What Most Humans Know (Summary)
Every human is painfully aware that they live in the shadow of Kigedia, a once great Empire that spanned the continent. Built on trade, industry, and magic, remnants of its glory can be seen in overgrown ruins and crumbling buildings around the lands.
700 years ago disaster struck the powerful Empire: a plague rose out of the jungles to the south, laying waste to the human population. One out of every three citizens were struck by the disease; those that it didn’t kill were rendered sterile. The empire beseeched the Dwarven and Elven kingdoms for aid, but none came, perhaps in repayment for the Empire’s arrogance and disregard for the other races. Trade between the Imperial provinces and cities came to a halt as visitors were turned away out of fear. Communication crumbled and revolts raged.
Only the most powerful magics proved successful at curing the afflicted, but it wasn’t enough. Finally, the greatest minds within the Empire devised a plan to turn the tide. 180 years after the first victim died, hundreds of thousands dead, and lands destroyed, they combined spiritual magic and sorcery to fuel the most powerful invocation the realm had ever known. Legends still tell of the purplish light that bathed the empire as the healing magics covered the land. At first it seemed as if the ritual was successful beyond anyone’s wildest dreams as those on death’s door quickly regained their health. A month later, the capitals of every major province held a celebration on the summer solstice. The darkness of the disease had been banished back to whatever hell had spawned it. The celebration was to be short-lived.
On the night of the revelry reports began filtering in of an undead uprising. At first this was viewed as a minor nuisance. The dead occasionally walked, and larger cities were well prepared to deal with it. However, this was unlike any event before. The numbers of dead that arose were staggering; normally it would be a few rotting corpses shambling around, easily dispatched by the city guards. This night saw hundreds, possibly thousands, rise across the realm. Second, these zombies passed on their curse to anyone the bit or scratched. And those new zombies moved with the speed they had had in life. Soon, people realized that the first shambling monsters were all the corpses of those who had dies of the plague.
Within days the empire was overrun with this new breed of undead: a new plague. But this plague was different. It showed no mercy to non-humans. The other races all joined their teeming ranks. Civilization, both within and without, crumbled, and the world stared into the gaping maw of the abyss. What happened next is a matter of some mystery – after 50 years of undead rampages, 50 years of living in fear, 50 years of barricades and unimaginable cruelty, the undead went back to the grave. But the damage had been done.
Survivors crawled out of their fortified basements and villages into a new day. At first they simply waited for the zombies to come back. Then, they began rebuilding. And thus it has continued for the last 5 centuries. Their history lost, unable to recognize artifacts from before the plagues, people began again.
Now, small villages have grown to small cities. Each is self-sufficient, but their rulers realize that they need to recreate the ancient trading routes to survive. Suddenly, people have become interested in the ancient writings and history of the time before. A few have even left the safety of the towns, an unheard of event for 700 years, to explore and discover. The zombies are still out there, but the virulence of their disease is greatly diminished, allowing for an easy cure. Other monsters have taken over the dark lands between the fortified towns. The elven lands seem to be gone, and the dwarves have retreated even further into their mountain strongholds. But there is hope on the horizon.