An Introduction to Ilshenar : Part I

World News


Mondain ruled for 1000 years using the Gem of Immortality to control Sosaria and bend it to his will. Mondain’s reign ended when a Stranger from the stars arrived, destroyed Mondain, and shattered the Gem of Immortality. In the world we live in this was the end of the first age of darkness, but not in Ilshenar. Let us not jump ahead though. First we must speak of shards and facets and what we know about them.

When the Gem of Immortality was shattered an image of Sosaria was captured in each of the broken shards. Each shard from that point further, as far as we can tell, has its own history and peoples. In recent years we have discovered that within each shard there are what may be limitless facets that contain individual worlds - again with their own histories and peoples. The possibility of infinity inside of infinity has many people at this very moment rather upset and thinking if there are layers beneath our current layer, could we not be another layer under some other world’s layer? I leave that thinking to the philosophers.

In the world we know we now have our original facet, Felucca, and our new facet, Trammel. One must also consider that Minax too did come from another facet. As to the nature of her previous world we know very little, but I digress. Trammel is in itself an oddity for it did not exist until Lord British and Nystul cast their magicks to make it so. How exactly this sorcery works it beyond my meager knowledge, beyond the fact that Lord British and Nystul drew power directly from the Virtues themselves to make it so.

Then what of Ilshenar our newly discover facet? The first brave men and women to venture into this newly discovered facet have returned with some maps and some literature. Everyday more information is brought back to us and this new land’s mysteries unfold. I have put together a patchwork of documents and tried to follow the path of Ilshenar’s history from the time after Mondain’s defeat up until what seems to be a handful of years ago. In part this has been difficult as the people of Ilshenar speak two languages often at once. Being a scholar I find this most peculiar. The primary language is the common tongue we all know and use, the secondary is foreign to an extent. It contains a very similar style of speech to the magic words of power we use to cast spells. An easy example is one I have found in reference to Wisps. Their word used for Wisp is “Orlor”. In our world that would be very similar to “Ort Lor” which translates to “Magic Light”. In fact much of the language used in speaking of magic or arcane knowledge is often done in this strange dialect. It has been a long running debate as to where the words we use for spell casting originated, mayhap Ilshenar will hold some answers for us. It leads me to wonder if these people knew more about magic then we, but again I jump ahead. Let us start at the beginning.

The Shattering

We return to the time when Mondain ruled the world. He was the unchallenged master of Sosaria until the Stranger arrived and ended Mondain’s reign forever. Even the smallest of children know this story and know that the times which followed that glorious day, until the recent troubles in our land, have been prosperous and wonderful times of discovery, knowledge, and most of all peace. Ilshenar did not share our happy fate. The day the Stranger defeated Mondain is known as the “shattering”. It is a day marked by death and disaster. On that day all was not made right, all was undone. The whole of the world changed. This is a small part from a book found in Ilshenar called “All That Remains”. At this time I do not know if this was a true account or if it is a fictional account, but it gives the best feeling of what happened that I have yet to find.
    “The world now fallen. All torn and undone until it is remade whole again but different. Where I was is no longer where I am yet I have not moved a step. Fate has swallowed the world and spat it out, gnawed, ruined, changed. We are lost in our own land.”
It would seem that their entire world was transformed into a something that does not resemble our world at all. One can only imagine the terror this would have caused in those who were still alive. From the first day after, stories began to sprout like weeds. I found this passage on a scroll that was brought back from the first expedition.
    “It is all clear. The Anorlor have finally cleansed our world of its corruption and Mondain is fallen. Mistas is restored.”
As I spoke of earlier Orlor is the word for Wisp. Anorlor would seem to be a “dark wisp”. Mistas, which is used very often, seems to be the word for Balance. This author, it would seem, thought these “dark wisps” had been responsible. Possibly thinking they had cast Armageddon as Zog had done eons ago. This particular thought is set my hair on end. Thinking back to the Followers of the Armageddon and their “obsidian wisps”.

Another author wrote:
    “All is for nothing. Mondain is Anilem.”
It took some time to figure out what “Anilem” was. The best we can decipher is that it means “he who destroys”. This would make sense if this author had thought Mondain responsible for the destruction of their world. Which in a crooked sort of manner he was.

This last excerpt is taken from a book found in a large temple in the northwest section of the world. The temple is known as Terort Skitas. This translates directly to Temple of Knowledge. This one line seems to translate closely to what we know to be our history.
    “Avenlem est Anilem. Mondain est korp-kat. Sosaria est bal-kans”
    “Lost-one is Destroyer. Mondain is fallen death. Sosaria is doom consumed.”
This was not simple to decipher. The “Lost-one” literally translates to “not found one” This would seem to imply the author may have meant the Stranger had destroyed Mondain and thus destroyed their world. This is open to interpretation.

By all accounts the Sosaria of Ilshenar was far from what it had been before Mondain fell.

From the Britannia Network News - The Journal of Ultima Online, March 16th, 2001.