The Wrong Guys
Centuries ago, there were dragons. Not that many, but they were there. Attalin was not the capital, merely a large town that housed the headquarters of the paladin order, which at the time was not so deeply involved in politics. Sorcerers were feared, but also pitied. Tavetiir was half the size it is today. The Iraness River, which now runs almost exactly down the center of Tavetiir, used to be the border between Tavetiir and Kallean. Kallean is gone now, crumbling magic-laden ruins all that remains of an empire that, nearly a thousand years ago, stretched from the Iraness to the Temarian, on the eastern edge of Rysal. (In the context of the real world, think a sort of Celtic-ish version of Han China, except it collapsed 400 years ago into what is now the eastern half of modern Tavetiir)
Kallean guarded their side of the border with mage towers, which polluted the Iraness with arcane energies. Kallean employed gnomes and sorcerers in their armies. Kallean was a monarchy, and Tavetiiir was and is a theocracy, ruled by a triumvirate of priests. It is largely agreed that two of the three were more or less crazy during this particular time period.
378 years ago, Kallean and Tavetiir were at war. Tavetiir was holding out, but just barely. The dwarves of Dvenukkaim were not our allies yet, and Kallean had better farmlands, more soldiers, and did not have to battle elves at their northern border.
The triumvirate had the bright idea to enlist sorcerers in the army *facepalm *. Get them killed, and get a nice little boost of power while we’re at it. So when Kallean’s soldiers attacked Attalin, sorcerers stood by paladins, and defended Attalin with sword and spell.
We won, technically. Their army was demolished, they had no more real soldiers to send. Kallean was conquered within a year, the gnomes driven out and the mage towers demolished. You can still see the remains of the foundations along the river today. But the sorcerers were no longer satisfied with the way things were, no longer willing to be set apart and, in some ways, looked down on. They had seen now what they could do if they banded together. They plotted and schemed, contacted the elves and the gnomes, made pacts with devils and fey. Three years later, when Attalin was expanded drastically and declared the new capital, the sorcerers were allowed to enter the city. They entered, and called upon their newfound allies.
It was a bloodbath. A city that had taken two and a half years to construct, destroyed in under a day, as some sort of blind revenge against crimes that had never been commited. Ten thousand innocent citizens ripped limb from limb, their corpses desecrated and revived as undead soldiers, as revenge for the few hundred sorcerers who we had driven away from our territories.
We fled to the mountains, finding allies in the dwarves. They armed us, gave us food, shelter, and marched with us back to Attalin. We hadn’t ever killed the sorcerers without giving them a chance to flee, leave Tavetiir. Not before that. The army retook Attalin by force, human and halfling marching side by side with dwarf, beating back and slaying every elf and gnome, every demon and faerie, every warlock and sorcerer. We burned their corpses, buried the city, prayed that their gods take their twisted souls, for we were too angry, too resentful, to perform the rites over them, as we had always done before.
The triumvirate was overthrown (for idiocy), a new one elected to their place. Laws were placed, paladins rose in status, eventually gaining the chance to be elected to the triumvirate, and from there to the current way it is, where there is always one paladin in the triumvirate. Teruk Stoneaxe became the first dwarven paladin when he was 153, and eventually rose to the triumvirate, the second paladin to do so, where he ruled for 80 more years before abdicating in favor of Lianya Iboron, a priestess from East Tavetiir. Sorcerers were ostracized, hunted, and slain. No rites were ever again performed over their corpses, and in time, the prayers for their damaged souls stopped as well. We redoubled our efforts to keep the elves out, the gnomes down, and the arcane arts abolished.
Never again would we trust the sorcerers. They always had been insane. No mortal has been truly able to channel the arcane without harm coming to mind, body, or both. They always had been hateful, angry that we could not live with them, that we did not, could not, fully accept them because of the legitimate danger they posed to our citizens. Angry that we had killed some of them before they burnt themselves out, angry that we did not let the arcane consume their souls. (see, insane!)
Never again will we let them get a chance to taste power. Never again. We won’t live through those years again.