History of Elysia
Magic infuses the fabric of the world, but it was not always this way. In the beginning, the world was created by the Great Music, woven into existence by a second Song of Eru, sung by the Valar as was Middle Earth. In this great creation, Melkor (the Great Enemy) was not part of the song; he was imprisoned at the time Elysia was created, in the hopes that his evil would not taint this world as it had the history of Middle Earth.
The Valar brought forth the Races: the Humans, the Elves, the Periannath, and the Dwarves.
For a long time all was peaceful in Elysia. The Valar sent the Maiar down to Elysia to observe and teach, and the Five (as the Maiar were known) walked Elysia spreading wisdom and enjoying the resplendent fruits of their labors. Each race took the teachings of the Five and created wondrous and beautiful things.
Even though Melkor had no hand in this creation, things went awry. Humans found a way to work magic in the world, and soon a dark age in which Human warlocks struggled for dominance ravaged the world. At the last moment, before a world-shattering cataclysm was unleashed, the Five stepped in and took control.
“Magic may not be used against magic, on fear of exile to the demon dimensions” they proclaimed as they stripped magic away from the offending Humans. Others there were that could use magic, but for a long time these folks remained hidden, as they truly feared the wrath of the Five.
The Five realized that as long as they remained on Elysia they would remind the Humans of the failings of their race, and be feared and resented for what had occurred. For wasn’t the Cataclysm ultimately the fault of the Five? If the Five had not shown the Humans the beauty wrought through magic, the Humans would never have started experimenting and gaining in such knowledge… so the Five departed, closing the gates to Valinor and shutting off Elysia from the Valar and Maiar forever.
Once the Five were gone, those Humans who hid their use of magic once again emerged; they had, however, been hiding for so long that when they emerged they were quite different than the “normal” humans who walked Elysia freely. Thus, the human race was split, and the magic-infused humans called themselves Daiesthai and quickly enslaved the other Humans (whom they called “Mundanes”). The other races managed to isolate from the Daesthai, and keep to themselves (other than the wild and gregarious Periannath, who remain somehow untouched by the Daiesthai despite the power and corruption the Daiesthai represent).
This has now been the status quo for a thousand years on the surface of Elysia.
In the underdark, about 500 years ago a rift in the Dwarven nation occurred, and like the Humans two distinct sub-races of Dwarves emerged: the Durindrim and the Naugradrim. The Naugradrim are in close communication with the Daiesthai and enjoy free trade with the self-proclaimed human masters of Elysia. The Durindrim remain separate and guarded, and though they are much fewer in number their strength lies in their adherence to Dwarven custom and tradition. The goods created by the Durindrim smiths are far superior to the best the Naugradrim can make, and as such the Daiesthai covet Durindrim works and treat the Durindrim with grudging respect (after several failed attempts to enslave the Durindrim).