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2007, March. Hive Ri’Tal

Deep within the bowels of the Vasar hive Ri’Tal, Merasiël, Gabriel and Dane wandered among strange company. The Huallapan they had freed a short time ago now led them unerringly through the endless maze of tunnels that seemed to continually twist and turn back on themselves at random. Merasiël occasionally glanced at the silent people, her unease very apparent. Despite the events of the earlier fight, Merasiël still distrusted them; how easy would it be for the liberators to be abandoned in the tunnels and left hopelessly lost, or worse, to be turned over to the first Vasar patrol they encountered? Yet, none of the others shared her concerns. Gabriel followed along in his usual easy stride, and Dane ghosted along behind them, his bow ever held at the ready and an arrow nocked. The few remaining Crusaders that had originally joined this mission were scattered throughout the growing pack of Huallapan. Those who were too wounded to continue had been sent back in search of the way out. There are so few of us left. Even if the Huallapan do not betray us, what good will all of these empty hands do? Merasiël had little faith now that they would succeed, but Dane insisted that his plan would work. And so they pressed on.

Occasionally they would be brought up short by a motion from Eli, the Huallapan who had overcome his fear and rallied the prisoners to action. After a brief conversation with Gabriel, he would send a pair of armed Huallapan down a side tunnel. A few minutes later, they would return, accompanied by more prisoners. Merasiël grated at each delay, however her protests were largely ignored, and they continued at their slow pace, freeing more and more prisoners as they went.

As those in front of her stopped abruptly once more, Merasiël expelled a frustrated sigh. She elbowed her way to the front where Gabriel, Dane and and Eli stood. Upon reaching the front of the group, she saw Eli gesturing at some sort of ventilation shaft in the side of the tunnel. From what she could tell, it was wide enough for a single person to pass through at a time and seemed to lead upwards at an angle. Gabriel scratched his chin and stared at the small entrance, a somewhat bemused look on his face. Eli continued to speak hurriedly to him, gesturing more than once at the portal.

“What is it?” Merasiël asked when she was within earshot.

Gabriel’s glanced at her briefly in acknowledgement, then his gaze shifted back to the tunnel. “It seems that here we are to part ways with our friends. This shaft will lead us near the main entrance and we should be able to see the gate when we reach the other end.”

“And what will they be doing?”

“I don’t know the exact words he’s using. But it seems that there is a large group of prisoners further down this passage. They are well-guarded, and he wishes for us to move on to the gate while they try to free their friends. They will be a…rivodza…whatever that means.”

Merasiël shook her head. She had not bothered to learn any of the Huallapan language, believing it too rough for Elven tongues to bother with. She turned and dropped down to a crouch before the the shaft entrance and muttered in Elvish, “That will be a difficult climb.” The walls were smooth and waxy, just like the rest of the tunnels, however the angle wasn’t too much to climb if one were careful. She buried the rest of her complaints, dropped to her hands and knees and disappeared into the small passageway. A soft grunt from behind let her know that the others had joined her in the slow, painful ascent. The silence was marred only by the sound of feet, hands and knees gaining purchase in the tunnel behind her, heaving the men onward. The sounds paused, and Gabriel’s voice drifted from just behind her.

“Lovely view in here,” he murmured, amusement fairly dripping from his voice.

“How can you say that?” Merasiël grimaced as her hand sought another secure hold to grasp. “There are no windows.”

Dane’s soft laughter drifted from below Gabriel’s feet. Merasiël stopped and glowered over her shoulder at them, beginning to suspect some sort of joke. Gabriel’s knowing smirk and brief glance at her posterior was all she needed to see and she turned back to her task. “Very funny,” she said, without a trace of amusement.

After several minutes of climbing, the dim light around them lifted as daylight filtered down from the end of the tunnel. Merasiël turned to look over her shoulder once more, a finger placed on her lips to caution the others to silence. She wormed her way up the last few feet to the end and found herself peering out of a grate into an large, open courtyard. As Eli had promised, she had a clear view of the main gate and the mechanism to open it. She also had a clear view of the large number of Vasar guards swarming the courtyard in between themselves and the gate. An iron fist clenched in her gut. We must continue, for good or for ill, she thought grimly and tested the grate, only to find it locked. She twisted herself around and planted her back against one side of the tunnel and her feet against the other to hold herself in place, allowing her hands the freedom to begin working the lock open.

The tell-tale sound of the lock opening seemed loud to her ears, and Merasiël froze. A glance out the grate showed that none of the nearby guards had heard. In fact, she saw that there were now fewer guards in the courtyard. Much fewer. Many were leaving swiftly, accompanied by the sounds of angry clicks and snarls, but couldn’t see where they were going. But now, the way to the gate was clear. She felt a tap on her boot, and she looked downward at Gabriel.

“Many guards,” she murmured low. “But they are leaving. The way is open.”

Gabriel looked as confused as she felt, but some sort of buried knowledge came to light and his face lit up with understanding. “God. Rivodza. Diversion. The Halluapan are sacrificing themselves so we can get the gate open. We need to move. Now!”

One by one, they scrambled out of the tunnel and tumbled into the courtyard. Merasiël immediately sought some sort of cover, praying to the Eternal that they had not been noticed. Whatever diversion the Halluapan were causing was working, and all of the Vasar eyes were turned elsewhere.

“Dane? Are you ready?” Gabriel asked curtly.

Dane had already returned his arrow to the quiver on his back and had withdrawn a new one, the point of which was wrapped in cloth and coated with oil that would burn in a bright flash. They would give a signal to the army camped outside that they were in the courtyard and would open the gate soon. Dane nocked the arrow and took aim as one of the elves lit the cloth with a spark from a flint and tinder.


Outside the gate, the Crusaders waited. Rainald, Magnifico and Brother Mendel stood just ahead of the lines of warriors, their eyes trained on the Hive walls. The setting sun made it difficult to see, but they shaded their eyes as best as they could and continued to keep vigil.

“Have faith, my friends,” Brother Mendel broke the silence. “The LORD is with them. They will succeed.”

“Is strong, yes,” Rainald agreed.

A flash briefly lit the sky above the Hive, and Brother Mendel smiled as cheers began to sound out around them. “And the scriptures say, ‘Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.’”


Within the hive, Merasiël kept to the shadows as much as she could and moved swiftly to the gate’s locking mechanism. Their time was short, she knew, as the Crusaders would begin their march as soon as the signal was sent. Dane’s arrow, while bright enough to be seen by the approaching army, was also bright enough to alert the Vasar that something was amiss. In the confusion, she and one of the other elves with them were able to reach the gate and begin the slow process of opening it. The sounds of fighting broke out behind her, but she tamped down the urge to join them and stayed at the gate.

She heard the elf next to her cry out in pain and she then realized that she was alone. He lay in a pool of blood by her feet, felled by a hurled vasar glaive. But still, she worked the gate as quickly as her strength would allow.

A black blade nicked her shoulder and she stumbled to the side, narrowly avoiding a thrust through the center of her back. A huge Vasar towered above her, poised to deliver a spear strike into her heart. Instead of delivering the killing blow, however, it shuddered oddly as the tip of a rapier thrust through its body, and the spear fell to the ground with a clatter.

Merasiël heard the song of the Crusades echoing over the wall. The army would be at the gate in moments.

“Merasiël! Get that gate open!” Gabriel called out as he turned away, holding his blade ready. He joined Dane to stand against a large, writhing black mass of Vasar.

With as much effort as she could muster, Merasiël threw herself on the mechanism and forced it to move. As the gate opened, a blow from somewhere behind her left a loud ring in her ears and a film of hazy darkness roiled around the edges of her vision.

The last sight she saw was that of Rainald barreling through the opened gate, bellowing his trademark, blood-curdling war-cry, and then everything went black.


“…will be fine, she just needs to rest. That was a nasty blow she took to the head.”

Merasiël stirred as voices disturbed her slumber. Her eyes flickered open and her vision swam as she focused on Brother Mendel and Gabriel standing nearby. No, not standing, lying down?  Are we dead?

The ever-patient Brother Mendel tended to Gabriel’s many wounds. Gabriel, for his part, was not happy about his situation. “I should be out there. Fighting. There are still bugs to kill!”

“You’re exhausted and have more holes in you than our LORD’s brow as it was pierced by thorns. You will go nowhere until I am done with you!”

Not dead, then.  Merasiël smiled at the idea of Gabriel’s discomfort, but the effort sent pain shooting through her head and she groaned.

“Ah, she’s coming to. How do you feel, my dear?” Mendel approached and settled down with a sigh. He looked exhausted, but he didn’t pause, laying a cool hand on her forehead. He then held up his other hand with all of his fingers extended. “Tell me. How many fingers do I hold before your eyes?”

“Caer.”

“Beg pardon?”

Gabriel’s answered for her, his tone impatient. “Ten. It’s Elvish for ten.”

Mendel frowned down at her. “Still need some time off your feet, I see.”

“What happened?” Merasiël forced her eyes to focus on the two Mendels that swam before her.

As Mendel spoke, he lay hands on her bloody shoulder and blessed it with healing power. “Well, after you three opened the gate…ah, I won’t bore you with the details. While you slept, the Crusaders took the Hive, Magnifico danced on the wall and the Vasar have been routed. Those that escaped have fled towards Hive Ves’qal. Although it will take some time to clean out the tunnels beneath us, I’m afraid.”

Gabriel interjected, “It would go a lot faster if I was there with them.”

Mendel glared over his shoulder, but Gabriel was spared the priest’s rebuke by the tent flap flying open. Rainald entered, Radskyrta’s arm draped over his shoulder as he drug the warrior to one of the empty spots beneath the tent. Radskyrta’s leg was twisted at an odd angle, and it didn’t seem to be working properly. Both of them were covered nearly head to foot in insectoid goo.

Gabriel sounded somewhat bitter when he spoke. “Having fun Rainald?”

“Hah! Yes, lítillbróðir! Killing much bug-mans today.” With that, he departed, the tent flap snapping closed behind him.

Mendel rested his face in his hands as Radskyrta began to curse from where he lay. “LORD help me, it’s going to be a long night.”


In the days that followed, the Crusaders solidified their hold on Hive Ri’Tal as the last of the Vasar that hid in the tunnels beneath were flushed out. The Huallapan that had provided the distraction that allowed the opening of the gates had suffered grievous losses, including the brave warrior Eli. There was little time for sorrow or rest, as the Crusaders soon turned their sights on the last of the Vasar strongholds.

2005: Beginning of Huallapan Crusade

  • Following the successful actions of the PCs (September), the Vasar are thrust from Yrth.
  • All PCs are knighted and receive lands.
  • While still recovering from wounds sustained in the Fall of Simonton, Lord Wallace begins calling for a Crusade to retake the Huallapan home from the Vasar.
  • The Caithness Civil War is temporarily halted as the two opposing forces unite for this grand crusade. Warriors are also drawn from Megalos and the Elves of the Great Forest. There are probably some dwarves in there too.
  • The great Host begins to march against the Vasar via the portals crafted by Huallapan weavers. There are a couple of minor, unnamed skirmishes that take place here.

2006:

  • After a difficult winter (and considerable slowness in assembling of forces), the crusaders besiege one of the Vasar hive.
  • Due to the intransigence of the crusader nobility, Dane is not in command of this siege and, as a result, it drags out for half the year and has very high casualties.
  • Eventually, this Hive falls, thanks heavily to the actions of the PCs, who sought out the Bear Clan and led them to the fight.
  • To assuage the nobility, Magnifico crafts a story identifying Dane as the bastard son of a landless noble who died penniless. Satisfied that they are not following some jumped up commoner, the nobles agree to allow Sir Dane to act as senior general.
  • From the now razed hive, the crusaders march on a second one, leaving behind a token force. Recognizing the bitter acrimony between the two sides of the Caithness civil war, Dane divides the army into two more-easily managed groups. He assumes command of the Rebel element and appoints Baron Elohar of Tacitus to command the Royalist army.
  • In June, the forward element of the army – the Rebels – are ambushed by a great host of Vasar, but Sir Dane’scapable generalship (plus the active presence of a handful of PCs) results in a stalemate that is quickly broken by the approach of the Royalist army. The sight of Vasar fleeing from battle rather than emerging victorious is witnessed by more than a few Huallapan peasantry/slaves, which will result in a series of uprisings throughout the region over the next two years that further drain additional Vasar resources.
  • Because of this victory, the march to the next Hive was virtually unopposed, but was remarkably unpleasant due to the environment. It was the middle of the summer and the crusaders were ill equipped to handle a Huallapan summer.
  • Late in October, the crusaders reach the second Hive and begin a siege. Due to the losses incurred on the long, miserable march of both armies, a prompt victory was out of the question.
  • Vasar reinforcements hit the crusaders in mid-November, but are again repulsed.
  • With winter, the crusaders’ plight was eased somewhat as the Vasar nature worked against the insectoid creatures and forced them to limit their activity. This would allow the crusader army to regroup and recover.

2007:

  • The new year found the crusaders still besieging the second Hive, which was so large they were unable to fully surround it. Another Vasar army attempted to break the crusaders, though this one was completely made up of poorly armed and equipped Huallapan slaves who were no match for the crusaders.
  • In March, a great force of Huallapan citizens joined the crusaders, bringing much needed supplies. These locals had heard of the actions of the Yrth-men and threw off their oppressors to join those they considered saviors.
  • With these reinforcements, Sir Dane prepared a new attack, but this time, had the numbers to accomplish what he wanted. Through subterfuge (probably the PCs sneaking in and killing some guards), the crusaders gained entrance to the Hive where they went on a killing spree – the freed Huallapans were especially brutal, and their numbers quickly swelled as others were freed and picked up weapons.
  • In May, another host of Vasar assaulted the captured Hive, but this time, the crusaders were completely ready and the Vasar were thoroughly defeated. Word of this great victory spread even more quickly than the previous ones did.
  • Unfortunately, the crusaders were unable to capitalize on this battle. Conflicts between the opposing sides of the Caithness civil war flared up when the Royalists accused the Rebels (and specifically, Sir Dane) of using them as shock troopers to soak up heavy casualties. While not an entirely accurate description of the recent battles, it is true that the Royalists had taken more casualties than the Rebels, though this is more due to poor leadership on the part of the Royalists than any malicious intent. Additional conflicts erupted as evidence of Controller activity was discovered in both camps, which resulted in a purge of those affected (and the loss of several dozen nobles who had been suborned.)
  • Even worse, a crippling plague broke out within the crusader ranks, believed to have been caused by consumption of Vasar foods (or of slain Vasar themselves!) While the worst of it would be contained by casters such as Mendel, this plague caused the crusade’s forward progress to falter rather significantly.

2008:

  • After suffering through yet another winter, the crusaders are once more on the road by March, again augmented by Huallapan citizens and barbarian tribes. Of the core crusader element, less than a third (or perhaps even a quarter) of the original soldiers remain and entire formations are made up of poorly trained Huallapan levies pressed into service (but eager for revenge.)
  • By early June, the crusaders had reached the outskirts of the last known Hive in this region. This hive was less capable of defense as the previous ones – due heavily to it having deployed numerous reinforcements to its sister-hives over the last two years – but even with the reduced capability, the Hive held out until the middle of July when crusader forces, led by Sir Radskyrta and Sir Rainald breached the southern entrance. It would take another five days for the Hive to be fully pacified.
  • With no additional Hives known, the Yrth expeditionary force declares victory over the Vasar.
  • A grand council is held and a new Kingdom is established in this territory, against Lord Wallace’s explicit instructions. Lord Berd of Fordham is named regent. This results in Wallace returning to Yrth, furious at what he perceives as a betrayal. It will also result in the Caithness civil war resuming once more.

The Grassland Plains of Wallace

The Holding of Wallace is considered by many to be the agricultural center of Caithness.  With more water than all lordings that border the great desert, Wallace has the most water and the most suitable climate for grain production and raising cattle and sheep.

Over 250,000 people call Wallace and its surrounding farmland home. The castle of Wallace is large and fortified for the history of conflict in the region.  Beyond this center, is a modest market and city but the majority of the population is spread out as far as 100 miles from the Castle.

Thunder of Wallace, Captain Benwell

Lord Wallace I

Because of the need for defense of the areas threats and the vast distances needed to be protected, Wallace has what many consider the most fearsome cavalry units  in Ytarria.  Organized in small and mobile teams of 5-7, the Thunder of Wallace is battle-tested and has protected the holding very effectively.   Lord Wallace himself proved his courage by serving his holding in battle for many years before taking up his seat in the Castle.

Wallace Guard, Captain Brontus

In addition to the Thunder of Wallace, there is a loyal and capable mercenary unit called the Wallace Guard, led by Captain Brontus.  These troops are the first defense against the vile creatures that emerge from the desert to attack families, steal livestock and destroy homes.  It is through Brontus’ leadership that lizard-man and orc raiders, once such an enormous source of bloodshed, are no longer as frequent or as deadly for the citizens of Wallace.

With Lord Wallace’s health declining due to age, his son and current Commander of the Thunder of Wallace has slowly started to take over for his father.  With a reputation for bravery and leadership that even surpasses the legend of his father, Lord Wallace II is a popular and unanimous choice to follow his father’s footsteps.

Lord Wallace II

King Conall  is not very popular among the leadership and people of Wallace.  Lord Wallace I has used every chance he can get to publicly ridicule the current King for his response to Castle Defiant.  Formerly loyal to Conall’s father, Lord Wallace joined the Separatist movement almost 6 years ago.  However, Lord Wallace remains weary of the leadership and the course the rebellion has taken and is closer to declaring neutrality that marching on Carrick in mutiny.

Not having the economic and military support of Wallace is a huge  blow to the power of the King and the Monarchists.

 

 

 

The Kingdom of Caithness

 

Caithness Population Figures:

  1.  Durham: 460,000
  2. Carrick:  400,000
  3. Fordham: 390,000
  4. The Former Barony of Mershall: 310,000
  5. Wallace: 250,000
  6. Redhall: 240,000
  7. Sterling: 225,000
  8. Denton: 200,000
  9. Oakwood : 190,000
  10. Simonton: 170,000
  11. Donlis: 160,000
  12. Ferrier: 120,000
  13. Harkwood: 50,000
  14. Deerwood: 30,000
  15. Tacitus: 5,000

 

Tacitus, Caithness

For many years the holding known now as Tacitus was a collection of small, independent woodland communities. The area is not very suitable for farming due to the harsh weather conditions and rocky terrain, so these loose tribal groups relied on hunting an indigenous hooved creature similar to Caribou on Earth, called Nogai, to survive. To this day, the beast remains a vital part of their lives and diet and holds a very high place of respect in their belief system and customs.

Tacitus is primarily known for skilled Hunters and Woodsman. Although they are considered a backwoods and primitive people by most other humans in Caithness, their skill in riding, archery, tracking and guerrilla warfare have earned them respect throughout the nation.

Only 30 years ago, a young Knight named Sir Elohar, united the area into a cohesive military force. His new army provided critical aid to King Morill (father of the current King) against the last Orcish invasion. Tacitus was the front line in the final battle and the Hunters of Tacitus were instrumental in holding back the final assault.

Sir Elohar was granted lording status after the battle, and two decades later, King Conall VI made Elohar a baron. As a result, Elohar is fiercly loyal to the young King and he would demonstrate that in the upcoming conflict.

Tacitus was the first province to lend their forces in support of the King and against the rebellion started by Lord Deneral of Mershall, 11 years ago. Tacitus Hunter’s were instrumental in pacifying the initial attack on the capital, Carrick. The holding of Mershall, left defenseless from their attack, was invaded and forcibly incorporated into a temporary holding of the captial, Carrick. The majority of Mershall resents King Conall and there have been many instances of unrest and rebellion in the last 11 years.

Tacitus is known throughout Caithness as the first and most loyal supporter of the now 35 year old King Conall.. The people of Mershall have not forgotten this and neither have the rest of the lords in the rebellion. It has not been uncommon to have subversive and open terrorism on the people of Tacitus, and it’s surrounding trade routes, from those loyal to the rebellion.

Geography and Trade:

Tacitus is in a unique position of all the holdings in Caithness. Baron Elohar of Tacitus and Lord Berd of Fordham, the two most northern provinces, have always been loyal to the late King Morill and his son and successor Conall. This has been the case throughout the entirety of the current civil war.

The location of Tacitus gives it a strong defensive position. The main keep and the surrounding village are nestled between the Bronze Mountains in the west, woodlands in the east, the R Conn river in the north and the Great Desert border on the south. Any invading force will most likely come from the Mountains or the Desert and would be identified early on. To this day no Orc or hostile Human force has breached the walls of the Keep.

There isn’t as much suitable farmland in Tacitus as other areas of Caithness and it’s population is perhaps the fewest in all the nation. Despite this, it has become one of the most profitable and important holdings to King Conall due to the recent trade and diplomacy established with the Dwarven King of Ginnrel, Fedor Ironthews.

Dwarven smiths are commonly known as the best in Yrth and the City of Ginnrel has a particularly well respected reputation for this. The first ambassadors of King Morill established contact with the city almost immediately after the end of the Orc invasion. Primarily for trade, but also to enlist their friendship and assistance in the conflict with the rebellion.

Through lots of hard work on the part of the Human diplomats, treaties were signed and King Fedor looked past the blood in the past between Dwarf and Human and agreed to begin trade between the nations. After 23 years of good faith and peace, King Fedor is close to lending military support to King Callon against the rebellion. This is a major strategy of the Human King and he is prepared to invest whatever it takes to hold Tacitus in order to help further facilitate this alliance.

The leadership of Baron Elohar has united the proud and skillful hunters of this region behind King Callon and have thus far proven to be a valuable asset to the King’s hope to stay in power. Under Elohar, farms have been developed in-between Tacitus and the Bronze mountains and he has vastly increased the size of the town surrounding the keep.

People and Culture:

The original inhabitants of Tacitus have seen their lives change drastically in the past 30 years.

Due to economic opportunities and foreign influence, there are many alternatives to living off of the land and the skills of the Hunters have been largely militarized over years of conflict with the Orcs. Immigration has also increased significantly since the Orc war ended and trade with the Dwarves brought supporting industries and hopeful entrepreneurial pilgrims from throughout Caithness.

There are currently roughly 5000 (and growing) merchants, herders, farmers, priests and peasants living in Tacitus and it’s surrounding farmlands. They are under the protection of 50 or so hunters, some local militia and 11 Knights of the Stone, including the Baron Elohar. Upon request from Elohar, King Callon has commissioned a large amount of gold to hire mercenaries to reinforce the holding. The first round of which are currently inbound.

Humans have historically been the predominant race in Tacitus. The Forest to the East is home to a small and declining Elven population that is rarely seen or heard from. There are stories of past conflicts between the original Humans and the Elven tribes in this region but the Humans were largely victorious and the remaining Elves have not been heard or seen in quite some time.

Half-Elves, Half-Orcs and Halflings are not unheard of in Tacitus, but rare. All non-humans will face uphill social challenges in Tacitus.

A Brief Summary of Megalos and Caithness

Hyrnan, West Megalos

The great city of Megalos, the capital of the New Christian Kingdom of man, was founded in the year 1200 by the first king of Yrth, Simon Menelaus.

The Kingdom of Megalos and it’s lust for conquest and imperial control was able to utilize a common catalyst to drive men to war, and that was religion. In 1350, a Megalan warlord named Octavius Magnus turned the conquest of the land into a holy war.

There were a total of four Ytarrian Crusades, occurring between the mid 14th and 16th century. Mirroring the crusades of Earth, Man’s capacity for violence, in the name of faith and piety, followed him to the New World of Yrth.

Over the years, the un-unified Muslim people of the south transformed into three Islamic nations to better defend against continued aggression from the North.

Following the last fruitless crusade of 1525, Megalos and the Islamic Nations settled into a wary truce.

When the dust had settled, the Kingdom of Megalos was by far the largest and most powerful. Two of the Islamic nations remain, al-Haz and al-Wazif, of the three originally formed. The third of those nations was a prize for Megalos and it’s name was changed from al-Kard to Cardiel and converted to Christianity.

The spread of Megalos eventually led to a more-or-less unified Christian church. By 1400, virtually all Yrth’s Christians were subjects of the Megalan Empire. Soon this unity would be expressed by the five most prominent clergymen of Yrth forming the first Conclave of Archbishops, later called the Curia. This organization would develop immense power and political influence in the coming centuries.

Megalans settled the nation now known as Caithness at around 1800. The region was ideal for colonization, except for two factors, very little mana and too many orcs.

In 1826, after many years of bloody conflict with the orcs, King Conall I declared independence from Megalos and the Curia. This led to war but Caithness was able to push back the armies of Megalos and the Templars of the Curia. Perhaps it was battle hardened troops from fighting the Orcs for 25 years, perhaps it was the low mana which made the mighty battle mages of Megalos ineffective against the rebels, but Caithness had won their independence.

Necessity has forced the Empire of Megalos to accept Caithness’ sovereignty. Eventually, Caithness realigned itself with the powerful Curia, but for the past 180 years it has remained politically independent of Megalos.

Perhaps kingdom in name alone, Caithness is sparesly populated, underdeveloped and currently in the midst of a brutal civil war.

Because they live so far apart, Caithness’ nobles have enjoyed great autonomy. Historically, their loyalties have been held by a series of strong leaders of the Conall line. That has changed of late as the current king came to the thrown at such a young age that he never found the loyalty of all his lords. In the early years of his reign, the Barons paid little attention to matters outside their own lands, enjoying the lack of oversight. In 1995, this disgregard grew into unrest and then outright rebellion.

Today in the year 2005, and at the age of 35, King Conall the VI is fighting to reunite his kingdom.

Carrick, Caithness

 

A Brief History of Ytarria:

In the year 1050 AD, a storm of biblical proportions appeared on Earth. Known now simply as the “Banestorm.”

The Banestorm was a collective spell of immense power that originated on a distant planet called Yrth and from a continent called Ytarria. The sorcery behind the spell was the combined effort of numerous and powerful Elven mages that, in their bloodlust to end a war, unintentionally opened a dimensional rift that transported thousands of different creatures to Ytarria, Man being just one of them. What was supposed to save the Elves, may prove to eventually destroy them.

Prior to the Banestorm, Ytarria was home to three intelligent races, Eleves, Dwarves and Orcs. Records only go back to around 200 BC and it is unknown how long they have lived on Ytarria or how they got here. The Dwarves and Elves oscillated between war and peace, but both sides were united in their hatred for the Orcs. The Orcs had always been at war, with each other and with Dwarves and Elves.

A group of nationalistic Elves, now known as “Storm Bringers,” that were driven from their homeland by an Orc army, had such hatred for the beasts that they sought to rid the entire continent of them. The method to accomplish this was the Banestorm.

The spell horribly backfired, or perhaps it didn’t. Entirely new races and species of life were picked up from other worlds and transported to Ytarria. Humans were but one of the intelligent humanoids brought by the storm. Such hideous creatures as goblins, kobolds, reptile men, minotaurs, giants and halflings, to name a few, were also transported here with the dimensional gate.

There were long years of conflict and choas as each species settled into their new home. Some would not make it. The reason why the spell might be considered a success is that the Orcs are no longer a serious threat to the lands. Man and his skill for war and conquest was able to do what the Elves and Dwarves could never accomplish, and they eliminated Orcs entirely from most of Ytarria. They have since retreated from the nations of man to the desolate wastes of the NorthWest.

Prior to the Bane, Dwarves lived under every mountain range in Ytarria, but as humans spread, the smaller dwarven communities were abandoned or driven out. Dwarves no longer inhabit the Fence of God and the mountains of Megalos. Dwarves commonly hold resentment towards all Elves for past wars but mostly for the Banestorm, even though Elves as a whole are not to blame, but rather the Storm Bringers, the ones who summoned the storm.

The Elves are slowly disappearing from the land of Ytarria. Most surviving Elves live in loosely organized small tribes of 20-100, usually as far from Humans as possible. Although the remaining tribes are almost always distrustful of Humans, there is a small minority that live amongst them, primarily in the larger cities of Megalos. Due to their, apparent, lack of organized political will and power, the Elves have been largely pushed to the sidelines on Ytarria. Unlike the Dwarves, they don’t have large standing armies or legendary weaponsmits and thus don’t have the respect of the human nations. Human racism towards Elves and Half-Elves is not uncommon and is often reciprocated.

There are exceptions, but the majority of humans transported here by the Banestorm were Christian men and women from Western Europe from around the time of the first crusade on Earth. They found their feudal culture well-suited to the challenges of this land. The calculated leadership of the first King of Megalos, Simon Menelaus, produced the groundwork for the Human nations of Megalos and Caithness.

There were many Muslims that accompanied their European counterparts, but were concentrated in the southern provinces of Ytarria. In the far north, those of Scandinavian descent still strive for a place in Valhalla and, in the land known as Sahud, humans of Asian and North American Indian descent have been discovered.

The Banestorm had no boundaries and seems to know no closure, as cultures are sometimes transported from different time periods as well as locations of Earth, and elsewhere. Who knows what will come next through the fold?

Although humanity now has more in common than ever, sharp divides and mistrust still permeate relations on the New Eden. With the transplant of Man on Ytarria, he brought along with him his Religion and prejudices. Christian and Muslim nations exist and there has been a great deal of violence between them in the century that Humanity has called this planet home.

It is now the year 2006 and it has been almost a century since the Banestorm first brought the visitors to Ytarria.