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The four nations were once a single nation under one god- The Worldmaker, living in a fertile plain fed by winding rivers. But they grew arrogant and corrupt. They abused their power and resources. They grew complacent and careless, exploiting the land and destroying it in the process. As a punishment for their negligence, their civilization was destroyed by drought and sandstorms until it crumbled into ruin.
After this event, they split into two factions. One faction, stubborn in their rebellion, built ships and sailed to better lands in the north where they forsook their ancestral faith and made new gods of metal and stone. The other faction repented, deciding to rebuild their homes and remain faithful.
Eventually the northern faction began to think themselves superior the southern faction and invaded them, intent on making them into slaves. The southerners were not expecting an invasion and were unprepared. They split into two groups: one group retreated further into the desert, where they built lives for themselves among the sands and oases and built new cities over the old ruins. Their leader was Mavros the Visionary. Their descendants became the Mavarians. The other group retreated in to the dense jungle, and their descendants became the Mako, “The Tribe”. The Worldmaker gave them magic powers in order to help them defend themselves from the invaders and to make life easier for them in their hostile new homes, but also limited their powers to prevent them from abusing them.
The northerners realized that pursuing into the desert and jungles would be a bad idea, so they were content to remain in the lands they had already subdued. Most of them returned north to the lands they had conquered. They named their country the “Land of Strength” and christened themselves the Beorgians. But some chose to colonize the southern territory they had acquired and managed to transform it into a fertile country. They resultant agricultural success brought economic stability that allowed them to pursue the arts and sciences and claim independence, separating them from their northern mother country.
As a symbol of their autonomy, they abandoned the northern pagan religious system, but they also didn't want to adopt the monotheism of the southerners, who they deemed inferior. Their rulers decided this would be a good opportunity to grab power, so they wouldn't have to constantly share power with a religious sect. They issued a declaration that the gods did not exist and banned all public worship. They funded the arts and sciences with a bias towards atheism. After a few generations the idea that there were no gods became accepted as fact. They called their country the “Land of Enlightenment” and became the Elyssians.