quickly to the head of the Shemanite clergy, Constantine became an outspoken advocate for peace and balance at all costs. The Shemanite doctrine taught that the role of Shemanites was to align themselves with the weaker power in any struggle in an effort to even the odds. By doing this, it was hoped that peace would be maintained. At that time there was a great holy war raging across the land and Shemanites refusal to take sides soon made them the subject of persecution by both rival groups. The Shemanites were forced to choose sides and many renounced their religion and defected to one side or the other. What remained was a group of a thousand Shemanite purists who were totally loyal to Constantine and were united in their resolve to never submit to the threats. Outnumbered and hunted like animals, the Shemanites were forced to flee over the impassable mountains leaving behind all that they knew.
In a miraculous crossing that is said to have taken 20 years, Constantine achieved what was believed to be the impossible. By sheer willpower, he lead a devoted group of 1000 Shemanite purists over the rugged mountains and to the safety of the Hidden Continent. What they found there was a land rich in natural resources and unspoiled by the ravages of war. The group soon settled down in an area known as the Lonemire Wetlands and began to farm finding prosperity and relative peace.
Soon after their arrival, the Shemanites made contact with the powerful High Elf tribes of the region. Being a skilled negotiator and facing none of the prejudice of the early years Constantine successfully won the trust and friendship of the Elvin Chieftain Enock and they soon became strong allies. Constantine's greatest achievement was the development of a treaty between Enock and the powerful Dwarvin Duke, Ballick Stone Path. The treaty was soon solidified when Elves and Dwarves fought side by side for the first time, putting down a Goblin uprising in the valley. Many historians speculate that Constantine engineered the uprising in order to shore up the alliance but no solid proof has been found to support this theory.
The success of the Goblin wars made Constantine the most respected leader on the continent and led to several significant events. Constantine was appointed High Minister of the region and given final authority in all issues of policy and war. He also married the beautiful daughter of the Elvin Chieftain Enock and she bore him twin sons. Commanding all the power and authority of a king, Constantine the Great ruled the known lands under the watchful eye and fair hand of Shem and thus began the Golden Age.
The 100 years war
The two boys were identical twins. The eldest was Vermiel and the younger Soloman. Vermiel was a gifted scholar and poet while Soloman's talents were in matters of war and combat. The way was prepared for Vermiel to take the throne and Soloman to serve as his right arm and minister of defense, but this was not to be. On the night of Constantine's death Soloman staged a brutal coupe against his brother to take control of the crown. Vermiel was forced to flee the valley and took refuge with the Chief Enock to the north. The stage was set for a Great War for control of the known lands that would last for 100 years.
With the support of those loyal to the memory and wishes of his father, Prince Vermiel entered into a bloody conflict with his twin brother. Millions lost their lives over the following years as the battles raged up and down the continent. Neither side able to make any decisive moves the war continued for the next century causing bitter divides to form between the two brothers and destroying friendships and alliances that had existed for thousands of years. As the war continued the laws of Shem were lost in the smoke making the situation more and more grave as the two brothers and their followers drifted toward the opposite poles of good and evil.
All that survived of the religion that had once been so important to all in the land was a small group of Shemanites who were forced to hold secret meetings. This group included some of the most powerful warriors and sorcerers of the time and recognizing that under this stress, civilization would soon collapse they began plotting the ultimate end to an endless conflict.
The walls of peace
Agents of the council rooted deep within the governments of the 2 rival brothers kidnapped them and slipped them away to a secret location in the mountains where they were kept in a magical sleep. In the mysterious absence of their rulers new leaders were appointed and these leaders were agents of the Council of Truth who had been able to obtain positions of great influence. The council, out of respect for the memory of Constantine, knew they could not kill the brothers and it would just be a matter of time before they were found out. Acting with coordinated speed the two factions met in a historic summit on the Dalbin river. A fragile peace treaty was signed and it was agreed that these factions should become separate nations under the rule of independently chosen rulers.
So it came to pass that the Hidden Continent was divided into the Vermilion Kingdom and the Soloman Empire. Over the next 23 years, as the brothers slept, two great walls were erected, one on the southern border of Vermilion and one on the northern border of Soloman. Known as the Walls of Peace they were 200' high and they stretched across the Known Lands from east to west. There also remained 20 miles of open territory between them. This "no mans land" came to be called the Shemat. It was agreed that any future conflicts would be settled on the Shemat, confining battles to neutral territory and saving the lives of countless innocent civilians. It was not long after the completion of the walls that the two brothers emerged from their magical slumber to find that 25 years had passed and the world was a much different place.
The year of darkness
However, the stage for the future had been set. With no gates and the constant threat of rival forces manning the fortifications, the armies of Vermilion and Soloman were never able to cross the boundary set by the Council of Truth. The war had been isolated to the Shamat, the Western Sea to the West and the mountains to the East. The bloody land battles of the past were over.
In the years that have followed, there has been a succession of rulers of both lands that are direct descendents of Vermiel and Soloman. All have had a legacy of conflict but none have been able to gain full control of the Hidden Continent. A religious divide also exists between the two nations with the Vermilion Kingdom widely influenced by Draelorn and the Soloman Empire following the tenants of Mizhir. The Sect of Shem has been slow to recover from the purges of the past but there are a few small groups emerging across the continent. Most of these groups worship at the alter of other gods but these deities are inexorably linked to the force that is Shem.