Wickedness across Orlin
There was peace… The great Empire of the Harp ruled over the lands. From the Northern edges of the Snow Sea to the edges of the Great Swamp, covering the fertile valleys of the Southern peninsula and the Coves and Islands of the Farthing Shore. This ended with the confluence of many events, they happened so quickly most scholars do not even debate what occurred first to cause the others or if it was some curse upon the Empire for the foul deeds of some of its nobles. Either way the results of these intertwined events of between 70 and 80 years ago created a destruction that scoured the lands of peace, and swept away years of civilization. Although some argue that it was the Raids of Rolth Bearchild, from the northern tribes, that happened over a century ago, that weakened the Empire sufficiently to allow the other events to occur.Events:
- The Advances of the Skull Empire, under their Demon Lord.. The Beast Men of the Far East rode their nightmare steeds across the great eastern plains, into the frontiers of eth empire.. Their bloodied axes bringing death, and their shamans and sorcerers drinking deep from the misery they caused
- The Rise of the Dark Mage Varidos. A noble of the Empire who sought to learn the secrets of what man should not know. He fell to blackness. His forces carved a swath of heartache and destruction across the northern frontier. He enthralled many of the Northern Tribes of Barbarians to do his bidding. Raiding southward into the more fertile lands. His cult corrupted many young warriors of the empire, drawing away the vibrant soul of the Imperial courts. He was not destroyed by Imperial might but instead the Battles between himself and the Demon Lord of the Skull tribes.. Drew down magic and evil from beyond the veils and tainted the Eastern Plains, known forever more as the shadow lands.
- The Rise of the Southern alliance. The Lords and nobles of the Southern Peninsula, found themselves uncomfortable under the rule from the City of Red Towers, and hence formed an alliance of rebellion and Independence. The ensuing civil war, probably damaged the Empire more deeply then the skull kingdoms or the dark Mage. This shattered the system of loyalty and honour, of hierarchy and nobility. This attacked the core of the Imperial structures, and hence weakened it more then any external enemies could. Families were rent asunder. And many duels were fought. IN the End the Emperor Granted this independence, He had been weakened and could not fight three wars. The Alliance though did not last. As Each newly independent lord declared himself King, they began to in fight. The peninsula ran red with blood, and the nights were lit with torches against the roaming assassins. Nobles locked themselves away and plotted against each other. The peninsula fell into a perpetual state of warfare and skirmishes. Each King fighting for survival.
- The rise of the Pirate Kings: a weakened Empire and approaching danger from the Skulls and the Warring alliance, forced the one time frontier land of the Empire, to turn towards the only protectors they could find. The pirate kings. These 12 captains, established a loose alliance each taking a city to rule. They protected the region from all external foes with some coordinated activities during the darkest days. But when a semblance of peace bared its head, then they quickly fell back into the old practices of piracy (from each and every one).
Fallen Empire of the Harp- Rising from the bloody civil wars of the past 70 years. The new emperor has taken the throne and keeps peace through his soldiers. He is backed by the power of faith, the peoples faith in the Church of the Omereans, the Gods of Light. The Empire’s two key cities are the City of the Red Towers _(the home of the emperor and the head of the Church) and the _City of Song Birds. Around the coast there are other smaller cities towns and villages, moving inland the cities dwindle and the fortifications and wariness of Empirical citizens grows.
The shattered Alliance once again reforming behind the murderous and argumentative council of Kings. The Council’s City is the Port of Talons keep. Each of the 10 kingdoms though have their own capital, and Talon’s Keep is an independent city state co-ruled by the Lord Magistrate and The Warlord of The Talon. The citizenry of the Alliance reflect a cautious optimism, but are more open and friendly then any of their neighbours. Perhaps it was that they faced less war, perhaps it is the sheer joy these people take in drink and all sorts of revelry. These are the most accepting of peoples to those who are different. That said they are quick to defend themselves and are fearsome foes. Even the doughty barbaric skull warriors feared the quick sting of an Alliance cavalry charge.
The Pirate Kings, holding ports by sheer force, plying their trade across the seas on Alliance and Empire ships, and often each other. The key city on the bay is Port Serenity, and is ruled by the Admiral Black Kane. The pirate lands were originally an area loosely aligned to the Empire, the lawless frontier at the time, eventually this turned on them and they fell to pirate ruled ports and smaller areas living in fear of raiders and pillagers. The establishment of the Pirate Kings, a loose alliance between 12 major Pirate captains, allowed them to withstand the empirical forces and the Skulls. They mainly have survived through allowing anything to happen that does not upset the rule of the captains. It is a den of horrors and delights.. Any thing one desires you can find i Port Serenity or any of the other Pirate Towns. But if you cross the wrong person your fish food.
The Dragon Mountains, home of the Northern Tribes. Shepards, woodsmen, farmers, hunters who live among these jagged peaks. They are scattered and unorganized now, 120 years ago they gathered behind the banner of the great warrior chief and bandit king Rolth Bearchild. He led them on raids and war that led to the looting and burning of the beautiful City of the Harp. They have returned to the mountains, but many younger men will still raid the new empire’s northern frontiers.
The Blood Vales the years of war have not been kind to this once peaceful frontier of the Empire. This region bore the brunt of the Kingdom of the Skulls attacks and the civil war and the battles for independence from the Alliance. Blood flowed and filled the rivers and lakes. Now the people dwelling in the Blood Vales are fiercely independent, extremely suspicious and survivalists.
Similar to the Blood Vales the Shadow Lands were once part of the Empire, but they too faced the Skull invasion. But this Area also fell to the black sorcery of Vardios and his minions. The battles between Vardios and the Demon Lord of the Skull Tribes tainted this land forever. Casting the ruins into tragic shadows of decay despair and sorrow. The few people who make the Shadow Lands home, speak of the dead spirits and the dark devils that plague them. They eke out a living in this wretched region through habit, misguided need to recapture the past or utter madness.
The Great Swamp, where the Dragon Mountains drain after meandering through the Shadow lands. The massive swamp played host to many dark creatures and forces prior to the wars. During the war it was a place of dark battles, assassins and guerrilla warfare. It fell out of importance as front lines shifted… and now stands as a back barrier between the Skulls and the Empire of the Harp (and the Blood Lands, Alliance and Pirates). The Swamp is home of beast of great ferocity, but also of bandits scavengers and demons most foul. History tells that the Swamp was once the central lands of a great kingdom that fell to massive floods caused by a dark magician tapping into powers beyond his ability. Few live in and around the Swamp as it poses violent and natural dangers to the unwary and unskilled.
Notably the Blood lands side is ‘guarded’ by a few strategically placed Kingdoms. The Lands of Vangir – lies betwixt the Blood Vales, Shadow Lands and Great swamp. Vangirian Tribes, renegades from the SKull Tribes herd their great sloth-like cattle and hunt the haunted plains and the Great Swamp, fiercely defending themselves from any outsiders. The Lands of Danos Vale, are ruled by the warlord of the Danos, who inherits the title from birth. These farming, herding and woodworking communities are suspicious of the dark forces of the swamp and are quick and violent in their reactions. Further south is the Hold of RavenRoost. The Black river slides from the swamp and cuts a gap through the Stone Hills as it works its way to the Bay of the Silver Gulls. Its path is guarded by the four Fortresses of the Lord of RavenRoost. A secretive place difficult to enter physically through the stone hills, and protective to an extreme. Merchants and other rumour mongers whisper its lord is a practitioner of the darkest magics and has twined his soul to a devil princess.