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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.

1978: Born in Craine, Megalos, to wealthy aristocratic parents who were secretly Assassins descended from Italian Banestorm refugees. Birth name is Gabriel of House Auditore. He is the third son.

1980 (2): Baby sister is born.

1988 (10): Participates in his first assassination where he is used as a decoy. At the time, he thinks this is an awesome game cause he isn’t truly aware of what his family does.

1990 (12): Eldest brother is killed while on a mission. It will later be revealed that said brother was captured and thoroughly interrogated.

1992 (14): House Auditore is targeted for extermination by some of their victims. Only Gabriel and his father, Claudius, manage to survive and escape, although the elder Auditore is badly injured and will never fully recover. They flee west into Caithness, specifically Durham. The events of Banestorm: Lingering Wounds

1994 (16): Claudius finally succumbs to his injuries after having extracted from Gabriel a vow to not seek revenge upon the nobles who targeted the Auditores. The events of Banestorm: Widow’s Kiss. As soon as his father is laid to rest, Gabriel heads east, vengeance in his heart. For the next four years, he will haunt the western cities of Megalos, targeting select individuals whom he knows to have been part of the grand conspiracy. He uses Caithness as cover and invariably retreats there if the situation becomes too bleak.

1998 (20): Gabriel returns to Craine on the trail of the last noble family he knows to be involved in his family’s death. He is instantly entranced by the lordling’s new wife and eventually learns that this is an arranged and loveless marriage. After helping him murder the lordling, they consummate an illicity relationship … but come the morning, she raises the armcry with the story that Gabriel (going then by “Julius of House Firenza”) murdered her husband before raping her. Gabriel narrowly escapes capture and flees. He turns to the Church for sanctuary, fully intending upon hiding there for a while before making good his escape.

1999 (21): Word reaches “Brother Gabriel” (who has become a tolerably decent monk) that the Lady who used him has been put to death on charges of murder; her third husband has died a mysterious death. The bishop of the monastery then reveals to Gabriel that he knew the Auditores and actually enlisted their services a time or two (which sours Gabe on religion somewhat – he’s pious, but has no patience for clergy or the Church as an institution since he believes all priests are corrupt.) That night, fearing that the bishop means to use his skills for dark purposes, he flees into Caithness. Over the few years, he spends a great deal of time living in the mud among the peasantry with only his father’s sword to his name. He gains a great deal of compassion for the down-trodden. The events of Banestorm: Mercy Kill.

2000 (22): The events of Banestorm: Old Friends. The events of Banestorm: Foul Wretches.

2001 (23): Narrowly escaped the fall of Blythe when it fell to Saurians. His employer, a merchant he knew only as Fat Tom, was not as lucky, and Gabriel lost a fine horse he’d spent a lot of money on.

2002 (24): Spends about a year in Harkwood. The events of Banestorm: First Impressions. Becomes romantically involved with Miratáriel, an elf lass whose name he can barely pronounce – he calls her Mira because that’s at least part of her name – but their relationship ends amicably when she realizes that he’s getting restless. It isn’t until after he leaves Harkwood that he realizes Mira helped him get past the last of the lingering anger and rage he’d been suffering from since his youth. While in Harkwood, he briefly establishes the identity of Gavriel Costigan, a Megalan dancing master. The events of Banestorm: Three Dances.

2005-2006 (27-28): Dark Clouds Rising I. Auqui becomes Gabriel’s student.

2006-2008: (28-30) The Huallapan Crusade. The events of Banestorm: King’s Gambit. The events of Banestorm: Murky Waters. The events of Banestorm: Missed Opportunities. The events of Banestorm: War Footing. The events of Banestorm: Wet Work.

2010: (32) Gabriel and Auqui clash. The events of Banestorm: Blood Vow. Auqui departs Caithness; Gabriel pursues. The events of Banestorm: High Ground. The events of Banestorm: Dragon Mark

2012: (34) The events of Banestorm: Blood and Snow

2013: (35) The events of Banestorm: Angel of Death. The events of Banestorm: Highway Robbery.

2014: (36) The events of Banestorm: Bitter Homecoming. Dark Clouds Rising, Book II resumes. The events of Banestorm: Into Shadow. The events of Banestorm: Shadows Linger. The events of Banestorm: Journey’s End.

PDF Character Sheet

AnotherGabe
AuditoreBlade
GCA File  PDF Character Sheet

1980:
Born in Grimswick, a fishing village on the SW coast of the Nomad Lands, son of a sailor/fisherman.
1992 (12):
Father & brother killed in great raid on Kethalos. Left to find his uncle, believed to be in mercenary service in Caithness.
1993 (13):
Joined his uncle in Caithness; already a “big kid,” accepted as his uncle’s shield-bearer. Learned about mercenary work, and developed a taste for the local brew.
1994 (14):
Followed uncle into battle against Deneral of Mershall. Picked up warhammer from fallen foe & put to good use, protecting his wounded uncle from rebel forces. Later named it “Gramjarn” (Wrath-Iron).
1995 (15):
Uncle’s injury never healed well enough to allow him to continue his mercenary career, so he and Rainald returned home and attempted to revive the family fishing (& raiding) business.
2000 (20):
Finally made a move on the village hottie, Gertruð, who confessed that, Björn, the eldest son of a jarl and heralded warrior, had preceded him. She explained that she had told Björn that she would answer his proposal upon his return from his father’s foreign trade mission, in five years, and that if “word reached her ears” of Rainald’s Glory™ before Björn’s return, she would marry him instead. Rainald decided to wander South, and take up mercenary work.
2001 (21):
Captured by Saurians at the fall of Blythe, on his birthday; escaped before being eaten/executed, aggressively-recovered Gramjarn, and fled north.
2003 (23):
Ended up in Wallace, doing occasional work escorting gold-miners and such. Called “North-Hammer” by fellow mercs.
2005 (25):
Present. Pretty much given up all hope for Gertruð.

Talon was brought up in a Christian family, the older of two children. His grandfather and grandmother had left Megalos for the Cathiness frontier, and settled in Tacitus at the base of the Bronze Mountains. It was in the family home, that his father was born, and then a generation later, Talon and his younger sister Alarya.

Tragedy struck the family when two years ago a small orc raiding party attacked the homestead. Talon and his father were seriously wounded and presumed dead by the orcs. To their great fortune a dwarf who was travelling to the Bronze Mountains had witnessed the event, and was able to save them both. Sadly, the orcs had taken Talon’s mother and sister.

Refusing to give up on his mother and sister, Talon took it upon himself to hire mercenaries to find the orcs and reunite his family. Unable to fund this himself, he brokered a deal with Alderic, a nefarious money lender in the city of Carrick. The mercenaries were partially successful and were able to return his sister, but the whereabouts and fate of his mother are still unknown. As insurance that the debt will be repaid, Alderic holds his sister in Carrick, where she also works to repay the debt.

Tending to livestock and crops leaves barely enough gold in the coffers for the next season. This will not repay the debt to Alderic. The call to arms by King Conall presented an opportunity Talon could not refuse, it would give him money, training and experience.

Talon Dunbar – Character Sheet (PDF)

Talon Dunbar – GCA File (right click save as)

It is with considerable trepidation that I put quill to ink in a meager attempt to record my thoughts and fears. By no stretch am I a great scholar nor a wordsmith – I am many things: a bladesman, a rogue, a thief, a murderer, a liar, a Lost Soul likely damned to burn for my sins of which there are many. Of the Lord’s Commandments, I have violated all but two – never have I sought a God other than the Almighty, nor have I made false idols in His Name. All the rest have I broken and none do I regret more than my sundering of the Fifth.

But my thoughts wander astray and leadeth me into temptation. Who am I? I am Gabriel, of the fallen House Auditore, late of Crane and of Megalos. And, like my father before me, and his father, I was an Assassin.

I fear not these words falling into false hands, for I compose this using the codes and cyphers taught to me by my father, who learned from his father, and so on, back to the beginning. If you have the skill to break these cyphers, then I congratulate you and pray that I am already dead.

But no matter. I fell from Grace long ago, and now seek my path as that of a common mercenary, selling my blade to those who can afford it and seeking adventure where I should seek forgiveness. I am at peace with the Lord’s plan – would he save me from the cruel fate that fell upon my House if he did not have a Plan? He placed my feet upon this Path and I shall stride forth, eager to serve as he directs and be his blade where he needs me. The Lord knows I am a sinner – perhaps it is a sinner and not an upright man that he requires.

Of late, I travel with three – a northerner named Rainald who is strong of arm and of heart; a Franciscan named Mendel who is unlike any priest I have had the misfortune of dealing with; and an archer known as Talon, who is hunted for a crime he did not commit. An assassin – I know not if this man possessed True Training or no – slew the duke of Tacitus, and Talon is now hunted for this crime. Though this murderer – I hesitate to call him an Assassin – was later slain, my curiosity, ever my bane, has kept me at Talon’s side – if the murderer was truly trained in the Art as I was, then those he called Master must invariably move against any they consider threats. I had believed that the conspiracy that robbed me of my House was slain by my actions but now I wonder if it was wider than I feared.

But again I digress. I blame these meanderings upon poor sleep. My dreams have been dark of late, ever since the Great Desert. My companions and I ventured deep into its heart with a scholar and met what I can only call demons. The scholar lies in a deep, unnatural slumber and I wonder if ere he shall wake.

Tonight we sleep here in Bordertown. It is an ugly place with no grace or beauty. Men come here with dreams of glory and venture forth to die with naught but those dreams. If e’er I must enter that desert again, it will be too soon. Rather would I spend interminable weeks listening to theologians debate trivial points of the Bible than face one of those sand demons again.

But I tire and my hand weakens for I am unaccustomed to such scribe work.

What a wild week it has been. We are back in Bordertown and I finally have some time to write. It has not been a good week. We started out into the desert six days ago, with our small party joined by Franklin, our guide, and Elijah a fat brute of a man from Wallace. Rainald and Elijah never seemed to get along well, like everything was a competition, but I guess that won’t be a problem anymore. Elijah is another victim of the desert and its creatures.

We travelled at night and the first two days we made a good pace with little to trouble us. Dixon and Elijah we’re using a little more than their daily share of rations, but it was manageable.  On the second night we caught glimpse of a camp ahead. Gabriel and I moved forward to investigate, but the camp was deserted, though we now know why. The reptile men in that camp had fallen victim to the same beasts that took Elijah. They are like nothing I have ever see before, and god willing, I hope I don’t encounter them again. And their smell, it’s beyond words. At least I know they can be killed.

Two of these creatures followed us for the next day, always watching at a distance. It reminded me of the way vultures would follow and wait for a wounded animal to succumb to the desert. When we set camp at the end of that days travel, these desert demons as Rainald called them, came closer than they have before. Instinct told me they were done waiting, but before they could react Elijah charged away from the camp at one of them. The stupid fool. It was over in seconds and his body was hauled away. Damn they are fast.

Dixon despite all his schooling, obviously thought Elijah’s rash action was the right thing to do, and he to fled the camp. Dixon, just like Elijah was attacked and dragged off. The creature had some distance to run before it would have any cover so arrow after arrow I loosed at this desert demon. I don’t know if it was luck or just my shear persistence, but the beast dropped from an arrow that struck it in an eye which grew from the its tail. I continued to loose arrows until it was still. Gabriel charged out to check on Dixon, while Rainald helped me take the beast’s head as a trophy. I don’t know what magic spawned them, but when it had died it’s body turned to stone and its eyes to gems. Using whatever magic Brother Mendel possesses, he was able to bring Dixon back to the living.

Dixon has remained unconscious the entire time back to Bordertown, and we have all been plagued by the same nightmare. I think it may be this beast head as it hums constantly and Brother Mendel has divined it to be of some magical nature. I’m going to try sell it.

I write this from a crude shelter on the outskirts of Wallace. I’m wet, cold and filled with a deep disrespect for Hunters of Elohar. It turns my stomach when I think that I once held these people in high regard, when in truth they are cowardly murders. Bernardus is dead, his throat cut while he was sleeping.

The celebrations in Wallace indeed lived up to everything I had been told. Even after the clouds darkened and the rain set in, the townsfolk’s spirits were still high. I’ll add that the rain had me a little nervous, there was something unusual about it. The way it formed, its intensity especially at this time of year. I don’t know, it just didn’t seem right.

Like everyone else, Rainald, Myself, and two new friends, Brother Mendel and Gabriel, continued the festivities indoors. Brother Mendel’s heart is in the right place, and seems a good man of God. Gabriel, is a bit of a mystery but seems to be a man of some skill and training.

As fortune would have it, an odd man by the name of Dixon Morello approached me looking for some people that would be willing to escort him into the Great Desert on an expedition to investigate something. I’m still at a loss as to what he was going to do, but he was offering to pay four gold a day, and seemed good for it. We’ll meet him in the morning, let’s see what comes of it.

Brother Mendel made mention that he might be able to offer some assistance in Bernardus’ recover, so as the night drew to a close we started the trek to the cottage. The rain was heavy and still has not eased. Things were not right at home, the old lady always sleeps with a candle on, and Bernardus would normally be awake at this time, but both houses were dark.

Gabriel and I went cautiously to investigate, and that’s when we found Bernardus had been killed. Something reminded me of old father Ustus back in Tacitus, preaching that God has a plan for us all. I wouldn’t say I liked Bernardus a great deal, as he had always been difficult, but he deserved better than this. Was that God’s plan for him?

All things have been quiet for a little while. Bernardus is still not well and his recovery is unusually slow. The others from Tacitus have left Wallace for lands elsewhere, and it’s probably for the best that there was no mention of where they would go. I, on the other hand will stay here, at least until Bernardus is well. Besides, Wallace is a nice place and I’ve managed to get some good steady work through the Armsman’s Guild.

Raids into the desert have been frequent, and I’ve managed to learn many desert survival tricks from some of the old hands. The Great Desert is an unforgiving place, and it will claim any man who ventures there unprepared. Despite this, it a bares a natural beauty I’ve not seen anywhere, and sadly my sketches will never capture the colours of this landscape.

Of the other’s in the employ of the Armsman’s Guild, one in particular stands out. Rainald, a Northman with a stature like that of a dwarf in the body of a man. Perhaps he has been lying to me and is just an overgrown dwarf. He’s a capable warrior and I do well to call him friend.

The Wallace harvest celebrations are in a few days, the townsfolk are excited and I’m told everyone will be in town for the festivities. It will be interesting.