- In 843 IE, the first version of the Encyclopedia Ermariana was published with the following preface written by one of its founders:
It is, as of the fourth of Suncome this year, ten years after the reconciliation of the Kingdom of Avernum and the Empire of the Surface under King Micah and Empress Prazac I. Most of our nation have chosen to return to the surface and dwell here, although a great number preferred to stay in the caves; indeed, some citizens of the Empire have by now travelled down themselves, some to live with former family that got separated under the reign of Hawthorne II and Hawthorne III, and some merely for the adventure: The surface has long been purged of most sentient species not human, and many beasts besides, though the Nephilim are returning, and several Slithzerikai tribes are also emigrating to the surface.
Yet, there is quite a large number of former Avernites living in the Southeastern province of Valorim, and its capital, named Dawn by the first settlers in memory of the sunlight they lacked for so long, has grown into a large, prosperous city in these ten years. The Avernites have dwelt in the caves for well over a generation, and as the two cultures, the surface-dwellers and those born in exile, clash, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the intimate knowledge of both the caves and the surface is limited to very few.
It is with this concern in mind that my learned colleagues and I, founders of the Redmark College named for the late incantatrix who perished in batte against the Vahnatai in the City of Dawn, have decided to initiate an ambitious project: We shall, in cooperation with the Tower of Magi, the University of Valorim in Lorelei, the Library of Valorim in Sharimik, and with the support of countless travelling sages, begin to compile a compendium, an encyclopedia as it were, containing information on the history, geography, flora, fauna and the magic of all of Ermarian, both the surface and the caves. Under the supervision of the three directors of the Redmark College, the mage Iola Kizante, the historian Dorn Kaytar and the far-travelled explorer Daryl Mycroftone of the renowned heroes of Avernum shall be formed a work that will one day be a guide for the citizens of Avernum and the Empire, a tome containing all the basic lore of this world, of the Arcane, the Humanities and the Natural Sciences: The Encyclopedia Ermariana.