The Creation of the Cores
Eons ago, in the days before men walked the earth, magic flowed freely and chaotically over the land of Kelenorë. It sat locked in the cold stone of the mountains, climbed through the veins of the trees and spilled from the sunlight on the leaves, glistened on the tips of flower petals, blew on winds across the plains, rushed through the flowing rivers and coruscated into the rippling depths of the sea.
Magic was difficult to move, then; The living could bend it to their wills no more easily than they cold bend the very laws of nature. The primitive races of hill and swamp sensed its power and named it as gods. The elves, old and proud, gently pulled the heartstrings of trees to do their bidding. The dwarves, steadfast and strong, pried its power from the raw, living stone.
Then the gods bade men to rise from the soil. From the richness of death had they come, and to its richness they should return. To them, the world was new, and they knew not its laws. They were ever curious and hungered for power, seeking to know and to master all things. They too sensed the energy locked up in the soul of the world, and they sought to draw it out, to study its bare face, and to wield it with absolute control.
Thus was the First Council of Tirgul formed. Those men from across the face of Kelenorë who sensed and understood the earth’s magic most completely set out to locate its sources and concentrations, to distill them into their purest essences, and to give these essences forms which could be controlled. The First Council built the Cores of the world, setting freely accessible sources of magic in the places where the earth poured it generously, but did not hold it tightly.
Now pulled into the open from the depths of the world’s soul, magic became much more malleable, and much more openly powerful. The spirits of the flowers and trees multiplied a hundredfold, their life force freed from the bones of the forest. Mages who had struggled their whole lives to chill a glass of water could now freeze over lakes with a thought. A new age of wizards began, as magic became not an indelible force of nature, but a simple tool to be employed by those who fancied to learn its craft.
The Second Council of Tirgul established the Tirgul Academie, where the study of arcane magic was centralized, codified and reined in, its power held in secret by an academic elite, and these secrets locked away from any of the populace who did not curry the Academie’s favor. By tradition, this has become the magical center of Kelenorë.
Present Instability of the Cores
The 136th Council of Tirgul was the first to sense the instabilities in the Cores. A misfired lightning bolt here, a botched teleportation there. They were tiny problems at first – chips and hairline cracks in the nature of magic, which were easily worked around or patched over. But by now, in the time of the 142nd Council, when civilization’s infrastructure is absolutely dependent on magic, these imbalances can no longer be ignored.
Too tied up in politics and academia, and presumably physically unfit to undertake such perilous journeys themselves, the Council has put out a call for adventurers. Their task: travel to the far corners of Kelenorë, inspect the cores, and either do what needs to be done to stabilize them or at least report their condition to the Council. Their reward: the financial, political, and academic suport of the Academie, for the successful party and unto their eighth generation of descendants. Hundreds of Kelenorë’s bravest, strongest, and smartest have answered this call, and all are now crowding into the city of Tirgul to receive their directions and resources.