The Psionic Crusade
Opinions differ as to the origins of the war. Those who fought to eradicate arcane magic point to the assassination of the Elvenking Aelar of Ulaeviel and the demonism of the tieflings of Vor Rukoth. Those who defended arcane magic point to the inflammatory teachings of the Ulaevian High Cleric of Erathis and the creation of the Warforged by the Kalashtar of Bael Turath. Small skirmishes and rhetorical volleys had passed between the two camps so often that it is hard to say when the first blows were actually thrown, but the Crusade itself began with the call of the High Cleric twenty-five years ago. The war lasted twenty-three years, and might have gone on had the war not spilled over into Arkhosia.
All parties had courted Arkhosian favor, but the dragonborn empire had stayed definitively neutral. Then, in the eighteenth year of the crusade, a terrible cataclysm occurred across the Empire. The spells that bound many Arkhosian citadels and cities to the sky were unbound, and the structures they supported came crashing down. Dozens of outposts were destroyed, but the greatest catastrophe occurred in the cities of the Gulf of Io. This once storm-wracked body of water had been tamed by Arkhosian mages centuries earlier. Their spells now came unbound and it was as if centuries of storms that never came to pass were now unleashed in one terrible tempest. The Gulf rose in its bed, flooding the cities even as tidal waves toppled towers and unbound skyforts came crashing down from on high. After three horrific weeks, the storm spent itself and the cost could be counted. Thousands upon thousands were dead, including the Emperor.
Both sides in the conflict sought to put blame on the other, hoping to direct the rage of the Arkhosian Empire at their enemies. The new Emperor, however, blamed them all and their war itself. And so, even as dragonborn magewrights sought to master the Gulf of Io once again, an army under the command of the Emperor marched out of Arkhosia, intent on bringing the warring factions to heel.
Threatened though the were by the technologically superior Arkhosians, the Psionics and Arcanists could not make common cause, and the Arkhosians began to swallow up great swaths of land. Weakened though they were, Arkhosian technology outmatched that of their enemies and the wrath of the dragonborn was terrible.
It was the tieflings of Bael Turath who first found a way to match the Arkhosians. Turathi spies had been studying Arkhosian technology for years, hoping to replicate it. At last, with the aid of their dwarven allies, the achieved with alchemy what the dragonborn had done with elemental mastery. Dwarven forges cranked out Turathi firearms at an immense rate. Newly armed with what the High Cleric called a ‘gift from Moradin,’ and with the Arkhosians engaged in a costly campaign against the goliath tribes of the Scorpion Mountains in their attempts to gain control of the peninsula, the Turathi led the crusading armies against Vor Rukoth. The scouring of that city is a tale known by bards the world over, a tale either of the victory of the Psionic Crusade over the demon-worshiping Arcanists, or of the tragic last stand of the last independent Great House of tieflings.
This victory was to be bittersweet though. As the victorious armies marched away from Vor Rukoth, they were ambushed by an army of Eladrin, Gnomes, and Wilden, who had traveled through the Feywild to get the drop on the Psionics. At the same time, fleets of Genasi corsairs launched attacks on Vor Turath and Elvenholme. They managed to sack the undefended Turathi capital, but the elven colony managed to turn them back, though at great cost.
Meanwhile the Arkhosians had abandoned their campaign in the mountains and their further weakened armies were stretched thin occupying the lands they had seized. Judging that the Empire had gained all it could from the war, the Emperor called for a peace conference, threatening to use all the Empire’s resources in destroying any who refused.
Unwilling to test this threat, delegations from each alliance met, with the Arkhosian Emperor serving as arbitrator. The resulting Waymeet Accords required that Psionics and Arcanists be free to practice their arts so long as doing so was not harmful to others or damaging to the peace. Though neither side accepted blame for the disaster that befell Arkhosia, the Empire was allowed to keep the lands it had occupied between the Scorpion and Claw Mountains in the south and the Midnight Sea in the north.
Only two groups refused to sign the accords. The Genasi on the Arcanist side, and the elves of Ulaeviel on the Psionic Side. Both of these factions returned to their homes to gather their strength. For now though, there is a peace of sorts.