The Dungeon Goats
The Ancient Wars
Thousands of years ago, before humanity started recording it’s story, the dwarves and the elves built magnificent empires, the likes of which have not been seen since. Science, magic, culture—both civilizations were well beyond where they are today. But the two world powers of Veretos, as advanced and civilized as they were, did not see eye to eye (and not just because of their differing statures).
The dwarves built a vast kingdom in the mountains, and delved deep in to the earth for precious metals and stone. The elves lived in endless forests, and built magnificent monuments that blended in to the trees. Each race thought itself superior, and each race held that it was the exemplar for all the mortal races. And so, after centuries upon centuries of animosity, war broke out. Though the histories from this time are scattered and piecemeal at best, a coherent story of the Ancient Wars seems to emerge.
The elves struck first. They used powerful magic to break in to dwarven strongholds and assassinate their leaders. The dwarves balked at such cowardly measures, and vowed that they would have their revenge. The dwarven kings of old gathered together their forces and marched to the forests. Wherever they went, the dwarves burned huge swaths of forests, decimating Veretos’s wildlife in the process. It is said that the continent used to be covered in trees, but now only wide plains and rolling hills remain, due to the dwarves’ burning crusade.
However, for all their burning and destruction, the dwarves were not as familiar with the workings of magic as the elves were. The elves would conjure dire beasts from hell to storm the mountain castles of the dwarves and they would use guile and trickery to assassinate and confuse the stubborn dwarves. And on and on this process of burning and assassination went, for hundreds and hundreds of years. Finally, about 1,500 years ago, the elves made a bold move. They gathered their forces by the tens of thousands, and with a mystical portal they appeared in the middle of the dwarven kingdom, in the deepest chambers of the dwarven citadel. They slaughtered civilians in droves, and drew the intense rage of the dwarven armies. The armies stormed down in full force, but just as they were about to meet the elves head-on, the elves retreated en masse back through their portal. The dwarves believed they had cowed the elves in to retreating, but it was all part of their plan. As the dwarven armies were all gathered underneath their mountain home, they heard a loud rumbling from overhead. On the mountains above, the elves had summoned massive elementals to pound on the mountain protecting the dwarves. The dwarves scrambled to escape, but it was too late. Massive rocks began to fall on the dwarven army, as the very mountain that had sheltered them began to crumble. Then, all at once, in a calamitous noise, the elementals, the mountain peak, and the dwarven kingdom all came tumbling down in a huge avalanche. The elves had destroyed a mountain, and in the process, destroyed the dwarves.
Very few dwarves survived the battle under the mountain, but those that did joined forces, and decided that they would not go extinct without taking as many elves with them as they could. The survivors armed themselves with their best weapons and armor, and began their bloody march through the forest. It seems that one of the dwarves had stolen a magical scroll from the body of a slain elf mage, and the spell contained on it was one to summon a lesser fire elemental. However, when the scroll was read, something else appeared within the summoning circle; a massive, wreathing dragon from the pits of hell, made all of molten lava and flame. The dragon tore a course through the forest in front of the dwarves, and wrought incredible destruction upon the elves.
The sight of a dragon of legend terrified the elves, and its fire brought them to their knees. The dwarves killed as they pleased, all in terrible vengeance for the death of their people. Finally, at a mystical lake deep within the woods of the elves, the two races made their final stand. The elves conjured their own dragon, made of icy water with wings of frigid air, and the dragons fought above in the skies as the elves and dwarves warred below.
In the end, not a single dwarf stood standing on the battle field. Only a small group of elves survived, and both dragons were destroyed utterly. The warrior elves that stood upon the field returned stoic to their homes and families, and each one agreed that magic was dead in the world, and vowed never to practice it again. They had seen its potential fully realized—the extinction of an entire race of people.
The Ancient Wars ended in blood, but by the time they were over, the human kingdoms were arising, and the weakened elves stood no chance against the progress of humanity.