The Fall of Sarpadia

This chronicle of Sarpadia’s empires and their collapse was assembled at our request by the planeswalker and scholar Taysir, who interviewed survivors of the carnage in the years that followed. Though Sarpadia was well-set on its course of destruction, it is to Taysir’s account that we owe our knowledge of the planeswalker Tev Loneglade (now known as Tevesh Szat) and his role in fomenting the doom that befell the folk of Sarpadia.

The planeswalker Tevesh Szat is known – by name and reputation – to many across Dominaria. So is the legend of Sarpadia, where great empires both rose and fell before the coming of the terrible age of ice thousands of years ago. What is known to comparatively few, however, is the important role Tevesh Szat played in the fall of Sarpadia’s empires: a role that forever defined him as a blight on Dominaria, and a role he wouldn;’t repeat when the glaciers rolled across the land bringing cold death in their wake. That he lives still is a testament to both his tremendous evil and his tremendous power; that the empires of Sarpadia do not likewise endure is a testament to their petty bickering and tyrannical rulers – and also, unfortunately, to the power of Tevesh Szat.

On the cusp of the fall, there were several major forces in Sarpadia. The largest of these was Icatia, a civilized nation of merchants, bankers, and elected officials, with a strong army and advanced medical knowledge. Strong though Icatia was without, it was torn from within: the zealot Farrel and his followers were pushing for radical religious and political reforms, a push that resulted in a divided populace. Their principal opponent within Icatia was the Order of Leitbur, a group of peace-minded moderates. The Order of Leitbur rightly saw the Farrelites as dangerous extremists; in turn, the Farrelites saw the Order of Leitbur as meek cowards. Both groups, however, feared and opposed the Order of the Ebon Hand, a corrupt sect that practiced sacrifices and sinister magic. The Ebon Hand generally kept a low profile and were more rumored than seen, but as the fall drew near they made a very visible mistake. For some time, the Ebon Hand had been working on creating a sentient slave-race, the thrulls, to serve them as an endless supply of sacrificial victims. But the thrulls grew too intelligent, and rose against their Ebon Hand masters in open rebellion.

Off the coast of Sarpadia was another major power, the merfolk nation of Vodalia. This group was ruled by a militant, magic-wielding upper class who taught their people to be both fierce and hard-working. They engaged in substantial trade with Icatia and other empires, as there was a substantial underclass of artisans and craftsfolk who created items much in demand by the surface-dwellers. The Vodalians, however, were facing a terrible threat: the homarids, primitive but fast-spreading crustaceans who sought to conquer the desirable coastal waters of Sarpadia and destroy the Vodalian empire.

A nation of elves dwelled on Sarpadia in Havenwood Forest. They had the wisdom to see the coming of the Ice Age and knew that food would become scarce; sadly, they did not have the wisdom to survive. The elves began breeding new forms of fungi as a food source, but the result was the thallids, sentient beings who – much like the thrulls – rose up in revolt against the elves. The elven leadership refused to acknowledge the sentience of their unfortunate creations and slaughtered them without mercy for a time, until the thallids grew organized enough to slaughter the elves in turn.

A small nation of dwarves dwelled in the mountains, where they worked the earth for precious metals for use in trade. Their craftsfolk also made exceptional tools and utensils of many kinds. Of all the empires of Sarpadia, the dwarves were perhaps the most reasonable and the most peaceful. Naturally, they were the first to die. An army of goblins and orcs came down from the mountains and overran the dwarven tunnels and underground cities. This first disaster happened before anyone else noticed, as the battles were fought underground and were over almost before they started. When the last of the valiant dwarves fell, the goblins and orcs came boiling out of the mountains and headed for Icatia.

Despite the numerous conflicts outlined above, it is conceivable that the Sarpadians could have banded together. The orcs and goblins represented the most immediate threat, and they threatened everyone on the continent. It would seem to have been in everyone’s best interests to cooperate in destroying this menace – but of course, this was Sarpadia before the fall and few had the foresight to realize that extinction was knocking at the door. And so, the goblins and orcs raced towards Montford, a town in Icatia, and no one noticed or cared.

No one that is, save a brother and sister: Tev and Tymolin Loneglade. Tev Loneglade was a planeswalker who had lived most of his lengthy life in quiet and solitude. He had a fierce temper, but knew enough to keep to himself as much as he could and avoid the petty squabbles of mortals. He saw the war of Urza and Mishra first-hand, and came to Sarpadia seeking peace. For a century he lived among the Icatians, finally retreating to the woods for peace and quiet.

His sister Tymolin was not a planeswalker and would have been a normal mortal except for Tev’s love. He cast an immortality spell upon her so that they could always stand together. By the time of the dwarves’ fall, however, Tymolin had long since tired of being immortal. Her lover, a dwarven warrior, died in the mountain battles with the forces of chaos – the latest in a long line of loves who Tymolin saw die before her eyes. She persuaded Tev to remove the spell of immortality, and the two journeyed towards Montford to warn the town of the approaching goblins and orcs.

Things went from bad to worse. Tymolin was captured and then killed by the zealot Farrel of Icatia, who apparently believed her to be a demon of the Ebon Hand. A battle resulted between the Farrelites and the Ebon Hand, a battle cut short by the arrival of Tev Loneglade. Gorged on rage at the death of his beloved sister, whatever good remained in Tev died in the flames he called down, which slew the entirety of the Farrelites and the Ebon Hand.

One might consider this to have been a blessing for Icatia, since it left only the moderate Order of Leitbur to guide the people. But this was the fall of Sarpadia, and it was not to be. Tev Loneglade was driven mad by loss – one suspects it was a short trip – and used his planeswalking powers to unleash a horde of goblins and orcs from the sky over Montford. The town’s defenders were unprepared for this surprise attack, and Montford fell. More towns followed, and Icatia was quickly overrun.

The elves, of course, could have raced to help the Icatians. But they had problems of their own. The thallids developed at an alarming rate, and the elves were fighting for their lives even as Icatia was falling before the beasts from the mountain heights. Some elven chronicles of the time suggest that the thallids had help; I would not be in the least surprised if Tev Loneglade had aided the thallids much as he had the goblins and orcs.

His hand is likewise suspect in the fall of Vodalia. The homarids seemingly doubled in number and cleverness overnight (though this may just be hyperbole on the part of merfolk chroniclers), and the bejeweled underwater cities of the merfolk were shattered. Great numbers of the merfolk underclass set out into the deeps of the oceans on a decades-long trek across the ocean floor in search of safer lands. The ruling class held on to the bitter end, fighting the ravening hordes of homarids with spells and swords. In the end, the survivors of the ruling class fled through a magical portal and left the wreckage to the ferocious crustaceans.

And so, a few short weeks brought the dwarves, Icatians, elves, and Vodalians to their doom. The landscape ran wild with goblins, orcs, thallids, and thrulls, while the seas boiled with homarids. Sarpadia was destroyed, and the planeswalker Tev Loneglade chose a new name to suit his new incarnation as an agent of destruction: Tevesh Szat, the Doom of All Fools. He swore to destroy all life on Dominaria, and as the Ice Age came and the glaciers rolled down from the poles, it seemed he might well get his wish. Across Dominaria, the tragedy of Sarpadia was repeated in a thousand forms, and in a thousand languages. In the end, the lesson was clear to all: corruption breeds destruction, and those without mercy are those without hope.

—Janilake, Sage of Minorad, 118 by the Reckoning