The Dissolution of Elessar
At its height, Elessar stood as the center of nearly all eldria research and development. The first airship fleets were birthed from its airyards and their expansive eldrictech research was unmatched throughout the world. Even Tristan, the birthplace of eldria, lagged behind the intellectual elite of Elessar, something about their populace and culture allowed them to advance swiftly. The government of Elessar subsidized eldric advancement in nearly all facets of life, from education, research, development, and implementation throughout the country.
As such, once the First Empire Wars broke out, they found themselves both the target of hostility by Washu, but the main battlegrounds for most of the conflict. A significant number of Elish lives were lost throughout the course of the war, though the conflict did sway in their favor due to the massive airship fleets the nation possessed and the quality of armaments supplied by their eldric industries. It is often attributed to this advantage that Washu ended up taking the steps that it did, with a massive magical front taken against Elessar. For reasons unknown to the Washun, this magical effort, combined with the vast amount of eldric technology and some unseen energies, caused what is now known as the Dissolution of Elessar.
What came to pass was both wildly unexpected and completely illogical from the viewpoint of even modern-day scholars. The planer energies of the Gloom were shoved into the lands of Elessar, creating the present-day Harrows. The shadow forces from the Gloom permeated the entirety of Elessar, making its lands utterly uninhabitable to the civilization that once resided there. Millions of Elish citizens were killed during the ensuing rush of the Gloom, and a great many of them were almost immediately risen as undead by the dark power from that plan. Those that survived the creation of the Harrows immediately were beset upon by their fallen comrades, and only a few hundred thousand Elish survived and sought refuge in the various nations of the world that would take them in.
The Elish in the present day, nearly seven decades later, find themselves living in small pockets of centralized heritage in various cities throughout the world. A good number of Elish citizens find themselves in Erygis, Vavaire, Venoch, Tristan, and Osept, with large concentrations in self-established Elish districts where they can retain some semblance of their culture. While the hope of returning to their homeland has diminished slowly since the creation of the Harrows, there are a large number of individuals who seek out Elish design, both for cultural and nostalgic reasons, as well as industrial and creative design. With the fall of Elessar, many eldric advancements were lost as well, and many believe this alone set back eldric technology for decades if not centuries, as a multitude of the great minds and blueprints of Elessar were lost.
Few dare tread within this shadowy expanse. The riches and secrets contained within the fallen nation may be great – but the dangers lurking in the Harrows are far greater, and the rumors surrounding the area are enough to send even the bravest adventurers scurrying back to the reassuring hustle and bustle of civilization. Veteran airship captains avoid flying over the Gloom-infused landscape, and only the One Hundred and Seventeen Sky Dragons are bold enough to man an outpost at Erastin, found on the tip of the peninsula.
Traversing the Harrows, for either exploration or the recovery of Elish goods, is one of the most dangerous endeavors anyone could undertake. Multiple organizations have mounted expeditions into the Gloom-touched land, but only a fraction of these ever return, and they are always worse for wear with many casualties. Those that survive tell of a land covered in darkness, where even the sun at its zenith appears dim, casting deep shadows. The land itself seems to change gradually over time, warping the perceptions of those who wish to traverse it. On top of the natural challenges of the Harrows, it is riddled with creatures of untold danger. Legions of undead still roam these lands, and that’s not even mentioning the creatures composed of the shadows from the Gloom that roam the darker portions of the Harrows.