Long before any man set foot on the continent of Gaiaden, before their Kings and Courts would come to rule over the cities of Winter and Stone, there was Erathos.
There is an old legend that states that this settlement of old bones and sandstone, the first city of all humankind and the very foundation for this intrepid race, was once a beautiful island full of seafarers and explorers. They would travel the seas in search of trade and grand escapades, to expand their horizons and bring back goods to share with their people. The island was said to be a warm land with soft, cool breezes that blew as blessings from the vast waters for miles around. The fish and food were plentiful and their songs were filled with joy. It was believed to be a peaceable place during a passive time for there were no neighbours to harbour feelings of envy or hatred. There were no other folk around for five hundred miles to inflict upon them any harm. As we know today from travellers who venture there now, those days if they ever existed are long gone.
The Mithylfar of Sollistar would have you believe that the Sun God Mithron, the All God and the creator of the world, became enraged that this lesser race would dare cross the sea for themselves to find anything other than the paradise they already dwelled within. They say he questioned their pride and their desires to discover more than what they already had, which was thought to be bountiful.
The libraries within the Citadel of the Aeons in Amberfall, contain old tomes that tell of an ancient cataclysm that caused untold levels of chaos and destruction around the island of Old Erathos and its unfortunate inhabitants. It goes on to state that this was likely the very reason that those ships that were already out at sea when this occurred were not able to return home and so they sailed for the nearest habitable land that could sustain them. These same passages declare that this place that they discovered of strange dark green and snow white colours was the Lochlands, the southern half of the lands of winter.
The Drohken monks of Kyr’Qandor say that it is hubris and utter arrogance to claim to have any knowledge of what truly happened, for no one lives today that once walked those shores from thousands of years ago that can speak the truth of the matter.
Whatever is said by any who deem to venture a guess, it is only the legend that remains consistent. It is one that combines the viewpoints of both the Mithylfar and the ancient men who settled within the domains of Gaiaden.
This legend goes that Mithron was indeed angry with the race of men and so he cast his furious gaze upon the seas surrounding the island and scorched them relentlessly until the very ocean waters boiled and were banished until there was naught left but sand. Old Erathos remained untouched and became surrounded by a single lake that encircled the once great island nation. A lake too narrow that could not be sailed by the ships of old and it is thought that it is a cruel testament cast down from the God of Gods, a permanent reminder of what they once were and what they can no longer be for the only seawater surrounding the city and its lake now is an ocean of lifeless sand known as the Deadlands. Those who remained in the city would sail no more.
Today this ancient site of the first men still stands surrounded by its lake at the centre of the scorched lands and has become known to wanderers as the Eye of the Desert. Its people are hardy and sun drenched. Their city is old, crumbling and filled with bitter heritage and tributes to a dead way of life. Most that live there today have never seen any of the seas of Ayl’gard and they never will for crossing the desert of the Deadlands is a death sentence to most. Some do not know why they yearn for ships and sails, to navigate the seas and explore long forgotten lands, a craving for a long dead legacy that they do not fully understand and one that can never be revived.
Many would argue that the Deadlands have always been there as they are now, as they have always been. How then do they account for the ancient shipwrecks that lie in the sands, wasting and crumbling into the ashes and grains of a land without life? What do they say when they happen upon the ruins of a vessel that has no explanation as to why it is buried in deep sands three hundred miles away from the nearest ocean?
Maybe only the Gods can say what or why for, however they speak to no one in the land of the dead sands. According to the rulers of the city the Gods have long since forsaken them. And so they care not for the worship of Maellor or Samaia, Altyr or Ashyara and they curse the name of Mithron for this perceived tragedy inflicted upon them from an age or more ago. Maybe the legend is true and it was a tragedy that was inflicted upon these ancient men. Perhaps it is a false legacy perpetuated by another God, one so twisted and so cruel as to deny them the truth. Or perhaps it is neither and the lands were always coarse and lifeless. Maybe this ancient legacy is just old tales that travelled from faraway lands brought over by strange new folk that have been malformed beyond semblance and misremembered through the generations.
Unfortunately, no one will ever know.