Not to be confused with the legendary hero Tyleus, also named Tylos in some version of his story.
Tylos, also called Kavzar, Tylea or Til depending on the source, was an ancient Human and Dwarfen city located in the Blighted Marshes between modern day Tilea and Estalia. Humans inhabited the surface while the dwarves had built a fortress underground, making the two peoples flourish thanks to trade.[3a]
The city of Tylos was founded sometime from -2500 to -2000 IC, and was destroyed in -1780 IC. Placing it's founding prior to the War of the Beard.[3a] Those ruins are now believed to be the site of Skavenblight.[3a]
There is some evidence to suggest that Tileans and Estalians may be fully or partially descended from former inhabitants of Tylos or the lands surrounding it mainly. The myths date the city back to the time when High Elves still colonised parts of the Old World.[3a]
Bellona Myrmidia (The War Goddess Myrmidia) begins with the tale of the tragically flawed Tyleus, the legendary father of the Tilean peoples. Tyleus made a covenant with raven-haired Myrmidia, a Goddess of Civilisation, Beauty, and Honour, and with her help built a great city for his tribe, the city of Tylos. However, this city was not enough for Tyleus, for he dreamed of surpassing the slender, white structures to the south. So, he ordered his people to build a tall tower, one to humble even the Elves. Myrmidia was appalled at this pointless toil, and, after many warnings, abandoned Tylos, claiming she would return when his people knew honour again. The fate of the city is unclear, but some scholars claim it fell to the Dark Gods, its corruption spreading outwards to form what is now known as the Blighted Marshes.[1a]
Centuries passed, and the shattered remnants of the people of Tylos spread through the other, southern tribes. After a great war with the Dwarfs, the Elves abandoned the Old World, and Humanity cautiously replaced them, slowly building new civilisations around the Elder Race’s ruins. For reasons still hotly debated by her modern cult, Myrmidia then returned to the descendants of Tylos; however, she came not as a God, but as a mortal. It is said Myrmidia learned hard lessons in her early years, and was driven by her experiences to abandon her pacifist ways, and take up weapons of war to fight injustice. Over the years, and many battles, she gathered great heroes to her side, and within a decade had bound all Estalia and Tilea under her rule, staving off all manner of invasions and rebellions. But, just as Myrmidia was to be crowned queen, she was shot by a poisoned dart. As she lay dying, she ordered a great ship be built, and, it is said, sailed west upon it, there to return to her home amongst the Gods, known now, and forever after, as a Goddess of War.[1a]
The Doom of Kavzar
One common Tilean tale called The Doom of Kavzar states that the city was destroyed after they constructed a large tower, and a stranger offered to complete it and crown it with a huge bell. When the bell rang out 13 times, rain fell constantly and rats roamed the streets. Eventually the Dwarfs disappeared, and the people of Tylos fled.[1b]
- "Once upon a time, long long ago, Men and Dwarfs lived together beneath the roof of one great city. Some said it was the oldest and greatest city in the world and had existed before the time of the longbeards and manlings, build by older and wiser hands in the dawn of the world. The city lay both above and below the earth, in keeping with the nature of the populace that dwelt there. The Dwarfs ruled in their great halls of stone below ground and wrestled the fruits of the rock free with their day-long toil, while the manlings reaped the fields of swaying corn that surrounded the city with a patchwork blanket of gold. The sun smiled, men laughed, and everyone was happy.
- One day the men of the city decided that they should give praise to their gods for their good fortunes. They planned a temple such as the world had never seen before. In the central square a colossal hall would be built and topped with a single, cloud-piercing tower. A tower so tall it would touch the very heart of the heavens. After much planning, and with the help of the longbeards, they set about their monumental task.
- Weeks became months and months became years and still the manlings built. Men grew old and grey working on that great temple, their sons continuing their work through summer sun and winter rain. At last, after many generations, work began on the great spire itself. Years passed and the tower reached such a height that the manlings found it ever more difficult to take the stone up to the top. Eventually the work slowed to a crawl and finishing the tower seemed impossible. Then one came among the men of the city who offered his help in their great scheme. He asked a single boon of them in return and claimed that if they would grant him this, he would complete the tower in a single night. The manlings said to themselves. "What have we to lose?" and offered to make a bargain with the grey-clad stranger. All he wished was to add his own dedication to the gods onto the temple structure. The manlings agreed and the bargain was struck. At dusk the stranger entered the unfinished temple and bade the manlings to return at midnight. Clouds swept over the moons, cloaking the temple in darkness as the manlings left. All over the city, men watched and waited as the hours slipped past until, near midnight, by ones and twos, they gathered again in the temple square. The wind blew and the clouds parted as they gazed up at the temple. It rose like an unbroken lance against the sky, pure and white. At its very peak a great horned bell hung gleaming coldly in the moonlight. The stranger's dedication to the gods was there but of the stranger himself, there was no sign.
- The manlings rejoiced that their father's fathers work was done. They surged forward to enter the temple. Then, at the stroke of midnight, the great bell began to toll, once.... twice.... thrice. Slow, heavy waves of sound rolled across the city. Four... five... six times the bell rang, like the torpid pulse of a bronze giant. Seven... eight... nine, the rolling of the bell grew louder with each ring, and the manlings staggered back from the temple steps clutching their ears. Ten... eleven... twelve... thirteen. At the thirteenth stroke, lightning split the skies and thunder echoes through the night. High above, the dark circle of Morrslieb was lit by a bright flash and all fell ominously silent. The manlings fled to their beds, frightened and puzzled by the portents they had seen. Next morning they arose to find that the darkness had come to their city. Brooding storm clouds reared above the rooftops and such rain fell as had never been seen before. Black, like ash, the rain fell and puddled in the streets, slicking the cobbles with darkly iridescent colours.
- At first some of the manlings didn't worry, they waited for the rain to stop so that they might resume their work. But the rain did not stop, the winds blew stronger and lightning shook the high tower. Days stretched into weeks and still the rain did not stop. Each night the bell tolled thirteen times and each morning the darkness lay across the city. The manlings became fearful and prayed to their gods. Still the rains did not stop and the black clouds hung like a shroud over the fields of flattened corn. The Manlings went to the Dwarfs and beseeched their help. The longbeards were unconcerned -- what matter a little rain on the surface? In the bosom of the earth all was warm and dry. Now the manlings huddled in their dwelling, fear gnawing at their hearts. They sent some of their number to faraway places to seek help but none of them returned. Some went to the temple to pray and sacrifice their dwindling food to the gods but they found the temple door closed to them. The rain grew heavier. Dark hailstones fell from the sky and crushed the sodden crops. The great bell tolled a death knell over the terrified city.
- Soon great stones cleft the heavens, rushing down like dark meteors to smash the homes of the manlings. Many sickened and died from no apparent cause, and the newborn babies of the manlings were hideously twisted. Skulking vermin devoured what little stored corn there was left and the manlings began to starve. The manling elders went to see the Dwarfs again and this time demanded their help. They wanted to bring their folk below ground to safety, they wanted food. The longbeards grew angry, and told the manlings that the lower workings were flooded and their food had also been devoured by rats. There remained barely enough food and shelter for them and their kinsmen. They cast the manlings out of their halls and closed their doors once more.
- In the ruins of the city above, each day became more deadly than the last. The manlings despaired and called for succor from the dark gods, whispered the names of forgotten Daemon Princes in the hope of salvation. But none came -- instead the vermin returned, bigger and bolder than ever. Their slinking, furred shapes infested the broken city, feasting on the fallen and pulling down the weak. Each midnight the bell tolled thirteen times on high, seeming now brazen and triumphant. The manlings lived as hunted creatures in their own city as great rat packs roamed the streets in search of them.
- At last the desperate manlings took up such weapons as they had and beat upon the Dwarfs door, threatening that if they did not emerge they would drag them out by their beards. No reply came from within. The manlings took up beams and battered down the doors to reveal the tunnels below, dark and empty. Steeling themselves, the pitiful remnants of the city's once proud populace descended. In the ancient hall of kingship they found the Dwarfs, now naught but gnawed bones and scrapes of cloth. And there they saw by the dying light of their torches the myriad eyes about them, glittering like liquid midnight as the rats closed in for the kill. The manlings stood back to back and fought for their lives, but against such implacable ferocity and countless numbers of the verminous horde, their weapons were useless. The tide of monstrous rats flowed over them one by one, dragging them down to be torn apart, the yellow chisel-teeth sinking into their soft-flesh, the dark tufted mass drowning their pitiful screams with their hideous chittering.....
- Translated from the Tilean tale "The Doom of Kavzar" also called "The Curse of Thirteen" [1b]
The Origin of Classical Language
Classical is spoken by Human academics of all kinds. It is the first recorded Human language of the Old World – over 3,000 years old – used in most scholarly texts of the Empire including wizard grimoires and many holy books.[4a] Since it is an old tongue favoured by academics, it is rarely spoken anymore.[2b]
The academics assert that, much like the fertile Reik Basin to the north, the drier lands to the south were also populated by tribes of Humans. However, unlike the northern tribes, who were invaders from foreign soil, Tileans argue that their ancestors had long inhabited their lands, and cite the myths of great Tilean cities supposedly founded during the occupation of the Old World by the Elves as proof.[2b]
The legacy of this mythical civilisation was the written word, which Tilean ancient texts suggest was gifted to them by Verena, the Goddess of Wisdom. Whatever the origin of this ancient written language, it is now called Classical, and its modern equivalent is still used across the Old World as the primary script of academic study, and as a common tongue between enlightened folk of all Old World nations.[2b]
Thus, long before the great city-states of Tilea had been wrought, it is claimed there was an intellectual elite that could read and write in the south of the Old World. As most of their early settlements were built in and around the ruins abandoned many centuries ago by the Elves, the Tileans also reason their ancestors must have translated the impossibly complex runes of that race. From these translations the Tileans then claim to have learned the founding principles of modern philosophy, medicine, theology, astronomy, and, most importantly, they believe they uncovered many new Gods.[2b]
Whatever the truth, the Tileans were an adventurous and curious folk, and soon organised expeditions to explore the surrounding lands. When they eventually encountered the northern tribes, they brought with them knowledge of their written language and Gods, and had a broad-reaching impact upon the ancestors of the Empire.[2b]
- Although it is never specified directly, it is strongly implied in the story of the "Doom of Kavzar" that the people of the city of Tylos or at least some of them have been transformed into the early forms of the Skaven race. Furthermore, in the description of the Fall of Tilea and Estalia it is pointed out that some of the typical characteristics of the Skaven appear to be grotesque caricatures of the Tilean and Estalian ones, such as the tendency to political intrigue.[1b]
- The myth of a tower so high to face the gods is certainly taken from that of the Tower of Babel.