If we are to discuss this world, then we must begin, and end, with Lord Arthramain Roy'al.

Very little is actually know of the Roy'al house, of its laws or the latent power in its blood. The names of its scions have been lost, and the locations of its old fortresses forgotten.  We remember only two things; Lord Arthramain Roy'al, and that the Roy'als were the  kings of men by blood-right. It was a law written into the blood, the very essence, of every man dead or alive, peasant or noble; one and all we owe unbreakable allegiance to the Roy'als.

 Arthramain Roy'al came to power in the dusk years of the  Age of Gods, when humanity was little more than a footnote to the great powers contending for the world.  In this age, very few men walked, most served as slaves or entertainment for the elder races and the bestial God-Spawn wandering the earth. Even then, this world suffered constant strife, as the various mortal races, half-divinities, Immortals and Gods strove for supremacy in their respective fields.

There are few hints a thousand rumors and a world of speculation as to why Arthramain Roy'al declared war on all of existence. Some hold that it was to liberate his people, others that it was plain avarice or the drive in his blood to reign supreme over all his race and the rare few who believe it was some of both. Either way, he set out on a road of conquest that in a matter of years brought this violence stricken world to his heel. In less than a decade. Lord Arthramain Roy'al culled the elder races, annihilated the God-Spawn, routed or imprisoned the Immortals and faced down the Gods. In so doing, he brought the age crashing down and ushered in the Age of Mortals: His age.

Unfortunately, Lord Arthramain Roy'al did not live long after the new age dawned. As with so many other things concerning the Roy'al bloodline, no one knows exactly how he died, only that he did.  Despite his short reign, his laws, both meta-physical and corporeal still hold this world in absolute sway.  His corporeal creations fared worse. Only vestiges remain of the Old Houses, and only memories of Blessed Remanas and its Dragon Lords. The artifacts he made, most evidently the Stone Blades, are lost and corrupted. No one can even remember where his old capital stands, much less where the Crimson Throne lies. Only Apelium persists, and we cannot verify if that city is even one of his creations and not one of his conquests.

 As with all great powers in this world, there a words prophesying Lord Arthramain Roy'al resurrection. These prophesies however are distinct and lack the cadence of a prophetic vision: very few give them any credence.  Nonetheless, wise men and scholars devote their entire lives to the studying and deciphering of Lord Arthramain Roy'al's words. This is a frowned upon practice, for everyone fears Lord Arthramain Roy'al as much as they worship him and no one wishes to see his power in the hands of another.

 

 

Index

Gods

  • Aeosa: Goddess of Evolution
  • Alkarred: God of Malady
  • Eneki: God of Order
  • Iirelan: God of Knowledge
  • Jaidar: God of Chaos
  • Jinsorren: God of Time
  • Kismaat: God of Fate
  • Malbreyth: God of War
  • Morgan/Arawn: God of Death
  • Sayruhe: the Wandering God
  • Veylis: the Two-Faced God

Great Immortals

  • Ashshand
  • Winsyria
  • The Annuir'Hyme
  • Iothar

Races

  • Archeints
  • The Borluce
  • Ie'Calla
  • Perdition Demon
  • The Weshac
  • Ie'Calla

Humans

  • Aparthii
  • Avarans
  • Descendants
  • Northerners

Kingdoms

  • Blessed Remanas (1-1256) AOM
  • The Kalvonder Plutocracy (1256-6617) AOM
  • The North (1-6617) AOM
  • The Paladin Empire (6124-6617) AOM

Major Cities

  • Adriat
  • Apelium
  • Antiark
  • Dol'Cardolani
  • Tellor
  • Sahdaen

Artifacts

  • The Acculm and the Accumulary
  • Akrahvast (Rape of the World)
  • The Amarthayiss
  • Shattershard
  • Taychran
  • The Stone Blades


People

  • Lord Adriat
  • Andeor'Vallen
  • Lord Arthramain Roy'al
  • Brimares
  • Cain Lammerock/Stroanholt
  • Cardolyn Tyier: The Imperial Emperor
  • Carr'Sellain
  • Dieharamon Tragnashi
  • Feylin Whyte
  • The High-Warden
  • Lionel Iitanen
  • Ureign Kalvonder
  • Senna Lammerock
  • Slade Lammerock
  • Syndros Nomar
  • Tasha Bloomhale
  • Tiberius Whyte
  • Trerrock Kalvonder
  • Valeriius Kalvonder
  • Xexeross Kalvonder

Gods

Foreword

Common mythology dictates that gods are omnipresent, omnipotent entities who created our universe. This is a misconception; they did not create it, they simply inherited it. Nor are they omnipresent, it seems as such because their intellect is spread out across a space of centuries rather than milliseconds. Likewise, they are not omnipotent; if they were, then there would be neither a need nor a purpose of attributing aspects to themselves. That is not to say they are not powerful, for they are, frighteningly so.

Gods, by nature, are spiritual entities with a great abhorrence for assuming a corporeal form of any sort. Yet they were forced to do so, to assume aspects of great importance for the human race, so that they might influence the Mortal Kingdoms, their aforementioned inheritance. But why can they not just look down and will some mystical change to occur? At one age in time they could, and frequently did, affect such change: the Age of Gods. This was the time of their greatest power, when they ruled the entirety of their inheritance almost without contest. That all changed however with the arrival of Lord Arthramain Roy'al.

A war was fought between gods and men, the how of which is now long forgotten or erased. Either way, the Pantheon was ousted from the Mortal Kingdoms and then forbidden to enter lest summoned by someone who bided there, and even then, their power would be vastly restricted. Thus, their age came to its end and the Age of Mortals, the current age, began.

The Gods cannot dispel the restriction placed upon them, thus they must bind themselves to aspects of in the mortal life, aspects that would draw men and women to invoke them through prayer. In accordance with this, they were also compelled to align themselves with mortal concepts. Thus, the Pantheon was created with its three subsets: light, neutral, and dark with four gods aligned to each.


Aeosa Goddess of Evolution

The second deity of the Neutral Pantheon, Aeosa is the goddess of evolution and industry, choosing to link herself to the progress of nations, men, and races. She is the patron of children, kings, nations and anyone who wishes for great change to occur. Mothers pray to her so that their sons will grow up strong, and that their daughters turn into great beauties. Kings pray for the strength to build their nations, and iconoclasts pray for luck in their various endeavors. As one they pray for her blessing, and, if she deems them worthy, she grants aide. She never completes their works for them, or ever grants such a boon that their task becomes effortless. She cares only for those who will work toward their dreams

Her temples are the foundries and the council halls, the shipyards and the workbenches. Her official priests are men who seek to aide her adherents, all those who pray to her for success. They do not acquire her tribute, her reward is the first creation of all those who prayed to her. Thus, her treasury is a vast storehouse of humanities greatest achievements.

Due to her neutral status, Aeosa is an active god in both all heavenly affairs and in the lives of most men no matter their predilections. In many ways, she is a goddess of artistry and does not much care if the mural is painted with light or dark colors. She is also widely loved by her siblings and is most often depicted with a joyous nature, given to humor and gests. Keeping with this personality, she also has little interest or involvement in the Pantheon's numerous conflicts and will generally watch from a distance as her various siblings struggle through their quarrels.

Alkarred: God of Malady

The fourth god of the Dark Pantheon, Alkarred chose the aspect of malady in all its forms: plague, disease, sickness, and insanity. It is through these aspects that he gains admittance into the Mortal Kingdoms. Unlike his siblings, the prayers of mortals are not for his blessing but rather for his abstinence. When a man falls ill, his family prays to Alkarred for mercy and offers tribute in recompense for the soul he would return. His priests are not caretakers of his adherents, but those who commit themselves to lives of appeasement, working to insure that their god never unleashes his plagues upon the world. They do so through lives of abstinence and sacrifice, heeding and answering whatever whims strike their sovereign deity. This lifestyle is probably what led Alkarred to having the fewest mortal servants of all those who occupy the Pantheon.

Despite the extensive reach of his chosen aspect, Alkarred is a mostly reserved god who rarely interferes with the Mortal Kingdoms. He is seemingly content with his modest sect and the copious tribute it provides in return for the occasional miracle. This indifference has earned him the contempt of his siblings and the apathy of the various human holy factions. His indifference, however, is not a sign of debility; Alkarred is a cunning god, and usually wins whatever, rare, fray he chooses to partake of, often to the detriment of his siblings. This has led him to be reviled by his siblings, but being hated has never troubled the God of Malady.

Eneki: God of Order

Eneki , First God of the Light Pantheon, is the god of order and law, choosing to connect with his mortal adherents through the laws they impose upon themselves and through their natural desire for stability. In the pursuit of this desire, they pray to him at strictly upheld intervals, worshipping him for the order he brings. They pray for wisdom in the courtroom, protection from the whims of chance; and for equality in all endeavors. In return for their prayers and worship, he grants them lawmen and judges, he provides the paladins to protect them, and collars chance for those he favors.

 Of all the gods, Eneki has the largest following, a vast collection of the holy priests who preside over his temples, the paladins who fight in his mortal wars, the inquisitors who persecute the servants of chaos, and the simple judges who seek to uphold order amongst the human populace. These individuals all serve him in different ways, the judges giving nothing in his service beside vows of honesty and lawfulness while the priest often collect tribute for his enrichment. Eneki demands little of his mortal servants, only that they uphold their laws, their oaths, and their promises. Whatever else he receives from them is purely of their own volition.

Among his siblings, Eneki is quarrelsome and given to oppression. He abhors his siblings on the Dark Pantheon and can scarcely be made to converse without coming to blows. Furthermore, he is arrogant enough to have proclaimed himself lord of the Pantheon and to have declared that all deities who do not sit upon the Pantheon are inferior, unfit to be worshiped. He exists in a constant state of conflict with his brother, Jaidar, and is frequently at odds with Kismaat. Despite his many conflicts, Eneki is not volatile, he is uncompromising, and this often leads him to conflict with his far more mutable siblings.

Iirelan: God of Knowledge

The second god of the Light Pantheon, Iirelan's chosen aspect is knowledge, and is often referred to as the scribe god. His adherents are those who love the written word, those wish to see and experience history through a crystal lens, a view untainted by the emotions, injustices and desires of those who existed in times of great travail. His priests are the lecturers, the schoolmasters, and the librarians, those who teach others of the world and its history. Of course, not all teachers are his priests, just as not all scribes are his adherents; but the vast majority of both revere him even if they do not serve him.

Unlike most of his sibling, Iirelan neither gives nor takes anything from his servants. They offer themselves freely into his service and pursue knowledge in his name, seeking to impress him with their devotion and thus earn a place amongst his divine scribes. Few of them ascend to the heavens however, most live and die as mere mortals, and, generally, they are content with this, content with the knowledge they have acquired during life.

Among his siblings, Iirelan is considered a boring god, for what need do gods have of history? Their memory is perfect, unflawed by the passing of time. They can remember every moment they have witnessed in perfect clarity, as if it were a picture. Despite his strange habits, he is gentle deity and, on occasion, will even help men who his siblings have ignored. It is not often  though, and, since he never answers prayers, has not caused his worshipers to increase by any substantial amount. Nevertheless, he is often considered the kindest god.

Jaidar: God of Chaos

Jaidar, lord of the Dark Pantheon, is the God of Chaos. His only church lies in the hallowed madness of his subjects. His only adherents are those sworn to fire and chaos, the men who would see all nations undone, all ages reversed until a time when time itself was absent. He offers only chaos, and receives only chaos. There is no law that binds him, no set form that he can assume, and no conduct that is customary. One moment he adores all that lives, the next he abhors all of existence. He is the personification of chaos, and, as such, is the personification of inconsistence.

He is the Lord of the Abyss, its father, and the creator of all those who abide in it. He gave birth to the first true demons, and he took the first mortal souls into the fire for cleansing of their mortal sins. He is the great purifier, and the cleansing of mortal souls is his sacred duty.

He is feared by his lesser siblings, and loathed by Eneki as his anathema. Yet, he sits upon the Pantheon and deliberates calmly even as his heart seethes. There is a desire in him, a desire that survives his constant changes, a desire that is to him what a heart is to a man: a source of life and a foundation for purpose. His siblings do not share this desire, nor even know of it; if it were discovered, then war would consume the heavens as it has not since the Before Age.

Jinsorren: God of Time

The first god of the neutral pantheon, Jinsorren chose time as his aspect because there are few things of greater importance to mortals than time. He does not have many worshipers or any in fact. His adherents are those he selects himself, and these select few are also his priests. They are a secretive sect, betraying nothing of their intentions or desires. They wander the Mortal Kingdoms mostly in solitude, their labors furthering some distant, invisible goal that even the other gods can only guess at.

Among his siblings, Jinsorren is a mischievous, rarely giving a thought to the Pantheon's joint affairs. He is not quite as troublesome as Kismaat, though the two are often cohorts in some divine comedy or satire. He is also known to have a great liking for the human race and will often grant miracles through his mortal servants. He even seemed to appreciate Lord Arthramain Roy'al, and went so far as to grant the man a moon, earning him the title Ever-Lord's Prince.

Kismaat: God of Fate

The second god of the Neutral Pantheon, Kismaat's chosen aspect is Fate. His choice was not a validation of its existence, it was merely a means to access one of the human races oldest desires and beliefs. Due to this choice, he is one of the most popular gods, if not the most worshiped.

Unlike his siblings, Kismaat forwent priests entirely. There are no divine servants of his, no men to spread his laws and wisdom. There are only those who pray to him. He is the patron of the streets; the protector of daring scoundrels. His worshipers are those who believe in fate and wish it reversed, the gamblers who have lost all night, and the thieves who are crouched outside of a locked door. Often he is mistaken for a deity of luck, but, while he can grant vast boons, he has no power to change a man's luck. His inability to create luck notwithstanding, Kismaat is an active and meddlesome god. He frequently intervenes in the lives of mortals with aide and adversity in equal measure, often times switching one for the other on multiple occasions during a single event. He loves playing games, and can often be found in the midst of some wager or contest set by himself or a mortal. If defeated he grants a boon, if victorious he often concocts some vile embarrassment for the man arrogant enough to challenge him.

His behavior toward his siblings is the same as his behavior toward mortals, that of a rapscallion and miscreant, a jester and fool. He teases and bullies them incessantly. He compliments and derides in the same breath. He cheats in all dealings, yet never lies. He is beloved and hated. He is Kismaat, the trickster god of Fate.

Malbreyth: God of War

The second god of the Dark Pantheon, Malbreyth chose primarily the aspect of war but also the aspect of storms. His adherents are the soldiers and generals, the fighters and the blade-masters, anyone whose life is devoted solely to the pursuit and perfection of conflict. His priests are the favored warlords, men who swore to serve him, and, after proving themselves worthy, were marked as his priests. His tribute is the spoils of conquest, and to deny him his share is to beg for disaster in your battle. Thus, every soldier grants him a portion of their salary as tribute at the end of every Turning and, without fail, will sacrifice a portion of their spoils at the end of every conflict.

Malbreyth's cathedrals are few in number and scattered widely across the East and West, but to gain admittance into one of them is to be educated in the highest artistry war can provide. The world's greatest commanders have all originated from his temples or trials and as one they are marked, claimed by the war god.

Among his siblings however, Malbreyth is often a mediator in their conflicts, a voice of restraint to end their conflicts. He finds success in this role largely because his lesser siblings fear his legendarily violent temper. His feats of butchery are well recorded despite the fact that he puts his siblings back together again whenever his rage dissipates. Despite this, he is well liked by his siblings and his adherents as a forthright god, for he has little interest in the cloaks of mysticism and deceit that his siblings don.

Morgan/Arawn: God of Death

The third god of the Neutral Pantheon, Morgan, or Arawn as the Avaran people know him, choose death as his aspect. He spoke a promise to mortals, a promise that their afterlives would be happy, that their souls and consciousness would not just vanish into the void of death. This simple promise dispelled the fears of countless mortals and instantly made almost every living man into his adherent. In accordance to his promise, Morgan built a world for mortal souls, a kingdom where they might live in eternal bliss or rebirth when the desire struck them. Yet, the doors were not flung wide to every mortal soul. Morgan would judge those who sought entrance; some he would send to the Abyss, others he would admit, and a few he would return to the Mortal Kingdom of their provenance to relive their lives. He is the judge of all mortal souls, and will suffer only the worthy to enter his kingdom.

He has some priests in the Mortal Kingdoms, but they are rare and their motives uncertain. They wander the kingdoms of men without restriction, laboring for their god or for some personnel endeavor. Either way, they are not bothered by any mortal power. Morgan's tribute is adornments laid to rest with the deceased, their mortal treasures and the final gifts of the bereaved, whether they are letter, gold, or memories.

Due to his preoccupation with mortality, Morgan is rarely active on the Pantheon and speaks with his siblings only occasionally unless during times of trial or importance. He is known to be quite fond of Jinsorren however, and can routinely be seen conversing with his elder brother. Strangely, he is known to frequently converse with Jaidar and no scholar, living or dead, has been able explain why.

Sayruhe: the Wandering God

The third god of the Light Pantheon, Sayruhe is the patron of all travelers. His temples are the Wayhouses that give sanctuary at night, his priests the caretakers of those shrines and the great wanderers of this age. All travelers pray to him for safety before beginning their journey and then again at the end of it in gratitude.

His priests are the mortal men entrusted with his Wayhouses, men who traveled far in their youth but who were compelled to settle down due to injury or age. They spend their days exchanging stories and caring for whichever traveler happens into their house. They do not seek the glory of their god, or tribute in his name, they simply serve in his name and share their journeys. That is not to say that Sayruhe does not receive his share of tribute, it is customary to provide an offering at the beginning of any journey and against its conclusion.

Sayruhe spends most of his time wandering the numerous heavens, frolicking with any number of sundry entities. He is said to have an almost childlike aspect, which leads most of his siblings to fondly treat him as such. Despite his personality, Sayruhe is an active member of the Pantheon, and will always act in times of travail.

Veylis: the Two-Faced God

The fourth god of the Light Pantheon, Veylis is the youngest among all of the gods and, as such, was the final sibling to choose an aspect. All the great aspects of human life to her mind had been chosen. Thus instead of binding herself to a single charter, she choose and in doing so split herself into two minds. Thus was born the Silent God, and the Lost God. They are the same person, yet separated from one another.

Her first aspect is that of silence. Her adherents are those with secrets and things they desperately wish to protect: wealth, family, power. They come to her offering reverence and tribute, pleading for her to protect their secrets and their treasures. If she finds them agreeable, Veylis grants them her protection; if she does not then she rejects their offerings.

Her second aspect is that of the Lost. She is the patron for all those who have lost or forgotten their way. The adherents of this aspect are those lost in the wilds and the men who languish without purpose or trial. She is a guide and, occasionally, the origin of adventures for apathetic youths.

She has few priests, and those she does possess congregate in the great cities. Like her, they are guides and protectors, men who wish to help others without ulterior motives. She guides them in this endeavor, leading them to the lost and the abandoned.

She is still a child compared to her siblings, her mind yet unformed by her aspect. She is quick to anger and quicker to laugh. She is also capricious, and will often join in Kismaat's mischief only to betray his culpability after it has befallen their siblings. Nonetheless, she is loved by the entire Pantheon, and fiercely protected.


Great Immortals

Ashshand

 

Ashshand is the southern Great Immortal and is the only one of his kind, beside Winsyria, to retain both his power and the dominion of his land. His rule is not as complete as Winsyria's however, for the gods still tread his land as they please and Sammahale also has a claim to it. Nonetheless, Ashshand is a frighteningly powerful deity and feared by all those who bide in his kingdom.

Unlike his siblings, Ashshand is not a benevolent deity. He is sadistic, vengeful, and tyrannical. He holds his subjects, the Avaran people, in absolute thrall and commands them to violence, enforcing their destitute society. He rejoices in their bloodshed and their travails, and does nothing to ameliorate their state. All the same, he is worshiped, both from fear and from reverence.


Winsyria

 

Winsyria is the Great Immortal who rules over everything that lies north of the Rhawn Mountains with absolute impunity.

 He is an old deity and despises the Gods with every fiber of his existence. That, however, is the extent of his aggression; he holds no particular loathing for any of the mortal races and is, in fact, extremely protective of those who live in his kingdom, regardless of race. Historically, the only mortals to earn his ire are those who visited violence upon his kingdom.

 However, when one of those transgressions occurred, there was no mercy to be found for the perpetrators.  Winsyria, while far from cruel, is not a kind deity, his people are expected to fend for themselves, and, for the most part, that is what they prefer. Nonetheless, he does not tolerate incursions into his domain or transgressions against his people. It is largely due to him, that the North has enjoyed so much peace over the last millennia; no one dares invading them for fear of sparking Winsyria's wroth.


Annuir'Hyme

 

It is hard to classify the Annuir'Hyme, it has been a part of the Mortal Kingdoms since their creation, yet no one knows if it can or cannot be killed. Unlike the Great Immortals, the Annuir'Hyme cannot leave the confines of its physical body; its consciousness is eternally bound to the rampaging, world splitting waters that are its form.

The Annuir'Hyme splits the world, piercing mountains, chasms, and seas with indefatigable purpose to separate the East from the West. It is revered in the South as a deity, respected in the North as a scion of Winsyria, and dealt with cautiously by all people in the East and West. It will cleanse any evil that steps foot into its waters just as it will shatter any boat that attempts to cross or sail it. The only way to cross the Annuir'Hyme is by the Great Bridges, of which there are five. These enormous bridges are the work of Lord Arthramain Roy'al, and no living man knows how they were built or why the Annuir'Hyme suffers them.

Despite these violent predilections, the Annuir'Hyme is not a dark entity. It allows the Avarans to drink of its waters, and will spare, even save, the lives of just men if they happen to fall into its currents. Thus, no matter the kingdom, the Annuir'Hyme is considered inviolate and even Cardolyn Tyier would hesitate before transgressing upon it.


Iothar (eye-oh-thar)


Iothar is the Great Immortal of the West and his rule extends to many things, most prominent of which is the slow growth of ancient things, mountains, rivers and the like. Unfortunately, since Cardolyn Tyier's ascension he has lost much of his power. He is but a shadow now, imprisoned within the walls of his most ancient fortress (the mountains of Drak’Marr ) and unable to affect the lives of those he once ruled. He is patient, though, and even the gods cannot truly kill him for there will always be mountains; soon enough he will rise again, rising from the earth to tend all that has withered in his absence.

Races


Archients

A general overview

Archients exist almost exclusive in the Avarus desert and, like so much else in the Mortal Kingdoms, no one can explain why. They are a solitary race of wild immortals who spend their lives either wondering the south purposelessly or slumbering away the centuries beneath the sand. There is no standard measurement for what an Archient should be, some are incredibly intelligent and other uncontrollably feral. They can vary in size from that of a dog to that of a house, if not larger. Some are humanoid, others entirely animalistic and there is no correlation between any of these aspects and any other. There is not even a way to accurately differentiate an Archient from any other wild animal aside from the weight of its presence, at which point you would be utterly at their mercy.

For the most part, Archients avoid human society, but there are occasion when they will ally themselves with a particular man. These individuals tend to be Kalvonders, as they are only men with the strength of will to attract an Archient and the wealth to sustain their sundry appetites. No matter who the Archient chooses to ally with, however, they always supply a vast amount of power to the man's endeavors, enough that he instantly becomes a powerful force wherever he chooses to abide. A fair number of Avarans have risen to become Kalvonders solely on the power of an Archient.

The itinerate Aparthii, by contrast, abhor the Archients, for these wild immortals have a tendency of preying on their caravans. As such, the Aparthii will hunt any Archients they can find and safely dispose of them without too many casualties. These chances a rare, for Archients are frighteningly powerful and dangerously clever however wild their disposition. Thus, the Aparthii generally just avoid the Archients as best they can and the Archients go on living as they always have.

 

 The Borluce

A brief history

The Borluce are the eldest of all the mortal races currently abiding in the Mortal Kingdoms. They were created in the Before Age and have built and lost their civilization countless times. For now, they live in the furthest depths of The North in relative peace, but the oldest knowledge any mortal possesses of their people states that they once ruled the entire East and kept all men there bound in chains.

As with everything else, this period of dominance was ended by Lord Arthramain Roy'al and subsequently they moved in to The North, distancing themselves as far as possible from the race of men. They lived there in isolation for two thousand years before finally rejoining the exterior world long after Lord Arthramain Roy'al's death.

Upon emerging from isolation, they demonstrated no intention of violent actions. They spoke with the various human countries, indicating they had no interest in conflict and that they believed both races would benefit from as little contact with one another as possible. Their relationship with the exterior world fully established, they returned north and erected a slightly more convivial relationship with the humans living there.

In the millennium that have passed since then, the Borluce have shown no interest in changing the status quo, and maintain their disposition of aloof disdain for all humans.

Characteristics

The Borluce are a tall, reptilian race that few outsiders know anything about. They are distant by nature and made further so by their chosen home in the Far North. Nonetheless, a few aspects of their culture and traits are readily available. They are creatures of science and alchemy for the most part, but also have strong psychic abilities. In fact, almost every Borluce is mentally connected to their entire race; although they still maintain their individuality.

Surprisingly, they also hold great reverence for Winsyria despite their scientific predilections and general aversion to the divine. Some scholars believe it is simply because they live in his kingdom, others credit it to actual reverence. The Borluce, of course, have given no indication either way.

They are also known to a have a strained relation with the northern Weshac, and have often been seen engaged in a battle against them. They have never fully engaged in war however, and thus their conflicts are deemed mostly strain from living in such close proximity.

As it stands, mostly people are content to ignore the Borluce as they are ignored in turn. Still, there are always men whispering fearfully in dark corners that the Borluce as just biding their time until the hour comes when they are strong enough to overwhelm the human race.

 

Ie'Calla

 

Perdition Demons

A Brief History

There is no proper name for the tormented souls residing in the Abyss, even the appellation demon is a misnomer as they are not actually creatures of fire and chaos; they are mortal soul unto which those elements were thrust. However, since they are summoned from the abyss, and their blood is as much chaos and fire as it is human, they are labeled demons.

It is hard to pin point exactly when the first of them was pulled from the Abyss, or even how the sorcery was learned. The earliest recorded summoning took place a couple decades before the advent of Isaracc, but no one believes that occasion was the first usage of this particular form of wizardry. Still, that is the moment when Perdition Demons became a prevalent force in the Mortal Kingdoms.

At first, they were used exclusive by the Isaracc wizards, but as the nation declined, its knowledge escaped and became common worldwide. The other wizards quickly assimilated the art of summoning demons into their repertoires and used the power entities they summoned as guardians, enforcers, and even menial servants. Time passed and wizards began extracting souls from deeper and deeper in the abyss until, inevitably, one of them pulled a soul he could not fully control. The Damned Soul killed its prospective master and proceeded to rampage remorselessly through the city, killing thousands in the process before it was finally banished by the combined power of many wizards and their damned servants. This was the first of seven demon catastrophes, after which the wizards forbade the summoning of Damned Souls that resided below a certain depth.

There have been other, minor, incidents of course, but they occurred do to some misfortune. Either the commanding wizard died, thus freeing the demon of its bounds, or something else interfered with the bindings spells, setting the Damned Soul free momentarily. These are of little consequence, the act of summoning Damned Souls is considered one of the safer forms of wizardry, mostly due to the numerous safeguards placed on it, and is still widely practiced today by wizards of every degree.

Characteristics

Perdition Demons are easily distinguishable from others humans due to their eyes, which are far from human, and the telltale crimson armor that they can never truly divest themselves off. They have command of, and are immune to, fire, possess massive physical strength and durability, and wield a form of Chaos Magic that no one has be able to properly measure even to this day.

There are other, more bestial, traits that define them, including a penchant for violence. They are easily angered at the best of times and utterly psychopathic when their tempers are roused. That is not to say they are not human; if you were to scrape away the crimson armor, the chaos in their blood and whatever madness they incurred from the Abyss, you would find a thoroughly human soul. This process is called Redemption, and can be performed by any priest of Eneki, to an extent.

Finally, Perdition Demons have a second face. Scholars claim that it is their soul laid bare with all of its innate cruelty and the corruption inflicted upon it by the Chaos. Others attribute no weight to it all, claiming it simply another corruption by the Chaos they had lived in for years. Either way, all Damned Souls have to ability to transform into a horrific creature made entirely of crimson iron and molten Chaos. They lose most of their sanity during this transformation, but gain a frightening amount of strength and power in recompense.

 

The Weshac

A Brief History

The Weshac are the derivate bloodline of a much older race, though they reveal their ancestors to none. Some of the Weshac colonies were found as the other races explored the Mortal Kingdoms, others came from across the sea and took up residence wherever they landed. Thus, Weshac can be found in all corners of the world, regardless of what environment or which mortal power happens to rule there.

The most prominent Weshac are the sea raiders who indifferently strike at all coastal or river settlements, even the largest cities. Those who are not raiders are anglers by trade. This status is seemingly inviolate to them, whatever their location or status, the Weshac have always lived on the water and there are no finer sailors. This affinity is what made their raiders so terrifying, for no human fleets could hope to compete with them on the open sea, or even keep track of them on their way to and from targets. The only way to defeat a Weshac raid, is on the beach when they land.

The most feared of these raiders are the northern Weshac, for they alone are capable of sailing the northern seas. That, combined with their unequaled speed on the water, make them basically unassailable.

Characteristics

The Weshac have a unique advantage over every other mortal race in the Mortal Kingdoms: their ability to adapt. Every race has this ability to some extent; humans adapt through ingenuity and the careful selection of where to settle, the Borluce develop some new alchemy, and the Archients are simply unaffected by most conditions. The Weshac can adapt organically to almost any environment at will.

If they are living in a colder environment, they evolve thicker skin and fur. In warmer environments, they become cold blooded and evolve the ability to vent heat with ease. If they lived in a desert, they could evolve the ability to retain water for months on end. They could even evolve gills and live under the water if they so desired. More than just physical attributes, the Weshac can evolve intelligence. Numerous records indicate that if you capture a wild Weshac, one who is entirely a creature of instinct, and imprison it, the Weshac will gain the ability to speak your language and act like a normal, civilized person in a matter of hours. This change is not an imitation or an act, the Weshac in question simply evolved to a point where he could operate successfully in his environment.

Beyond their ability to adapt, there are few defining characteristics that apply to whole Weshac race: their love of water and their tattoos. These tattoos are genetic, and seem to change with the Weshac, adapting to it situation, status, and family. Their form, color, and density are all marks of the Weshac's current state, including how evolved or feral his intellect is at that moment.

Besides those three facets, everything about the Weshac is fluid, and subject to change. They would have been labeled creatures of Jaidar had their changes not been entirely deliberate.


Ie’Calla (eye-call-ah)

A nomadic race with vaguely humanoid feature, the Ie’Calla wander across all four lands without being subjected to any laws outside their own. Nobody knows how they managed this, they only know that to attempt enforcing their own beliefs upon these people is utterly impossible. Besides evading the laws of other races, the Ie’Calla make their living through telling accurate fortunes and their nearly unequalled skill in all matters pertaining to weaving, sewing, pottery and woodwork.   

 

Humans

 

Aparthii

 

The Aparthii are a black skinned, nomadic people who wander the Avarus Desert from oasis to oasis. They are recognizable by the masks they wear as protection from itinerant spirits. They are hated by, and loathed in return, their Avaran cousins and many wars have been fought between their two peoples. They are friendly to everyone else though, and more than willing to trade or lend assistance if it is required.

Their deity is Sammahale, the sun, who also happens to be Ashshand's rival in the South. This has furthered the acrimony between them and the Avarans. Overall, they are a passive people, and would be more than willing to ignore the Avarans if they were ignored in return. This, however, is not possible, for the Kalvonders have long since ordained their extinction.

 

 

Avarans

Recognizable by their short stature and almond colored skin, Avarans are the dominant race in the Avarus Desertstrictly due to sheer number. They are an oppressed people, and kept that way through poverty, countless addictive drugs, blood sports, and violent retaliation on anything that could lead to a cultural revolution.

There overlords are a ruling oligarchy called Kalvonders. There is no great reason for their leadership, whether it is divine right or inheritance; they are simply any man with enough power and wealth to threaten at least a dozen other Kalvonders. That being said, a man could have the power and wealth of an eastern king and never be declared a Kalvonder. Ultimately, the Kalvonders choose who ascends to their ranks and who remains below and no exterior force can change their decision one way or another.

Due to their oppressed society, a massive amount of the Avaran population lives in some form of bondage; slaves, indentured workers, bondsmen, or Tragnashi. It was estimated that half of total Avaran population existed in some form of slavery, and most of the free Avarans bordered on the edge of it.

Unlike their cousins, the Aparthii, Avarans are a sedentary people, few, if any, leave their cities in the space of a lifetime. Nor could they survive as the Aparthii have, they possess neither the knowledge nor the constitution for such a lifestyle. Instead, they live in massive cities called Holds that were built in a series of canyons. These holds stretch between the walls of the canyons on a matrix of bridges, with only the Kalvonders permitted to live on the floor of the canyon. The holds are built thus because it was the Annuir'Hyme that excavated the canyons in the first place and it continues to run on the floor of the canyons. The Avarans cannot impede the Annuir'Hyme's flow first because it is impossible and secondly because the Annuir'Hyme is their only source of water.

The Avaran people worship Ashshand, the Southern Great Immortal, as their sovereign deity and the Annuir'Hyme as a secondary deity. These are the only two entities that have a place in their religion, and the worship of any other divine spirit is utterly forbidden. This religious totalitarianism, more than anything else, is what led to the hatred between the Avarans and their Aparthii cousins.

 

Descendants

Descendants is a self chosen name by those who believe themselves descendant of Lord Arthramain Roy'al's crimson Empire, and is the general name given to the humans living in the East and West regardless of nationality. Of all the human races, the Descendants have the most troubled history, their lands have changed possession frequently over the centuries at the hands of petty warlords, prospective emperors, and envious kings who all desired to expand their nations. As such, their various cultures have been rewritten, revived, and rewritten anew until it reached the point that not even they could discern where and when any piece of their culture actually originated. The Paladin Order and the Pantheon, however, have been consistent foundations of their culture no matter who ruled at the time.

The Western Descendants tend to be fair-haired while their eastern cousins are known for their dark or red hair and large eyes. Another difference is that the eastern Descendants hold bloodlines and nobility sacred while their western counterparts have mostly abandoned the Laws of Blood. This has led to the east adopting a mostly permanent monarchal aristocracy while the West has changed governing bodies and styles frequently over the past age.

Another facet of the Descendant culture is the Descendant Empires. These, more than anything, are an act of profane hubris. They are a declaration that whoever built them are the one and true heirs of Lord Arthramain Roy'al. This insane drivel is something only the Descendants have attempted in all the annals of history and it has lead their nations to be labeled descendants of Lord Arthramain Roy'al's Crimson Empire. It is a particularly violent transgression in the East, where all bloodlines are meticulously recorded. There have been three Descendant Empires up to this point, Rhiatan, Alarach, and, most recently, Cardolyn Tyier's Paladin Empire, although his might have been declared thus as mockery.

 

The Northerners

 

Tall, brooding, and isolationist, the northern men care little for what transpires outside their borders; the Summerland's wars, people, and gods have caused them nothing but grief. As such, they rarely leave The North and admit even fewer, no matter their reason. This has led to strained relations between Northerners and every king of the Summer Lands. The Northerners, of course, proceed with their lives in the frozen northland, utterly indifferent to the temper tantrums of the Summer Lands' kings.

The northerners worship a deity called Winsyria, one of the four Great Immortals. It is from him that they derived their isolationist mentality and their loathing of the Pantheon. There is no human race in all of the Mortal Kingdoms that despises the Gods more than the northerners. Their hated, and that of Winsyria, is so deep, that the gods are forbidden to set foot anywhere beyond the Rhawn Mountains.

The northerners live in a self-reliant society, and are mostly autonomous of one another. They buy supplies from the market, but that is mostly for the ease of it rather than necessity. They live in cities, but are equally capable of surviving in the wild. They have a government, but it is inactive officially and will stir only when something threatens the city as a whole. When this occurs, the city's governing Lord will resume his responsibilities and take charge of the city until the threat is dealt with, at which point he will return to his daily life and leave his city to do the same. Any grievances are dealt with by the district or regional law enforcement. The only part of their government that is constantly active is the military, which is needed for the day-to-day protection of the cities and general law enforcement.

The closet thing that the northerners have to a religious sect is the derangers, a mysterious, highly secretive group of men and women who wander the open tundra in Winsyria's service. They are guardians and hunters, envoys to the other mortal races and pacifiers of the celestial. They protect the northern people and the land, safeguarding it from all otherworldly presences and threats.


Kingdoms

Blessed Remanas (1-1256) AOM.

 

The world collapsed in the wake of Arthramain Roy'al's death. His Crimson Empire devoured itself from within as all the little, useless lord-lings decided that they and none other should rule his conquests. They shattered the nation with their shared avarice and brought about two hundred years of conflict that would afterword be known as the Succession Wars. The only region that survived this period of conflict unscathed was the Avarus Desert.

This was the work of the Dragon Lords, twelve mystical lieutenants of Lord Arthramain Roy'al who had charged with protecting all of the Southland. The country they formed became known as Blessed Remanas, for there was nowhere else in the world were men could find peace. The West and East were utterly consumed with the Succession wars, and The North had isolated itself from the rest of the world, allowing none to enter or leave.

 The Dragon Lords upheld their charge for twelve hundred years. Sometimes, a foolish lord would try compel their assistance in his bid for power or attempt a conquest of their territory, believing, even centuries later, that the Crimson Empire was his by right. In either case, the Dragon Lords brutally corrected his delusions. The South was theirs to protect, and no one would infringe upon their sacred duty.

Nevertheless, all things must come to their and Blessed Remanas with it immortal protectors was no different. One of the Dragon Lords turned on the other, and the entire South collapsed into anarchy. Thus ended Blessed Remanas and, despite the passage of time, it is still considered the greatest nation since Lord Arthramain Roy'al's Crimson Empire.


The Kalvonder Plutocracy (1256-6617, the present year.)

The Kalvonder Plutocracy, as it is known by foreign nations, is a loose coalition of autocratic magnates guided first and foremost by personal gain followed by their hatred of all foreigners. There is no single leader or ruling body; every city is simply ruled by the three most powerful Kalvonders of that region. These three Kalvonder are known as the Triad and are immediately replaced whenever another Kalvonder surpasses them.

The Kalvonder maintain order through an amalgamation of military power, wealth, propaganda, blood sports, and the constant, almost ubiquitous drugging of the Avaran population. From the day they are born to the day they die, most Avarans spends their lives in a drug and alcohol-addled haze. The rare occasion when they are not in this state is when they are watching the Angorat'Wass; a monthly blood sport orchestrated by the Kalvonders.

The Kalvonder were not always as they are now; once they were the assistants of the Dragon Lords in the time of Blessed Remanas. They were caretakers, lawmen, scribes, diplomats, overseers, and anything else the Dragon Lords needed. Blessed Remanas was far too large to be ruled by just twelve individuals, so the Kalvonder managed the small, inconsequential things so the Dragon Lords could focus on the important matters.

With the fall of the Dragon Lords, however, there was no one else to assume power and keep the Avaran people unified; so the Kalvonder took over. The centuries past and the Kalvonders changed, growing accustomed to their power and the lack of supervision. The old Kalvonder families faded from the world, eradicated or destitute, and soon there were only the new families; those who have no memory of their once sacred obligations.

Various kings, and even an emperor, have risen to power in the South over the years, but the Kalvonders have always endured; ruling when there was no greater power and submitting whenever someone greater than they ascended. They are volatile, but pragmatic and capable of joining forces despite their venomous tendencies. Now, Cardolyn Tyier's aggressive expansion in the West has compelled them to do just that; to ally against him and thus deter his conquest.


The North (1-6617, the present year.)

The North is not a kingdom of men; it is the kingdom of the Great Immortal Winsyria and all those who abide there do so at his sufferance and beneath his laws. The various mortal races who live in The North do so in a tenuous peace; far from allies but equally far from being enemies. As a whole, The North's three dominant races are the oldest sovereign nation currently in power; a lineage that extends back to the fall of the Crimson Empire.

Of the three races, the race of men is the most prominent and has the most dealings with foreign nations. That being said, they are still fiercely isolationist and share many of their deity's predilections; most notably his loathing of the gods and a penchant for secrecy.

Beyond that, the Borluce also abide within The North and have even less interest in the lands beyond the Rhawn than the northern men. They rarely leave their domain in the Deep North and hold diplomatic relations solely with the Northern Lords.

Lastly, there are the Weshac clans who are far more active in the Summer Lands than either of the other two races. They abide on the ocean and raid the Summer Lands' coasts relentlessly, but beyond that, they have little to do with men; even the northern men. Relations between them and the Borluce are strained, however, and the two races often come to blows over a variety of reasons.

These three races compose the nation referred to simply as The North and, whatever the difference, the one thing that is constant, is their dedication to their land and their deity: Winsyria.


The Paladin Empire (6124-6617, the present year.)

The Paladin Empire was born from the conflict know as the Guild Wars and took its place a footnote in the swirling maelstrom that was western politics at the time. It was nothing more than a city-state to start, a ramshackle city surrounded by failing walls, poverty, and numerous ambitious rivals. But it was also the domain of Cardolyn Tyier: a warlord and God-Spawn, though few knew this at that time.

What followed was four hundred years of violent expansion as Cardolyn Tyier swept across the western territories in a hold crusade. Every land, nation, or power he came in contact with fell to him in a matter of years until his empire stretched from the Rhawn Mountains in the North to the Inland Sea in the Sea and the Annuir'Hyme in the East. It was here that his expansion stalled, though not because he suffered a defeat. He had suffered many defeats in the past, and none ever deterred him for long. He lost battles, never wars. To this day, no one can say why he chose to cease his conquest.

A century of tentative peace followed his years of conquest, broken only by the Border War taking place along the Southern edge of the Inland Sea between him and the Kalvonder Plutocracy. It is not a full war, however, as neither side has made a concentrated effort to unseat the other since the initial landing a century before. Cardolyn Tyier seems content with the foothold he won and the Kalvonders are leery of the effort it would take to expel him. Thus the Border War is little more than a long series of skirmishes taking place over a century.

Yet a hundred years have passed since Cardolyn Tyier, the self-proclaimed Imperial Emperor, last made true war and the wise men are saying that it is about for him to strike again. In the Empire, meanwhile, there are troops moving southward in secret and rumors abound. Cardolyn Tyier has solidified his hold on the conquered lands and has built an unrivaled economy to fund his conquests. He very well might be ready to resume his war...

Major Cities

Adriat

Adriat is the first of the great northern cities, The City of War, and the farthest most outsiders ever travel into The North. It was built to guard Winter's Gate, the pass opened in the Rhawn Mountains by the Annuir'Hyme. There is no other way into The North; the Rhawn are too high to surmount, and the seas to cruel to sail for any but the Weshac; thus, any who wish to enter The North must seek admittance through Adriat.

Apelium

Apelium is the abode of Tiberius Wyite, it is first and foremost a Library and secondly a university for those who attract Tiberius's respect. Finally, it is also a political penitentiary for anyone who aggravated Cardolyn Tyier, but who have committed no legally punishable crime.

Ensconced in a range of moderately-sized mountains, Apelium is home to a small community of scholars and outcasts whom Tiberius deemed worthy of Apelium's knowledge and protection. Few who reside there have vapid past, or are not marked for punishment by one political entity or another. Some were even labeled criminals by The Paladin Empire. Despite all the powerful men hungering for these individuals, Apelium is inviolate. Not only is it nigh impossible to find without guidance, it is also almost unassailable. Besides those details, there is the fact that no living man wishes to anger Tiberius Wyite.

Due to its safety, Apelium is also popular among endangered noble families as a place to safely hide their children and secrets. Thus, despite being merely a library, Apelium houses a bustling population of pariahs, criminals, political dunces, noble wards, scholars, spies, and students along with Tiberius, his household, and the innumerable secrets he has locked away behind Apelium's walls.

Antiark

Antiark is the twelfth human city in The North, though the furthest removed from the Summer Lands. It is also the capital of the northern men and, more importantly, the repository of their dead. Now, in almost any other civilization, this fact would be deemed morbid and utterly reviled, but Antiark is not a city of the dead, it is a city of memories. Those who truly belong to The North will always find their way back, whether they be living or dead; and when they return, they are laid to rest in Antiark.

This purpose is why Antiark is inviolate to the northern peoples, no matter their race. Beyond their ancestors, Antiark also houses the largest northern library which, while it is impressive, pales before the libraries of Apelium and Paranoia. Part of this is because so much of northern history, law, and culture is passed down by word of mouth and in legends, but also because the souls of northern dead never truly abandon their homeland. They linger on in Antiark, brimming with knowledge and advice, waiting for one of the Northern Lords to seek their age. What need does The North have for books, when they have such a vast well of knowledge at their fingertips?

 

Dol'Cardolani

Dol'Cardolani, named after the Imperial Emperor, is the capital of The Paladin Empire. It was built roughly five hundred years prior as the seat from which Cardolyn Tyier would forge his nation.

Although time has mellowed it slightly, Dol'Cardolani remains a fortress. It houses a medium sized army on all occasions, alongside powerful contingents of paladins, priests, and wizards to fortify it defenses. The vast majority of its economy resides in its industry, forgoing many of the normal occupations that would inhabit a city. There is no agriculture in the surrounding fields, and barely anything resembling a textile market in the city itself. Food, luxuries, and products of high fashion are all purchased out of town through the Merchants Guild and delivered to the city where they are dispersed among the vendors and proper recipients.

Besides the Imperial Palace, Dol'Cardolani has a single feature: the Western Tower of Wizardry. Dol'Cardolani had been constructed around it, using it as a foundation and a guidepost. This, just as everything that transpired in the city, was Cardolyn Tyier's choice, and the Tower has brought Dol'Cardolani much prosperity over the years.


Tellor

Tellor is one of the oldest cities in the Paladin Empire, old enough to have seen the rise and fall of the preceding empire and maybe the one before that. Unlike most cities, it has not changed hands with each new warmonger but remained the property of the people who built it all those centuries ago. But nothing lasts forever and so when the world’s latest warmonger( Cardolyn Tyier) stomped down conquest’s bone-lined road, Tellor fell along with every other city in the West. Now, due to its fortuitous position on the South-West coast, Tellor stands as the central hub for all Empire trade. Furthermore, it’s embraced the empire’s teachings wholeheartedly, so much so that you would find it exceptionally difficult to find a more thoroughly Empirical city…on the surface at least. Vestiges remain of Tellor’s old people, men who speak a forgotten tongue, grandmothers who whisper tales unlike any other and secret offerings made to a deity people were forced to shun.


Sahdaen

Artifacts

The Acculm and the Accumulary

For most intents and purposes, the Acculm and the Accumulary are one and the same device. Their relationship is best described as that of a man and child; one is fully grown, the other but a flawed infant.

The Acculm are immortal repositories of knowledge; they can record conversations, facts, and images perfectly, housing them like a library houses books for the time that someone might wish to access the information. The limit and clarity of what they contain is strictly defined by the ability of whichever wizard created them.

The Accumulary serves an identical purpose, the storing of knowledge, but where the Acculm must be infused, the Accumulary gathers knowledge, conversations, and images passively on a global scale. They have literally recorded every moment of the world's history since the hour of their creation. Moreover, they are sentient and capable of storing any spell craft or spectral denizen they desire. Their only known limit is that they cannot imprison a corporeal object or creature.

Akrahvast (Rape of the World)

There is no weapon in polite society that is more reviled than Akrahvast, and few in all history with greater destructive potential. It is the first of Cardolyn Tyier's Holy Favors, but, unlike the second Favor, it did not originate with Eneki. Akrahvast did find its way into Cardolyn Tyier’s possession through Eneki's intervention, but he did not make the weapon.

Like most weapons of its caliber, Akrahvast is apparently indestructible and possesses a vast repertoire of awe-inspiring abilities. These trait pale in comparison to its actually purpose; Akrahvast is capable of extracting near godlike power from the world's lay-lines. Such power has a cost however, every time Akrahvast is used, it leaves a scar on the earth, a lasting testament to the brutality of its purpose. Thus it is named Akrahvast, Rape of the World.

The Amarthayiss

The Amarthayiss is the Holy Scripture of Eneki, the laws that govern his adherents, and the artifact that translates his words so mortals can hear them and survive. It is a powerful source of light and order in the world, even though it has been millennia since the original, true, copy surfaced from the vaults of whichever religious protector guards it. The copies are greatly diminished from its original grace, but they remain frighteningly powerful artifacts, the least of which is still analogues to a high cathedral.

The Amarthayiss is the Ninth Holy Scripture of the Pantheon.

Shattershard

The second of Cardolyn Tyier's Holy Favors, Shattershard is a God-Forged war maul. Indestructible by any mortal contrivance, Shattershard is capable of leveling mountains and holds within itself a vast Shard of Divinity that is able to materialize a host of spectral warriors absolutely bound to the Imperial Emperor's service.

Taychran

Taychran is an ancestral weapon of the Avenar Princes. By tradition, it the heir's blade and passed when a new prince takes over leading the Avenar. It is a powerful creation made from the molten core of a star to serve as a blade against darkness. It has existed longer than any memory or record and suffers only one of the Avenar Princes to touch it.

 

The Stone Blades

There is no enduring weapon that commands as much fear and reverence as the Stone Blades of the Dragon Lords. They are virtually indestructible, unfathomably powerful, sentient, relics from Blessed Remanas, and undeniably insane, murderously so.

There are twelve of them, each of which was made by Lord Arthramain Roy'al from a stone that no living being can name. They were given to the Dragon Lords as tools to enforce peace and stimulate prosperity across the Avarus Desert. They served their task without fail for over twelve hundred years, right up to the fall of Blessed Remanas.

With the deaths of their masters, eleven of the twelve stone blades were driven to madness and lost, becoming the cruel artifices they are today. For the most part they have remained lost, but every so many decades one will surface. Their manifestation always heralds a time of strife and bloodshed, of which they are always the axis. Wars have been fought to possess them, and massacres committed by men who fell into the throes of their madness. Even when one was found and locked in the possessor’s deepest vaults of stone and magic, its perversion boiledto the surface and brought ruin upon the surrounding countryside.

A century has passed since the last incident; but that span of time that has been broken in Sahdaen, where the silver blade has resurfaced.

People

Lord Adriat

A easterner by birth, Lord Adriat has the distinction of not only being one of the few foreigners to be accepted by,  and make a life in, the notoriously unwelcoming northland, but she was also given one of the highest station in the land: that of a Northern Lord.

Lord Adriat is the illegitimate child of a dowager countess Elaine Madasz and, like all such children, was inducted into her family's ancient profession: Assassination. By the age of five, she was versed in all forms of combat, and a capable combatant with any lightweight weaponry. By the age of seven, she was given her mask and dispatched on her first mission; it would be seventeen years before she ever saw her face again.

Five years passed; five years of alleyways, blood, and shadows during which the number of times she saw the sun could be counted on the fingers of her left hand.  Those years of darkness paid for the shame her existence caused in excess. She was a legend of the night, a shadow that no one outside of the Madasz household, and few within, could claim to have glimpsed, let alone recognize. Inside the household, her raw ability with any weapon was equally or just second to the best of her master's. The only exception to this status quo was in swordplay, where no one alive in the Madasz household could match her.

It was around this time, that something unprecedented occurred: an eastern lord petitioned the Madasz for her services instead of the Assassin's Guild. This shunning enraged the Assassin's Guild, who demanded that the Madasz turn down the petition and direct the eastern lord to their door. The Madasz Archduke declined, and thus began the Shadow War.

As wars go, the Shadow War was neither obvious in its battles, no grievous in its casualties. It was fought in the backstreets of eastern cities, and in the bedchambers of moguls. Men and women would wake in the dead of night at a violent swish of cloth and see two, or three, dark-clothed figures whirling through the shadow, a dark ballet between grim reapers to see who would claim the wayward soul. Through all of this, Lord Adriat continued to grow in skill and legend, surpassing both masters and rivals alike.

The Shadow War lasted for seven years, and during that time Lord Adriat collected fifty-six marks and the blades of seventy-eight rivals. Despite this, the conclusion was inevitable. No matter their power, the Assassin's Guild had a single, invincible advantage: The Marked.

 Normally, the Marked would not have interfered, but to challenge the Assassin's Guild was beyond even their tolerance. Thus, on one night with a full moon, a Marked called on the Madasz estates and annihilated every member of the Madasz Household that bided there; the lord, the lady, the children, and the assassins.

The Madasz house was shattered and lordship fell to the young nephew of the previous lord. Lord Adriat, however, survived the massacre. She, and two cousins, were hunting a marked man who had fled north when rumors of his impending demise whispered through the underworld. They came upon him, and his guards, on the banks of the Annuir'Hyme halfway between Winter's Gate and the Madasz estates.

Cornered, the lord and his retainers turned on their pursuers; five armored men against three Madasz assassins. Normally, such odds would have seemed laughable, but the lord unveiled his ace card: A blade master. The ensuing fight concluded with sleek brutality, Lord Adriat slaughter three of the lord's retainers while the blade master disemboweled her kin. Then, the masked Madasz protégée turned on the crimson-robed blade master.

They fought as only blade masters can fight: a sleek, whispering song of iron blades and twining cloth that left her reeling and him dying. Sagging to a knee with a hand clutched against her bleeding side, she looked up, her white mask stained red, and lifted her blade against the lord only to have him smile. Taking a ring from his finger, he cast it to the ground at her feet where it imploded and hurled her battered form into the Annuir'Hyme.

The cold water took her into its bosom, as it did all things, then, instead of burying her, the Annuir'Hyme deposited her on the banks of Adriat. She woke to sunlight, white sheets, and a young man with a hand on her pulse. She lunged to her feet, reaching for a knife, but the only thing that remained of her heritage was the white mask.

Calling for others, the young pleaded with her to return to the bed, assuring her that they meant no harm. Slowly, she heeded his request as his associates hurried through the door. One advanced past the others and took a seat beside her, asking her name and the purpose of her mask. She answered with deceit, saying that she had no memory of herself. The elderly men, who presented them politely, fussed over her for another minute and then left, leaving her once more in the company of her caretaker. He smiled, and asked if she desired anything, to which she answered in the negative, her mind already plotting an escape. At her answer, he asked if there was something she wished to be called. She answered that she had no interest in what they called her. He gave her the name, Rylia.

Three days passed and tidings of the Madasz Households annihilation reached Adriat, leaving her with a choice. All those who knew her were dead, and there was no one to reclaim her if she simply refused to return. She knew her past and, however brutal, was comfortable in it, confident in her ability to survive that world whereas to leave it was terrifying beyond anything she had already confronted. In the end, it was the warming sunlight quietly creeping into her room that made her decision. She became Rylia, a servant in Lord Adriat household; but the mask remained, bound to her face by ancestral magics.

For a year she lived and worked in a state of perpetual isolation. It was not from her personal desire, nor from the prejudice of those who shared her position; she simply could not function in open society. For months, she suffered from agoraphobia, an inability to utter more than a few words in conversation with someone, bipolarity, and a pathological need to lie, sometimes for utterly no purpose. These qualities, and her often-violent outburst of fear, led almost everyone to shun her and hope that her mind would eventually calm; everyone except for one: her young caretaker.

He spent a couple hours every day teaching her of The North, soothing her fears, and trying to help her heal. His name was Emaran Sirr. Time passed and she began to heal, to become something more than the emotionally barren violence of her past. Slowly, others began speaking with her again, cautiously making overtures of friendship that she declined in a bout of terror and fled. They had seen humanity in her however, and gradually a few others managed to slip through the cracks in her prison, bringing bit by bit a little more light into her world, and loosening the locks ever so slightly every time they breeched her dungeon. Still, she never touched a weapon, and avoided the armories and training grounds at all costs, even to the point of concealing herself in some dark corner whenever they came into use. Her friends noticed this, but did not ask, never believing for a moment that it was something other than fear of conflict that kept her away. Of course, it was fear that made her run but it was the fear of reverting to her past self and not of conflict, the fear that if she laid hands on another weapon, her family would return and drag her back into the shadows. Two years after she became Rylia, her nightmares became reality. Three assassins of house Madasz came calling on Adriat.

It seemed not all of those who knew her had died in the annihilation of the Madasz Household; the Marked had left the courtiers and servants untouched, one of whom was intimately familiar with the inner workings of the Madasz assassins. This courtier, a man called Silas Iruse, had assumed control over the Madasz estate in the aftermath of the calamity, using the young heir as a puppet ruler. Now, he desired the return of the Madasz family's most dangerous operative.

She was unarmed when they came for her, but that would not have mattered if she had been alone. It had taken Emaran a whole month to convince her of it, a moonlight supper followed by a performance by one of The North's premier musicians. They took her in the middle of supper, using Emaran as insurance for her complacence. Then, they took her and laid her at the feet of Lord Adriat, her white mask glinting right alongside theirs.  She did not cry a single tear, did not utter the slightest sound as all this occurred, and gave no answer to Emeran's desperate assurances.

Lord Adriat demanded their purpose with the cold, northern wrath that made his kind so frightening. The Madasz agent spoke eloquently in response, detailing the truth of her past and illustrating a litany of her atrocities. Throughout this, she maintained her facade, binding her heart in a winter dark enough to reign in The North.

When they were finished with her condemnation, Lord Adriat turned to her and asked without violence or hate if what they said was true. She bowed her head and said that it was. The Madasz assassins tightened their grips on her and declared that they would be reclaiming their lost sheep. Before they could leave however, Lord Adriat spoke, his words issuing an inviolate command. They would not take a member of his household unless she willed it. Emaran turned to her through the silence and asked if she wished to stay in The North or to return east. Her prison shattered in that moment and, finally, she wept.

The Madasz assassins, and everyone else who bore witness to her tears, recognized her choice and acted instantly. They swept her and the thrashing Emaran into their arms and fled. Yet, they had made a single, absolute error: she no longer had anything to fear. They were dead in seconds with not a sound to betray their passing, or the hint of a struggle to denote their fearsome abilities.

That was the last she ever saw of her family, even the Madasz Archdukes dared not declare open war on The North.  Her healing was done and her prison broken. It was another year passed before the damning white mask she wore released its hold, finally, allowing Emaran to remove that last vestige of her past.

Time tread on; she and Emaran were wed, she was marked as the heir to Adriat and her predecessor died in his sleep some years later. She was Burdened, and now stands as Lord Adriat, The Northern Lord of War.

Andeor'Vallen

Andeor'Vallen is the last surviving Dragon Lord of Blessed Remanas. He has lived out the long millennia of his life as recluse in the palace and kingdom of his peers, giving no thought to what transpired outside the stone walls of his abode.

Born of a dragon and a man, Andeor'Vallen is an entity whose power transcends what most comprehend. Yet, he is also a broken creature, a man so utterly consumed by misery and guilt that he allowed his kingdom to crumble and be reformed twice over, first into the demon empire Isaracc, and then into the nameless Kalvonder oligarchy.

Despite his negligence, the Avaran people and, to some extent, the Kalvonders still revere him. Even in the time of Isaracc there was no doubt that the Avarus Desert truly belonged to him. Thus, the Avaran people exist in a state of half-stasis, forever waiting upon but compelled to move on by the passage of time. As Cardolyn Tyier's power continued to grow, however, the desperation and prayers for Andeor'Vallen's return continue to mount. There he is the only living man capable of defeating, or even withstanding, the Imperial Emperor.

Lord Arthramain Roy'al

Lord Arthramain Roy'al, Ever-Lord's Prince, the Eternal Monarch, the Oath- Keeper, and the bearer of innumerable other titles is the ultimate legend of all mortal races. He was the Unifier, the Crimson Emperor, the Lord of Blood, and the ender of the Gods' Age. Six thousand years dead, and he is still universally revered, his words still universally quoted, his domains still inviolate.

He conquered the known world as the Age of Gods waned, and in his conquest, he ousted the Pantheon, binding them to the heavens and forbidding them entrance into his kingdom lest summoned. He built countless wonders from the Towers of Wizardry to the twelve Stone Blades. He brought peace to an age of strife, and an emperor to every mortal realm in existence. There is no measure as to how far into the future his legacy will extend, because, to this day, every drop of blood in the veins of mortals, be they man or beast, owes allegiance to him.

 

Brimares

A mortal woman whose soul was consigned to the Abyss for crimes committed in life, Brimares remembers little beside the existence of agony that is her lot in the Abyss. As it stands, that existence has been briefly suspended, for she is one of numerous demons who were summoned from the Abyss by the sorcerer Kale Saragion to serve as his assassins. They have been given a single task; kill the High-Warden of Winsyria.

Unlike her kin, however, Brimares is not a pain-maddened beast, or a sadistic monster. She does not wish for an existence of violence, or to kill the High-Warden. But the horror of any act pales in comparison to what waits for her in the Abyss upon death.


Cain Lammerock/Stroanholt

Cain Lammerock (born Cain Stroanholt) is a powerful, unbending man that personifies everything the Empire believes. Mysteriously long-lived, though not immortal, Cain has fought and possibly won several of the Empire’s wars, starting his career as a squire that was passed from Paladin Knight to Paladin Knight due to his unfounded reputation as a weak, pampered son of the old Nobility. This continued until his first battle where his master abandoned him and rode off in search of glory. Left without guidance, Cain stayed among the footsoldier and joined a squad at random. When the battle ended Cain discovered his master had died, addionally he learned that most of his fellows presumed Cain had died with him. Seeing no reason to disabuse the notion, he remained among the infantry and began his grandual ascent through the ranks. Five years later, when he reached the rank of captain, someone recognised him. Cain was rapidly reassigned, given to a new, powerful Knight and subjected to a torturus training regime. He excelled, surpassing thier highest expectation without difficulty. Again and again they increased the difficulty of his studies, but his combat prowess and experience always ensured his success. It wasn’t until he began studying magic that Cain finally struggled, his past, negligent teachers and his years serving the common army having near crippled him in that regard. Nevertheless he dragged himself from handicapped to merely amateurish then competant and, in the following decades, mastery. Now he stands amongst the Empire’s greatest generals,  he is acknowledged one of the most powerful paladins alive (only supplanted by names like Tiberius Whyte)  and he even claims a seat on Cardolyn Tyier’s inner council. That being said, no one actually knows what he does for the Imperial Emperor.

 

Cardolyn Tyier, the Imperial Emperor

Throughout history and myth, there have been countless individuals who were called, or claimed to be, god-spawn. Cardolyn Tyier, however, truly is the descendent of a God; his mother was a mortal woman who died giving birth to him, her life literally snuffed out by the duress of carrying such a soul in her womb, and his father was the ascendant god Eneki, Lord of Order and the Prince of Light.

Even as a child, he surpassed the strength of grown men and acted with the knowledge of someone thrice his age. He had no friends in his childhood, nor did he need any; his existence had a purpose, restore order to the known world and return every living creature into the Holy Pantheon's fold.

It was not long before Cardolyn Tyier had exhausted his mortal tutors of knowledge and ability. Thus, he turned to the divine for instruction and spent the next years of his life learning history, language, and war from seraphs, Ie'Dara, and , when needed, demons.

When he finished his education, he gathered his growing cult of paladins, priests, and common born soldiers and obliterated the corrupted institute that passed for a government at the time. The crumbling nation and devastated Paladin Order immediately collapsed into anarchy and scattered to the four winds, hurling the western world into chaos and war.

It was from this chaos that Cardolyn Tyier forged his empire, first with a single city and then expanding outward through a hundred a fifty years of bloody conquest that left his distended country sprawled across as close to the feet of the Rhawn Mountains to the North as they were allowed, gnawing at the Inland Sea to the South, and pressed against the intractable Annuir'Hyme to the East.

Multiple centuries have passed since that initial conflict, and the only interest Cardolyn Tyier has shown in renewing the conflict is the perpetual border war against the Avarans across the Inland Sea. In those intervening years, he rebuilt the Paladin Order into an office of war directly beholden to him, and converted the western world from a backwater amalgamation of wheat farms into an industrial empire. Nonetheless, every living monarch, solider, and peasant can only wonder when Cardolyn Tyier will choose to resume his war of conquest.


Carr’Sellain

The interesting thing about Carr'Selain is that everyone knows his name, from children to foreigners, which suggests a lack of mystery when the opposite is true. Though everyone knows his name, no one outside the Thieves' Guild has ever seen his face. Some have even questioned if he exists beyond rumour. The Guild, however, knows the truth; after all, they watched Carr’Sellain scheme, cheat, lie and steal his way to supremacy; as it should be. If he adopted any other road, his subordinates might doubt his aptitude for the position.


Dieharamon Tragnashi

Dieharamon is a Tragnashi. He has no soul; it was taken from him by Valeriius Kalvonder and imprisoned in an amethyst so that he could be controlled. There is no lesser creature in Avaran society than a Tragnashi, not the reviled Aparthii, the feral Chkaii, or even the beasts that fight in the Arena.

He was brought to the Sahdaen hold roughly sixteen years before, where, after brisk tutelage, he was consigned to the vicious blood sport known as the Angorat'Wass and became a gladiator in Valeriius's name. Dieharamon has survived Sixteen years of blood, sweat, and pain leading up to the present year where he has become a legend in a sport where most contenders barely last a month.

As a servant and Tragnashi, he is worth more than most Kalvonders, as a man he is a scarred, exhausted shell of a person. There has been no respite from the horrors of the Avaran society in the sixteen years he has lived there, no hope to believe his existence will ever change, only that someday he will face a challenger strong enough to kill him.

What he does not realize, is that he has become a pawn in a game far darker than any Avaran arena. A creature so dark that even the night shudders to look upon it has come to Sahdaen, bringing only ruin and despair. Yet, through that darkness, there is a light and if he can but reach it, Dieharamon might find salvation.


Feylin Whyte (ward of Tiberius Whyte)

Feylin Whyte is a child with an ancient birthright, so ancient that it lacks any modern day weight and even if it did possess such a thing, nobody would remember it. Even her existence, despite being a ward to Tiberius Whyte, is largely unknown. Before now, she has never left  Apelium and those who visit seldom leave that fabled library, thus all knowledge of her existence is a tightly guarded secret.


The High-Warden

A recluse by nature and heritage, the High-Warden is the closest thing The North has to a spiritual leader. The derangers may convene with the Fae, and the northern lords may speak with Winsyria, but neither of them do so to the extent of the High-Warden. He is the protector of the entire northland, its warden against any threat her people cannot confront alone, but primarily, he protects it from entities beyond the ken of mortal men.

Even though the current High-Warden is human, his allegiance to the northern men is tertiary behind first the land itself and then northern civilization as a whole. He is beholden to no northern law and can never be hindered, no matter whom his objective might infringe upon.

Now, with the Gods rising in the East, it is his geas to insure they never conquer The North, a land they have hungered for since the very beginning of this age.

Lionel Iitanen

Lionel Iitanen came to the Paladin Order at an age when most youths had already spent a couple of years as squires. He was admitted, however, due to his exceptional potential and the simple fact that he arrived from The North. He gave no reason why he had left that land to come west, let alone join the Paladin Order, but whoever sanctioned his apprenticeship had utter faith in the honesty of his desire.

Lionel spent a brief, tumultuous tenure as a page where he was highly commended for both his natural ability and for his courage in numerous assaults. In the two years he spent at the monastery, it was attacked three times, twice by bandits and once by a roaming witch. It was probably his selfless courage in all three incidents that lead to him being taken as a squire by the paladin Knight Eres Koan, a knight errant who specialized in the purification of witches.

Lionel wondered the Paladin Empire for the next four years in the service of his lord, battling both a host of bandits and a wide array of terrible monsters. Despite the violence, Lionel was happy in Eres Koan's service; his master was a kind man, who firmly believed in the justice of their labors, a belief that inevitably transferred to Lionel.

He learned much in this time, met many different people, and made his share of friends. Then, when he was nineteen years old, a missive came from Dol'Cardolani, issuing an Ordeal to him and his master to see if he was ready to be knighted in full. Normally, such a message would be greet with jubilation and pride, but Lionel’s Ordeal would take him and his master into the dark realm Paranoia. Still, there was no way to refuse the Ordeal. They gathered their supplies, bid farewell to friends, and departed. Lionel was not seen again for two years.

He crawled out from the misted depths of Paranoia with a horror-lined visage and a body that was nothing but flesh and bone. He came out alone, for his master had died shortly after the Ordeal commenced, leaving Lionel alone in that horrible kingdom. He spoke of what transpired only to the Autarch that interviewed him. He was knighted after the interrogation.

His Ordeal was three years prior, and now he has a new mission: to learn all he can of The New Order and its invasion of The North.

Ureign Kalvonder

Ureign Kalvonder was born to power, and has wallowed in it without remorse. He is the scion of an ancient Kalvonder bloodline, one of a number who were raised from the cradle on blood, deceit, and the law that they must kill one another before any of them reached adulthood.

Ureign thrived on this and grew fat with the decadence of his father, who did nothing to temper to violence of his innumerable offspring. By the time he reached six years of age, Ureign had poisoned two siblings and stabbed a third. There was no remorse in his heart, or even the possibility of it, his entire existence was one of blood. He was the only one of his siblings to reach adulthood fourteen years later upon which, he murdered his father and assumed dominion over their estates including a seat among the Triad.

His insanity was already well documented at this point in his life, but the wealth of his ancestors and the brutality of his disposition armored against all attempts on his life. The only objective that remained to him was to expand upon his family's wealth, bear sons, and eradicate pretenders who hoped to rule Sahdaen. There can be only one ultimate master of Sahdaen and Ureign has made his intentions plain. The only hitch in his machinations came some years prior, when he eldest son mysteriously vanished in the night.


Senna Lammerock

Senna lammerock, with her open, laughing personality doesn’t seem like a suitable candidate for mysteries, but little is known about her past. In fact, people are certain of only two things; the first is that she immigrated from the East, escaping a poverty-ridden existence, and the second is that she stands innocent of any wrong doing. The latter is only important because people suspect that she immigrated westward to escape more than poverty. Whatever the truth is, her life after immigration became far less mysterious. She found a steady job, spent a few years supporting her ten-year-old son and then, to the shock of Descendant nobility, she married Cain Stroanholt.


Slade Lammerock

Slade is a black sheep surrounded by pretty, white lambs. As the adopted son of Cain Lammerock, a powerful noble and revered war hero, one would almost think that he has everything and indeed he does, but that just provides him with an excellent defence against suspicion. Disdaining every expectation of him, Slade has flouted the rules surrounding Descendant culture and built himself a criminal empire that no one, excepting the Thieves’ Guild, even knows about. As for the Thieves’ Guild, they have been unable to infiltrate Tellor (Slade’s hometown) let alone his actual organization, a failure they’ve  continuously reencountered with their assassination attempts and even their endeavours to contact him. Recently, however, Carr’Selain (master of the Thieves’ Guild) has managed to achieve the latter, arranging a time and place for a meeting during which he intends to discuss an as-of-yet unrevealed subject.   

 

Snydros Nomarr

Syndros Nomarr is a mystery even to his subordinates; the only thing people know about him is that he is the King of Assassins


Tasha Bloomhale

Tasha is a resident of Dol’Carbolani and to all outward appearances an upstanding citizen of the Paladin Empire. In truth, she belongs to a shadow organization known as the Thieves Guild, an organization dedicated to controlling the Empire’s underworld and stealing everything that’s not welded to the floor. Tasha is what is known as a Rat, an unimportant member whose job is dedicated to thievery, enforcement and protection. She, because of her lowly status, has been sent to Tellor to negotiate with the unaffiliated, and therefore rogue, Thief-Lord Slade Lammerock, a man surrounded by towering threat and a grasping morass of rumours. Negotiation, however, is her secondary mission, Tasha has another reason for journeying to Tellor, a secret purpose that she herself might not be fully aware of.


Tiberius Wyite

Tiberius Wyite is many things, an immortal, a scholar, a paladin knight of the highest order, a prison warden and, among other things, a mystery. He abides in the ancient library Apelium, where he is exempt from almost all laws of the Paladin Empire and acts as the warden for all political personages who have fallen far enough from Cardolyn Tyier's favor that he banned them from all political society.

Despite this apparent servitude, Tiberius Wyite is one of the few individuals whose existence is not dictated by the Imperial Emperor. His existence preceded Cardolyn Tyier's war of conquest and it is likely that he will outlast the empire he currently serves.

Trerrock Kalvonder

Trerrock Kalvonder is the oldest living member of the Triad, possibly even of all the Sahdaen Kalvonders. He came to the Hold over two centuries prior and quietly installed himself into the highest echelons of society first as an adviser and then as a power in his own right. No one can say exactly when this transition occurred, the best closest approximation they can achieve is the moment he was declared a Kalvonder. This lapse is not of great importance, it is an egregious waste when compared to the other mysteries that attend Trerrock's person.

Unlike the other two members of the Triad, Trerrock has demonstrated a predilection toward restraint, which is a character quirk that made him extremely popular among the lesser. Despite this, or possibly because of it, no other Kalvonder commands as much fear from his peers as Trerrock, not even Ureign. Where other Kalvonder are boisterous, licentious, and macabre, Trerrock acts coldly and betrays no vice, to the extent that his peers wonder if he is fully human. 

 

Valeriius Kalvonder

Valeriius is a newly risen Kalvonder in the Avaran hierarchy, having appeared little more than twenty years prior. He arrived and took up residence in his family's ancestral abode without preamble or fuss. Most of his peers ignored him due to his evident lack of power and barely acceptable wealth. That changed the moment Valeriius submitted his first champion into the Angorat'Wass, a youth called Dieharamon. The combat was swift, brutal, and shocking as the boy slaughtered his rivals no matter their age and achieved his first victory as one of the youngest gladiators ever.

This moment indicated the start of Valeriius's rise. Dieharamon continued to achieve victory after victory in the arena, and Valeriius’ wealth flourished as a result. He began to gain tract in the lower echelons of Kalvonder hierarchy and his name became known to even the Triad as the Kalvonder whose servant simply did not lose. Lesser Kalvonder began approaching him with bribes so that he would confide when and to which arena he intended to submit Dieharamon next. The greater Kalvonders came with promises of alliance, protection, and vast wealth to purchase Dieharamon from him. But all of these Valeriius turned away, and slowly over the space of years, he began to gain true power in the shadows and gutters of Sahdaen. None o f his rival noted this gradual swell in power, for all were ensorcelled by his deceits and facades.

Now, finally, it seems that Valeriius Kalvonder is ready to shed his cloak of shadows and step into the light.

Xexeross Kalvonder

Xexeross has the distinction of being one of the few Kalvonder in Sahdaen who earned his position solely through his own merit. He had no inherited wealth, no ancestors who carried the appellation Kalvonder before him; he had nothing.

He was a low ranking Guild mercenary in his youth, but chafed under the stipulations of others and abandoned the Guild after an indefinite numbers of years. He did not go alone, a troupe of bullied fellow mercenaries followed him, their loyalty bought through heaped brutalities and the allure of a powerful personality. Whatever their reasons, they followed Xexeross blindly and he led them into violence.

He spent the initial six years of his liberty mostly unnoticed, his conflicts mostly involving streets thugs and minor brawls with the Mercenary Guild. His power continued to wax as he acquired more and more property in Upper Sahdaen and other men joined his swelling forces. It was on the advent of his seventh year as a street warlord that Xexeross presented himself to the Kalvonder by taking an entire section of the Hold captive.

At first, the Kalvonders dismissed him as a desperate thug and commanded the public guards to handle the situation. Their views changed a short while later when the heads of a hundred and fifty public guards were delivered to the doorsteps of their most prominent members. This insult infuriated the Kalvonders, provoking them to compile a retaliatory force of their own soldiers; six hundred fully equipped warriors and two mages. They commanded the force to begin their assault at night, fully expecting Xexeross's forces to be annihilated. Morning came, and the Kalvonders found six hundred heads suspended from the bridges of Lower Sahdaen.

Further enraged, but now cautious, the affronted Kalvonders convened a council and discussed how best to eradicate Xexeross. He was no longer a mere nuisance to them; he was an insult that needed to be erased from all memory. They settled upon hiring the Mercenary and Assassin Guilds to prevent further loss of their own warriors.

That battle lasted through the remainder of the day to conclude deep in the night. The bridges of Sahdaen were adorned with four hundred new ornaments come morning. The Kalvonders flinched at last, utterly at a loss for a way to disrupt Xexeross's occupation. Thus, they sent a messenger to hear his demands: he wished to be named a Kalvonder and given a palace on the bank of the Annuir'Hyme.

Set against their lost wealth, the Kalvonders found his demand trifling, and conceded almost instantly. They did not care if some upstart warlord desired to play at being one of them; if he was worthy, he would survive, if he was not he would die. Accordingly, they constructed him a small palace on the bank of Annuir'Hyme, afforded him the title of Kalvonder and all its incumbent privileges. He surrendered his precinct of Sahdaen and took up residence in his abode shortly thereafter. A month of volatile peace passed, and Xexeross began conquering his neighbors.

The Kalvonders ignored him, he was one of them now, and these actions were permissible. Xexeross ascended through the Kalvonder hierarchy with brutal swiftness, every conquest expanded his wealth and domain, granting him ever-greater influence among his peers until , one day, he conquered a member of Triad and assumed her place.

This victory marked the end of his conquests, his loses were too severe to continue without respite and the two other members of the Triad frightened him. Thus, he settled into his newfound power and began to wallow in the fruits of his labors.

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