Plot
#1
The secretive nature of magic lent itself well to mankind’s desire to not believe in it, as did the reclusive nature of the innumerable supernatural creatures that hid from them out of some unspoken code. Until the Unveiling Conflict in the 15th century, mankind was almost entirely unaware of the supernatural forces and wars going on around them. 

Amun Neb’Ankh, an ancient necromancer from times forgotten, brought forth his horde of undead in an attempt to take Europe by storm. Originating from Ancient Egypt, Amun was once a priest of considerable rank and power, but he craved more. So he delved deeply into the black arts of necromancy, searching for the answer to Godhood. He brought the city he inhabited to the grave, striking it forever from memory. There he built up his strength for a millennium, until he found himself ready to strike. The death left in his wake could not be ignored by the humans, but they had no explanation for what they saw, nor any way of protecting themselves. He swept across the land, seemingly having erupted from the very sands of Egypt. While the humans had no way to fight back, the supernatural races of Europe weren’t going to stand idly by. The dominant political body of the supernatural races in Europe, The Shadow Court, quickly took notice.

The Shadow Court originally consisted of Jaquelyn de Vere—a vampire and English noblewoman who had gone through many names, titles, marriages, and "deaths" to hide her immortality while maintaining and increasing the social status she was born with—and the vampire retainers she gained over the years. As years turned to centuries and the organization grew, Elven mages began to be seen in her service, and most supernatural races in England were either allied with it to some degree or another or knew well enough to leave it alone. As a "human" noblewoman who, by the time of the Unveiling Conflict, ruled in her own right, she dealt fairly with the commoners in her domain and was well-liked and respected. As the leader of what came to be known as the Shadow Court, she inspired loyalty in all that served her through her fierce protectiveness of anyone she viewed as her own. 

As the organization slowly branched out across Europe, a rigid hierarchy developed to keep the spreading organization together. Ambassadors were hand-picked and personally trained by Jaquelyn to oversee the Court's operations in other countries. By the fourteenth century, they had influential positions in many human governments across Western Europe. In the fifteenth century, when news arrived of a powerful necromancer destroying everything in his path in eastern Europe reached them, all understood the need to act swiftly before this threat reached their lands, and with such a pressing reason, it wasn't difficult to call on old alliances and assemble a sizable army to take on the necromancer and his ever-growing horde; however, it was impossible to hide such a force from the humans, who were already hearing rumors of the horrors that were said to have come from Egypt. Jaquelyn de Vere personally led the coalition forces that brought down Amun’s armies, but the necromancer himself, along with many of his generals, escaped, abandoning their underlings to be slaughtered. 

The aftermath of the great battle turned out to be the greatest challenge of all, as the Court used every possible method, from diplomacy to the manipulation of humanity's fear to quietly removing the opposition, to ensure the security of the newly revealed supernatural races. While the humans were naturally terrified at first of the beings that destroyed their land, Jaquelyn ensured that her side came out on top as the heroes, and directed their fear towards necromancy rather than the supernatural community as a whole. Necromancy was banned across most of Europe out of fear. 

As the news spread across the world, more secretive races began to reveal themselves. Certain gifted humans were accepted as apprentices to elven or vampire mages, and these humans often went on to found colleges where magic could be studied. These colleges often dealt closely with the Shadow Court; many human mages were able to find apprenticeships in the Court or through its myriad connections with otherwise isolated groups of magic users. 

As each successive generation of humans grew more comfortable with the magical world it turned out they had lived in all along and the uneasy relations between the supernatural races and humans stabilized, the Shadow Court revealed itself to humans as the dominant political organization of the supernatural world, even going so far as to exchange official ambassadors with the human governments, doing much of its business more openly. While some took issue with the Court's claim, no other organization could rival the scope of the Court--most supernatural races lived in small groups, the largest being some Elven and Dwarven cities, and none had any political body to unite these isolated groups. To this day, the Court outwardly works to bridge the gap and settle disputes between humans and the supernatural races, and if they have a hidden purpose, it has yet to be revealed.

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