Foreword

Submitted by aran on Wed, 11/19/2008 - 03:35

The title of this work, long awaited and now at least complete, poses a question that leads to the central problem any historian must struggle to address: How does one chronicle a world?

For the threads of history, if such may even be said to exist, do not progress in an orderly fashion, from aeon to aeon, with wars and dynasties and empires to neatly bookend the fore-ordained eras. The chronologies of rulers, years and battles, drily taught by rote to pupils, have as much to do with ''history'' as the unthinking recitation and enumeration of arcane chants and formulas has with the study and practice of magic.

Nor can these lists be called a foundation, a skeleton, or a basis of historical learning. Such would imply a fundamental structure, even a purpose, of history, around which the events of the time are wrapped like decoration. Instead, they are only a distraction, perhaps a perversion of historical learning: A collection of memorized facts that allow one to believe one has learned from history, even though one can observe that the present time is far more complex and intricate than what common texts condense to numbers and call the past.

Rather, the serious study of history must, almost by necessity, lose itself in the chaotic mesh of individuals and factions, the flow and contraflow of intrigue and strife, the interleaving of steadfast loyalty and fiendish betrayal, of mighty deeds attempted for reasons both noble and vain, of fragile peace, yet far more often of tragic sacrifice and loss. History is a story, or really a stream of stories, multifaceted and never-ending.

It is this approach that the esteemed Master Kehtar has therefore endeavored to use in the compilation of this most momentous of volumes, which scholars called his magnum opus almost as long as he has been working on it.

-Darryl Mycroft, Provost, Redmark College