The Lore of Aranor
The Chronicle of Major Aranorian Events details the great events of Aranor and their place within the Aranorian timeline. Currently, most contemporary historians divide the history of Aranor into four distinct eras:
- The Creation of Aranor (??? B.C.F - ??? B.C.F.)
- The Forgotten Age (??? B.C.F. - 0 .C.F.)
- The Age of Fear (0 C.F. - 601 C.F)
- The Age of Rediscovery (601 C.F - Present Day)
Each era of recorded Aranorian history offers a rough timeline of numerous important, world-changing events that have led to shifts in the balance of power, the death of important figures, and the founding of new cities and kingdoms. Many great men and women have risen and fallen throughout Aranorian history, and whilst some of them may have been forgotten due to the Curse, others have since risen in prominence to carry out (or destroy) their predecessors' legacies.
"Of the gods who watch over Aranor thus, we know many - some whose worship is widespread, such as Alissa and Nossa, others whose sects are more hidden, such as Falandine and Nex. Some have been lost to us permanently, such as the creator gods of all the mortals who now walk this earth. But all have meddled in the affairs of mortals, and all have their influence felt in the many avenues of power they choose to manifest; Relics, prayers, temples, statues, and sometimes, as mortals themselves."
The Modern Pantheon of Aranor, by J.S. Hearthmaker
Aranor is watched over by various deities and lesser powers to whom the mortals of the world offer their worship and devotion in exchange for power, protection, and fulfillment in their first life and the next. Their origins, if were they ever truly understood, have been lost to the Curse of Falandine and perhaps even to the mighty gods themselves. What is known is that they vary from beings as ancient as creation itself and some of them ascended from mere mortals in the Forgotten Age, now sharing in the power of the heavens drawn from the faith of mortals.
Many names, many faces
Religious practices around the same deity can vary wildly from races to cultures throughout Aranor, with different names and titles for the same deity, or even the worship of dual entities such as the elven practice of viewing Alissa and Lunissa as two parts of a whole. Although some aspects and ideals of the gods remains consistent across various iterations of the same religion it is not infrequent that the expressions of their faith can lead them into conflict with each other, or that one temple of a deity spreads the tenets of their deity benevolently while another of the same does so maliciously. It has some to believe that the scope of the gods' favour is truly broad in scope - while others suspect the blasphemous doings of Nex the Deceiver, well-known to infiltrate and subtly alter other faiths.
Distant, but ever present
The deities of Aranor only rarely choose to show themselves on the material plane or interact directly with mortals, preferring instead to empower mortals to enact their will as their intermediaries on the affairs of the world. Although they are capable of manifesting in physical avatars with which they wield awesome powers and influence, it is a significantly taxing experience and most terrifying of all to an immortal being: it means they can be slain. Such is believed to have been the fate of the goddess of the elves Al'varanyë, slain by her own creations by the hand of the drow Zeri'thel in the Battle of Falling Stars.
The Dead and the Forgotten
Not only civilizations and history was left behind with the Curse of Falandine, but also many of the gods mortals once revered, most notable among them their creators. Whether by some past calamity or by lack of faith to nourish them, none of the gods attributed with the creation of Aranor's mortal races have survived after the Forgotten Age with only their faded scriptures and ancient monuments to remember them by. Nevertheless they are not without their worshippers to this day, although the only power they have to offer is now limited to the lingering echoes of their essence lingering behind in their relics and temples.
The known Living Gods and their Progeny
- Alissa, Goddess of the Sun
- Atemar, God of Mercy
- Borsimer, God of War
- Golgazak, The Grand Subjugator
- Daal, God of Justice
- Dorios, Deity of the Art
- Falandine, God of Fate
- Ynaera, Keeper of Secrets
- Lunissa, Goddess of the Moon
- Morgana, The Doomsinger
- Seras, She-Who-Thrives-In-Darkness
- Lyra, Goddess of Song
- Carnelia, Lady of Desire
- Nossa, Goddess of the Sea
- Jorvik, God of Luck
- Nex, Goddess of Deceit
- Astrabeth, Lord of the Forest
- Ziridessa, Mistress of Treachery
- Umethara, The Cavern-Mother
- Torek, God of Law
- Oohros, God of Chaos
The known Lost Gods
- A-ro, God of Humans
- Al'varanyë, Goddess of Elves
- Acheros, God of Orcs
- Amarae, Goddess of Dwarves
- Doriac, God of Halflings
- Vaalmateus, God of Metallic Dragons
- Korlaxxia, Goddess of Chromatic Dragons
- Khagarus, God of Goblins
- Lantillius, God of Gnomes
- A-Sarkat, Demigod of of Sarkati
"Estar is where the last of Aranor's once-abundant frontier spirit went to die."
Far to the west of the Thunder Sea, the island of Estar may be considered a distant and insignificant frontier, but for the longest time this place has been a constant draw for settlers and adventurers come for the promise of opportunity and undiscovered lands. It is littered with ancient ruins dating back to the Attaran Empire which has made it a draw for both scholars and adventurers keen to study and plunder it’s warded riches, one of the few corners of the world where such sites have not been stripped entirely bare by the curious and the greedy.
Since its discovery by Rugnor the Explorer in C.F. 923 it was settled by several expeditions in the centuries that followed, leading to the founding of various, independent cities originating from a variety of realms in the mainlands continent.
"Honevray? That's a shithole even I don't want to move to."
- Corvo Windglade, Member of the Kingsmen
The country of Honevray is a large, multi-raced realm consisting of three major cities, four large towns, and five small towns/villages. The south-eastern region is largely unexplored, and by rights not owned by King Elgaroth - although he would say otherwise. The rumours are the forests are occupied by unfriendly wood-elves, though none can confirm that as fact.
The two halves of the country are highly contrasting with climate, with the northern half known for it's harsh, cold weather, whilst the Southern for its opposing heat, sandstorms & sweltering sun. South Honevray, depsite containing the capital city Endavcra, is a fairly unexplored area, mainly due to the fact it consists of large deserts, forests and home to numerous creatures and beasts.
The capital city of Honevray is Endavcra to the South, although many would protest that the capital should really be Highpoint, which dominates the north-east of the country - on top of that, it is in a far safer location and can much easier gain control of the entire Northern territory. Endavcra struggles to maintain control of the surrounding miles, let alone the rest of the southern half.
Other key locations include Aquatos, the supplier of warships & sea trade for the land; Gradron - surrounded by fields and known for its horse-riders and cavalry; Azaaval, the kingdom of the Dwarves and its famous Mevorche Mines; Silagost, island of mages & sorcerers and Ellevrone; a small elven settlement (elves friendly with humans, anyway).
The threats to the land primarily come from the woods of Celedron, Xaih the desert-land home to a host of unfriendly desert-people of mixed races, the sinister land of Drenclamb to the south-west and the tower of Killidranclo to the north-west. Little is known of these lands.
"In the frigid wastes of the forgotten north, there are legends of an ancient, fallen empire, as well as rumours of treasures buried deep beneath the eyes. But to survive an adventure out into the frozen tundras, you must be prepared - for there are none so merciless as the very winds themselves, and winter is a silent killer."
"The Journey to World's End", Preface, written by Nicholas Sha'un
One of two regions extending into the uttermost north of the realm, World's End is a mostly frozen wasteland that is sparse in resources, sparse in settlements, and most of all; sparse in civilization. Those that dare enter the frigid wastes of the north tend to be foolhardy adventurers in search of fortune and gold, lured by the promise of riches lying beneath the ice.
Yet World's End was not always the cold hell that it is in present time. Scholars and traders alike whisper of an ancient, forgotten Drow Empire buried and lost to the throes of time; The Xala'agorinian Empire, once a shining bastion of Dark Elven might and supremacy. Legend has it that, at the height of it's power, the Empire had the capabilities to potentially conquer all of Aranor, but a mysterious event known as "The Ruination" destroyed Xala'agorin before it's ambitions could be realized.
Today there are only very few who call the wastes their permanent home - but rumours of an ancient vault unsealed have begun to attract people from all over Aranor, all desiring to uncover what lies underneath...
"Though nowadays known more famously as the Darian Archipelago, the Kahra'Alani's Hoan roots still persist through the decades of colonization and piratization it has gone through. The Admiralty may be the dominant power here, controlling trade through the Thunder Sea and terrorizing those who would refuse to pay it's exhorbitant prices, but even they have adopted many of the natives' practices and made it into their own."
- "How Dorland conquered the Kahra'Alani" by Amira Swiftdew, 1192 C.F.
The Kahra'Alani Archipelago (colloquially referred to as the Darian Archipelago) is a stormy region that lies in the middle of the Thunder Sea, uncharacteristically warm and humid owing to the volcanic activity around it's various islands. While it is home to several local races who have long lived both below and above the waters, it is best known for the free city of Daria and it's pirate lords.
With it's reach across all of the important trading routes of the Thunder Sea, the ruling elite of Daria, it's admiralty exercises control from the comfort of their flourishing city with wealth claimed from passing merchants - extracted either by the hands of a toll collector or the point of a sword. By assuring safe passage to all whom pass through the city and pay it's hefty tariffs, the city maintains a steady flow of wealth; and by letting their pirate fleets loose on those who attempt to skip the toll the bloodthirst of it's most vile scoundrels is sated.
It is by the virtue of a unique weapon manufactured only in Daria that the city maintains it's stranglehold on the archipelago and much of the whole Thunder Sea, a mysterious and destructive alchemical conconction called black powder. Even to the locals it is an enigma how it is made, the rumours ranging from complex arcane procedures to eldricht rites pulled straight from the nine hells.
Whatever the origins of this strange weapon, it has altered the destiny of the Thunder Sea since it's conception and has shaped the city of Daria to the melting pot of hot-blooded rogues and scoundrels it is today.
In spite of being nestled between the greatest realms of the Heartlands, the lands surrounding the River Blueblood's main channel and fork have a long history of rebuking settlers owing to the various monsters infesting it from the enormous roc that were known to hunt in the Featherfall Plains, the hill giants that used to lair in the Dusk Peaks, and the long-ranging orcish tribes descending from the Baradani. Over time the steady march of civilization had whittled away the dangers of even this wilderness and as of 1179 A.F.C. a trade outpost situated on the modern Midway Harbour was settled by a caravan headed by a Calindran merchant company, gradually entrenching it's position as it's numbers swelled from settlers bound from both east and west. By 1194 F.C. the beginnings of a true, permanent settlement had formed on the island at the River Blueblood's fork. Inevitably, conflict would stir.
Lady Caron of Arendeep were the first to claim the Blueblood Riverlands as an extension of her own ancestral lands owing to the original settlers being of Calindran origin and soon brought to question by Lord Arno of Talistar whom disputed the riverlands as part of Paladia, dating back to the long-lost Duchy of Wallandor dating back to it's ancient history. Negotiations proved fruitless as tempers flared, neither party interested in compromise over the ownership of the budding new boom-town and what could one day become a vital trade hub of the Heartlands. A bloody end seemed the nearly inevitable conclusion between the rivals, drumming up support for each of their causes in their respective wider realms with the lingering bad blood since their kingdoms' recent war, a bitter border conflict soon arose as neighbours of the nascent town were turned against the other.
After various clever skirmishes led by Lady Caron the Calindran forces had pressed the bulk of Lord Arno's small army to the edge of the Mere of Bones where the Paladians had dug in to settle the conflict the way they knew best: in open, valiant battle. As news spread to the courts of Eribourne and Calanthea, the young kings of the rival kingdoms scrambled to send word to their distant lords calling for an end to the conflict, unwilling to risk a second war after that which had claimed the lives of both of their parents. By the demands of formal custom, Caron and Arno met in the latter's camp in a last attempt to discuss terms that neither had interest in accepting. Thus it were, however, that the rogue and adventurer Carran of Dorwich had become aware of the conflict, emerging as the two lords were due to part with a declaration: the wine they and their retinue had shared that night was spiked with a magical poison and he would withhold the antidote unless they both in turn withheld all hostilities for no less than three days, assured they would otherwise be dead within the week.
All attempts by the lords' clerics to heal the ailment failed, perhaps partially owing to the fact that they too had been present and partaken in the wine, terribly stricken by a malady that left them bedridden and, as the bards retell it, "upset the workings of their bowels most mercilessly". With no choice but to comply, hostilities ceased, and in that delay the messengers of the distant kings' arrived to demand an end to the conflict. Carran had lied about his poison, there were no cure, but Arno and Caron would survive with only their pride broken. In a hasty attempt at compromise King Osric of Paladia and King Alvendir of Calindra declared that the Blueblood Riverlands be named an independent, separate realm unto itself.
Carran of Dorwhich became a hero overnight once again with his daring scheme that put an end to the border conflict and the man whom allowed the riverlands to become an independent town. It came as no surprise that he was elected it's very first mayor and only a small surprise when he ran off after less than a year in office when sedentary life became too dull, making off in the night with a not-so-modest chunk of the town treasury stuffed in his pack. While their local hero and first mayor did not stick around, the name did, and Carran's Crossing is today a fast growing trade hub connecting the northern ends of Calindra and Paladia. The scars of the old conflict remains as the town strives for an identity of it's own beyond the divisions of it's origins, as thus all whom had partaken in the conflict on either side were summarily exiled for a period of ten years on pain of death. Those veterans whom refused the decree would become the infamous outlaw bands still troubling the Caledor Trail and Kingsroad known as the Kingfishers from the Calindran side and the Kingsmen on the Paladian side of the conflict.
Composed primarily of immigrants from Paladian and Calindran descent, only the first generation of it's original settlers can claim to be truly native to the area, it has nevertheless forged a strong pioneer spirit as ambitious, adventurous young men and women come to seek their way into the newest inland frontier to settle and rediscover one of the last untouched ends of the Heartlands. While it's population is largely Heartlanders it is steadily growing to become far more diverse with settlers from farther afield come to seek their fortune. The more exotic, far-flung visitors come in no small part from the ranks of adventurers that are known to be drawn like flies to honey in places where wealth and danger might be found in equal measure and it's reputation does not disappoint.
The sudden disappearance of it's first mayor has left the administration of the town somewhat poorly established, ruled since then by a hastily-formed town council composed of it's head spiritual leader, the merchant guildmaster, guard captain, and most recently, it's newly appointed hedge wizard. As the town has steadily expanded it has been decided that the role of mayor be reinstated that more clear action can be decided should Carran's Crossing find itself under duress as it's growing prosperity begins to invite those who could take it for themselves. Growing out of the original caravan guards brought along with the settlers, a proper town guard has been established and even a small, separate militia known as the Wolf Watch after it's beginnings as a team of rangers responsible for guarding the roadbuilders, they now hold a permanent seat in the small fort of Brokenfang Keep guarding the Crossing from orc raids from the north while manning patrols up and down the Blueblood.
The mixture of both Calindran and Paladian influences is keenly felt within the local culture where shrines of both the kingdoms' favoured deities jostle for space around the unifying temple of Alissa. It's original settlers of Calindran merchants have carried with them their aversion toward the nobility and their inborn advantages, letting their money do the talking, while the scrappy adventurers arriving in search of glory and excitement have all but become the knight-errants of the borderlands and the making of their own ballads and local legends. To many of its settlers it is a place to find their fortunes when they have failed elsewhere or a place to belong when none others would take them, earning their place into the solidarity that comes with forging a life on the uncertain frontier.
The wounds left by its violent past still haunts some of its denizens and although most of its settlers consider the Crossing their home, the lingering animosity between its Paladian and Calindran diaspora whom both lost much to past wars has not been easily buried.
"To be Kiranese is to know your ancestors, your ancestral homelands, and your history. We are fortunate to have most of our history intact at our fingertips; For others, it is tragically not so."
- Xao Bei the Elder, Kiranese Philosopher
Kiran spans the lands south of the Heartlands, known to many foreigners as a land of the mysterious and exotic to which it is given a hundred different descriptions in which every contains only a fraction of it's greater whole. It is home to the greatest breadth of cultural diversity in the known world, presumed to have been the corner of Aranor least affected by the Curse of Falandine in addition to the cataclysmic events that preceded it. While it's people had awakened lost and confused like all of Aranor in the Age of Fear, the records of it's own history and former identity had survived nearly unscathed, but the unified empire it had once been would not endure the disorienting transition. It's people are spread out across a vast stretch of land that ranges from arid to humid, low to high altitudes, and from desert to wide forests, it is similarly broken split into several races and their own, wildly distinct identities that were reclaimed or reignited in the following years.
It was not until the year 901 A.F.C. (or the Year of the Long Shadow 3011 by the Kiranese calendar) that Hyoson the Herald, a since-deified warrior, diplomat, and poet reunified Kiran with the restoration of it's legendary capital city Tian Zhe. After existing only as myth for centuries it was rediscovered atop the peak of the mountain Yuhn, stretching from the cliffs onto a foundation of solidified clouds, above which the palace of Kiran's silent emperor loomed high. While all attempts to breach the palace failed and were eventually declared taboo, it is believed it's now nameless, immortal ruler remains in spirit and with this legend at his back, his sword, and his wit, Hyoson united reformed the Empire of Kiran as it's first herald, an honorific title granted to a handful of figures in it's recent history for being blessed with the wisdom and guidance of the emperor.
While Kiran was nominally unified, and this spirit of purpose would linger for some time, the disparate provinces of Kiran had been apart long enough to become too independent and suspicious of another to easily be categorized as one, single people. Only the distant, light hand of Tian Zhe exists to retain the reins of it's provinces pulling in many directions, the mighty engine of bureaucracy faced with the unenviable task of keeping the peace within and repelling foreign invasion from beyond it's own borders. In spite of this newfound unity Kiran has only ever been able to secure temporary victories against their hated enemies the pale orcs of Gurutan and Tian Zhe has been unable to coerce only token forces to respond against the invasion of Azravesh against it's northern border out of the Heartlands. Even with the notion of a unified land reignited, that is to consider oneself part of Kiran, it's peoples are a long way from forgetting past grudges and differences.
Player Parties of Aranor
The Eight of Estar are a collective of eight notable individuals hailing from all over Estar and beyond the Thunder Sea. Starting out as a small fledgling group of adventurers in Varana, the Eight first rose to prominence with the slaying of Yndarnathyl, the Winter Menace, and through their deeds, the group became widely renowned throughout the entire island, some of them eventually rising to prominent and respected positions within their respective homelands.
The group currently consists of the following members:
- High Lady Syrena Nightwander, Current High Lady of Fen'Doren
- Lord Consort Daris Nightwander, Lord Consort of Fen'Doren
- Lucina Aelar-Morrigan, Blood Huntress in Nal'Assinu's Name
- Lady Amelara Everwind, Heir to House Everwind and Bard
- Fordill Liadiir, Former Guard of Fen'Doren and Wielder of Aren'Doren
- Ser Vincent Whitewood, Former Heir to House Whitewood and Knight of the Order of the Summersword
- Ione, Follower of Atemar
- Balthazar, Dragonborn Soldier from Oromnir
Former members include:
- Akae, Kiranese Monk, lost at the Mouth of Nossa
The story of the Eight begins in the city of Varana. Banding together after a boat ambush by the local Hammerhead gang and a subsequent chase through the streets of the Drowned District, the Eight found themselves given a task by Sister Mercy to travel to the city of Newhaven and seek audience with it's Lord, Bacchus. Upon their arrival, they learned of a terrible secret that would bring the eastern cities of Estar into conflict and ruin if discovered; The glittering Hoard, the eastern cities' hope for rebuilding after the dread dragon Gorthalon's razing of the island some years ago, had been stolen away.
Under orders from Lord Bacchus, the Eight were given the quest to retrieve the Hoard from the unknown thieves. They travelled up the Dragonspine into the Dragontomb to search for the culprits, chasing them throughout a network of tunnels, and battling the dreaded white dragon Yndarnathyl, the Winter Menace, until they at last came upon them at the Mouth of Nossa, where they found that they were too late; The thieves, a wizard named Alekarius, the Borsimeri devotee Gurut Jin, and the heir of the Giltheart family, Tarathil, had already disposed of the dragon's hoard by dumping it into the waters of the Mouth, rendering it lost forever.
Defeat at the Mouth of Nossa and the Arrival of Newcomers
Battle ensued, and in the fight that followed, Akae and Vincent were slain and the Eight defeated, forcing them to flee back to Newhaven. Grieving at the loss of their friends, the Eight turned towards the only lead they had found after the battle - a note from Tarathil, implying a conspiracy brewing within Fen'Doren. As they began the descent to the Dragonspine, however, the group were waylaid and Vincent's corpse was stolen, to be used in a ritual to revive a vampire spawn's old master. This was where the group encountered Lucina and Fordill, two inhabitants from the city of Fen'Doren, and joined forces with them to retrieve Vincent's body.
With Vincent's body safe and preserved for possible revival in the care of Sister Mercy back in Newhaven, the Eight, now with Fordill and Lucina among them, turned their eyes towards Fen'Doren, sailing to the fabled Elven city to uncover the role of the Gilthearts in Alekarius' grand plan for Estar. There they uncovered Aederan Giltheart's motives and his greatest secret; That he had been cursed to never wield the crown of Fen'Doren again so long as his crime of kinslaying, the murder of his own Half-Elven grandson, would be remembered. With the Ancestral Keepers as the only remaining force in the city to remember and record the dreadful event, Giltheart unleashed a cursed bloodline of Werewolves upon them to assassinate them and spread terror through the city.
Conspiracy in Fen'Doren
In the fight against Giltheart's forces, Lucina was eventually revealed to be of this cursed bloodline herself, putting some tension between the Eight as they grappled with this new revelation. The Eight would then go to seek out the last Ancestral Keeper, Syrena's father, Dorin Nightwander, only to walk into a trap sprung by Aederan himself, a desperate deal made with Dorin to ensure his daughter's safety. Chaos broke out, but through sheer determination, stubbornness, and the unlikely aid of a turncoat, the Eight were able to reveal Aederan's secret to the entire city, sending the disgraced Elven lord fleeing towards his private fortress within another dimension, the Gilded Cage.
It was in the Gilded Cage that Alekarius fell, Gurut Jin defeated and Aederan himself was captured, awaiting trial. The battle, long and gruelling, resulted in a new era of change in Fen'Doren. With the city leaderless and Aederan sentenced guilty for treason and the murder of his grandson, the crown of Fen'Doren was granted to Syrena, elevating her to the position of High Lady.
War with Aramnis
Aederan's defeat, whilst ultimately proving beneficial for Fen'Doren, was eventually overshadowed by a new threat to the north; The Hobgoblins of Aramnis, swayed by promises from Alekarius and Aederan, were marching south to declare war on the city, blaming them for the withered state of their own lands.
Opinions among the Eight were torn. Those of Fen'Doren, having experienced repeated guerrilla attacks upon the city, favoured waging war on the Hobgoblins in turn, seeking to end the millennia-old threat of Aramnis once and for all, though those who wished to avoid further bloodshed exercised caution, in particular Ione, and advocated peace with the Hobgoblins. After much deliberation, the Eight decided to send a peace delegation to the war camp of General Shol.
Though it seemed that the peace negotiations would initially succeed, the road to peace was suddenly blocked by an outburst from Amelara, who, in a supposedly-unexplained fit of anger, slashed at General Shol with her sword. With negotiations breaking down, the delegation had no choice but to flee from the incoming hordes of angry Hobgoblins, running deeper into the forests north of Fen'Doren. The Eight then discovered that Dragonbane, a prize from the Hoard that had been claimed by Amelara, was exercising a strange amount of influence on the bard, who had become surly and vengeance-driven following Vincent's death.
Turning the Dragonborn
Luck, however, would smile upon the Eight soon enough. At the edge of the forest, by the western coasts of Estar, the group was rescued by an incoming ship of Dragonborn, soon revealed to be members of Balthazar's company in Oromnir. Though relieved and grateful for the rescue by Balthazar's brethren, that relief soon turned to dour solemnity, as it turned out that the Dragonborn had chosen to join the war on Aramnis' side, sailing the Eight straight into the maw of the beast. The group then met Balthazar's sister, Bazaar, the commander of the camp, who told them of a deal with an ancient opponent who had long been forgotten in the minds of most Estari peoples; Zyvir, the mysterious city of the dead.
The Eight appealed to Bazaar, first through morals, then through honour. The Dragonborn, however, remained unconvinced, talking to her brother of the Dragonborn's lost heritage and Zyvir's promise to allow them to discover it once more. Here the group met Caithana, a draconic sorceress in service of Zyvir. Mistrustful of the sorceress, the group soon realized that Caithana had been deceiving the Dragonborn army, covering up or otherwise damaging murals that would unfurl the true mystery of the Dragonborn's origins - but before most of the Eight could act, and before Caithana herself tried to ambush the group through hidden undead flesh constructs, Balthazar swiftly broke the sorceress' neck and threw her corpse to the floor. Angered by the deception and realizing the true enemy to be Zyvir all along, Bazaar pledged her forces to Fen'Doren instead, marching with the Eight south to trap the Hobgoblin army and force out a surrender or peace.
The True Enemy
With a new army marching behind them, the Eight made their way south again to confront General Shol one last time and parley for peace. Incredulous at their renewed attempt and explanation for Amelara's behaviour, the general demanded a duel; If Fen'Doren won, the Hobgoblins would reconsider peace, if Aramnis won, there would be war. General Shol and his bloodthirsty captain Rud, to whom the Eight had once offered mercy back in the Dragonspine, would fight Amelara, dubbing her 'the little assassin', joined by Lucina, who did not wish her friend to be harmed.
After a lengthy, grueling fight in a makeshift hobgoblin fighting pit, Shol and Rud were defeated through Lucina and Amelara's prowess. Seizing the opportunity, Ione and the High Lady then convinced the hobgoblins to turn instead on Zyvir, explaining that they had been manipulating events behind the scenes to drag all of Estar into an island-wide conflict. It was here where an unexpected face from the past then came to chide them on the futility of their quest; Alekarius, once thought slain at the Gilded Cage in Fen'Doren, was in truth, not dead at all, sustained instead by necromancy.
The Burning of Newhaven
Alekarius made the Eight an offer - leave Zyvir be, and it would spare the island until all their plans would come to fruition. Shaken by the revelation that Alekarius was still alive and still pulling the strings behind the scenes, the group refused, upon where the necromancer then pointed towards Newhaven, revealing a truly horrifying sight and a potential future for Estar to tread: A winged shape with the roar of a dragon, breathing fire and ash onto the fledgling city. Gorthalon had been revived in the form of a spectre seeking vengeance, and was now razing Newhaven to the ground.
Through Daris' skill as a wizard, the Eight desperately teleported to Newhaven, seeking to slay the beast and spare Newhaven the consequences of their decision. There, they were reunited with Sister Mercy and Bacchus, who had borne the brunt of the fighting and were now worn out. It was at the Temple of Atemar where the decision would be made to restore Vincent back to life, to take up arms once more against Gorthalon and vanquish his evil echo once and for all.
With Vincent restored (but woozy), the time had come for the Eight to face the Spectre of Gorthalon's Vengeance. The dragon was a terrifying opponent, nearly killing Ione and the restored Paladin once again, and gravely wounding the others, but it was a well-placed claw-strike from Luce's wolf form that finally felled the beast and brought an end to the Burning of Newhaven. This peace was not to last long, however, as the armies of Highsummer and Varana, partly in concern and partly due to growing unrest at the loss of the Hoard, had now marched towards Newhaven's doorstep seeking restitution.
Unifying the Island
Parleying in open fields with Grand Duchess Selyne Strong and Captain Janus of Varana, High Lady Syrena and Lord Bacchus were able to convince the cities of the east to set aside their differences and band together to take down Zyvir. One problem remained: The Watcher, an ominous construct out at sea, still stood between them and a potential naval invasion, hindering any non-Zyviran ships from passing through.
Whilst searching for potential means to counter the Watcher and infiltrate the city, scouts from Fen'Doren captured a Darian ship under the control of Captain Silverhand. Silverhand's ship had been entering and leaving Zyvir's waters unimpeded, bringing the city shipments of corpses for use in reanimation. Bringing Silverhand under the custody of Fen'Doren for conspiring to aid the enemy, the Eight then seized his ship, laden with rare, precious cannons, deciding to put it to use in bringing down the Watcher.
The Fleet of the Nerve is a ragtag bunch of sailors, thieves, and scoundrels. Coming from Daria and other places around Aranor, the crew banded together in the wake of the sudden appearance of the Black Sails and make regular trips out to sea in search for riches. They are as of yet mostly unknown to most of the archipelago, with their most significant heist also being their most dangerous secret: The theft of old treasure maps presumably originating from Dorland, Founder of the Free City of Daria, himself.
The Current members of the crew are:
- Captain Brynn Sylvaran, Captain of the magnificent Nerve
- Count Lance Elton-Rutherford Leonemaister, Count of Ostermarches and First Mate of The Nerve
- Captain Phaeydra Longstride, Captain of The Defiance and sorceress
- Oren Twocopper, Former Owner of the Twocopper Inn
- First Mate Mortimer Longstride, Bard and First Mate of The Defiance
- Esmeralda Drumwind, a formidable fighter and the fleet's main cook
- Ori, the fleet's wizard
Former members include:
- Amiri, Ship Navigator, now a traitor to the crew
- Captain Rodrick, Ship Captain of The Audacity, died as Fort Brimstone exploded
- But, Tortle Warrior and Treasure Hunter, killed in an attack on Kawa
- Tu'te'wehiwehi, Kahuna of the Tarangoa and the Ship's Mystic and Healer, left to share the cure to the iron rain with his people.
- Edwin the Seaborn, Paladin of Nossa, recalled to Nossa
Formed after a mysterious attack on the Derelict district of Daria by the enigmatic Black Sails, the group that eventually became the Crew of the Splintered Survivor began as a mere band of strangers within the Twocopper Inn, a run-down tavern in the middle of the district that was blown up by cannon fire in the chaos of the Black Sails' assault. After fighting past strange men seeking 'Chosen Ones', stealing a barge to escape the destruction of the Derelict district, the crew found themselves picked up by one of the Glittergold captains of the Darian Admiralty, Jurek Silverhand, and were coerced into undertaking dangerous mission of retrieving an item of great importance from the wreck of the battle.
Unable to refuse, the crew then set out for the aftermath of the skirmish, curious as to what the Glittergolds sought.
The First Assignment
Arriving at the site of the battle, the crew quickly set about searching the remnants of an old ship, racing against time to avoid being caught by the Blues, whom Jurek had warned the crew about. Within the wreckage, they managed to find an old map supposedly once belonging to Dorland himself, after which Lance then encountered the former navigator of the ship, Amiri, pointing a gun at the count's head. Though initially appearing threatening, Amiri was soon cowed when it became clear that his gunpowder was wet.
Once it was determined that Amiri posed no further threat, the crew convinced the Water Genasi to join forces with them to decipher the mystery of their find, deciding to keep the loot for themselves instead of giving it over to the Glittergolds. Before they could return to the barge, however, they were ambushed by incoming Blues, who raised the dead of the wreckage against them to take their prize for themselves. The priests were swiftly dispatched despite the initial threat they posed, and soon the crew made their way back to Silverhand, preparing an elaborate lie to try and fool him into thinking the Blues had made off with it first.
A Ship of their Own
The crew returned to Silverhand with their lie, barely fooling the Glittergold Captain with it. Given the barge and it's contents of Guano as reward for their service, the crew agreed to use Dorland's map for themselves to search for whatever the founder of Daria might have left behind, deciding to sell off the Guano and the barge to get a ship of their own. The crew chose a small cog as their first vessel, naming Rodrick it's captain, and christened the ship the Splintered Survivor in honour of their first meeting together amongst the rubble of the Twocopper tavern.
The Splintered Survivor's first maiden voyage took the crew to the port town of Swanford, where they attempted to make contact with a local healer to find a possible cure for Tu'te'wehiwehi's ailing people, poisoned by a mysterious affliction called the 'Iron Rain'. Unfortunately, due to their lack of money and recognition, the crew were rebuffed in their attempts to seek the healer out, leaving them with no choice but to set sail for their first destination on the map, the Grinding Maw.
The Underwater Cave
Coming upon an underwater cave, the group proceeded down into the depths to explore the small cave complex, fighting through monsters and tribal fishmen in their curiosity to find what Dorland had marked there. At the end of the cave, the crew encountered three sea hags who spoke of knowing Dorland himself - Lorena, Freda, and Cecelia. Though the group attempted to pacify the hags and talk their way out of combat, the hags proceeded to trap the group within the cave, forcing Phaeydra to reveal her secret; As the shadow of her skeletal wings grew against the cave walls, the crew realised that they had a fallen Aasimar among their number.
While they were able to ultimately defeat the hags and glean some information from them - namely, Dorland's search for something unknown in Azur and his possession of a prized Tear of Alissa - the encounter with the sea witches ultimately left the group with more questions than answers, in addition to the revelation of Phaeydra's terrible power unsettling some of the crew, most notably Brynn. Their plight would not end there, however: Returning to the Splintered Survivor, Amiri proceeded to reveal himself as a traitor to the group, fatally wounding Oren and evading capture.
Despite managing to save Oren from certain death, the betrayal of Amiri, the meeting with the sea hags, and the reveal of Phaeydra's skeletal wings left the group shaken and exhausted from the entire ordeal.
The Swordbreak Company is a fledging adventuring company situated in Carran's Crossing. Comprised of five individual adventurers, the Swordbreak Company owns a workshop within the city. Members of the company banded together after being captured in a kobold raid whilst en route to the Crossing, and named it the Swordbreak Company after their first paid adventure in Swordbreak Hollow.
Current members of the group are:
- Elifaen of Nifeldeen, a Paladian Half-Elf Paladin from a small barony
- Pippin "Pip" Grimlen, a gnome rogue with a mysterious past.
- Isaree Tailton, a Crossing local, Sorceress, and heiress to the Tailton family fortune.
- Kalissa, an amnesiac cleric of Lunissa and leader of the group
- Druff, a minotaur druid from parts unknown
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A former blacksmith, Bastion suffered grievous injuries during a recent assignment for his knightly Order. Through his craft, his magic, and perhaps some divine intervention, he managed to repair himself and became a creature of flesh and steel.
Bastion seeks the newly unearthed Vault, fearing it may contain magical threats. As a knight of the Silverstar Cloaks, he is sworn to stand between such dangers and the realms of mortals. Though his oath technically may no longer be binding, he continues to follow it.