Aeons ago, the continent nowadays known as Desolathya was called Ir'idie by its inhabitants. Ir'idie was home to one of the earliest kingdoms of men. Men were not the first inhabitants of the continent, however: ancient races of leech-men, goblins and some unnamed, unknown beast-men dwelled there. Men came across the sea, from a place long lost in the tides of time. It took centuries before the scattered tribes of men were united under one rule - or three rules to be more precise; there were Three Kingdoms of men at Ir'idie, governed by High Kings, who were allies with one another - much through family ties, but equally forced by outside threats caused by the other races of Ir'idie.
Centuries passed. The humans waged war upon their plentiful enemies. The continent of Ir'idie was fertile and pleasant, however, and the humans increased in numbers. Along that grew their knowledge of things, of which the Art of War and the Art of Magic were not the least. The Three Kingdoms were united by King Ator the Mighty, and together they finally managed to overpower their ancient enemies. At last, after years of bitter wars, there was a period of peace upon Ir'idie.
As proven many times in the histories of men, elves, dwarves and other people, great empires do not last forever. After the High King Ator had passed away, his descendants inherited the throne, a son after a father. Slowly, the strength of Ator's blood started to vanish in the veins of his offspring. Never-ceasing lust for power, combined with jealousness and treachery so common to man, started to gnaw the Empire from inside out. Even though the age-old enemies were still kept at bay, the Empire was already weakening.
It was not internal disputes, nor the still plentiful enemies, that put the reign of men to an end. The court sage Astonius was a keen astronomer and used to spend a lot of time observing constellations and those heavenly bodies that seemed to move about in the night sky, as if rounding our world. It was that time when he noticed that one of these moving stars, later known as planets, did not move across the firmament, but instead seemed to grow in size. Some weeks he kept his findings within himself, but when he was completely sure that this star was approaching, he shared his knowledge with the other scholars of his time. And indeed, they all saw that there was a globe of fire approaching them and, albeit still afar, its progress seemed to inevitably lead it on collision course with the known world. All the magicians concentrated their powers to reflect the fiery sphere, and priests and clerics called upon their deities for help, but to no avail.
On a late Gettrellyn evening, old chronicles tell, the whole night sky was ablaze as if it was a day, as the flaming star loomed above the lands. People fled their homes in despair, but there was no place to run. Some sought shelter from abandoned mines and dungeons beneath the cities. Before the night was over, the falling star hit the northeast edge of Ir'idie, shattering the land and destroying all.
The force of the impact was so immense that it instantly laid waste to the whole Empire of men. Along it, the shock wave and winds of fire destroyed almost everything living within several hundreds of miles from the impact site. At the site of impact itself, there was now just water, as the sea surged in to fill the crater and the place where the Capital had been located. Around the crater, the impact erected a mighty wall of mountains encircling the crushed centre of the empire. The sea became a grave to thousands of people.
The ground that used to be fertile grassland was torn asunder, making high and hilly land and deep valleys dominant. The alignment of the continent on the map shifted, making it susceptible to heavy storms and rainfall, especially during the autumn and the winter. After the disaster, the lands were barren and lifeless. Most of the humans that were sheltered underground died of famine, for there were no crops to grow or beasts to hunt. Some remote settlements and mines were located at areas where everything was not destroyed and that is where the race of man survived. Humans soon formed clans and started slowly to populate the uninhabited lands - but the life was never going to be easy, as it had been during the time of the Empire.
Goblins, living in the caves of mountains and in their underground dwellings, were much less affected by these events. They soon reappeared to the open land and lived pretty much as they had done before the disaster: hunting rats and farming mushrooms, for example. Even though humans never gave much credit to goblins, they are a hardened race of cunning and inventive people who adapt quickly and ask little from their environment. Therefore they soon became the most plentiful people on the continent.
As the coastal areas remained unguarded, peoples from other lands were allowed to make settlements as well. Savage gnoll pirates soon took over the south coast and used it as their refuge in between the raids to some distant lands. The elves also visited the continent, but never felt at home there, and did not make any long-lasting dwellings. It was the elves, though, who named the continent as Desolathya - for it looked like a gloomy, hapless place with disheartened inhabitants.
Today, Desolathya is much like it has been for the past millennium, or so; scarcely populated, savage and untamed land. Ruins of ancient human dwellings still litter the landscape at many places, reminding us of the might that once was present here. An extensive road network, dating back to the times of the Empire, has remained to this day - albeit reduced to the level of mere paths at many places. Goblins live at the mountains and at the lake side, whereas the gnolls still control the south coast. Humans are arranged as clans, led by their chieftains and without a unifying ruler. At many places the land is inhospitable and unfertile, with steady rainfall and regular storms. However, times may be changing: there is a new centre of power emerging in Desolathya, calling itself as the Empire of Atoria and whose leaders claim to be direct descendants of the people of the Old Empire, seeking to restore the might of their forefathers. This new regime has established their capital to the ancient city of Calythien, from which they reach out to the surrounding lands in order to unify the human clans - with steel and fire is so required - under one rule and quell the worship of old gods. At the same time, reports of rich veins of precious metals and deposits of gemstones around the site of the impact have spread like a wildfire among the dwarven miners of other continents. These stories naturally interest many kinds of adventurers, fortune hunters and bandits as well. Merchants struggle for the best trade routes, and even nations have turned their attention to this desolate continent and prepare for a challenge of naval superiority at the surrounding waters. There are also myths of immense treasures buried under the sea, as the mighty Empire sunk beneath the waves. And finally, whispers say that the ancient race of leech-men has reappeared, although nobody seems to know where they came from, where they live or what are their plans...
The glorious Cathedral city of Calythien is located at the base of the Crater Mountains, encircled by impassable cliffs. The timeless city has existed there for centuries, but recently it has awoken from its crestfallen slumber in its new role as the capital of the Empire of Atoria and has become a busy and lively city. The ultimate wielder of power in the Empire is the Priest King of Aveallis. The Priest King is the overlord of the Empyrean Army - the holy fist of the Empire, its name reflecting the flaming fury of Aveallis - and the highest religious authority of the Empire. The Priest King is the head of a pious Clergy that regards Aveallis as the only true god and Lord of All. The Clergy asserts its power via the elite troops of templar knights, as well as by the warrior priests who serve as the blade of the holy inquisition. The city of Calythien is the most prominent symbol of the new dawn of the lands of Desolathya - the spires of its mighty cathedral reaching for the skies as if to symbol this new union between the Empire and the High God. But only time will tell whether the strict religious rule will help the continent to prosper once again, or hurl it back to despair and leaderless confusion; for in Desolathya, the pagan gods are still strong and their supporters many.