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Thread: [XMAS 2012 PREVIEW] Units and Lore - PART 1

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    Icon5 [XMAS 2012 PREVIEW] Units and Lore - PART 1



    PREVIEW Part Two

    This second Part of the Christmas Update Preview is simple enough to understand. After the First gave you an idea of what the thing was about, and gave map shots from within a game. Danny X is the mapper, and it's great he wanted to share his (very) hard work with you. All of that takes space and viewing-download time. So we thought we'd make a second part.

    THE WORLD AS IT STANDS


    In the dark, in the Abyss, Hungry Eyes watch with struggling indifference. Nothing shines in here, nothing imagines or doubts, and anything without doubt, without remorse, is frightening beyond understanding. Eyes fix on the Egg of a Celestial Dragon, feel the pulse in it's developing body, sees the flare of it's thoughts, vast energies running from nerve to nerve, it's force deluging the surface with the power of Ley. This is, to the creatures that exist, symbiotes, parasites, predators, is 'magic', sustaining the life of the creatures that live upon it's form, the pitiful life forms that struggle so vainly, yet so importantly, in their own sentience.

    They possess a knowledge and being that cannot, in the main, see beyond daily needs or wants, yet is filled with fate and undeniable effect. Some are selfish, some selfless; some are parasites, some have a symbiotic duty and some are just filled with unending hatred. On a thousand worlds, a thousand Dragons, there is nothing of the randomness of life on this Dragon, and it's life is of celestial importance, as it carries weight as the strongest of this Mother Sun's brood, a rarity - not limited to the being of a single colour, it develops many at once, and it's siring of any brood promises strength for Reality to bind the Abyss ever more tightly.

    Uncounted years have passed since the world began. In this time, many have emerged; the Elohim awoke the Elves, Rhysthari were of the Avatars' creation, for the Avatars were always there, the last of the Child's potency in one breathless, dying, dream. The Celesti tore the Khezdruli, the Dwarves, from their slumber, leaving them 'unfinished', diminutive, filled with the 'Hunger' - after came humans, parasites, then, so much later, the Naugiri broke their duty below and emerged onto the surface, there to fall upon humanity like an avenging flood of unknowing slaughter.

    The world stands at the greatest height of imbalance that could be tolerated, the races and cultures upon it's scales, the world's surface, set as puppets without string, ready to fall upon each of the others with naive violence. The Empire stands strong, but it's strength is constantly tested. There has been little respite for the people of this fount for Good. Striding across twin continents, it has the ability to once more turn aside madness, yet it is also ripe to fall. The Kingdom of the Salient Sun stands like a child that has just lost it's guidance, a power for good, yet a power for others to tear down. The Haladin summon powers they do not understand, drawing spirits from the Abyss, sealing them in objects that give power, yet also bringing madness, exerting dominance over the user. They have used the Bloodfed magic, and the Cthonae wait for their foolishness to invite them freely into their world, as has begun. Naugiri, the Diluvian host, Orcs, mass to finish the Iryn Thaan, a people who have retreated as far as they can and array what they have in a last-ditch defense - yet they also face the Empire, face the Haladin, and the Sun King. Whether these peoples deny the Naugiri or stand separated, alone, will determine much, as a halting of the Naugiri flood would staunch one of the greatest wounds to the Dragon's hope.

    Wolfborn prowl the seas, Godslayers, killers, raiders, their far-ranging ships burning and looting, their own nature forcing this life, however happy they may be to be so. The armies of Ahsapur are strong, their wealth and society built upon slavery and murder. Beyond their borders, the Bandit Kingdom is a beacon of hope and light, for they hold the noblest ideals and alone they may save much of the world from a darker fate, for they summoned Solace, the Ephemeral City, unknowingly, and it's purpose is of the greatest of man.

    The kingdoms of man stand tall, or stoop low, and the west continues their path of pain, for here stands greater possibility for good or ill. The Federation strides both continents, bitterly opposed to the Empire, but they are threatened on all fronts in the west. They failed to kill Ilien, their greatest general, a woman devoid of deception and cruelty, and she stands against them, another Hope for the world. The Ghaurchlai, long imprisoned beneath the ice of Cara Hapa, are awoken, led by the creature the humans call Descati. The Chitkinnen emerge in their far western borders, and they look ripe to fall to anyone with any wisdom or vision. Where the Ghaurchlai will go next is unknown. The Empire stands strong, but Nehemia is on the verge of rebellion, Ilien is not their friend, and Descati desires the death of all that lives.

    In the more northerly parts of the west, the warriors of Cho Tetsu ready to spend their lives in a new war with the Principality of Steel, who are fragmenting internally by the day. In their northern provinces, the Fennweyr, the Druids are ready to call their people to war, as the Prince's Only Church advisers make no secret of their desire to purge the entirety of their Heaths, bogs and moors, much as they do in the East, where they stand as executioners to the Lake Kingdom, Lian Elune. Around the world, the other races are arming, coming out of a detachment from the world, centuries long. They are hastily preparing for conflict and death, as they see the truth behind many foes, a truth humans cannot see. The Selediri and Ildiri Elves stand ready, the Lindiri less so, but they know their foes. The Ispir Folk...the lizards of the Rhystari now reach their deeper magic into the swamps, and draw upon the beasts that lurk within. They are ready for war for the first time for 10,000 years. Their power is utterly unknown, but their magic is the most extraordinary. Old legends speak of the sky changing colour, of entire legions of troops dying in mere minutes. Soon, the reality of whether they still wield such power will be tested. The race that felt their ire in open war, the Khezdruli, have amassed such might as to destroy any single nation with ease, yet they are fragmented, three kingdoms, and if they are struck quickly, they may wither just as much as any other.


    FACTIONAL UNITS and
    DEEPER LORE


    Please note that some stuff is omitted due to later plans. There are some slightly rushed, so slight errors. The shiny units are dampened, jut these pics were taken before that. Also, there is battlefield magic galore, but I will show one video only. Finlander is making use of this for you! One small thing now:

    MAGIC!


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



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    So, ignore any errors for now and be nice


    Ashapur - Pavishate of the Silken Knot

    FACTION UNITS





    LORE

    The people of Ashapur fall into many categories; there are those who are slaves, who are unworthy of the air they breathe, if that is what their master wishes. The streets have an underworld; no free-born Ashapuri will become a slave. Rather, they face execution. They live in the cities in narrow streets, swathed in silks that would seem to show some facet of wealth, but there are Houses at work here, and none stand aside from this vital feudal system. A Beggar will still work for a Padishar or one of his 'Paid Men' (Feudal Vassals). These Houses run everything, know everything. They may value a man of the street more than their own son, but the entire society is built on a veil of obscuring silks, a thin veil of decency perhaps, of being above scrutiny and openly welcoming. Instead, you are watched by many eyes, your life is valued, and the likelihood is that you will die young...to the poison, garrotte or dagger of any one of a thousand foes, known or unknown. When you are invited to drink rose-water, you drink it, as this may guarantee your life for the next few hours. Asked to break bread in the morning, you may live. Asked to kill your brother to show your loyalty...one of you only will live.

    History of Ashapur
    Settle, children – we’re in an oasis now. There’s nothing to fear here. No great man is here to make demands, no law beyond the law of your own moral code, and no thirst to dry your mouth with sand. You’re amongst the finest of men, the Keir Hedrin, swallows of the desert, our honour as merciless as the sandstorm, but as gentle as the soft sand under the waters of this little paradise.

    Hear the tale of Ashapur, the land of the Silken Knot, land of slaves and masters, yet a land of honour and love. The most complex and, at times, merciless land in the known world, reminiscent of the shifting sands that make up all lands away from the coast.
    Ruled from a city of a million souls, Ashapur came from a slavery of its’ own. Yes, once we were but slaves of the Empire. We were warring clans, disunited, easily conquered by the rising star Valerien, and we fell as ripe grain to his first legions. During the Ghaur war, our people were slaughtered in their beds, for he took the cream of our menfolk to defend His Empire, not US!

    In the time of the Ghaur we formed a society in secret, and waited for the war to end.
    End it did, although much of our nation lay dead at Saden Fields. The Ghaur were broken and entombed, and our men returned. We trained in secret, armed secretly and traded for favours with other dissidents. Many mercenaries came to settle and we hid their hire behind this lie.
    In the Dark, we unified clans, and the first Pavashars plotted murder. By the time we were ready, several betrayers had already joined the waters with theirs, and our plot was safe.

    Then the strangest thing happened. The merchants bought a part of the Empire, and the Federation, now our closest ally, was formed. In many ways, they are like us, in other ways, I would spit on their stupid rules and Laws.

    We waited ten more years, then, almost overnight, struck!

    Garrisons were overrun, nobles assassinated and communications destroyed. All priests of the Only were flayed and Tsibi walked the night free. For a small loss, we seemed to achieved what years of planning had prepared for. We simply had to organise and prepare for the backlash. It didn’t come.
    The boy emperor was dead. Died through poison, and we were blamed. They timed it to coincide with our rebellion, a day before the news reached great Kadasandra, the boy lay in death, and we were blamed!

    It was later that the expected fight occurred. The citizens replaced the boy with a man, and he, Lorellas Vivain, was a warrior. Born to it, he led a massive army to destroy our newfound life, and we awaited the hammer blow. The numberless, Dog Soldiers and others were drafted. More mercenaries were hired, and we fielded an army equal to his in the East.

    Then came the priests. They came to the Pavishars and whispered poison in their ears. Tsibi cried as she heard from her ears in the temples. For, out of the desert, the Avatars of the Serpent came, and many of the temple fighters from unknown places. For years they had lain in wait, and at last revealed themselves, these Sons of Sythys.

    Our army now outnumbered the Imperial forces, but we were plagued by raw recruits, and the spectre of defeat hung over us.
    The Imperials entered the eastern border, then marched directly on The City of Silk, and we barred the way. Our armies drew up facing each other, and bloodshed was certain.

    The next day, we fought for the right to determine our own fate. The screams of the dying echoed in the still air, and many died on each side, but we had the serpents, and their fanatics wrought a dance of slaughter. The Imperial Guard were struck by the newly formed Hadakim regiment, and the battle was profound. Eventually the Imperial flank collapsed, and the Hadakim slew the Emperor. Beaten, the Imperials withdrew – to their credit, there was no rout, they simply left the field, and we let them, our numbers one fifth of those who started the day.
    Over the next decades, our culture grew, and we built many wonders, but the snakes began to infiltrate our people, and became powerful. A new High Pavishar was brought into leadership, and proved an inspired choice. He, Sulamna, countered the priests, and built a massive temple to Tsibi, goddess of death, to counter their influence.

    The battle had left Ashapur with reduced manpower, and the snakes suggested a course of action, which had been in place centuries before. We needed people to work what infrastructure we had, and the only way was to revert to the old ways: slavery was re-introduced, and the Hawk Masks, slavers, were reformed to achieve this end.

    With a new and growing base, we began the climb to our modern state, and the country began to rise in power.
    The Federation also climbed the rungs of power, and they launched an invasion from West to East. We stayed neutral, and watched as their ‘emancipation’ forces landed. The Empire advanced to fight, but the Federation had devised cunning tactics, and the Wolf-born in the south began a war of loot and plunder. To our northern borders, that bandits united under the ‘Beggar King’, and the Imperials fought on three fronts. They also fielded an army to watch us, but we were little threat, although the snakes pushed for war.

    The Imperials fought hard, but had to split their forces. One army engaged the Federation, and made little headway, whilst other forces pushed the Wolf-Born out, and the bandits were forced into the mountains. By this time, however, the Federation had a stranglehold on the south, and the Emperor was forced to sue for peace, for the Empire was exhausted from constant struggle.

    The High Pavishar, Akkabar, was to be our greatest leader, and took our people to greatness. The culture sank into intrigue and politics became enmeshed with the snakes. This made the game of the court deadly, and the nobles spent much of their time and interest in this game.
    Our slaving took us into lands of disunited clans, and we enslaved many, but the deadliest, the Myr Addat fought off every incursion, and finally added their nation to the Empire’s shortened list of allies. They and the thirteenth legion became a thorn in our plans, and we still fight them now, with constant skirmishes and much bloodshed. For no apparent reason, the Empire took a dim view on slavery.

    Ashapur now sits on it’s Zenith, and we have made pacts with the Bandits crushed by the Empire, and to the pirates of Hanghaven, to the west, who supply many of our desperate need for slaves. We even have dwarves working our forges.

    The Silken Knot…yes, that what the cityfolk call it….a society so devious and complex that it appears twisted to those who try to understand. To unravel it, you need a thousand years in cultural evolution, and a mind fit for intrigue beyond that of any Imperial Court.


    The Silken Knot
    The Silken Knot is a term used for Ahsapur's society. They're a desert culture on the Eastern continent, incredibly defensive and there's not been much evolution in their society over the entirety of it's existence.

    Ashapur lies in a massive area of desert and arid surroundings. Incidentally, Selediri DO exist there, but they hide themselves completely, as they find the culture of the humans to be hideous to their own nature. Some are hunted,a nd some enslaved, as is the culture itself.

    The Silken Knot is actually the preferred method of assassination used by the nobility - a scarf with a knot in it used as a garrotte to strangle the other nobles. It's considered 'clean' because no blood is pile and it requires skill to use, giving honour to the dead, as they're not marred beyond the damage to the throat....no severed heads or anything preventing true honours in an open-casket funeral, as some choose - others choose other methods; internment in a shrine to Tsibi or cremation are popular to novels. Burial in the open in not an option, save for slaves and the Nameless Dogs, or the lowest of society are called. Most of these 'burials' result in the corpses being spoiled by predators or the massive Ghuul Vultures.

    Ashapur is a political mass that operates in a subtle game of death between noble houses. Discussions of politics are rarely held face-to-face, but between silken sheets that obscure the view, however easy it is to know the voice speaking. Most nobles wear veils and masks in public. Often, this foils assassination in public, as most nobles send out decoys and empty palanquins, but most dare not send assassins in public, and night is their preferred time.

    In the past, assassinations were also limited by the prevalence of the Tsibi CUlt, as the goddess of Death is not fond of people taking it upon themselves to be paid killers - Death is natural or bought through warfare, where people are all too aware they may die, and are prepared for it - somehow, unexpected death upsets her, and her Temple Guard are renowned for their constant hunt for assassins. Many of the lesser organisations have been annihilated by her temples.

    Since the emergence of the Sythys Cult, her prevalence has been endlessly challenged in Ashapur, and her power to limit the activities of assassins is lessened, especially since the Sythys Cult offers this service as expert poisoners and suchlike. It brings in high levels of funding, but has the same effect as duelling did for European cultures on Earth.

    At the height of Ashapuran society is the Pavishate - the Pavishar is the utter head of their nation, and is inviolate where assassins are concerned - it HAS happened, but, when it has failed, entire noble houses have been exterminated as a result, in public, by slaves, who relish their revenge a great deal. Remarkably unpleasant and a decent deterrant.

    Below him are the Padishars, the 'lesser' nobles, who are large in number. They are in state of flux, as they can be removed from grace, and others can be elevated. History is not a huge element in this, and bloodlines are not considered to be the greater factor in their eminence; ancient families do not enjoy much of a boost to their status; they simply show brilliance in their playing of the games of the Silken Knot.

    The society is dominated by it's reliance on slavery, and many slavers rise in power with their ability to do well at that particular 'art'. Slaves certainly outnumber the nobles in each House, but the 'very common' people (The Nameless) often have no slaves or simply one or two. They are definitely a sign of status. Slaves are carriers of messages and they are the bearers of many fates in the culture. If you wish to insult someone, send them a slave you don't like much, as they'll kill them and feel much better about being insulted by their enemy afterwards. To the owner, it's no great loss either.

    Slaves form a part of the national army, as they are highly efficient at soaking up missile fire, exhausting the enemy supply of them in the process. Some Houses will armour their slaves and arm them well, as they sometimes dislike the unnecessary loss of wealth in throwing them away; however, it far more preferable to see slaves die than citizens of the nation, however low they may be.

    Free citizens cannot be made slaves. This is inviolate. They can be killed, 'lost', imprisoned, but never enslaved. The Pavishar CAN bypass this, but reserves this for nobles he doesn't care for, and occasionally someone who comes to ask for a decision at court he doesn't care for much either.

    Ashapur is a hotbed of machination and illicit activity, but this is where it's strength lies, for no section of the society is unused to risk or too comfortable in their beds, which breeds a toughness that has seen them survive for so long.

    The pirate city of Hanghaven is Ashapuran royal property, despite their absolute denial of such a thing. This is where their slavery gains it's greatest productivity, but they buy slaves from the Wolfborn, who have no understanding of it, just that they can get money for people who were stupid enough to surrender or just sit like rabbits awaiting capture. The Federation also give large quantities of their own people to Hanghaven, when their disappearance is more necessary than any penal servitude. The Bandit kings are rumoured by the Empire to provide slaves, but they actively attempt to prevent the operation of slavery on their borders, which has involved more than one full combat in the past. To them, slavery is an utter perversion.







    Badabaska - Hounds of the Moon


    FACTION UNITS
    UNITS













    LORE

    Daily Badabaskan life means living under a shadow. They exist, not live, and their entire society is geared to survival - nothing more. Where children play in other lands, they learn to fight. They carry burdens, learn to run, jump, build up composite fitness. Their childhood is examining past battles, remembering the weaknesses of species, learning a weapon they are good at, picked by tutors to fulfill a role. There is no choice, no freedom, yet they lack restraints others find in life. Freedom to choose who to marry, freedom to choose a home, as many stand empty. Crime is non-existent, and has always been so. Their roots were of the Han-Dinen, so they learn their old ways, but the new ways are of the Badabaskans. There are no members of society, below the age of five, that do not fight, and virtually no-one lives above forty. Their leaders are chosen by merit; no grand families exist; this is a meritocracy. There are few illusions and little hope, but they see wonders inside their mountains, and they live and breathe and love; every moment of peace is spent sucking it in, as they don't know when next they shall breathe again in this way - maybe never, for the next day, they may be dead.


    Badabaskan Geography
    The Badabaskans were not always known so, nor did they live on the three islands they now call both home and a trap. The Islands of Badabaska, Hannabaska and Keleddyn are three relatively minor teeth that jut from the seas north and east of the Polar cap that encases the Ghaurchlai, sealed there after their defeat at Saden Fields.

    Before the Badabaskans came, they were simply islands that were layered strangely in rock, almost like a spiral stairway in some places, sheets of rock placed atop each other in a haphazard fashion. Built in several places amongst these rocks were five great fortresses; three on Badabaska, one on each of the others. If you considered their lineage, they seem like something the Khezdruli may have built, yet there are other influences there as well. Certainly elven influences are there, but, when you wander inside the fortresses, there are signs that Rhysthari have been here at some point - there are large underground areas where crops are grown without the need for 'true' light, and Rhysthari cultivation globes are large in number, coating ceilings of rock. In fact, if you looked at the nature of these places, then you could call them the ultimate in defensive works; there is a massive underground network of tunnels and caverns, carved into the rock, but carved in a 'friendly' fashion, so that someone could dwell there with more comfort than say a normal castle even.

    The inhabitants can grow crops here; there are places that could house herds of animals, as large underground forests exist in places, and gardens - all fed by Ryhsthari and Lindiri means. Simply put, the fortresses are a marvel of engineering, and it was certainly a joint effort at some point of most of the intelligent progenitor races. Ildiri waterfalls feed the entire structure through streams and channels carved by Khezdruli, and it works as some kind of ecosystem. When the Badabaskans came here, it was to find all these wonders still in their prime, perhaps thousands of years after they were first laid in place.

    The three fortresses of Badabaska connect, whilst the others stand alone. Should one of the three fall, then there are means to collapse all entry to the others, and each can live independently of the others, connected in a triangular form, they can live as three, or two or one at the last. There is little beautiful to the outside fortifications; they are made of a horrible brown stone, but they stand tall and strong. There is no give in these places, and the walls cannot be simply battered down; they must be taken inch by inch. The area inside the outer walls contains some living quarters, but they are arranged like mazes, and each area can be locked into itself through walls that can be winched down into place rapidly, trapping the foe should they breach the walls. If a foe CAN take the walls, they will take many more deaths to seize this maze like area, but any foe determined enough to even attack a castle like this would have to possess the numbers to do so - it would simply be a case of how many died.

    Once through the maze of quarters, the attacker would meet the second wall; standing at a mere 30 feet, it is a defensive point, but it is designed for a different purpose. Within the wall itself is the means to collapse the entire wall by sections, revealing an array of Gnomes, long since sunk by the Dwarves, which will come alive the moment the light strikes their elven ley crystals, to assault whoever stands before them.

    Should an attacker make it through here, the last gate stands, warding the entry to the tunnel system and the homes of the Badabaskans. In great caverns lie the actual cities, and these are lit as if in perfect sunlight. The cavern roofs are a wonderful blue, in many hues and shades, and they are encrusted with gems that mimic stars at night, when the Selediri magic fades to simulate the darkness between dusk and dawn. Here, when the gate looks as if it will fall, the Badabaskans can collapse the foreword sections, with prepared sections of rock falling into place. The city remains undamaged, but the entire area becomes impassable. Metal workings make it almost impossible to burrow through this, but they CAN be raised at the interior side. Further on, there are several places, amongst the tunnels and caverns, to irrevocably destroy the wonders of the fortresses in a final gasp at life for the defenders.


    Badabaskan History: Ghaur
    If you ask a Badabaskan, they can give you an account of the last 2000 years; they all know it - they live and breathe their past. Never filled with glories, the Han Dinen lived south of the Empire in the West. Valerian never pushed further south than Nehemia, and he may have known what was down there - a story tells of a meeting with someone called the Painted Man, whereby an accord was struck to never push further. Whether Valerian knew precisely what was there, we'll never know, but he honored this.

    The Han Dinen were a race of black haired folk, slightly smaller than the average Imperial Subject, yet very strong, fearless and determined. They lived in clans, clustered in villages and walled stockades where they kept their herds. They rode no beast, nor did they eat or hunt anything to extinction - rather they would cull, salt the meat and store it carefully, smoking some of it - mainly for variety. There were beasts they did use, however; the massive Baerhounds were their friends and they were said to have had others, but knowledge of them is sparse at best.

    The Han Dinen lived around an inactive volcano, known as the Moonmirror. Here also lived others - a sect of Amazons was present as direct guardians, but they were wiped out in the Ghaurchlai wars. The Moonmirror was filled with complex tunnels, all of which led either to death-trapped murder-holes, or to the vast cavern beneath the volcano. In this cavern was said to be a lake with black water; this was the limits of the Farstream; the way into the world of the dead, and the women and Han Dinen were tasked with it's defense: both would die to the last to protect it.

    During the Ghaurchlai wars, the Han Dinen and the now forgotten women-warriors were assaulted by the Ghaurchlai; a massive horde they stood no chance against. The women were destroyed utterly, caught in their volcano, whilst the initial attack on the Han Dinen saw them scattered. It was the coming of the boy, Adathir, and his guardians from the City of Solace that led to the Han Dinen uniting under the Clan Chief Gaira. They attacked the foe, and the boy was sent through the Farstream, after which the Han Dinen retreated, to carry out a forgotten war against the Ghaur until their flight to the isles of Badabaska. It is said in their histories that Gaira knew they would be caught and destroyed eventually, and, learning that the Emperor had left Kadasandra with the armies of the East, they pulled back to the sea, where they fashioned rough boats and sailed east...visions haunted and blessed Gaira, and he dreamed of the isles often now, even knew their location and the sea avatars called to ensure his safe passage.
    HE and his people arrived in Badabaska, and constructed massive fortified cities, aided by the avatars of those islands, which were powerful, ancient beings. These cities remain still, but they are under threat constantly now, as the Ghaur infested the Isles in large numbers. Using the Farstream, they emerged on the isles and assaulted the Han Dinen; all settlements outside the cities fell, and they retreated behind the walls which still keep them alive...barely.


    Han Dinen and Badabaska
    The Han Dinen were a culture of men living in the far south of the Western Continent. They were squat and had bronzed skin and dark hair - black in most cases. The Han Dinen lived in Clans - loose groups of people descended from family groups in ancient times. This was never due to inbreeding, as the Clans gave great worth to the joining of clans; they law forbade in-clan partnerships in most cases, unless a question of noble descent made it necessary. Even then, the marriage could take place only with cousins or further descent.

    The Han Dinen were the most united of the southern peoples; most clustered in small groups of villages or hamlets - even in wandering groups of herder families. The lands they lived in were mountainous and laced with hills. Poor soil was present in the east and central areas, but the western clans farmed and maintained the largest herds. Deep in the mountains an order of warrior-women occupied a large fortification that crested the outside lip of a large, extinct volcano. Here lay the Soul Mirror, or Mirrormere - the entrance to the Lands of the Dead, where the gods lived with their Eidolon - their believers in life, fished from the Farstream, the river of the dead that carried souls into the after-lands.

    During the Ghaurchlai Genocide, the Han Dinen were assaulted by an utterly overwhelming force of the demonic creatures, and the fortress on the Volcano fell to them, leaving the entrance to the world of the dead open to them. This they breached, and they fought against the gods, capturing most, as their nature made them almost impossible to destroy - certainly the Ghaur knew no way at that time. The Eidlon were scattered or slaughtered, but most escaped to flee into the territory of the Yaga Dai, a dead race that held the entire east of the Deadlands. The Yaga Dai fought the Ghaurchlai, holding them back, until the people of the city of Solace managed to rally them and push the Ghaurchlai from the Deadlands.

    The Han Dinen had retaken the entry to the Mirrormere, and when the Ghaur were chased back through the Mirror into the Volcano, they slaughtered most of them. Behind the Ghaurchlai came the hosts of the Dead; the Eidolon and the Yaga Dai, and their victory was completed. Not a single Ghaur escaped. After many councils and minor battles, the Han Dinen, their female warrior order and the Dead moved north, retaking much of their original land and breaking the siege of Solace. The Ghaur were moved to bring their Eastern hosts back, and some of their strength from the Imperial lands to the north came south, forming a vast army.

    This in itself allowed Valerian to bring the armies of the Western nations - or what was left of them south, to fight a decisive battle at Saden Fields, even as the Han Dinen, unknown to him, fought viciously in the south. The only reason Valerian had a chance at Saden Fields was due to them and their war. He won Saden Fields, and the Han Dinen were fighting to a bitter standstill - the use of massive magics by the Ildiri and the other elves drew the waters into the Ghaurchlai nests, melting most of the southern ice cap to do so. This wave of clean water struck the Ghaur fighting the Han Dinen, and some of their number were caught in it and sealed in the Southern Ice that remained, as Ghuarchlai were sent into a torpor by water. However, there were still enough to destroy the Han Dinene as a culture, and the gods intervened. They opened a way into the three islands of which Badabaska was the greatest.

    The Han Dinen stepped into their new home, but were followed by many Ghaurchlai, who trapped them in the fortresses. All remaining Ghaur were simply obliterated by the gods, but many gods fell to nothing in this vast expenditure of their own essence, or were at least to the point where they were after named lesser of the gods, or simply Powers. Some of the people of Solace were elevated to this new status of 'power' and the strength of the Deadlands was remade.

    Now, the Badabaskans sit in their fortresses, fighting a war against the Ghaurchlai. The Ghaurchlai dare not openly storm the forts, but they fight a war to harass the defenders - whilst the Han Dinen slowly lose numbers, the Ghaur breed, and it is inevitable that the fortresses will fall. At the time of the main mod, the Badabaskans face this stark choice; they either follow the histories of the last thousand years, or they issue from the holds and exterminate the Ghaur IF they can still do so. Outnumbered hugely, the Badabaskan are ferocious warriors, and they stand some hope of doing so. As with much of the world, they seem at a pivotal point, where the balance of the Dragon's future lies under direct threat; more dire than the Ghaurchlai Genocide, as even the Elohim return to fight in this war. Badabaska stands alone, yet they have potential allies to call upon. Theirs is a difficult path, but it is one that is unwritten in the Fates
    .








    The Bandit Kings - Lands of the Beggar Prince

    FACTION UNITS









    LORE


    Lore-ical Overview
    There are those that fall and see what they love die in the political machinations’ across most cultures. There are the persecuted, the lonely, the disenfranchised...all social castes, all cultures, they wish to leave their old lives behind so desperately that they run in the night and don't look back to see if they are pursued.

    There is one place that will gladly accept them, one place they can live in rags rather than riches, but with happiness that hasn't been a friend for many years.

    Once there the City of Solace; a city that was hidden save for those that truly needed its embrace It disappeared during the Ghaurchlai wars, as it's inhabitants went to a final war and were murdered almost to a man. Now this city has returned, and the Bandit Kings welcome it as you would a prodigal son. The Fox King rules here, but with a velvet glove rather than iron fist, and their army, known as the Beggar Host, have trapped every entrance, rigged rockslides, pits, small fortified walls, all along the valleys.

    The Fox Court is resounding with the cries of a fledgling democracy, but it teeters on the edge of destruction. This could be reversed; perhaps they could even take the fight to their oppressors? One thing is sure...the struggle that comes is likely to result in more grief than the world can bear.


    STORY: Opening of the Dwarf Holts:
    The old Dwarf Holts were sealed when the Infected erupted out of them, at the end of the Ley War; the Ildiri flooded them and they were sealed in a LONG time ago. This is an eye-witness account of when the Bandit Kings reopened one, several thousand years later.

    ----------------

    WITNESSES all tell a similar tale of the final breach. No bigger than a man in height, but wider, the rock crumbled into the Holt, and a hiss of ancient air plumed from the hole, black, shadowed, it enveloped the miners in gloom, before it melted away in the light of the sun.

    THE bystanders expected to see some horrific vision of corpses left in it’s wake, but the onlookers simply saw the small team standing amongst the dissipating gloom, and they cheered in relief. The Holt was open, and the inky blackness seemed to beckon them in. Some record a feeling that they were being examined by that darkness, that strange eyes beheld them in the dark. Virtually none of the team who were there that day would ever enter a Holt, but the Dwarves were unaffected by this sense of unease.

    THE Holt was opened more over the next few weeks, the entrance widened and braced, before any would enter. The first expedition was made of a dozen Dwarves and nine men. The men included three Grey Whisperers, who had come to see what awful foolishness had been visited on the Kingdom.

    THE first visit was recorded by a Grey Whisperer.

    ‘WE entered the vault carefully, our hearts racing. The darkness was so thick it felt unnatural, and the Khezdruli passed us their strange, smokeless torches, each of us taking two.

    There was a careful drop into a wide tunnel, paved smoothly, the walls lined with statues and faces, which seemed to warn against the very thing we were doing. The air itself was oppressive, and the entirety of the gloom felt to damp, yet it did not carry any smell of rot or mould. The place we stood in seemed like any road through a city gate, save that it was underground.

    ODD plant life clung to the rock, mushrooms that glowed slightly, deeply coloured vines weaving through the halls. It was most definitely a different world to that which we knew, and the vast vault grew wider and higher as we stepped across it’s length.

    DESCENDING slowly, we were given groupings. Three groups of nine were formed, and we traveled together for the first few hundred yards, after which, the paths began to deviate. Certainly the first halls we encountered were military in nature, and small fortified areas were set into rock. Beyond these was a gate, which the Dwarves called the ‘Final Gate’. This was black in colour, obviously metal, and threaded with gold. It was beautiful in it’s own right.

    THE Final Gate stood ajar, enough for two to enter at a time, but it’s mechanism was dead, and we could not open it further, nor could we close it. It yawned, and part of you wanted to run screaming back to the surface; anything rather than pass through, as it bore the very nature of abandonment without pause or thought to close it behind.

    OUR Order is not powerful in the way men measure such things, but we could sense that the darkness was not unoccupied, that we were not alone down there.

    AFTER the gate, the Holt took on a different nature. Beyond it was a simple barracks, and this bore signs of damage. It’s war machines were broken, and we saw some evidence of battle. There were bones, and they had been gnawed, cracked and splintered. Much of the skeleton of any single Dwarf was missing, dragged away to be devoured. Armour was slung about the barracks floor, pitted and scarred, but where Ley had been used, there were still crystals, some of glowed slightly.
    THE weapons and armour bore some similarity to the Dwarven weapons we had seen, but they were noticeably different in their manufacture. There were incredibly ornate and beautiful pieces, but some seemed to have been manufactured en masse, maybe in moulds, with little time given to their making.

    WE separated here, as tunnels began to branch outwards from this main area. Our group entered a huge level area, which was circular in nature. It was probably the size of a human city in itself. The Khezdruli said it was the dwelling area of the main populace, centered around a huge fountain, which still spat and sputtered blue light - Ley - simulating water, as an Ildiri fountain would have done. This flowed outwards in four directions, dissecting the circle as it grew wider and traveled outwards. Four sections were here, and all of the houses were squat, and bent, quite beautifully, in a crescent that formed each street around the fountain and beyond.

    WE entered one house immediately, as it’s door lay open, and blue lights, born of Ley Crystals still shone weakly. The entire ‘city’ was illuminated, but this was high in the ceiling, and we couldn't not be sure as to how this was achieved. Mirrors, Metals, shafts of light from the vaulted ceiling, possibly Ley as well, but it’s manufacture must have been beyond anything humans could even imagine.

    THE House dropped immediately by several feet, wide steps inviting us in. Shock greeted us, and air hissed from every mouth. There were bodies, mostly bone, and they were torn apart; you could see that their deaths had been at the hands of something big, something that had literally pulled and torn them apart, for the bones were cast across the entirety of this main room. There were dark stains that I can assume was blood. The most fearful thing was the skeleton that lay in the centre of it all. It would have stood at least ten feet high, and it was a warped, vile thing. It’s very bones seemed bent, and were made of the bones of many different skeletons, ground and bent , fused to form something horrific. It’s skull was huge, bigger than a horse, and it carried many eye sockets.

    WE moved through the house swiftly, and it was still whole in places. The ceiling had a hole in it, perhaps where something had gained entry. Beyond this, the majority of items were whole. Plates, cups, all of metal, were whole, and then we found the strangest thing. A tiny little golden thing, about a foot tall, was slumped in the corner. It’s tiny body was of gold, with small arms ending in tiny, perfect hands, and it rolled on a ball of silvery hue. It was the first real ‘Gnome’ I had ever seen. The Dwarves amongst us gasped, and them seemed to be grinning wildly.

    ONE, Theruden, bent over the tiny thing, and he fumbled in his pack, bringing out a tiny blue crystal that pulsed with light. He carefully opened a hatch on the Gnome’s back, and punched the crystal inside. The effect was magnificent. The little thing whirred, fizzled and spat little electric bolts, then it came to life. Whizzing around it circles, like a child or dog, it fizzed, and a tiny squealing sound escaped it.

    THE Gnome then surprised us further, as it began to chirp, almost singing, and looked at Theruden directly, small lenses and cogs for eyes seeming to focus. Keruden nodded at it, then turned to us. ‘It’s frightened’. He almost spat. ‘I think someone took it’s Crystal, before it could be seen, and it still remembers one thing; fear’

    FROM this point onwards, the Gnome went with us, and we saw more damage. The tiny thing seemed to know where it was going, ad it led us straight up one of the main roads, where the Ley still sputtered like water, albeit at a level that was almost pathetic.

    IT took us through what must have been a battle-site, and there were many dead; dwarves and horrific creatures. Here, we also saw armour from what must have been Elves; it looked like Sea Steel, and a good hundred of them lay in ranks, torn down where they stood, yet they did not break or run. It was the strangest site; some order amongst absolute chaos. The mail still glittered, even when it was bent and gaping holes had opened through armour.

    AT the end of the thoroughfare, there was a room, a great vault, and in it were row after row of glittering, golden shapes. Here were a great array of Gnomes, in ordered ranks, obviously made and unused, or shut down for some reason. The vast majority were strange horses, or parodies of horses, all cogs, gears, gems for features, all with a beauty that was otherworldly. It was a vast relief to see them, and we wandered, open-mouthed through them. Certain others were still standing, obviously war machines, and there was a space at the rear where some must have fought, but the entire back wall was stacked with blue Ley Crystals, unused and captivating.

    THERE was a gate at the very rear, and it was beautifully decorated, abounded with differing hues of metals. This, we opened, and horrific air blasted out of the hole beyond. Several of us vomited, and we looked gingerly beyond. It was obvious that no-one of us wished to go there. Then we heard the scream, a howling noise that came from a vast distance, but it carried such fear with it that we flinched. The howl turned into a shrieking blast, and we feel back from it, ramming the door shut. Bolts clicked into place, and it fused itself together. I summoned what little power I could manage, for fear ever drains a Weirder’s powers. Directing power at the gate, I began to bend pieces, grinding them together, forever shut. It resisted, like an untamed horse being broken, but I finished the task, sweat pouring down my face.

    WE moved swiftly then, returning to the main thoroughfare. The Gnome came with us, and I noticed that it held tiny blades now, one in each hand, as if to protect itself. I would swear it was shaking, but such a thing was said not to carry any form of emotion, and this was not the place to dismiss any imagination the mind could create.

    AT the thoroughfare, we entered the more level of the two ways the others had gone, not wishing to descend any further, and now we moved with careful swiftness. We entered one tunnel-like place, and the floor swelled with water, running still, flowing, but it was an inky black, and it stank. We waded across it, cringing at it’s touch, and then we heard the sound of feet running. Most drew weapons, and the Dwarves formed a wedge at the fore.

    THE group we had tailed burst into view, running at full speed, panicked, some looking over their shoulders. When they saw us, they came to a halt, rapidly breathing, heaving, and our group instinctively moving to the front, ready for whatever followed.

    IT was about now that I noticed the missing member of my Order, and that I noticed burns and wounds on some of the men and Dwarves. They were less three of their number, and others were wounded, but none terribly.

    THEN I felt it. The surge of power building. The Elseth came into view, black tendrils of magics building around her, like tentacles, whipping from side to side. I saw her eyes, and I knew what we faced. She was gone, for sure, and something that had waited patiently for this had torn her mind to pieces, inhabiting her body, drawing on her powers, augmenting them with it’s own. I could her the remnants of her screaming in my mind.

    I had little room for thought or choice. Magics flared and she threw it at the Dwarves in their wedge. I reacted instinctively, and I forced a wave of dissipating Ley into the Abyssal attack, desperately unraveling it as it came. Luckily, it was not ready for any kind of power amongst us, and I shredded it’s weave, then sent everything I had at it’s head. I wove shards of Ley, made from the very air itself, into her head, and tore pieces of it apart. She howled, and then I felt the power building in her, massive, unfettered, coming from the deeps of this place. I screamed, and we ran. I stayed at the rear, awaiting what was sure to come, to try to absorb enough of the death that the others would escape - if my death could manage this, then it would be enough. I stood my ground as she appeared once again, and such power moved in waves.

    THEN rough hands grabbed me, and I was dragged through the stinking black water. Elseth hammered outwards with the full power of the Abyss, and I saw the black tendrils coming, saw the mouths that gibbered at the end of each of them, burning with foul black flames. I looked at my death and prepared myself.

    THE Abyss struck where the water flowed about us, and it broke in-waves, shattering into pieces, obliterated, like a mirror striking a wall. Shard whipped at us, and I threw a blanket of power up against it. So little came through that I easily swept it aside. Then I saw the power reflected back at Elseth. Where one abuses Ley, it can Wrack them, this I knew. I had never encountered the Abyss, and had no knowledge, as I do know, but it follows similar principles; if the body cannot cope with the backlash, then it will be destroyed, whether in part or in entirety.

    Imagine the attack of a sword. If your feet are not firmly grounded, then the strike will have little power, and the energy will be directed up your arm, back at you. This is a similar thing.

    SUFFICE to say we saw something that will never leave us alone; at night, the survivors all see this chain of events, sometimes when waking, too. The thing was made to nothing by what it was being struck by; I heard Elseth scream, and I saw the body, what happened to it. I saw the Abyss itself open behind her, saw things in the dark, things that stared with nothing, nothing but simple consideration - the eyes were gaping wide, glowing, with many pupils, or mouths that ate at the air, bit at it and devoured, all the while staring at us without anything we would call emotion, yet is was beyond even this - these eyes looked with the interest of a vivisector - we were utterly inconsequential, yet we were WANTED by them, we meant nothing, yet we meant everything, and there was no care as to what we were, or what they would do to us.

    GIBBERING sounds echoed, and Elseth was pulled into the Abyss, her mind alive, returned to her, even as they dragged her through, and her terrible understanding of what was happening shook me to the core. She knew what they would do, and she knew she would not die for a very long time., and I could do nothing but watch.

    We left the Holt swiftly, the third group returning. They had found deep water in the longest shaft, and would not dare it’s embrace, so they returned, but they could ‘feel things’ in the dark. They were desperate to banish this as an imaginary fear. It became less so when we told our tales, but we withdrew to the surface again, and moved swiftly to the Fox Hold itself, for what we bore had to stop any further action in these places. Sadly, it did not do so; they dragged those horses to the light, plundered other depths, and they began to open others; four in all have been opened, but I have met those that watch them, and they are uniquely capable of stopping this, should it be necessary to do. They are monks of the Void Temple, and they watch carefully, all the while intensifying the wards on the remaining Holts.

    THE Bandit Kingdom is stronger for what we found, but by all gods or creatures, I fear what is down there, fear it more than I can even express, but I share this with my small friend, and he looks at me with twinkling eyes, and I know he can understand every word. He is a strangeness that is welcome, and he is everywhere with me, my strength and my friend, for the Dwarves gave me the littlest Gnome, and I have cradled him in the dark, when I still hear Elseth’s screaming in the shadows that abound’.


    SOLACE
    Perhaps the oddest around, save for the Painted Man and Moonbiter/Moonthrax, Solace is a possible game changer in some ways; certainly it provokes the biggest choice of how to use it tactically/strategically, poss morally too.

    The idea of Solace itself is that some people suffer so much doubt, pain or are just broken by life, and they need rescuing; and nothing they have or will find will ever do this. Solace is the manifestation of the development of emotion in the dragon's psyche, and is drawn to suffering and emotion, especially in a noble form, or in a form that is devoid of anger, or utter negativity - the suffering has to be directed inwards rather than projected outwards, if that makes sense?

    Note: Negative emotive states are what draw the Cthonae in.

    When drawn to Solace it is said that the person is shown what could be and given a choice to make in a 'dream'; whether this is a moral choice and the city judges them is not entirely known, as few remember anything save that they had a dream. Once the person accepts or follows what is shown, they awaken to find the Gatekeeper with them. He leads them into a mist, from which they emerge to see the borders of the city, and are walked into it's arms.

    When entering Solace, there is a sudden sense of peace and release. It is not a place that MAKES people happy; it gives them the peace they need to repair themselves. Some choose to stay forever; some stay long enough to 'mend'; people do not age in Solace.

    Part of what Solace does is teach various things to organize and perfect people. There is a heavy leaning towards martial traditions, as these exercise body, spirit and mind, and they also give self control and a sense of massive achievement. The by-product is that the city has superlative defenders if attacked.

    They reach their physical, mental and spiritual perfection. Many are preternatural in their abilities.

    What IS known is that those that leave of free will are often never to return. This makes sure that anything that makes them leave is of greater import to them than the city, which means they will perform a higher role, and often perish doing so. It is the perfect death.

    In the Ghaurchlai Campaign, Solace IS going to be a city that can be the Void Temple's to control at some point, and the Han Dinen if played get the city.

    The use of the city in the mod is to provide a small group of 'characters', in the form of generals...they can offer missives choices....they can initiate and follow a VERY important story-line, split to do so, ignore it, whatever, but there will be 6 generals of enormous power that can achieve much, but are split so many ways.

    The city itself offers a huge target to the Ghaur and a clever player can make them throw TONS of troops at it, and watch them get minced...or take the city. The garrison will not move out, but they are very strong, and irreplaceable. All will be general led.





    Chitkinnen - Children of the White Sow


    FACTION UNITS





    LORE


    Faction Intro/Lore-ical Overview
    Deep under cities, in hill hives and in the deep mountains live the Chtikinen, the rat people, the folk of the White Sow. Awakened by the Lindir, they turned on their creators and tortured some knowledge from them, a knowledge that is patchy, pain filled and incomplete, it drives them to do what they do, which is breed, maim and kill for the purposes of the White Sow and her nest-mind priests.

    Bred into rigid castes, based on fur color in the main, they revolve around the cults they have made; based on the knowledge of the Lindir they maimed and destroyed. These cults are those of the Psychotrope, the Cult of Vivisection and the Rabian Cult. They deal with drugs, poisons, breeding, disease, the manipulation of chemicals and elements, yet everything they do is inherently unstable, and much goes wrong, only to be destroyed and devoured by lesser kin.

    In warfare, the rats are smaller than humans and often visibly weaker, but they have perverted life and bred massive rats, some even 20 foot tall, that slaver and grind, as their intellect has diminished with the addition is size , not an un-hoped for side effect.

    They are psychopathic, manipulative, cunning, and deceitful. All at the behest of the Great White Sow, their only Mother, and her mate the King of Tooth and Bone.


    STORY: "BORISSOMEONE'S INTRO"
    We started from pity, we hid in the shadows and lived a simple life, but pity changed everything. From the dark came the Lindiri compassion filling their eyes as they gazed down upon us as we crawled through the debris of the man world. We were happy in our own way, plague and death a constant that made us what we are, always lurking in the shadows feeding on the waste of the so called civilized world, spreading disease and feeding on the dead. What came next for the nest was pain as the Lindiri worked their magic upon us, they thought to improve us. From this improvement we were born again, the first of the Chitkinnen, from pity and pain we stood upon two legs and tried to comprehend this new world that had been thrust on us.

    The Lindiri explained this new world to us, but we of the nest did not truly understand what was told, and from the confusion of this new world the thoughts of old started again. We craved to understand and took many of the Lindiri into our nests, but as the screams of fear and pain rode the hollows of our shadow drenched lairs the Lindiri gave little to us, preferring death to sharing with us. From pity to a new world to death, the Lindiri have given us much and yet retained more.

    Now we bide our time, the White Sow gives many to the nests, her mind feeding all as her heaving sallow bulk spews forth new born Chitkinnen. Many of the new are born into this world with the power of the mind, the Nestmind Priests who watch and gather information for the day when we explode from the sewers and shadows of the man world and begin a new age of slaughter, but for now we bide our time and feed, growing stronger for that day. Terror and the stink of death will ride the wind when the Chitkinnen walk amongst men for the first time.

    The King of Tooth and Bone demands much from the nest, he feeds and mates with the White Sow, his maw devouring all that come his way, whispers in the dank foul air tell us we should look upon the White Sow’s mate as something more, a god to our many nests? The King of Tooth and Bone wants much and has all, our black eyes gaze upon his massive form with devotion for he embodies all that we are, death, disease and power.

    As the foul air weaves and dips through our dark nests we work toward the day when we come forth and feed upon the man flesh, his children and wives will all feel our pain as we eat their screaming forms. The Cult of Vivisection improve us, they cut and change us for the better, whilst our minds are expanded by the Cult of Pschotrope. The Rabian have given much to the twisted and foul tunnels we call our lairs, from this most prized cult come the priesthood, the Brotherhood of Shadow. From the dappled shadows of the Brotherhood come the much feared Steamskin Watches. The Watches walk the dark for our mighty mother feeding information to the Nestmind ensuring all follow the will of the nest. We are the Chitkinnen, borne from pity but bound for greatness and much death. The Nestmind calls and she tells of dark days for the land of men, we are the Chitkinnen and now it is time for Total War.


    JEAN's INTRO TO THE THREE 'CULTS' of the CHitkinnen
    The School of Vivisection...the Masters of Flesh...who cut it, examine it, know it, reshape it. They can dismantle life and rebuild it according to their will...stronger, deadlier... From the screams of Vivisection our knowledge is born, our technique advanced. The Fleshmasters examine life and teach us how to kill it and make it a part of us...countless bodies are sacrificed in the experiments as flesh and bone are separated and joined with other bones and other flesh...as organs, muscles, skin and all the innards are shuffled, reshuffled and dealt anew to serve a different purpose. It is by the blades and lore of Vivisection that we learn how to best slay our enemies and enhance our own Brood.

    The Rabian Sect...the plague givers...disease eaters...that which others look upon with disgust as refuse, excrement, rot, the inedible, the unsmellable...we revel in. The Infection gave us unprecedented growth, like a plague we spread through the underworld finding new forms of disease, infection and mutation. The Rabians took them all and absorbed them. Instead of filtering out the disease like before, they learned to draw strength from it. Some mutated into ferocious warriors, larger and stronger than our kind has ever known while others learned to harness toxins and dangerous substances, and use them to sow death among our enemies. The Rabian Way gives us resilience and strength to outlast those who would stand in our way and hinder our inevitable growth.

    The Cult of Psychotrope...the Plague Dragon's prophets...the mouths and tongues of the diseased brain. Theirs is the clarity of our purpose, theirs the vision of our final destination...they are the keepers of our past and the diviners of our future. The toxins that infest the World-Body can not only enhance the body but also give flight to the mind and imbue it with courage and ferocity on the field of battle. They allow the priests of Psychotrope to see beyond the bone, beyond the flesh, expand the senses. Not all may withstand the Truth, the touch of the plagued mind, and they may end up gnarled and twisted by the agony of psychotropic blowback. None who delve into these dark corridors remain completely untouched by the mind-rot but such are the pleasures and sacrifices of the Path of the Psychotrope, such is the price of truth...and of memories. To seek the Path and remember the Past...it is the creed by which we honour our Oracles.


    Chitkinen Society
    Organised by fur colour, the White Sows give birth to many hundreds of rats, but the births are external of her body; in effect, they are formed then 'grown' by elder sciences (Lindiri) gone horribly wrong.

    As the pupae are growing, they are administered drugs by the Cult of the Psychotrope (Psycotropic drugs - those that affect someone's state of mind and inner being). They are then passed to the Cult of Vivisection, who perform 'rites' that see the pupae reformed for their role - the original devices of the Sow see their base function, as random fur colours are assigned, the Cults then direct them to their primary role - some are delivered stunted or gigantic and insane, to be devoured as the rats' primary food source (different castes eat different types of food-rat), others bear white fur and are the highest of all, whose psychic powers are enhanced by the Psychotropic interference...others are grown through biochemical means and then 'improved' through vivisection....the list goes on.

    The mainstay of the Chitkinnen forces are those of the Brown Rats, whose numbers form the basest of warriors. In masses, they are bred for work and war, craven and beaten, sent to die, to soak up the foes' ability to kill before the more valued are sent in to annihilate the enemies who survive.








    Cho Tetsu - Petals in Still Waters


    FACTION UNITS

    Units


    LORE
    Faction Intro/Lore-ical Overview
    Faction Intro/Lore-ical Overview


    When the Lindiri first came to life; they used their abilities to make many 'awakened' flora and fauna. They were charged to do this by the knowledge of the Celesti, who taught them the beginnings of their work. They were to create awakened beings that would aid them in their understanding of the world and its many inhabitants, whom they were given the task of protecting - they were wards of all things Temperate.

    The Culture of Cho Tetsu has seven of the awakened flora, and they worship them as gods and follow their edicts; a task to which they appointed seven temples and seven Orders of Temple Guards. Their society is a hugely complicated machine. They have rigid caste systems, and Noble Houses fight both openly and politically for power, even utter dominance outside the Emperor’s jurisdiction. This is as much as a game for power as their enemies, The Principality of Steel; if not more so. Their politics are enmeshed with Honour, yet much of their struggle is far from honourable.

    The warriors of Cho Tetsu are some of the most disciplined fighting men of all cultures. They often fight with two weapons and never use shields. Recently they have invaded and taken a parcel of the domain of the Pawn Saints. It seems there will be



    Cho-Tetsu Society
    The society is at odds with itself in many ways. The highest figure in the land is the White Divine, the EMperor of Cho Tetsu, who lives in the City of FLowers. He maintains a large part of the city for his palace, guarded by Imperial Guard, also known as the White Fire Guard, or simply the Divines. His power is vastly limited however, and he commands the City itself, but little beyond, save through allegiances that appear and vanish swiftly. The Orchid Temple is pledged to the support of the EMperor, whoever he may be. It is unusual for a White Divine to last past the age of forty. There is little semblance to say Roman Imperial Politics; he does not get assassinated by family or by his own guard etc. For better or for worse, he lives until dead, but there is something in their nature that leads to early death in the Imperial Line. Upon his death, the Temples of Flowers support a new Emperor from his immediate family. Each Temple submits their support for one male; the one with the most votes becomes Emperor. It has never been tied between seven votes; always it has been a fairly clear choice, with the Peonie Temple often being the main ;fly in the ointment' in this process.

    Aside form the White Divine, there are several bodies that share power.


    The Temples of the SevenFlowers
    The Seven Flowers are not wholly accurate in their number; the eight is mostly secretive and it's end has been sought for hundreds of years. The Seven Flowers are actually the last of the Flowers that the Lindiri 'awoke', much in the same way as they did the Animists. After their creation, the Lindiri destroyed them fairly swiftly, as the experiment was not a success, but an absolute disaster. The Flowers were fed the sap of the God Tree, and magic was applied in the tested ritual. What the Lindiri failed to realise was that Flowers were of a different mould. They had no soul or spirit, as did the animals they changed, they did not have sentience, and this could not be just enhanced like Animists. In giving them an attempt at sentient being, the Flowers took the souls of the Lindiri that made them, the ritual transferring their minds into the plants. Plants have varying natures, and produce chemicals that affect other creatures; as such, they used these essences to affect those around them, whilst the Lindiri trapped within often went mad. The life within the flowers was one of a horrible nature, as they could not speak, could not communicate save through thought and projected images. Thus, some plants could poison, some could control minds, others had abiltiies to achieve many unwanted effects on sentient beings. The plants could not move at this point, and this saved the Lindiri.

    They destroyed the vast majority swiftly, and others they hunted, as some began to move using their roots. There was a silent war; at it's end few of these plants survived. However, there were some that were discovered to be different, and these few were taken from the Lindiri forests, to be limited to various places where no harm could be done and they could be quietly observed. What became CHo Tetsu was one of these, but only eight were alive by the time the humans arrived - by this time, the Celesti had left, and the Lindiri had long abandoned the isles. The FLowers communicated with the humans, and were seen as gods, who the Cho Tetsu people began to worship. The eighth Flower, the Mantis, was swiftly hidden by one group of worshippers, as it's abilities to affect the world was beyond the others, and far more dangerous.

    Note: The Lilindhili, in the Jungles of the major continent, are the Jungle Lindiri; here, the Flowers have largely 'won' the war, as they almost completely control the Jungle Lindiri...long story, but just a note.

    The Temples of the Flowers are contained within the City of Flowers, and here the plants lie, unmoving, in beatiful seclusion, tended by the greatest talents of the Nation. The Flowers ahve Colours, like Weirders and CHannellers do, and they have distinct personalities.

    THE LILY is the Flower of Contemplation, serenity and peace.
    THE ORCHID is often seen as the Imperial Flower, and it's persona is that of Reasoning, intellect and of Logic. The Temple is entirely behind the EMperor
    THE PEONIE is the Red Flower, seen as the Flower of war and martial spirit. It is these things, but it is mainly simply a dominant Flower; in the times when others existed, it grew amongst them, striving to dominate the flower-beds and grow taller and more quickly than it's brethren, hiding them in it's shadow. The Imperial Warmaster is supported by the Peonie Temple, often against the Emperor's restraint on the martial expansion of Cho Tetsu.







    The Federation - Council of Nine


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    LORE

    Faction Intro/Lore-ical Overview
    The Federation, or the Directive of the Free, is a vast country occupying the lands on both Eastern and Western continents. It was established on the territory bought from the Empire at the time of its decline by several wealthy merchant families. Their ultimate goal was to create a free state, where every person, no matter how rich or poor, would enjoy equal rights, contained in the Great Liberties, and would answer to one law, manifested in the Laws Inviolate. The people, tired of oppression and despotism of Imperial governors, flock to their banner…only to find themselves under much heavier burden...
    The Federation is shielded from the rest of the world by a chain of mighty fortresses that prevent the rest of the world from seeing through its image of benevolent and free state…and discover the totalitarian regime inside. The state is heavily policed, and people live in constant fear for their lives, especially in the heart of the country, close to the grim capital, Strongpoint. Entire villages disappear overnight; some of the populace later found in the dreaded Penal Battalions – hideous hybrids of flesh and implanted steel – and newly acquired elite Ghaurchlai troops – the Descati’s Hounds – march unhindered through the roads.
    The ruling group of powerful and secretive individuals, the Council of the Nine, uses any means possible to strengthen and empower their position, and is preparing to launch another of their ‘liberation campaigns’, though now the Council might find a mortal enemy much closer to itself.


    History of the Federation as Told by their Council
    FROM THE EXALTED LIBRARY AT STRONGPOINT, produced in the First book of the Law
    The Empire rose like a phoenix, proud and strong, full of the fires of conquest and unification, towering under the fine leadership of Valerien. In the Wars of Unification, all were cast down, and he beat the embers together like the blade of a good sword.

    The Laws of the Dragonthrone were sacred, and all were equal under them. His will extended over all and the unjust lay in stupor, their fear unmanning them. The Empire was pure, and his leadership shaped the world. Then the Ghaur came.

    Years of war followed, and the cream of the Empire died before the black hosts of creatures from nightmare. See the Bestiary of Jonas. Valerian faced all of this, and never faltered, but some, with fear in their hearts, did commune with the beast, and worked from within to hasten Ghaur victory.

    Battle after battle was fought, and the old races were brought in to aid the Empire. Much of their number came to the final call to arms, and the hosts met on the fields of Sallen. That day, the Empire died.

    The battle was terrible. Tens of thousands died, and the Empire never recovered, but the day was won, with the aid of the Dragons, Valerien’s friends, the last hope our people had before the Council. The Dragons tipped the balance, but Valerien fell, and the way was open to the puppeteers who had plotted against their own, a deed so foul that our laws hold it as treason most severe.

    For years, the Empire struggled, but it slowly failed. They even re-named it Dragonstar, to give praise to Valerian’s efforts, but the conspiracy hid his deeds behind this name, heaping more praise upon the dragons, which were simply the remnants of an old race.

    Things fell from bad to worse. Loyal people were persecuted, and the laws no longer extended to all. Rich nobles were able to influence the judges, and the Justicians, our keepers, were unknown. The Laws had failed, and the Empire decayed. Then Emperor Navall died, leaving the child Verian upon the throne. The time for the disloyal was upon us. They began to subvert the infant’s rule, but some who were loyal took it upon themselves to save part of the olden Empire. The nine.

    The Nine gathered, and decided to save a piece of what Valerian had wrought. They raised monies from all ports: the peasantry, nobles who still believed…all gave in the hope of a new day. The money was gathered, and an offer made. The wealth to treble the treasury of the Empire, and the ceding of lands to be known as The Federation to the Nine.

    In a glorious moment, the Federation was born, and the Nine created a Council, so that no one man could decide the fate of many. The Council wrote a set of Laws, laws which safe-guard the people, which make the people one, noble and ‘commoner’ alike, and see that all are treated with true honour. The Order of Justicians was made, and they travel the land still, dispensing justice and truth where the needy are oppressed. In one moment a land of perfection was born.

    Whilst the Empire failed, the Federation grew. The people worked for free on the construction of Strongpoint, and the further strength of our Forts along our borders, and then more in key areas, which allowed the upholding of the Law, and allowed us to crush a rebellion by the Imperial nobles who had shown their mettle by turning against the Council’s ‘Declaration of Equality’.

    Oh, yes, the Empire failed. They stuck a Prince in the West, a man born to high position, who owes simple lip-service where once he cowered. They allowed the Wolves to eat at the South, barbarians to raid, rape and kill their own, and the Legions supported their leaders more than the good of the nation. Wars were fought, and blood was spilled in short-sighted games of power. The people suffered.

    The Council saw this, and tried to free the Eastern provinces. Again they offered to beggar themselves for the freedom of many, but they were refused. As a one, we decided to free them the only way left. War!

    In the East we landed a massive fleet, and an emancipation force clashed with the Legions. Somehow, at the same time, the Wolves attacked elsewhere, and bandits grew prolific in their lack of fear in the north, above where we prayed for freedom. Our people gave their blood, and the Legions could not withstand our just cause. They gave way before us, and launched much of their strength against the Wolves and bandits.

    We quickly managed to gather in as much of the land as we could free, and settled down in defiance, for we knew they would attack to enslave what we had taken from their faltering cause. We gave protection, Law and a wealth of important changes to those we freed, and the Federation in the East was born.

    Three times, Legions crashed against us, but our programme of fortification bore fruit. We lost good men, but held on, then we rewarded by the Council in their just idea of the servitude of criminals. It was here that the Penal Battalions were given life. Criminals would die for their people, having given their rights away at the time of contravening the Law.

    With these Penal troops, we threw the Empire back, and they were forced to conceal their cowardice in a tale of our ‘atrocities’. They said we committed deeds that were so foul, they had to consider our abuse of their people. The people we freed.

    At the withdrawal of the Legions, we truly brought happiness to these people. Their oppressors were gone, and we brought Freedom.
     
    FROM A RECENT PROCLAMATION
    Our message reached other ears. The Rebellion started perhaps five years ago, as all are aware. Some whispered that they were emulating our Council, but we fear they have other agendas. However, the Empire has warred with them, and we must consider the common good of all in this. The Rebels may need a parent to take control of their struggle, to hand them the rein of emancipation. The Federation way is by far the truest, and has withstood the tests of time. Even now, the Council is meeting. Some would say now is the time for righteous war.






    Fennweyr - Keepers of the Deepest Magic


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    LORE

    The lands of the Fennweyr are filled with a fairly basic life, but it is fulfilling and free. The Clansfolk are clustered in huts, built about various shrines, smithies flaring, brewers getting small children to gather flowers for the press. Coin has value, but humanity has a far greater worth here. They do not tolerate much of the world beyond, for they have little reason to trust it, and many reasons not to do so. Here, children play amongst the trees, are guided home at night by friendly whisps - they play amongst the hulking Ettins, whose laughter booms like a war machine in the settling pollen. Pipes and flutes play, the musics of the forest people, sending peace through the realm. However, there are darker arts at play here too. There are reason that normal folk should fear the Fenns, for there are as many malign creatures as benevolent, but the clans and the 'good' keep them at bay. There are ways of doing this, rituals that confuse and displease the dark fey; salt can ward against the Moraefinns. Sugar trails can lead a Baenfoire in circles until dawn's light, and the creatures that do get through carefully prepared defences are often fearful of lights, of human voices, or are met by those that care for the humans, or the Druids themselves will burn them with their Weirding, throwing magic at them until they fall back into the night. If something particularly dangerous appears, then it is hunted and slain, but there is sorrow for this. Of course, when the Prince comes to the Fenns in open war, he is met by bad and good, and the Clans stir for war. Simply marching through miles of Fenn can wear and army down enough for a defence to cripple them, sending them back to the feudal lands.

    A History of Fenn Relations with the Principality
    The Fennweyr was once a vast area, stretching from the northern coast of the west continent to the areas now occupied by the Prince of Steel. Not all was fens and moors, but they were an ancient power, deep rooted and capricious; like the land, they took people from the lands around and most were never seen again. Tales were abundant of strange lights, of Candle Wights, of the shambling forms of giants on the skyline, of whispers amongst unquiet trees. Man feared this place in the main, and few strayed within it's boundaries; or, if they did, none knew about it.

    Horned men blew their misshapen pipes in lilting waves of dischordant sound, and children followed them deep into the heavily blackened nights. These children became the men and women of the Fennweyr, for not all of the dwellers were bad, not all were terrors or even faintly dangerous. Much of what they did was a misunderstanding, but the first people of the Principality banded into larger groups to protect themselves - this, in itself, would give rise to the Principality, as previous settlers were less inclined to larger groups, valuing freedom and autonomy.

    The humans began to hunt in the woods, and they found the 'evil' within. Many creatures were interested in these humans, so different to those they had raised themselves. They were met by bows, spears and swords. Many of these more curious 'beasts' were slain, and they were driven back, deep into the woods. Over a larger period, the humans pushed them back more and more, and they cut down the trees, burning areas to 'cleanse' them. There were beasts that struck back, but they themselves were disorganised, and easy to turn back or kill.

    As the Fennweyr shrank, the humans that were of the land saw their friends being slaughtered, and saw the tears of tree spirits, the bestial howls of pain from greater creatures, all as their mates and fellows were caught and killed. Tales filtered to them of how cruel the humans were, of what they did to the creatures they caught, and the 'Children of the Pipes' gathered. Their 'captors' had raised them well, and had never asked anything of them, save friendship, which they were rewarded with loyally. The Fennweyr people had their leaders; those called Druids, who gathered their folk, leading them with the magic of the land; for healing and care they were taught, and they gathered and voted for war on the southern humans, by now the Princes of STeel.

    The Pipers fell upon the human settlements below the remaining Fenns. They massacred the people of three villages, every last one slain, and beat the garrison of the local, forgotten Lordling, killing his entire retinue; knights, archers and footmen alike. The Prince responded, and an army was gathered in the Chequered City. Several hundred armoured knights led five thousand men, armed in leather and chain, their banners bright in the winds. Marching north, they were stopped before a great hill, atop which was a bizarre sight: here, amongst the Sealing Stones, waited the Fennweyr Clans; Heath, Willow, Hill and others stood strong.

    Even as the Prince drew his battle lines, he could not imagine defeat against the ill-armed Fennpeople, but they were not alone. As he finalised his plans, the creatures of the land came to their friends. Dancers of the Forest Goat, Baelfinns, Ettins, the deadlights, all manner of creatures came from the woods and moors. It is said that they numbered in the thousands, but there were a few hundred at best, save for the children of the Summer Queen and Winter King - of them there that many of each of their folk, mere twigs and leaves, yet would prove so lethal.

    The Prince himself led a charge of his knights at the 'Beasts', whilst his archers and then infantry assaulted the hill. It was a tragedy in the making. The Summer Queen's retinue braced against the knights, and their spears were of magic in nature, killing many horses, through into steel armour, which was pierced as if butter. The knights were stalled, and the others were upon them. Even as they were massacred, the Winter King's folk grew into being, from nothing, amongst the archers and the Clans charged the infantry. This was an horrific slaughter. Of the entire Prince's host, less than fifty survived, and these had to walk a gauntlet of brooding horrors, as the creatures and Clans watched their foes retreat south. The lesson was not lost.

    This prompted the first peace between the two factions. This was added to by various Princes and their Druid counterparts, but was also breached as many times. War between the two was shifting, but the Fennweyr Druids decided, after a campaign during which they had defeated army after army within the fens, but had been defeated when they left their homeland in return, that they would make a pact with the Prince of that time. The Fennweyr was to be left semi-autonomous and would provide trade and some tithes in return, along with an agreement to aid the Princes when their homes were invaded.

    It was a peace, but successive fools amongst the southerners decided they could do what others before had not, and they attacked still, although less than before. The coming of Valerian changed this, and the Fennweyr has changed in his wake; better armed, better trained, they remain a check on the growing power of the southern Prince.





    Lian Elune - Lake Kingdom of the Mistiriel


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    LORE

    Liane Elune Situation
    Over the time between it's containment and now the Lake Kingdom has fallen into a bitter struggle. The Only decided that the Lake Kingdom needed purging of it's 'impurities', which simply meant that the wild parts of the Kingdom were to be forced into a war of extermination. Little resistance was given at first, and the denizens simply retreated. Now there is a last bitter struggle for their survival.

    The people of the Lake Kingdom are tied strongly to the waters, both of the lakes and the sea around it's coast. Ildiri live there, as do many water spirits and avatars. They simply let the Only advance into territories they had held, viewing their advance as a form of peace, as there were vague promises of a finite measure to these advances.

    In the last ten years, however, things have changed. The last territories of the LIAN ELUNE ('Starlit Lakes') lie in a final defensive psoition in the small area known simply as Lune. The Only CHurch has broken, as a Ninth Eye has been found again. She has gathered three of the Eyes to her, and they have brought some of the Church's strength with them. Together they have travelled to Lune and now sit within it's borders, as they have been for the last year, fending off the corrupt Church forces.

    The situation now is that the Ninth Eye, Anna Sanda (sister of the Warden of the Imperial West, Lian Sanda) leads the people of Lune, the creatures and spirits of the land's waters and the Ildiri populace in a united front against the mass gathering of the Church's forces. Her loyal Only troops stand beside her, mostly made of Militant Monastic orders (meriotic in nature) and some of the personal troops of the three loyal Eyes. No CHurch Levies stand with her, but hers is still a army with deep rooted strength. All that remains is the struggle for survival.

    The corrupt Only forces are strong and great in number; the Church's great wealth lends them power beyond the folk of Lian Elune, but they fight for a lesser purpose in some ways - there are those amongst them who lose belief in what they are doing, and the emergence of the Ninth Eye has many worried - those who do not believe assurances to the contrary.

    SO, you have two factions about to slaughter each other - the forces of Anna Sanda in Lune, and the forces of The CHurch of the Eye of the Only. The Only must win a swift victory, and they will push hard for this.

    It is said that some of the Elohim, the prognitors of the Celesti, stand with Anna Sanda, recently come to her side...the Elohim are waking, and they do so only in the direst circumstance. SOme stand with Ilien, the Rose of War, in the West, and now some stand with Anna Sanda in the Lake Kingdom. Even in the Ghaur Wars they did not come in large numbers, barely having anything approaching involvement, but now they are forming battle lines with seemingly minor causes. The significance of this cannot be underestimated.


    The Awakening
    The camp was in the narrow twist of land before the 'last lakes', the Maerlemord, and the recent skirmish had left them bloodied and dejected. Anna Sanda had faced two Eyes of the Only alone, her loyal Archpriests to the east in the main camp. She had found several thousand Temple forces and had hit them at pace, barely allowing herself room to breathe. Her forces were a poor mix of units, but they were fighting for the right thing, and she was surrounded by her personal guard units...the Ordersd Mendicant and Meriotic were hers, for their nature was based on prophecy and dreams, and they had dreampt of her coming and found and protected her, at great risk to themselves. They had known little saze her frailty; not from where the threat came, save that it was from within their own Temple.

    As the memories of battle faded, and she returned to the mud, blood and cries of the wounded, maimed and the dying, she held to her decision to allow fires that night. Her men were battered and were in a mire, and she could not forbade fires, even should the Eyes that had fled the field return with greater force. Her own men had been sent to the forces that ranged to the west and east. Morning was bound to bring their return and that of surgeons and fresher forces. Her life was now a nightmare of blood and ruin, but she fought for something that she held in faith before her own existance; the people of the lakes did not deserve the fate the False Eyes of the Only CHurch held for them in their vile plans, and she was all that stood between them. Maybe that was arrogance itself, for the Lian Elune had their own forces left to them, weak though they seemed, and she was lucky not to have been executed, let alone welcomed as she was. She remembered the eyes of the pale Ildiri, the ill-armed Mistiriel of the Lake People, and the few that remained of 'better' troops. At this point they held little of anything, and her aid had turned some things on their head; the Only forces had been routed from the field in several swift battles; hellish nightmares she barely remembered. They had not expected her arrival, and she had been as surprised when others of the Temple came to her aid. The three orders she had taken with her numbered mere hundreds, but they were like demons. Now she had thyree Eyes and their entire retinues, but no Temple Levies would follow them. Now they were excommunicated, but through her they were never before as close to their god.

    She was startled from her thoughts by the shouts of sentries. She rose swiftly, her aches forgotten, as she saw a train of lights wavering along the boundaries of the camp. They were not the lights of torches, nor were like anything she had seen before. Almost running, she was strapping her helm on as she reached the picket lines. The lights were moving closer, but only so close. She could make out forms amongst them, but little more - they certainly weren't attacking, that was certain, but the Only taught harsh tales of this place; at the edge of the Maerlemorde, she was the safest she could be from the superstitious fools that formed the Temple forces, but she had forgotten what lived within those tales - teeth and claws in the dark, things rising from the waters to snatch those that wandered too far or children from their cribs. Swearing at her own stupidity, she lef the lines, and walked slowly towards the floating lights. They blazed as she stepped into the ebbing waters, and she lost her sight, staggering, only to find herself in a canopy of flowers, dream-like plants and webbing of vines and posies weaving around her.

    In front of her stood the folk of the maerlemorde; the denizens of the deep lakes. In numbers, they were facing her and she could see pleading eyes, light issuing from them in a plaintiff, soundless, cry. She could feel the intensity of their pleas. One walked from the waters, a woman of bluish skin, her arms delicately etched into scales like those of a fish. Her eyes were wide and overlarge and her fingers ended in claws, webbing between them; she smelt of fresh waters and moved with terrible grace. 'Will you save us, Lady of the Waters? We fade, we see ourselves die, yet always there is a faintest of hopes. We dream of you as the men in metal armour poison our waters, as they cut down our people on the land. YOU are the one we see, and yet this is the slightest of hopes, and each day that fades. Will you take us as your own, march with us and die with us if that is what must be? It is your choice, lady, and we give ourselves to you with the asking. Will you save us?'

    Anna awoke with a start. She lay in her quarters, rough as they were, her armour torn from her, her body soaking wet and very cold. Faces looked upon her, and relief was burgeoning. 'Yes', she had said, before the floating lights faded to the dark.

    An hour later, Soaseir shook her, his face lit by wonder. 'My Lady,' he whispered, 'we have new friends, and they are quite the sight indeed. It appears we were sought last night by one of the False, but our new, uhm, friends, have brought me his head - it is the Eye of the North-East. He's less pretty than before, but I know him well enough.'



    Last edited by Shankbot de Bodemloze; March 19, 2014 at 04:49 PM.

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    Default Re: UNIT and LORE Preview part 1



    FACTIONAL UNITS and
    DEEPER LORE



    Please note that some stuff is omitted due to later plans. There are some slightly rushed, so slight errors. The shiny units are dampened, jut these pics were taken before that. Also, there is battlefield magic galore, but I will show one video only. Finlander is making use of this for you! One small thing now:


    Eastern Marches of the Empire


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    LORE

    The Eastern Empire is the oldest part. The Sea of Grass is where the first Emperor was born, and the East fell to him swiftly. The loyalty of these people is unbreakable. Through the EMpire, they have prospered, been allowed to develop their own cultures in safety and freedom, to not worry about neighbours storming their homes - war is upon them, of course, but there is comfort in knowing who your enemy will be.


    Myr Addati
    The people of Myr Addat, the Adati, are a very insular people. They are not numerous, they live in a meritocratic society and only the chieftain is 'blood-born', or given his position through right of ancestry. He has always had the right to abdicate and name successors from outside his family however, and some have.

    Their people live a dualistic life. Deep within the deserts of their land, there is a secret dwelling place, a secret city of the Myr Addat - the Hive City, many have called it. It's true name is Kedrawn, and it is a massively complex city, walled and fortified, surrounding a massive sandstone peak that splits the city clean in half, with many hundreds of tunnels running through it. Tunnels run everywhere, hence the name of the Hive City. It is vast, ancient and most certainly not built by mere men.

    To find the entryway is a task in itself, as it is both naturally and artificially concealed. Some have mentioned a waterfall of sand being the veil that hides it, and others mention bizarre carvings in a tunnel dug by no natural hands. Whatever the reality, the slavers of Ashapur have never found it, but this has always been assisted by the fact that the Myr Addat do not hide behind walls...every step into their lands is heavily contested and they are true masters of hit and run fighting.

    They breed the Dune-Hoppers - a strange creature indeed, with a rabbit-like head and ears but a body built to move across sand at great speed. This again has served them well - where other nations use camels, they move at blistering speeds and the Dune-Hoppers are adept at finding natural water, using their feeding tubes to taste the residue of water some distance below the shifting sands.

    The Adati people are an enigma. They alone possess the metal Malech in their blood. Some believe this to be an experiment of the Selediri and Lindiri from thousands of years past, but contact with these cultures has long since been lost. They have surgically managed this metal, and by pulling on a system of tubes and needles, they can leak it in a flood, the metal coating the body in seconds in a metal that can withstand massive punishment, yet remains flexible enough to move with great celerity.

    The past histories are recorded in the Hive City, and much of this deals with the constant war with Ashapur. In the entire world there has never been a more bitter struggle. The dead are said to be numberless, and many feel that this war is the sole reason that the Empire survives in the East. The Ahsapuri military is large, diverse and very highly trained. Most scholars postulate that the Ashapuri could have easily conquered the east in the years since Valerian's death; 1532 years in which to destroy an Empire at times in complete disarray.


    Religion Within the Eastern Ward
    There are many cults they follow. Will list the main ones. many regions have their own 'gods' or 'demigods', but they are now regarded to be different facets of the same god in many cases.

    TSIBI - 'The Soulnet', the 'Lady of Veils'. Tsibi is a Death Cult. They are not evil in ANY way. To be more accurate, they are a great comfort to many, and have power that has been lent to the Empire many times, when desperately needed. Her Temple Guard are very fine fighters. She abhors assassins.

    BLADE - 'The Trueblade', 'Seversword' a warrior demigod. He is worshipped mainly by warriors of course, but his favour is sought by many who do not fight, as they ask for their loved ones to be returned from war. He and Tsibi are inextricably linked.

    MOONBITER - 'The Painted man'. He is worshipped by many of the Western Empire. He is said to see through all veils and illusions, to be a god of vengeance, a judge of right and wrong. The Moonbiter is a mighty power, and has been known to actually manifest in times of need.

    'THE BLUE LADY' - 'Elune', 'Lady of Temperance'. She is the goddess associated with the Moon. Her tears are said to flow from the rain on a full moon, and she is healer, charitable, gentle, full of mercy and overborne with a well of sadness.

    CELIBH - 'The Lord of all Seasons', the 'Hunter in the Woods'. Celibh (se-leeb) is the main god of the Lindiri. When Ceryn Halfdark brought the Lindiri to fight for the lords of Caria, they adopted the cult, as they saw how the power of this god regenerated befouled fields, raised crops before their eyes, and saw shattered orchard produce fruit. Some despise this cult, as they see the Lindiri in a negative light.

    THE CHURCH OF THE ONE (the Only) - This is an arrogant cult. They believe that there is only one god; theirs. Others must be tolerated, but are foolish to worship. They have been corrupt in the past, but have also been very much a stabilising force under the right leaders. They are a double edged sword indeed. They are the only cult to have a standing army and Church Levies



    Several Provinces exist within the Eastern Empire:
    Telmior Province
    Telmior was ever pre-eminent amongst the First Kingdoms. They had a tightly ordered society, they were forward thinking, inventive and rich. They had the most fertile lands, were first to build walls, first to train a standing army, and they had one over-riding principle that this majestic society was built upon; slavery. For hundreds of years it had remained thus, and, in a few short weeks, they were to lose it all - for Ulaya, become Valerian, was to tear their world apart in a spume of blood and terror. The Empire of Telmior was going to fall.

    Telmior was a land of open plains and rolling hills. To the north was Ancillia - the broken realm, a mix of mountain, rough steppe and savaged by a volcano and sheets of black ice that rolled down through the Winter. The East lay Dalthrasia, slightly south of that land was the Sea of Grass, where the most prized slaves were found, and further south were others, too far to matter.

    Telmior revolved around the Brazen Queen, a woman always masked, the Empress of their world, lady of bronze, the whisperer of delights, she was said by most to be a true beauty, a wonder, by some a hideous crone who hid behind her mask. One thing was true - she never seemed to age or die, and that was reason enough for some to actually worship her.

    When the first walls were built, the Brazen Queen and her Noble Sons were tired of fighting the barbarians of the Sea of Grass. They were beset by foes on every side, and all lacked order. The walls swiftly grew, and her people were safe more often than before. Her vigil was constant. She built up trade with some of the settlements at the edge of her demesne, and sent diplomats out to sow accord. Her nation was rising, and she knew that they stood above all others. Whether the Elves had ever been here was unclear, but precious little of her rule bore any shaping by elves.

    Her rule expanded murderously. She sent her armies to conquer Ancillia, for fighting men could be trained from their stock, their harsh lives perfect for creating warriors. The few settlements in the south of the land fell in days. The northern half was harder to bring to heel, so she began a brutal campaign, burning the few fertile areas, salting the ground, brining them to starvation before accepting their surrender. These north men amongst the Ancillians were the best fodder for her new slave armies. In her cold chest her brazen heart sang.

    The Ancillians were made to construct their own walls, to maintain a garrison of Telmiorne soldiers, to provide a levy of slaves each year, to have to beg for scraps from her table, and their harsh lives got harder.

    She sent her forces two ways in the next hundred years; she raided the Sea of Grass constantly, for their quality as slaves was renowned, and she had found Ashapur, whose burgeoning slave culture caught her eye - she had an outlet for slaves, and Telmiorans were moving beyond their borders for trade, war and every other venture known to man. Daqlthrasia briefly fell to them, but they simply were asked to make a military tithe and a slave tithe each year; not as base as her 'accord' with Ancillia.

    Her men’s' forays were led deep into Duinir now, and she fought with the men of Saladir, although they made no good slave stock, preferring to die than submit - much like the Barbarians of the Grass Sea, save that she had discovered how to break these men, whereas those of Saladir, noble and high-moraled could not be brought to heel.

    The 'Empire' of Telmior grew, but more and more, the conquered nations became a vat of slaves to Telmior, even as the spread of this illness of conscience was festering within the very nations she ruled, as they came to depend on slaves from other nations within their own slave nation. The poison of moral decay spread, and she grew with it. She formed a new army, the Immortal Souls, slaves all, utterly hers to command and with them Telmior grew mightier still.

    We come to the birth of Ulaya. Here, the Brazen Queen had converted all of her clients and vassals to what she had wanted - a fat vat of money, slaves and goods that self governed and almost existed outside her demesne, yet were so inextricably tied to Telmior. The Queen had finally achieved perfection, and now the sole target or her desire lay in the Sea of Grass. Records differ hugely, but she began to send slaver armies into the Sea now, upwards of four thousand men at a time sometimes, and the slaves became regular, but not plentiful. They would never unite - they had done on occasion, and this had held her from conquest, but they were dissolute now, stuck into several bandings of tribe, clan, caste, and even differences in their general demeanour. SO fragmented were they that she at last became intent on conquest, but the chance never came to true fruition, for now the child, Ulaya, was a man, and the doom of Telmior was written in the stars.

    Ulaya was to become Valerian, and this name was taken from the books of Lore SHE kept, gathered from her lands, the names of nobles and high born men, which he stole from her.

    We come to the scene at the Calrion City, the city nearest the Sea of Grass. Here, at dawn, the guards pulled their governor, Demetir, from his bed. A large column of his slaving forces was to be seen approaching the city, with a massive crop of slaves from the clans. There seemed to be few guards, but many slaves. This was truly exciting, but, when they approached the gates, it was found that the slaves were his men.... nine men bound to one, all blinded save the tenth, who was leading them home.

    Such was the horror in his heart that he bore no consideration to what was happening elsewhere. As the blinded men began to clog the entry to the city, as the gates yawned ever-wider open, the forces of Ulaya attacked. Thousands of Spurhawk Cavalry dropped from the skies above, each carrying rocks that they dropped upon the city's defenders. From the tall grasses came two thousand Atlaians, 'Bloodhunters', who overran the gates in mere seconds, even as Demetri realised what his foe had done. Horsemen poured from the plains, more infantry. Thousands of barbarians from the Sea of Grass poured in to sack the second biggest city in the Telmioran Empire.

    The war moved swiftly. Two towns fell to Ulaya, both burned, but the worst thing, the travesty, was that he killed good free folk, and FREED the slaves. Ancillia had declared themselves independent very quickly after the first blows of the war fell. Others may have well assaulted her on every side as they fell silent, watchful, eager even. Some settlements sent soldiers, others freed their slaves, and others simply barred the gates to the walls that Telmior had had them build.

    Within a month it became apparent that the Brazen Queens must meet Ulaya, now daring to call himself Valerian, in the field. She gathered the Immortal Souls, gathered her lesser slave legions, her allies that had sent forces, the mercenaries she maintained and the Noble Sons led the regular army behind their gilded chariots. She fielded 40,000 men, the largest force to have graced the East, and awaited the Men of Ashapur, who had promised half that number in addition; their full host to protect their interests.

    Valerian, hearing of their warcamp, accepted the surrender of the latest small town and marched immediately towards her forces. Never one to miss opportunity, he gathered all to him and arrayed his host opposite hers. He had less than twenty thousand, many of whom were very young clansmen or even were forces of the Telmioran slave army. To maximise his surprise, he had not had time to gather his best and his garrison troops, but his Air Cavalry were all present. Messages had been sent, but he dared not hope any would be in time. Valerian knew his foe and he also knew how effective his strategies were when in combination, and this battle held the greatest risk he would ever take, yet had the greatest plan behind it. He gave himself a one in ten chance of winning.... less of surviving. Yet this was not yet a dream of Empire, but one of revenge.

    With Dawn's rise, the battle horns sounded. Valerian's forces were arrayed in supportive ranks, having piled dirt up during the night for their archers to gain height, and their spearmen took the front ranks, protecting the better but less armoured soldiers of the clans.

    In her centre, the Brazen Queen of Telmior had the Noble Sons, flanked by thousand upon thousand of the other forces. As the chariots swirled around her, she signalled the Immortal Souls, and they split to take the far point of each flank, enveloping the forces of Valerian, each of those forces set in an enormous wedge. From almost any viewpoint, the battle seemed won, but it wasn't.

    As you may already consider, Valerian had been working on the slaves that formed the greater part of her host, but it was not a simple end to this battle. The first ranks clashed, and men and horses died. For an hour they fought, before the first slave and allied forces pulled back, retreating at speed. The loss of these men left gaping holes in her lines, and she ordered the Immortal Souls forwards, into battle - the others she would deal with at leisure.

    The armies clash again, and Valerian's lines seemed to buckle against the Immortal Souls. He ordered the Air Cavalry in, to strike the rear of the foe's legions, and the battle swirled back and forth. AT about the eight hour, the Brazen Queen lost her right centre, as her forces from the more eastern allies dissipated. She ordered her reserves of Immortal Souls in, to slaughter them, and the battle became chaotic. This was what he had prepared for. Valerian's gambit had paid off.

    He could never turn the Immortal Souls. None could. They were broken men, her slaves forever, her lovers, her children. So he turned to her people themselves. As the Souls renewed their assault, the Noble Sons drove harder into their flanks, whilst other household units began to cut down those next to them, the ones who hadn't turned.

    Valerian mounted his Spurhawk. Taking a thousand of his men, he drove straight at the Queen's massive chariot, and few stood in his way. The Immortal Souls that barred his path were slaughtered where they stood, much as they were elsewhere in the utter confusion that reigned. Valerian cut down her commander, his men scattered her Brazen Guard, and finally the man that was Ulaya stood before her. She stood tall, and her Kinsai blade swept a path towards his head. He sidestepped the blow and grabbed her mask, twisted and pulled her to her knees. They struggled for a few more seconds, then he cut the bindings that held the mask on, and her face was revealed in the sunlight. The Brazen Queen was a strikingly beautiful girl; she was not human, but bore golden skin like that of the Selediri Elves, yet her features were mean; she looked as foul as the Selediri were fair, and she would never tell her tale to a soul, for, as he held the mask in numbed hands, she pulled her throat into the blade that Valerian had cut her mask straps with. In a dire sort of majesty, she toppled sideways to the bloodied grass, lifeless.

    Telmior was done. Valerian was to spend mere weeks in negotiations, freeing all slaves, but executing those who turned on their previous masters. He stood as a King, and his judgement was seen to be divine indeed, for he began to mend the society that was broken - a task that would take a hundred years to truly fulfil, but at least had it's beginnings here.


    Ancillia
    Ancillia is a strange province. The south is not considered to be overly fertile, but sustains a decent populace, where plains slowly become steppe and then end in a broken mountain range. Legends speak of this range moving, of it coming to life before the terrified eyes of travellers, only to settle again in a different position. Some with the knowledge pos that it could one of the most ancient of Avatars; one so old that it has grown to be the 'small god' of an entire mountain range rather than a stream, pool, or oasis. If true, then it is mighty indeed.

    To the north of the mountains, the land becomes disastrous. A leaking volcano dribbles fire and poisons into a series of valleys, pooling around a large plateau that seems to cling to life, if barely. The plateau extends to the sea, and here Ancillia is visited by other horrors. From the coast one can see the many small isles that act as home to many Avatars, wild and abandoned, filled with sharp reefs and often clogged with strange predators that prevent the simple of fishing from brining succour to the land. In winter, the black ice comes from the north...it grows tall and shears from the polar caps, then gathers water to it as it journeys south, meeting the coast of Ancillia, driving up the beaches, to plough into deep grooves in the Plateau. Where the Black Ice meets the volcanic mass, strange things happen, and men have gone mad when exposed to the gases emitted. Many talk about the Black Ice as if it was haunted, or alive with malice, but that seems ridiculous to anyone sane.

    Ancillia was enthralled to the Brazen Queen of Telmior from its earliest days. Certainly in the south, her hold was strong, but in the north, her legions simply build one garrison town and sat there in fear. The culture of Ancillia was built of toughness, or survival, both even. The oldest tradition is Ancillia is that of the fighting pit. In the north, when communities or clans argued there was no war. They could not afford to lose their men in battle. Instead, they fought between champions and the winner was considered to justify his cause. These men slowly became more professional and were called 'Pit Dogs' by the Telmiori.

    In the south, she conquered the land fully, and it was under her sway, growing and becoming more decrepit and stagnant morally under her heavy hand. The battles for 'justice' ceased, and simply became games to wager on, blood to enjoy the shedding of and the crowds would escape their servitude and roar like lions at the death of their own people, especially when a Northman was brought south in chains, or a warrior from the Sea of Grass was torn apart by wild beasts.

    When Valerian crushed the Brazen Queen, the Ancillians revolted. It was no massive military action, but very sedate. They simply stopped paying attention to the Brazen Queen and her officers and officials were slain in the pits, dragged there by the hungry-eyed crowds. It was after the fall of Telmior that their problems really began. Several leaders came forwards, and a council of sorts was formed. In the time that it took from the fall of Telmior, through the capture of Acaserena, they had begun to look outwards, the ambitions of fools gone mad with power.

    In the north, the Telmior garrison was overrun and slaughtered, but little else changed at first. Then a leader came forward who changed much in the north. He was an old 'pit-dog', named the 'Mournweaver', on account of the amount of people he had slain. He had lost only once, but left enough blood and body-parts behind in that fight to be spared death by the victor, who had then fallen from a cliff when rescuing a stranded herd-beast.

    Mournweaver marched south, determined to have a voice in the future of Ancillia. AT this time, the Council saw fit to raise monies by hiring their pit-dogs out to neighbouring nations as bodyguards and, then to the Crown Prince of Dalthrasia in his attempt to replace his Queen as the ruler of that Queendom.

    When Valerian foiled this attempt, he lost good men, and his ire turned north, to Ancillia. The province was poor, but he was fascinated by the legends of the northern side, and his fury would be sent against the South.

    The Mournweaver gathered his men and marched to the westernmost town of Laseya, whereupon he was barred access at first. This wild-looking man and his warriors were recognisably Ancillian, but their councillor was in the new capital, Lysillia and the ability to make choice upon need had been bred out of them by the Brazen Queen. When he demanded access and succour, they shot arrows at him and his men, wounding several, and he fell back in a black mood. Two days later, he and his men assaulted the walls and killed every man in the town that bore arms against them.

    Word reached the capital quickly, and a force was dispatched to deal with him. This army outnumbered his by five to one, the best and the worst the fledgling state could offer. They marched swiftly on the town and invested it, swiftly building engines of war with which to shatter gates and walls. Their commander, Ederis did not like the option of facing North men on the walls. He knew what they lived through and their toughness and savagery.

    Valerian fell on the fortified town of Kirine and swiftly took the walls, then was dumbfounded by the stone keep within the wooden shell. The keep had a wooden roof under which archers could shelter, and Valerian could not bring his Air Cavalry to bear, so he began to ready an assault on the walls, costly though it may be. The citizens of Kirine faced no brutality at Valerian's hands, but their leaders were hung in the market square, their crime of regicide read at length to the populace, who had known nothing of this.

    Almost simultaneously, the forces of Valerian attacked the keep and the Ancillian attacked the breaches they had created, but the forces of Mournweaver beat them back in 5 day-long assaults. The Keep of Kirine fell swiftly once the Atlaians and the Royal Guards of Dalthrasia stormed the walls, vengeance and indignation in their hearts, where the defenders has little of anything in theirs.

    Valerian immediately set off east, and word reached him of the attack on Mournweaver. He paused momentarily, and led half of his force to the east. He fell in wrath on Mournweaver's enemies, and a brief battle was fought - in truth a slaughter. Barely two hundreds of Mournweaver's mean remained, but he met Valerian as an equal and was high in his esteem. Together, they turned west, to the capital, and they arrived precisely as the host from the host did.

    Swiftly, the capital, Lysillia, was invested. Every man defended the walls, and some of the best soldiers of Telmior had fled there after the Queen's death; this fight would not be an easy one. For three days, Valerian pounded the city, the deep coughing of war engines sending fire and death into the city, but he could breach the walls, and the inevitable assault began, with both towers and ladders brought up against the defences.

    Six assaults were made, and the war engines kept their fire upon the city between each assault, depriving the defenders of sleep, whilst his men rotated their numbers for each attack. On the seventh attack, Valerian himself led the most part, with Woundweaver at his side. The Pit Dogs were unstoppable, and the Atlaians that guarded their Emperor were equally driven, but of less skill in the brutal art of massacre.

    Punching a hole in the defenders' lines, he secured the gates and his army poured through into the city. They fought running battles, and the city fell, piece by piece. All that surrendered were spared, and their wounded were tended to. The last stand was made in the market square, and their end was merciless and brutal. Woundweaver led this assault, and he cut down dozens of men by himself. At the end of the defence, nigh on all defenders were slain, and the nation of Ancillia capitulated. Ready for a second despotic ruler, they awaited their punishment and indenture into slavery, but they were mistaken.

    Valerian gave them two years without taxes, money and men to rebuild all damage and installed Woundweaver as their confused new governor. The fortunes of the province rose greatly, and the Imperial Guard Legions were trained in the harsh north. Those that survived were toughened, and the pit-dogs of Woundweaver were taken as the Emperor's new bodyguard; honour and respect were heaped heavily upon them, and they never failed this amazing man, fanatically loyal and devoted in their duties. Wound weaver eventually was given the title of Warden of the East and led his legions to the west, to fight at Saden Fields.


    Kai-Losson Province
    Kai Losson is not filled with a rich history. It is Province 'forced' into being by Valerian and circumstance. The Province has few settlements at all; it's filled with a rich, fertile soil, and holds great potential for development, if it could increase it's populace - as it is now, it is the breadbasket of the East, and the rolling hills contain rich deposits of both metals and precious gems. These remained utterly unexploited until the time of Valerian, and, even now, they are barely exhausted at all. Telmior, Dalthrasia, Acaserena all manage vast fields of crops and boast good resources, but incomparable to Kai Losson.

    Valaerian moved to the province under advice from his ancient ones. He uprooted the remnants of Telmiori and deported most, killing those foolish enough to resist. As a man, he disliked slaughter, but sometimes it was necessary to prevent bloodshed on a greater scale and interrupt peace and harmony.

    The majority of the tribes of Kai Losson agreed to parley, and he convinced them of his intent, the safety he could guarantee, and the degree of autonomy he nearly always granted; enough to salve their identity and pride. The tribes lived far apart from each, gathering rarely, but he suggested a different path.

    He moved in the people he would need for growth. They established settlements, which were colonial in nature, peacefully so. Trade was established, mines, which tithed a good part of their productivity to the tribes. He respected the tribes' wishes, and strengthened the province vastly over the next decade. It would reach it's true potential for many more decades, but became vital, peaceful, and it's Horse Archers were integral to the strategy of the Eastern armies.


    Province of Saladir
    The Imperial Province of Saladir in the East is a Principality as such, but they were placed under strict confines in this aspect by the emerging Emperor, after his swift, sky-borne, victory in the south. As with many conquered countries, the Skyhawks were vital in the conquest of Saladir. They simply could not defend against such a swift and decisive action.

    The quick and light cavalry of the Saldir army was able to outmanoeuvre anything that Valerian could muster; they knew how to fight in the sands and arid lands they occupied and used their cavalry highly effectively, and had superb horse archers. Their noble 'Silver Lancers' were an appalling foe, and the Queen's Horse were fine shots. Their tactics were to outmanoenvre foes and wear them down, before hitting them hard as they stood exhausted, overcome by the heat.

    Valerian brought in one army, making a defensive line around an oasis. Here, they were taunted and worn down. Dead littered the ground from horse archer fire. They sat for two weeks, leaving a force of 12,000 remaining from almost twice that. His was a decisive plan however. Behind the enemy lines, his air cavalry had already seized the capital city, Selis, seizing the Queen and the royal family. The massive hawk force had been silencing any messengers, and now struck the Royal Army from behind. Ten thousand Spurhawk riders hit them at dawn. As the air cavalry struck, Valerian led his cavalry, which had been hiding 1 mile hence, carefully wearing sand coloured tabards and cloaks. Three Thousand Legion Lancers hit the left flank, even as Valerian advanced on the foot troops of the foe. There was a terrible battle being fought - the Royal Army had no chance.

    The King died before Valerian could get to him, but the Royal Forces surrendered, and Valerian was always magnanimous in victory.

    The Queen and her sons were kept as the rulers of Saladir, but the sons would only ever be princes, not kings.

    To placate the populace, they were given three years of no taxation or tithes. Better water was drawn from deeper wells, a council was et up to help rule. This was made of equal numbers of peasantry, military and aristocracy. A chosen Imperial Governor was also appointed, to aid in rule. One hundred years after this, the Prince was given equal power to the governor, and the Council was given powers over all of the industry and infrastructure of the Province, whilst the Prince and Governor were placed in command of the society and military of the Province. Since then, Saladir has remained an utterly loyal, supportive and productive member of the Empire. Saladir is a noble and idealistic province, and have always served the Empire well.


    Acasarena Province History
    Some wars were fought hard during the first days of Empire. Valerian's invasion of Acasarena was not one of his finest hours, but it paled when compared to the murder of Telmior. AT least Telmior had a reason for the hate it inspired in the clans of the Sea of Grass. Acasarena was another story entirely.

    Having seized Telmior, Dalthrasia, with the peaceful amalgamation of Atakash and Duinir, the road towards Empire was paved for the youth Valeian was. He moved forces against two more foes: Saladir and Acaserena. Saladir was a straightforward move - he would use diplomacy where possible, appeal to either the nobility or the people and engineer peace or a revolt.

    Acaserena was a different tale entirely. Valerian knew nothing about them or their culture. They were simply beyond the borders of Telmior, and seemed a tempting target. Acasarena was wealthy as such, and it boasted an army that people called the 'Lionhearts'. Whilst not numerous, they proved to be a difficulty that almost tore the throne from his grasp. In the end, sheer brutality won out.

    Diplomatic inroads were attempted, but all attempts were simply returned, always accompanied by the note 'A Lion does not bend its knee to a savage'. This infuriated him, and he began plans to invade. His usual tactics included heavy use of quick moving troops, of the Air Cavalries that he prized above all else, and of forced marches and daring manoeuvres.

    Valerian delivered a three-pronged assault. To the north of the province, he sent seven thousand of his clansmen, only one thousand of which were mounted, all of which were ferocious fighters and heavily blooded. The target was the principal chokepoint of the self-styled 'kingdom', which wound through to the north of Telmior, into Ancillia. The town of Salia fell to the army in one blistering assault.

    In the centre, Valerian sent four thousands of Spurhawk Cavalry, to assault the Capital of Acasarena; the city of Isiltir. Here, the plan went wrong. Hearing of the fall of Telmior and the lands to the south and east of the Sea of Grass, they had prepared their defences against aerial assault. Catapults had been raised to send shards of steel into the air; they had raised spikes on the walls, netted off areas of the city and had hired eight hundred crossbowmen from Ancillia to protect the city.

    The Dawn assault was perfect in execution, but the Spur Hawks were repulsed easily, with heavy losses. They had seized some sections of the city, but with no support from ground forces, they were forced to flee. Luckily they could manage at least this with some grace.

    In the South, Valerian moved his main force, twenty thousands of the main Imperial Army. There were men of Duinir, Atakash Angelbloods, more Spurhawksmen, Clansmen and men of mixed cultures who were the forerunners of the Legions that would soon be fully formed in Valerians' mind.

    They attacked the Lionsbreath - the narrow valley that held the Fortress of that name, nestled in a high vale, silver walls glistening, pennants flying in a mist - this was where the heart of the nation stood. With one blow, he could finish the kingdom as a threat or target. The Spurhawks swept up over the walls, and were met with heavy missile fire, but tore through into open streets. His other forces struck in three places; the front gate, an eastern tower and the southern central wall. Siege engines coughed, missiles flew and men on both sides died.

    Within hours, it became clear that this would be a hard fight, so when the Spurhawks came from the north, they were met with delight. The news they brought was not heard with delight. One thousand were sent north again, with dire orders, which were to be executed to the letter.

    The Lionsbreath was attacked three times that day, and the sounds of battle were heard twice more that night, but there was little movement on either side.

    Dawn the next day brought Valerian's anger down on the capital City, Isiltir. For hour after hour, the hawks rained pots of oil, pitch, bales of straw and possibly many other flammable chemicals. For a half-day, they did this, as the army from the north filed down into the plains before the city. Then, as the sun set, they dropped fireballs onto the city streets. The city burned for three days, uncontrollably. The screams rent the air, and all who fled from the conflagration were slaughtered as they ran from the walls. At the end of the third day, thousands littered the plains, and the city was lifeless. He had his victory, but at what cost to his own morality?

    When the news was delivered to Lionsbreath, the fortress surrendered unconditionally. Fearing for their people, they surrendered, and their nobility burned itself into the raw eyes of the young Valerian. He was said to have never forgotten it, and he paid for it every day in his own mind. In his youth, his temper had ruled his heart, and he had won, but he could never take away the truth, and never did. He paid minstrels to sing of the Lion-hearted men of Acasarena, and raised the province above most others in his new Empire. He was said to have poured so much money into the province's rebirth that he almost bankrupted himself, but by then, was invading north and south...still impetuous, but a little more restrained in his emotions.

    Text
    The Imperial East, or the Ward of The Eastern Empire, is a land constantly threatened, constantly at war, never anything but a shifting mass that ebbs and flows, a roiling battleground in the wars between the 'non-subjugate powers' and the Empire - they face the might of Ashapur and the Federation as constant and consistent enemies, raided by the wolfborn reivers, and the coats scourged by the slaver-pirates of Hanghaven. The Bandit Kings are a thorn in the Empire's side, mostly due to the rich mineral deposits that their destitute 'lords' have raised their parodies of cities upon.

    In the East, east of Duinir, lay the Naugiri, a predacious and hellish foe that moved their continent to crash into the Empire in order to scourge the lands clean of 'parasites'; meaning all humans. Duinir and it's Wardens bear the brunt of this, aided by many legions of troops, drawn up from the army that was to regain the Sun King, or 'Rebels'' lands, preventing a terrible war in the south, replacing it with a more terrifying war in the north east. Deadly, vicious, a war is fought under the eaves of Duinir, but occasionally spills out into the Sea of Grass and into Dalthrasia; one of the militarily strongest of the Eastern Provinces, with it's elite Pike units, often held back as reserves, to gauge which conflict needs them the most.

    The Rebellion freed the Rebel-lands (The Lands of the Sun King) from Imperial rule, and the coming of the Naugiri ended all thoughts of a re-conquering of them. In the south, the Federation gather, but are rebuked by the men of Atakash and Saladir. The men of Losson Province aid the Myr Addat in their war, and the fleet of the east tackles the Wolf Born and Hanghaven as much they can. The Bloodless Ones, or Cimrai, hold the tall mountains south of the Naugiri, and are constantly engaging in skirmishes with them - they have become less of a plague since the Orcs came.

    In short, the Eastern Empire is a liquid nation, shrinking and expanding, yet ever hanging on with bitter nails, their legions and massive wealth repulsing attack after attack. Make no mistake, the Eastern Empire is where it's wealth comes from, but the West is ever a military power, and the breadbasket of the whole Empire. It is not unusual for Western Provinces to commit troops to the East, but it usually come with an almost mercenary cost. Teetering valiantly, the East stands at a crossroads, one that will see it's pre-eminence or it's doom.

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    Eastern March Provinces


    History of Telmior Province


    Telmior was ever pre-eminent amongst the First Kingdoms. They had a tightly ordered society, they were forward thinking, inventive and rich. They had the most fertile lands, were first to build walls, first to train a standing army, and they had one over-riding principle that this majestic society was built upon; slavery. For hundreds of years it had remained thus, and, in a few short weeks, they were to lose it all - for Ulaya, become Valerian, was to tear their world apart in a spume of blood and terror. The Empire of Telmior was going to fall.

    Telmior was a land of open plains and rolling hills. To the north was Ancillia - the broken realm, a mix of mountain, rough steppe and savaged by a volcano and sheets of black ice that rolled down through the Winter. The East lay Dalthrasia, slightly south of that land was the Sea of Grass, where the most prized slaves were found, and further south were others, too far to matter.

    Telmior revolved around the Brazen Queen, a woman always masked, the Empress of their world, lady of bronze, the whisperer of delights, she was said by most to be a true beauty, a wonder, by some a hideous crone who hid behind her mask. One thing was true - she never seemed to age or die, and that was reason enough for some to actually worship her.

    When the first walls were built, the Brazen Queen and her Noble Sons were tired of fighting the barbarians of the Sea of Grass. They were beset by foes on every side, and all lacked order. The walls swiftly grew, and her people were safe more often than before. Her vigil was constant. She built up trade with some of the settlements at the edge of her demesne, and sent diplomats out to sow accord. Her nation was rising, and she knew that they stood above all others. Whether the Elves had ever been here was unclear, but precious little of her rule bore any shaping by elves.

    Her rule expanded murderously. She sent her armies to conquer Ancillia, for fighting men could be trained from their stock, their harsh lives perfect for creating warriors. The few settlements in the south of the land fell in days. The northern half was harder to bring to heel, so she began a brutal campaign, burning the few fertile areas, salting the ground, brining them to starvation before accepting their surrender. These north men amongst the Ancillians were the best fodder for her new slave armies. In her cold chest her brazen heart sang.

    The Ancillians were made to construct their own walls, to maintain a garrison of Telmiorne soldiers, to provide a levy of slaves each year, to have to beg for scraps from her table, and their harsh lives got harder.

    She sent her forces two ways in the next hundred years; she raided the Sea of Grass constantly, for their quality as slaves was renowned, and she had found Ashapur, whose burgeoning slave culture caught her eye - she had an outlet for slaves, and Telmiorans were moving beyond their borders for trade, war and every other venture known to man. Daqlthrasia briefly fell to them, but they simply were asked to make a military tithe and a slave tithe each year; not as base as her 'accord' with Ancillia.

    Her men’s' forays were led deep into Duinir now, and she fought with the men of Saladir, although they made no good slave stock, preferring to die than submit - much like the Barbarians of the Grass Sea, save that she had discovered how to break these men, whereas those of Saladir, noble and high-moraled could not be brought to heel.

    The 'Empire' of Telmior grew, but more and more, the conquered nations became a vat of slaves to Telmior, even as the spread of this illness of conscience was festering within the very nations she ruled, as they came to depend on slaves from other nations within their own slave nation. The poison of moral decay spread, and she grew with it. She formed a new army, the Immortal Souls, slaves all, utterly hers to command and with them Telmior grew mightier still.

    We come to the birth of Ulaya. Here, the Brazen Queen had converted all of her clients and vassals to what she had wanted - a fat vat of money, slaves and goods that self governed and almost existed outside her demesne, yet were so inextricably tied to Telmior. The Queen had finally achieved perfection, and now the sole target or her desire lay in the Sea of Grass. Records differ hugely, but she began to send slaver armies into the Sea now, upwards of four thousand men at a time sometimes, and the slaves became regular, but not plentiful. They would never unite - they had done on occasion, and this had held her from conquest, but they were dissolute now, stuck into several bandings of tribe, clan, caste, and even differences in their general demeanour. SO fragmented were they that she at last became intent on conquest, but the chance never came to true fruition, for now the child, Ulaya, was a man, and the doom of Telmior was written in the stars.

    Ulaya was to become Valerian, and this name was taken from the books of Lore SHE kept, gathered from her lands, the names of nobles and high born men, which he stole from her.

    We come to the scene at the Calrion City, the city nearest the Sea of Grass. Here, at dawn, the guards pulled their governor, Demetir, from his bed. A large column of his slaving forces was to be seen approaching the city, with a massive crop of slaves from the clans. There seemed to be few guards, but many slaves. This was truly exciting, but, when they approached the gates, it was found that the slaves were his men.... nine men bound to one, all blinded save the tenth, who was leading them home.

    Such was the horror in his heart that he bore no consideration to what was happening elsewhere. As the blinded men began to clog the entry to the city, as the gates yawned ever-wider open, the forces of Ulaya attacked. Thousands of Spurhawk Cavalry dropped from the skies above, each carrying rocks that they dropped upon the city's defenders. From the tall grasses came two thousand Atlaians, 'Bloodhunters', who overran the gates in mere seconds, even as Demetri realised what his foe had done. Horsemen poured from the plains, more infantry. Thousands of barbarians from the Sea of Grass poured in to sack the second biggest city in the Telmioran Empire.

    The war moved swiftly. Two towns fell to Ulaya, both burned, but the worst thing, the travesty, was that he killed good free folk, and FREED the slaves. Ancillia had declared themselves independent very quickly after the first blows of the war fell. Others may have well assaulted her on every side as they fell silent, watchful, eager even. Some settlements sent soldiers, others freed their slaves, and others simply barred the gates to the walls that Telmior had had them build.

    Within a month it became apparent that the Brazen Queens must meet Ulaya, now daring to call himself Valerian, in the field. She gathered the Immortal Souls, gathered her lesser slave legions, her allies that had sent forces, the mercenaries she maintained and the Noble Sons led the regular army behind their gilded chariots. She fielded 40,000 men, the largest force to have graced the East, and awaited the Men of Ashapur, who had promised half that number in addition; their full host to protect their interests.

    Valerian, hearing of their warcamp, accepted the surrender of the latest small town and marched immediately towards her forces. Never one to miss opportunity, he gathered all to him and arrayed his host opposite hers. He had less than twenty thousand, many of whom were very young clansmen or even were forces of the Telmioran slave army. To maximise his surprise, he had not had time to gather his best and his garrison troops, but his Air Cavalry were all present. Messages had been sent, but he dared not hope any would be in time. Valerian knew his foe and he also knew how effective his strategies were when in combination, and this battle held the greatest risk he would ever take, yet had the greatest plan behind it. He gave himself a one in ten chance of winning.... less of surviving. Yet this was not yet a dream of Empire, but one of revenge.

    With Dawn's rise, the battle horns sounded. Valerian's forces were arrayed in supportive ranks, having piled dirt up during the night for their archers to gain height, and their spearmen took the front ranks, protecting the better but less armoured soldiers of the clans.

    In her centre, the Brazen Queen of Telmior had the Noble Sons, flanked by thousand upon thousand of the other forces. As the chariots swirled around her, she signalled the Immortal Souls, and they split to take the far point of each flank, enveloping the forces of Valerian, each of those forces set in an enormous wedge. From almost any viewpoint, the battle seemed won, but it wasn't.

    As you may already consider, Valerian had been working on the slaves that formed the greater part of her host, but it was not a simple end to this battle. The first ranks clashed, and men and horses died. For an hour they fought, before the first slave and allied forces pulled back, retreating at speed. The loss of these men left gaping holes in her lines, and she ordered the Immortal Souls forwards, into battle - the others she would deal with at leisure.

    The armies clash again, and Valerian's lines seemed to buckle against the Immortal Souls. He ordered the Air Cavalry in, to strike the rear of the foe's legions, and the battle swirled back and forth. AT about the eight hour, the Brazen Queen lost her right centre, as her forces from the more eastern allies dissipated. She ordered her reserves of Immortal Souls in, to slaughter them, and the battle became chaotic. This was what he had prepared for. Valerian's gambit had paid off.

    He could never turn the Immortal Souls. None could. They were broken men, her slaves forever, her lovers, her children. So he turned to her people themselves. As the Souls renewed their assault, the Noble Sons drove harder into their flanks, whilst other household units began to cut down those next to them, the ones who hadn't turned.

    Valerian mounted his Spurhawk. Taking a thousand of his men, he drove straight at the Queen's massive chariot, and few stood in his way. The Immortal Souls that barred his path were slaughtered where they stood, much as they were elsewhere in the utter confusion that reigned. Valerian cut down her commander, his men scattered her Brazen Guard, and finally the man that was Ulaya stood before her. She stood tall, and her Kinsai blade swept a path towards his head. He sidestepped the blow and grabbed her mask, twisted and pulled her to her knees. They struggled for a few more seconds, then he cut the bindings that held the mask on, and her face was revealed in the sunlight. The Brazen Queen was a strikingly beautiful girl; she was not human, but bore golden skin like that of the Selediri Elves, yet her features were mean; she looked as foul as the Selediri were fair, and she would never tell her tale to a soul, for, as he held the mask in numbed hands, she pulled her throat into the blade that Valerian had cut her mask straps with. In a dire sort of majesty, she toppled sideways to the bloodied grass, lifeless.

    Telmior was done. Valerian was to spend mere weeks in negotiations, freeing all slaves, but executing those who turned on their previous masters. He stood as a King, and his judgement was seen to be divine indeed, for he began to mend the society that was broken - a task that would take a hundred years to truly fulfil, but at least had it's beginnings here.


    The Province of Ancillia


    Ancillia is a strange province. The south is not considered to be overly fertile, but sustains a decent populace, where plains slowly become steppe and then end in a broken mountain range. Legends speak of this range moving, of it coming to life before the terrified eyes of travellers, only to settle again in a different position. Some with the knowledge pos that it could one of the most ancient of Avatars; one so old that it has grown to be the 'small god' of an entire mountain range rather than a stream, pool, or oasis. If true, then it is mighty indeed.

    To the north of the mountains, the land becomes disastrous. A leaking volcano dribbles fire and poisons into a series of valleys, pooling around a large plateau that seems to cling to life, if barely. The plateau extends to the sea, and here Ancillia is visited by other horrors. From the coast one can see the many small isles that act as home to many Avatars, wild and abandoned, filled with sharp reefs and often clogged with strange predators that prevent the simple of fishing from brining succour to the land. In winter, the black ice comes from the north...it grows tall and shears from the polar caps, then gathers water to it as it journeys south, meeting the coast of Ancillia, driving up the beaches, to plough into deep grooves in the Plateau. Where the Black Ice meets the volcanic mass, strange things happen, and men have gone mad when exposed to the gases emitted. Many talk about the Black Ice as if it was haunted, or alive with malice, but that seems ridiculous to anyone sane.

    Ancillia was enthralled to the Brazen Queen of Telmior from its earliest days. Certainly in the south, her hold was strong, but in the north, her legions simply build one garrison town and sat there in fear. The culture of Ancillia was built of toughness, or survival, both even. The oldest tradition is Ancillia is that of the fighting pit. In the north, when communities or clans argued there was no war. They could not afford to lose their men in battle. Instead, they fought between champions and the winner was considered to justify his cause. These men slowly became more professional and were called 'Pit Dogs' by the Telmiori.

    In the south, she conquered the land fully, and it was under her sway, growing and becoming more decrepit and stagnant morally under her heavy hand. The battles for 'justice' ceased, and simply became games to wager on, blood to enjoy the shedding of and the crowds would escape their servitude and roar like lions at the death of their own people, especially when a Northman was brought south in chains, or a warrior from the Sea of Grass was torn apart by wild beasts.

    When Valerian crushed the Brazen Queen, the Ancillians revolted. It was no massive military action, but very sedate. They simply stopped paying attention to the Brazen Queen and her officers and officials were slain in the pits, dragged there by the hungry-eyed crowds. It was after the fall of Telmior that their problems really began. Several leaders came forwards, and a council of sorts was formed. In the time that it took from the fall of Telmior, through the capture of Acaserena, they had begun to look outwards, the ambitions of fools gone mad with power.

    In the north, the Telmior garrison was overrun and slaughtered, but little else changed at first. Then a leader came forward who changed much in the north. He was an old 'pit-dog', named the 'Mournweaver', on account of the amount of people he had slain. He had lost only once, but left enough blood and body-parts behind in that fight to be spared death by the victor, who had then fallen from a cliff when rescuing a stranded herd-beast.

    Mournweaver marched south, determined to have a voice in the future of Ancillia. AT this time, the Council saw fit to raise monies by hiring their pit-dogs out to neighbouring nations as bodyguards and, then to the Crown Prince of Dalthrasia in his attempt to replace his Queen as the ruler of that Queendom.

    When Valerian foiled this attempt, he lost good men, and his ire turned north, to Ancillia. The province was poor, but he was fascinated by the legends of the northern side, and his fury would be sent against the South.

    The Mournweaver gathered his men and marched to the westernmost town of Laseya, whereupon he was barred access at first. This wild-looking man and his warriors were recognisably Ancillian, but their councillor was in the new capital, Lysillia and the ability to make choice upon need had been bred out of them by the Brazen Queen. When he demanded access and succour, they shot arrows at him and his men, wounding several, and he fell back in a black mood. Two days later, he and his men assaulted the walls and killed every man in the town that bore arms against them.

    Word reached the capital quickly, and a force was dispatched to deal with him. This army outnumbered his by five to one, the best and the worst the fledgling state could offer. They marched swiftly on the town and invested it, swiftly building engines of war with which to shatter gates and walls. Their commander, Ederis did not like the option of facing North men on the walls. He knew what they lived through and their toughness and savagery.

    Valerian fell on the fortified town of Kirine and swiftly took the walls, then was dumbfounded by the stone keep within the wooden shell. The keep had a wooden roof under which archers could shelter, and Valerian could not bring his Air Cavalry to bear, so he began to ready an assault on the walls, costly though it may be. The citizens of Kirine faced no brutality at Valerian's hands, but their leaders were hung in the market square, their crime of regicide read at length to the populace, who had known nothing of this.

    Almost simultaneously, the forces of Valerian attacked the keep and the Ancillian attacked the breaches they had created, but the forces of Mournweaver beat them back in 5 day-long assaults. The Keep of Kirine fell swiftly once the Atlaians and the Royal Guards of Dalthrasia stormed the walls, vengeance and indignation in their hearts, where the defenders has little of anything in theirs.

    Valerian immediately set off east, and word reached him of the attack on Mournweaver. He paused momentarily, and led half of his force to the east. He fell in wrath on Mournweaver's enemies, and a brief battle was fought - in truth a slaughter. Barely two hundreds of Mournweaver's mean remained, but he met Valerian as an equal and was high in his esteem. Together, they turned west, to the capital, and they arrived precisely as the host from the host did.

    Swiftly, the capital, Lysillia, was invested. Every man defended the walls, and some of the best soldiers of Telmior had fled there after the Queen's death; this fight would not be an easy one. For three days, Valerian pounded the city, the deep coughing of war engines sending fire and death into the city, but he could breach the walls, and the inevitable assault began, with both towers and ladders brought up against the defences.

    Six assaults were made, and the war engines kept their fire upon the city between each assault, depriving the defenders of sleep, whilst his men rotated their numbers for each attack. On the seventh attack, Valerian himself led the most part, with Woundweaver at his side. The Pit Dogs were unstoppable, and the Atlaians that guarded their Emperor were equally driven, but of less skill in the brutal art of massacre.

    Punching a hole in the defenders' lines, he secured the gates and his army poured through into the city. They fought running battles, and the city fell, piece by piece. All that surrendered were spared, and their wounded were tended to. The last stand was made in the market square, and their end was merciless and brutal. Woundweaver led this assault, and he cut down dozens of men by himself. At the end of the defence, nigh on all defenders were slain, and the nation of Ancillia capitulated. Ready for a second despotic ruler, they awaited their punishment and indenture into slavery, but they were mistaken.

    Valerian gave them two years without taxes, money and men to rebuild all damage and installed Woundweaver as their confused new governor. The fortunes of the province rose greatly, and the Imperial Guard Legions were trained in the harsh north. Those that survived were toughened, and the pit-dogs of Woundweaver were taken as the Emperor's new bodyguard; honour and respect were heaped heavily upon them, and they never failed this amazing man, fanatically loyal and devoted in their duties. Wound weaver eventually was given the title of Warden of the East and led his legions to the west, to fight at Saden Fields.


    Kai-Losson Province

    Kai Losson is not filled with a rich history. It is Province 'forced' into being by Valerian and circumstance. The Province has few settlements at all; it's filled with a rich, fertile soil, and holds great potential for development, if it could increase it's populace - as it is now, it is the breadbasket of the East, and the rolling hills contain rich deposits of both metals and precious gems. These remained utterly unexploited until the time of Valerian, and, even now, they are barely exhausted at all. Telmior, Dalthrasia, Acaserena all manage vast fields of crops and boast good resources, but incomparable to Kai Losson.

    Valaerian moved to the province under advice from his ancient ones. He uprooted the remnants of Telmiori and deported most, killing those foolish enough to resist. As a man, he disliked slaughter, but sometimes it was necessary to prevent bloodshed on a greater scale and interrupt peace and harmony.

    The majority of the tribes of Kai Losson agreed to parley, and he convinced them of his intent, the safety he could guarantee, and the degree of autonomy he nearly always granted; enough to salve their identity and pride. The tribes lived far apart from each, gathering rarely, but he suggested a different path.

    He moved in the people he would need for growth. They established settlements, which were colonial in nature, peacefully so. Trade was established, mines, which tithed a good part of their productivity to the tribes. He respected the tribes' wishes, and strengthened the province vastly over the next decade. It would reach it's true potential for many more decades, but became vital, peaceful, and it's Horse Archers were integral to the strategy of the Eastern armies.









    Province of Saladir

    The Imperial Province of Saladir in the East is a Principality as such, but they were placed under strict confines in this aspect by the emerging Emperor, after his swift, sky-borne, victory in the south. As with many conquered countries, the Skyhawks were vital in the conquest of Saladir. They simply could not defend against such a swift and decisive action.

    The quick and light cavalry of the Saldir army was able to outmanoeuvre anything that Valerian could muster; they knew how to fight in the sands and arid lands they occupied and used their cavalry highly effectively, and had superb horse archers. Their noble 'Silver Lancers' were an appalling foe, and the Queen's Horse were fine shots. Their tactics were to outmanoenvre foes and wear them down, before hitting them hard as they stood exhausted, overcome by the heat.

    Valerian brought in one army, making a defensive line around an oasis. Here, they were taunted and worn down. Dead littered the ground from horse archer fire. They sat for two weeks, leaving a force of 12,000 remaining from almost twice that. His was a decisive plan however. Behind the enemy lines, his air cavalry had already seized the capital city, Selis, seizing the Queen and the royal family. The massive hawk force had been silencing any messengers, and now struck the Royal Army from behind. Ten thousand Spurhawk riders hit them at dawn. As the air cavalry struck, Valerian led his cavalry, which had been hiding 1 mile hence, carefully wearing sand coloured tabards and cloaks. Three Thousand Legion Lancers hit the left flank, even as Valerian advanced on the foot troops of the foe. There was a terrible battle being fought - the Royal Army had no chance.

    The King died before Valerian could get to him, but the Royal Forces surrendered, and Valerian was always magnanimous in victory.

    The Queen and her sons were kept as the rulers of Saladir, but the sons would only ever be princes, not kings.

    To placate the populace, they were given three years of no taxation or tithes. Better water was drawn from deeper wells, a council was et up to help rule. This was made of equal numbers of peasantry, military and aristocracy. A chosen Imperial Governor was also appointed, to aid in rule. One hundred years after this, the Prince was given equal power to the governor, and the Council was given powers over all of the industry and infrastructure of the Province, whilst the Prince and Governor were placed in command of the society and military of the Province. Since then, Saladir has remained an utterly loyal, supportive and productive member of the Empire. Saladir is a noble and idealistic province, and have always served the Empire well.




    Acasarena Province History

    Some wars were fought hard during the first days of Empire. Valerian's invasion of Acasarena was not one of his finest hours, but it paled when compared to the murder of Telmior. AT least Telmior had a reason for the hate it inspired in the clans of the Sea of Grass. Acasarena was another story entirely.

    Having seized Telmior, Dalthrasia, with the peaceful amalgamation of Atakash and Duinir, the road towards Empire was paved for the youth Valeian was. He moved forces against two more foes: Saladir and Acaserena. Saladir was a straightforward move - he would use diplomacy where possible, appeal to either the nobility or the people and engineer peace or a revolt.

    Acaserena was a different tale entirely. Valerian knew nothing about them or their culture. They were simply beyond the borders of Telmior, and seemed a tempting target. Acasarena was wealthy as such, and it boasted an army that people called the 'Lionhearts'. Whilst not numerous, they proved to be a difficulty that almost tore the throne from his grasp. In the end, sheer brutality won out.

    Diplomatic inroads were attempted, but all attempts were simply returned, always accompanied by the note 'A Lion does not bend its knee to a savage'. This infuriated him, and he began plans to invade. His usual tactics included heavy use of quick moving troops, of the Air Cavalries that he prized above all else, and of forced marches and daring manoeuvres.

    Valerian delivered a three-pronged assault. To the north of the province, he sent seven thousand of his clansmen, only one thousand of which were mounted, all of which were ferocious fighters and heavily blooded. The target was the principal chokepoint of the self-styled 'kingdom', which wound through to the north of Telmior, into Ancillia. The town of Salia fell to the army in one blistering assault.

    In the centre, Valerian sent four thousands of Spurhawk Cavalry, to assault the Capital of Acasarena; the city of Isiltir. Here, the plan went wrong. Hearing of the fall of Telmior and the lands to the south and east of the Sea of Grass, they had prepared their defences against aerial assault. Catapults had been raised to send shards of steel into the air; they had raised spikes on the walls, netted off areas of the city and had hired eight hundred crossbowmen from Ancillia to protect the city.

    The Dawn assault was perfect in execution, but the Spur Hawks were repulsed easily, with heavy losses. They had seized some sections of the city, but with no support from ground forces, they were forced to flee. Luckily they could manage at least this with some grace.

    In the South, Valerian moved his main force, twenty thousands of the main Imperial Army. There were men of Duinir, Atakash Angelbloods, more Spurhawksmen, Clansmen and men of mixed cultures who were the forerunners of the Legions that would soon be fully formed in Valerians' mind.

    They attacked the Lionsbreath - the narrow valley that held the Fortress of that name, nestled in a high vale, silver walls glistening, pennants flying in a mist - this was where the heart of the nation stood. With one blow, he could finish the kingdom as a threat or target. The Spurhawks swept up over the walls, and were met with heavy missile fire, but tore through into open streets. His other forces struck in three places; the front gate, an eastern tower and the southern central wall. Siege engines coughed, missiles flew and men on both sides died.

    Within hours, it became clear that this would be a hard fight, so when the Spurhawks came from the north, they were met with delight. The news they brought was not heard with delight. One thousand were sent north again, with dire orders, which were to be executed to the letter.

    The Lionsbreath was attacked three times that day, and the sounds of battle were heard twice more that night, but there was little movement on either side.

    Dawn the next day brought Valerian's anger down on the capital City, Isiltir. For hour after hour, the hawks rained pots of oil, pitch, bales of straw and possibly many other flammable chemicals. For a half-day, they did this, as the army from the north filed down into the plains before the city. Then, as the sun set, they dropped fireballs onto the city streets. The city burned for three days, uncontrollably. The screams rent the air, and all who fled from the conflagration were slaughtered as they ran from the walls. At the end of the third day, thousands littered the plains, and the city was lifeless. He had his victory, but at what cost to his own morality?

    When the news was delivered to Lionsbreath, the fortress surrendered unconditionally. Fearing for their people, they surrendered, and their nobility burned itself into the raw eyes of the young Valerian. He was said to have never forgotten it, and he paid for it every day in his own mind. In his youth, his temper had ruled his heart, and he had won, but he could never take away the truth, and never did. He paid minstrels to sing of the Lion-hearted men of Acasarena, and raised the province above most others in his new Empire. He was said to have poured so much money into the province's rebirth that he almost bankrupted himself, but by then, was invading north and south...still impetuous, but a little more restrained in his emotions.

    The Karesi Lionhearts
    After the Conquest of Acasarena, Valerian made every man or woman who bent their knee to him listen to the tale of Acasarena. On one hand, they were reminded of the brutality he evidenced, but, more importantly, it evidenced his magnanity in victory, and the true nobility of the warrior classes of the province.

    He took the soldiers from the Lionbreath, formed them into one army, and then named them the 'Lionhearts'. They were trained, equipped and given the complete freedom over their fortress in that Vale. He raised them up for all to see, and they embraced him for it, for he made them heroes, and cast himself as the villain to do so


    The Province of Akatash
    The People of Atakash are bound by a warrior-code. They are honourable, motivated and highly organised. They are also most certainly not fools.

    There is a religious sentiment in their society. It is held that they were visited many times by angels. It was these angels that gave the nobility their rule, and their blood is said to run in the veins of the Atakash Noble Families. There is a rite that is held as truth, laid down in history at the dawn of man. It tells of dealings with angelic figures, who taught them many things, but, more importantly, shared their blood with the greatest amongst the Atakash, as it imparted wisdom through shared memories. One hundred and twelve men formed the first tribe of the Atakash, and they are even now the 112 noble families of the Province; the Autocracy of Atakash.

    There are no singular titular heads of Atakash. The 112 families rule together, but all disputes are taken to a 'lowborn man', making there a hundred and thirteen members of the Autocratic Council. The last man, the lowborn, is given greater powers, and is the arbiter in any decision. He can veto edicts, given the support of a third of the Houses, but has a limit before he must resign. It's lands are divided into 113 'provinces', each under the lordship of a noble family, save the last, the City of Arakamesh, which is home to the ruling council, and the 'lowborn man'.

    The land was never numerously populated, but the sheer ferocity of its warriors allowed them to remain autonomous until the coming of Ulaya, the man who would become Valerian, first Emperor of the Dragonthrone.

    Their culture was never stagnant, but, like the Atlaia under Valerian, they had no dreams of conquest. Trade was left to the lower born, and each person occupied a vital role in the community, from the weaver to the Akurai, or commander of the Guard - a general for want of a better word. There was no colonial dream; warriors fought for dreams and ritual passage, only man versus man; battles were fought between Houses, but these were usually to bloody troops, to keep their abilities sharp and to rectify slights of honour. Combat could be arranged by champions, or a house could go to war with another. Should a war occur, no territory was conquered, and it was very rare that more than a few hundred fought. There were ancient alliances, but somehow, they invented an exceedingly complex system, which prevented the slaughter of thousand for political power. The ruling classes trained their sons every day, and for little but combat expertise.

    Early on they had fought various incursions, many of which were from Ashapur or even slavers from Telmior. The south was unconquered wilderness, inhabited by Fey folk and abnormal beasts. This they left to it's own devices.

    The nobility always formed the core of any army, gathered by family in units known as the Atakash Angelbloods. They were known by this name due to their exalted bloodline and for the wings they wore to battle. These wings were an ancient gift that allowed the wearer to offset some of the burden of weight from heavy armour, aiding the wearer in burden or over harsh terrain. They are agile, swift and deadly.

    Each family is made up from a Ashkarakai (a 'chieftain'), his immediate family, then a feudal grouping of lesser families that provided 1 noble Angelblood and 2 in every 5 people in their jurisdiction would be called as levies for war. The system certainly works. Many small nations rose and fell in the forming of the greater ones that consumed them. Atakash was never conquered or made subservient, despite many attempts to conquer them.

    When Valerian took his armies south to Atakash, he had taken Salidir and was fascinated by this new culture. He observed their society and gained great respect for them as a people. In all of this time, he never visited in state or armed for war, but is said to have made many journeys into their lands and settlements as a plain trader. His main observation lay in the gauging of the price of Conquest. He decided that it would be a long, bloody war that would have to break the back of a society he had come to like. Each and every Angelblood would have to die or be turned to his side, and he knew they would never betray their own, so it was murder to achieve domination of them. Each settlement was strong, down to single noble manses, and would be resistant, almost naively, to air attack.

    He entered the country with ten men. The favoured 'divide and conquer' approach was of no use, as was any direct assault, so he simply walked into the Grand Hall, where 86 of the Ruling Lords were debating, and announced himself. He talked quietly about the visions he had, of his view as to how the world should be and how he had won his battles. He gifted each House with a Spurhawk, and gave every word a song of humility. He was perfect. He promised protection from the enemies that Atakash already had, that the young Angelbloods would have the change to test and improve their skills in war. He would only ask that he would maintain a sizeable force of Angelbloods permanently, and that the province would need to provide the levies in the way that the Atakash already had agreed culturally. There would be no foreign interference in their society and it's culture and no taxes. He would, however, require a gift each year to support him, but no amount was ever set, and he would pay the Houses for their soldiers in the field. As it stands, Atakash gives this 'gift' once per year, and it contains what they can afford, no more, no less.

    He brought in his air cavalries, showed their manoeuvres and the Lords were greatly pleased. He then gave them 200 of his Spurhawk Riders as a force under their own control, and would train new legions to use the hawks for themselves, as well as train the lower castes into Legions should the Province be attacked. It was genuine, and the lords voted on becoming an almost totally autonomous province of the Empire. It was unanimous. Atakash would become vassals of this great man, Ulaya, now become Valerian.

    The first thing to change for the better was the great agrarians of the Empire...they sent many farmers and even Old Ones to Atakash, and the arid soil was enhanced, allowing better crops, water was diverted, better wells made - many valuable 'modernising' methods were introduced, but none would impact on their beliefs, nor change the way they were. Valerian was in love with their world, and he kept the Angelbloods by his side through every campaign, relied on them for their utter loyalty, and their ability to be able to show him a foolish decision he would otherwise have made, when others may stay silent for fear of their heads.
    Angelbloods
    Basically, the structure of Atakash is developed around martial prowess. It's not necessarily only the highborn that get to fight, but a warrior that is gifted can be elevated to the nobility for this skill. Since they became a part of the Empire, the lowborn soldiers they used to maintain are supplanted by the Legions (although the lowborn are often the soldiers that form the legions), so they field only the Angelbloods as a standing force.

    The Atakash Angelbloods are called Angelbloods because they, like most conquered nations or once great powers, still cling to their heritage, and they freely give their blood to the survival of their nation and it's ways. There is mention of the warriors being taught by angelic creatures, which is completely unsubstantiated, but lends a blood nobility to the high born amongst them....a right to rule and a benevolence in doing so.

    As warriors, they remain some of the best and most steadfast of all Imperial Forces, and abhor the very notion of slavery, so often fight in the vanguard of any action against Ashapur

    Imperial Province of Duinir
    Before The Empire came, Duinir was a deeply wooded area, where small villages lived in a loose community. Wardens moved through and protected these villages, and decided fair justice on those within. Trade was arbitrated by them, as were most matters, and the Wardens were idealistic and had integrity for the main. The Great Ward was a larger dwelling, dug out of an ancient Weirden Tree., ringed by smaller versions of the long dead father of the forest. The inhabitants of the Great Ward had no idea what a Weirden Tree was, or that the Lindiri had abandoned it some time before the Duinir moved into it. The highest amongst the Council of Wardens knew of the Lindiri; often they visited, as the tree was held in high regard, and those living there were determined to have given the forest the respect it deserved. Should the Lindiri have wished it, at this point in their history, the entire population of Duinir would be dead overnight should they have lived differently.



    Around 800 Wardens lived in the Great Ward, and a similar amount were travelling the villages of Duinir. These men were all that stood between their people and those would seek to harm them. The 20 Council members had been taught much of their knowledge, and their morals by the Lindiri. A few Wardens had been given the knowledge of Ley Channelling; they proved to be almost the only humans ever to have been able to use it...the elves will always state that man cannot Channel because of their state of mind, not because they just cannot. Weiridng magic is the way of man in the use of magic, as the College of Sorcery taught the first firebinders under Valerian's tutelage.



    Within Duinir, a large community of Lindiri still remained, deep in the forest, and it is likely that they do so now. The Wardens performed another task within their main shepherding of their people. They proscribed the areas the Lindiri occupied as places of no travel, although some did try entry; they either turned back on themselves are began where they had started, or a few were said to have made it to the spirits in the forest and came back much changed.



    For generations, this way of life had existed, and it had worked. New blood within the Council pushed the larger settlements forwards, building upon their lands, erecting new buildings, moving some of the populace where there was building to be done, and an influx of trade brought new people to their forests, swelling the population. Their easy, sedate lives were changing. Full councils, run by Wardens, were installed within the larger settlements. This development hit it's height when they built their first 'city' - In the Woodpike lived nearly three thousand people, and it was a wonder, consisting of a walled town and many building erected in the huge trees that rose around it, and passed through it. A militia had formed to deal with past threats, but this city began training a small regular army.



    As the walls were finished, there came reports of missing people to the East, and even an entire village had burned without any survivors. Here had come the first scouts of a foe they would later face in full. In the Great Ward, power was being transferred to individual settlements, and they were slowly becoming more isolated and insular. The Wardens in the settlements still behaved as they should, but the greater knowledge they had was held solely within the Ward. To meet this threat, the Great Ward mobilised its Wardens. Eleven hundred men and women marched to the east, to find this threat where the lesser skills of the towns-wardens would not endure.



    They came across the village of Tenbeam and stumbled into the mire of slaughter left behind the invaders. They discovered a small force of Lindiri camped nearby, who had also begun to track these foes. They revealed what they knew, and that was little. NO one had seen the creatures the Lindiri described before, and that sent cold dread into the Wardens there gathered. AT this point a terrible tragedy was unveiled. A party of Lindiri scouts was ambushed by people of Duinir, sent from the settlements. Nearly 80 animist had been killed, alongside some few Fey, but they had fought hard. The Wardens from the Great Ward attempted to avoid any retaliation, but many animists marched in the deeper shadows of night, and the urban troops of Duinir were scattered, almost annihilated by them. The remainder were hunted down and slain - not one would return to their homes, and the Wardens could not argue against the Lindiri response.



    A second army was on it's way though, and numbered three thousand...a host of the men of Duinir, but one not of the Wardens. It became apparent that the urban councils had fallen away from their old way and old oaths. They were met in the field; this time by the Lindir and the old Wardens. In a shifting battle, the outcome was sadly one-sided. The urban army was smashed, and the 'Warden' leaders were brought before the Lindir and men of the Great Ward. They were summarily executed. Wardens were dispatched to all settlements, to remove any of the Councils that refused their oaths to be retaken.



    In some places, the Councils ran true, but in many, they're were utterly corrupt. Some welcomed the Wardens, others refused them entry, and others sent their heads to the Great Ward.



    SO the civil war began. The Great Ward gathered its men and women; messages were sent to the settlements that were true. Woodpike, the 'capital' of Duinir remained true, but was swiftly placed under siege. The corrupted Wardens lay siege to it, and they sent three armies against the other large settlements that remained true, alongside a force to burn the Great Ward. This was their mistake. The army that moved against the Great Ward began to bring up ladders, even to construct siege engines, but they were never used. The tiny garrison, two hundred only, were on the walls when the Lindiri attacked. Three thousands of Animists and another thousand Fey attacked this army. The Great Wardens sallied, and the enemy were routed.



    The Fey followed this up. They moved to aid the Great Wardens, and battle under the forest eaves was fought for seven years. The entire west and South of the province went over to the 'corrupt' Councils, but many of the Northern and Eastern settlements went to the Great Wardens. The West and South were far more densely populated however, and only the Lindir allowed them to hold. Slowly, they held their lines, and then slowly began to defeat the western settlements. It was the West that capitulated first. Their hearts were still tied to the forests, and it took only a show of force and three decisive battles to bring them back to the old ways. They would not take up arms against the Southern men of Duinir, but the held to the old ways. It seemed that a dense black cloud was lifting in the West. There was more to this that just simple corruption.



    The south had hired mercenaries from Dalthrasia and some from further south, amongst the Clans of the Earthspine - CImrai, they were called, although the nobles called themselves the Haladin. The civil war was to be a longer and more bloody affair because of this. The New Council of Duinir had amassed nigh on twenty thousand troops, whilst the Great Wardens numbered only 1100 Wardens, 6000 militia and 3000 Fey. More years passed, and the war was swinging back and forth, decimating villages and shattering the walls of Woodpike, which had held a four month siege in the spring, when the main strength of fey were locked in battle in the south west, tricked into a rash strike due to the burning of Weirden Trees. They destroyed the forces that were killing the great trees, then swung north at speed, and struck the besieging force. This time, the battle was not so single sided, but the siege was broken and it took days to burn the dead.



    The war entered its final stage two months later, as the forces of the Great Ward were being increasing fewer. Rumours told that more of the Lindiri were marching from the south, but the Great Ward may well have fallen, had not Valerian (still known as Ulaya at this time) come upon them. With a swift assault by Spurhawk Riders, he took two major towns, and his infantry swept up to link with those of the Great Ward. In Council, Valerian met the Lindiri and the Great Wardens, and terms were agreed. The Empire would aid them in their just war, leaving the Fey to their chosen lands in perpetuity, whilst Duinir would become a province of the fledgling Empire, under the terms that it would remain socially as it was, allowing for the development of the south into a defensive wall against these Haladin of the Earthspine Mountains. They would pay tithes to the Empire, provide soldiers, but would, in return gain stability, growth and the just laws of the Empire, and the promise of it's Legions in war.



    This lasted hundreds of years, with great peace. Duinir was one of the few Provinces not to see the scars of war. This changed with the coming of the Naugiri, the Orcs, whose scouts had so long ago destroyed a village in the East of Duinir.


    HISTORY OF DALTHRASIA PROVINCE
    Complete with appalling typos....I can spell, write joined up, all sorts, but I just can't type even simple things....sorry it's long...I have REALLY truncated these, believe me...

    Dalthrasia is a province of hills and flat plains, fertile, rich with metal deposits, even gemstone mines, it was, behind Telmior, the most powerful nation in the East before it encountered Valerian and his armies. Telmior was butchered, for the crime of slavery. Dalthrasia was won by other means.

    The people of Dalthrasia is inhabited by tall men, akin to the men of Duinir, but founded on different ideals, and boasts very little forest. The political system is Monarchic in nature, but Valerian changed much of that. The people of the province worked hard, built walled strongholds, and spent a hundred years fighting petty wars before uniting behind their first King, Lodens. It was his grand-daughter, Iriyin that Valerian faced. Her consort was Prince Telenyrn, who had a solid basis in economics, but little if any military experience. Iriyin however had plenty of experience. She had led the Lords of Dalthrasia against the incursions of Telmior, who were no allies of Dalthrasia. She fought for several years to repulse enough attacks to make Telmior think twice about sending more men tot heir deaths for small gains.

    She was a typical tom-boy; a girl who behaved in a most unlady-like fashion. Born to the saddle, wielding a blade of wood when four, she had made a great Queen at the age of fourteen, and now surpassed all expectations. She was not a fool. After Telmior toppled, she celebrated, but with the fall of other nations to Valerian, she saw the danger he presented ever more keenly, and knew he would turn his gaze to Dalthrasia; a prize for the taking, which would seal all borders of the Sea of Grass with allies or client-states.

    Her finest men were the Dalthrasian Pike. They were legendary men, who were simply the best soldiers in the East. They had learned tactics to eliminate the chariots of Telmior, and she trained them hard - harder yet since she slept on the growing fear of Valeiran. She had trained her archers to stand within the ranks of pikemen, who held pikes in differing lines, to cover the heads of the soldiers from this Hawk threat. Still, she could not see a victory in the coming conflict, so she sought other means for victory or simple peace. The secret counsels she held were, as all secrets are, leaked by some, and other nobles believed she would capitulate. They plotted to remove her, and ally themselves with whatever 'free states' remained. They sent men to Ancillia and Ashapur, even to Clans from the Sea of Grass who still remained apart from Valerian's unification.

    Iryin was to be removed, and it fell to her Prince Consort to remove her. As happenstance sometimes is, she changed her guard that night, and the men of the House of the Ebon Hawk were replaced by the House of the Glittering Spear, who proved to be loyal. Unbeknownst to her, there were some who grew aware of this plot, and they seized the chance to move against their traitor brothers. Three of the noble families stood by her, and they sent one of their own each to watch in her chamber each night. Luckily for her, they were present; usually she grew furious and shouted them out of her bower. Tonight she did not.

    The attack came at midnight. Three hundred men were let into the palace complex, and they seized the gate and other areas quickly and without alarm...few even tried to resist, and some joined them. With their numbers swollen, they assaulted the palace itself. Twelve of their number had remained inside the palace, and attacked her rooms. The Glittering Spears saw them with naked blades and barred the doors to them. It took them twenty minutes to break through to her chambers. Elsewhere, the sound of battle raged - the East Wing was under assault, and the West was unable to stave off the first attack. Their Palace Guard retreated further into the palace.

    The Twelve attacked the Glittering Spears, who has roused the Queen and her unwanted 'champions. They entered the fray, and soon the Glittering Spears lay dead amongst the bodies of five of the Twelve. One of her champions was wounded, and his blood ran freely. The surviving seven of the assassins closed in on her, and they threw back their hoods. Amongst their number was her Prince, whom she loved. As he revealed himself, she almost collapsed with shock. Her champions threw themselves at the assassins, enraged by his betrayal. In a brief clash two more of the assassins had died, but only one Champion stood unharmed. Another clash saw one of them dead, and it appeared hopeless.

    Else where in the palace, things were bad; the West Wing had fallen, and the East was sorely pressed. The central palace proved harder to force, but there was little chance that the hundred Glittering Spears that began that night alive could stave off over three hundred men. With the usual sound judgement, help came from an unexpected place. Men dressed in the red of the Empire dropped from the backs of Spurhawks, into the Palace grounds. As with all secrets, they often became exposed, and Valerian had many means to do so. He led a small force himself, landing on the Palace roof, above the Queen's chambers. He saw knots of men fighting, and saw that his own men needed him, as they struggled to gain a foothold. AT first, some of the Glittering Spears attacked them, but soon saw their purpose, and threw themselves into the fray alongside these red men.

    Valerian sent his band in two directions; one to lead the men below, and one squad to assist the Queen. The force he led dropped onto the balconies of the Queen, and saw her surrounded, one man standing between her and her would-be-slayers. Even this man shook and swayed, slick with blood. Valerian charged into the assassins, bowling two over, whilst his other men advanced somewhat more cautiously. Within mere seconds, men died and Valerian placed himself between the Prince and the Queen. The Prince's men desperately fought Valerian's men, but were dying one by one. The Prince-Consort duelled with Valerian, wounding him twice before Valerian eviscerated him. The Prince was a master swordsman, but he lacked Valerian's brutality and fearlessness.

    In the palace the fight raged for another two hours. Valeian's men were left with the Queen, but Valerian himself led the forces that retook the palace. As troops arrived from the city, Valerian became surrounded by the Dlathrasians, who openly argued about killing him. They almost did, but the Queen arrived in immaculate statehood and denied her people the killing of the man that could be the end of her Kingdom.

    She welcomed Valerian into her lands, and he gave her the best terms he could: her people adored him for saving her life, and he would love her in return, destined to be her husband and her Emperor in one. The Province saw six months of war after that night, as the traitor-elements within the nobility were ruthlessly hunted and slain. Promised soldiers from Ashapur never showed themselves, but Ancillia made the mistake of letters offering aid. No clans were ever found to be culpable in this. Mere months after the traitors were finished, Valerian turned angry eyes on Ancillia.

    Last edited by Shankbot de Bodemloze; March 12, 2013 at 02:21 PM.

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    Default Re: UNIT and LORE Preview part 1



    FACTIONAL UNITS and
    DEEPER LORE






    The Cthonae - Blasphemy of the Abyss


    NO UNITS TO BE SHOWN...YET

    LORE


    Eselias Florient, High Priest of Isalap, on the Cthonae
    Eselias Florient, High Priest of Isalap, written shortly before his sanity broke.

    The Cthonae live in a sac, attached to the universe as created by the Child. Like a parasitic, pus filled bag, they cling to reality, feeding on what they can, but in the main part trapped to stare into a place that holds the key to the emotions they cannot otherwise feel; to them, the thought of feeding from a being's emotion is a wondrous thing, but they view that person's fear and pain with utter indifference. One type of evil is that which lies veiled behind an air of respectability, but the worst is the horror of true indifference. It is a thing most vile, and the most dangerous of all horrors exhibited by a truly sentient being.

    The greatest amongst them simply float in the blackness they are trapped within. They know no light, vast, bloated, horrific to behold. Around them swarm their servants - thousands of lesser insanities, grooming, mewling over their masters, as they are crushed and devoured in it's wake, it's torpid drift unknowing of these insignificant beings; even if they registered them, they would not change, cannot change, for their waking dreams are of things so vast that it would break the universe. To it's irrefutable laws their minds are as alien as their forms, and cannot occupy the boundaries of reality itself.

    In some ways the greeter Cthonae suffer, but they simply don't understand what it means to do so, and this is no concern to them, simply not registering at all. There are many powerful beings amongst their number. Some simply drift and feed on what they can sieve from the dark; others tear at each other, but some are aware of what is beyond and they hunger for it; they exist upon the simple though of breaching the divide and feeding from the wealth of it's life and emotion.

    The Worm of Oblivion is one such being. Fastened to the sac of the Abyss, it's devours what it can of reality, but the sac heals swiftly, and it cannot progress beyond a simple suckling, like a parasitic foetus, malformed and disgusting by nature. There are others who show similar power, but he is the greatest of all. His size would allow him to curl around an entire planet, feeding from it, taking all life and matter without thought or even an awareness of the pain and fear of those it drains of life.

    Others include Cthuguar the Shrivener, Anbaen - King of Purgatory, Kalacris the Prince of Torment, Cruach of Unfettered Slaughter and the Malfomer, the Breaker, known as Mirimazael. Below them are levels of servant beings, from the lowest, the Drunes and other, more unspeakable filth, rising to highest, which bear some semblance to the nature of their lord.

    Cthonae desperately wish to break into reality, to taste reality, to suck emotion from the life forms they find, to savour what they take from, but they are never sated in this. At first, the lesser entities break through, for it easiest for them, they then create bigger cracks and holes in the fabric of the Universe, and bring stronger siblings through, eventually allowing the open maw of the god through, to either feed off the planet's life itself, or dragging the sleeping dragon back into the abyss, to suffer as nothing else could.

    Celestial Dragons do war upon them, and they cleanse what they can find - to the point of killing their own brethren if too badly infected; for mercy and to deprive the Cthonae of their fragile foothold in the fabric of

    The Abyss
    The Abyss is that without the bounds of reality. Beyond the growing universe, outside of mere existence, it sits like a cancer, clinging to the void, hungry, waiting, patient, cruel. They watch endlessly, drawn by the hunger that lies in the devouring maw of their pestilence and entropy.

    Throughout every second of the universe's life, they have sat, and they have broken through many times; the Child banished them within rules of existence, but they are drawn by intense emotion; something they do not feel, and there have always been fools who tamper with things they do not understand. Hundreds of worlds have been devoured, and others will for eternity, but some ponder how long the Rules that the Child put in place will stay strong against things that are learning ever more how to avoid them.

    The main Abyssal Powers number five, but they need hosts to break into reality... and no cults exist that worship them AT ALL - only the Cimrai summon them, but believe them 'bindable', when they are clearly not so. Theirs is an obsessive magery that makes them stronger in the shorter time period, but vastly susceptible to become enthralled by the Abyss in completion.

    -----

    Well, I started it.

    Work this out...written quite recently indeed...

    THE Abyss is a bizarre phenomenon, one that, according to any laws that exist, shouldn’t exist at all. The best way to view the Abyss is taking Reality as the birthing sac of the Child. Like an illness or disease, it is attached to the sac of Reality. The majority of the Abyssal attachment area exists around a central figure, which holds the AByss to Reality. This is a creature known as the Worm of Oblivion; it is a huge maggot like creature, utterly mindless, and it’s maw is attached to Reality, piercing it. It is a huge white beast that pulsates and spasms as it’s maw feeds on Reality, devouring it’s fabric in great gluttonous, rhythmic gulps.

    THE Worm itself does not pose a threat to Reality itself, despite it’s devouring. Reality expands to more than match what is lost, the birthing of new Celestial Dragons itself expanding in the opposite direction. The Worm keeps the Abyss attached, but the real threat comes from those of it’s brethren that posses intellect, no matter how base or complex it may be.

    WITHIN the Abyss are the ‘Lords’ of it’s inky blackness. These are vile shapes, huge bulks that float and plunge through the utter darkness, lights hanging in globes about them, with millions of their Servants crowding around them, feeding the Lord, or each other, stripping the Lord of any unwanted presences.
    EACH Lord’s minions assault the others, and there are pieces of the Void that are brought through by the Worm of Oblivion, as his insistent glutting cannot contain all of the Reality he sucks through; it may be immune to this most base of defences, but they are not; Void poses a danger and threat - small quantities burn the Lord, or decimate it’s Servants, whilst larger pieces may even pose a serious threat to it’s power or life. Should it weaken a Lord, the others may fall upon it and devour it’s power for their own.

    LIKE fish around a shark, the Servitors gather, and they mindlessly clean their Lord, often falling into his maw, consumed without even a glimmer of recognition from it’s Lord. Tens of thousands of them are ‘born’ and most of those die without even an awareness of having lived. Like mindless drones they flit around the Abyss, but they are not entirely mindless, knowing only pain and solitude before their pitiful life winks out of existence.

    IN the Abyss few lights or colours exist; the bulbous white of the greater inhabitants, the glitter of sickly green light that plays around them and marks the passing of it’s minions, and the inkl-like blackness that swarms across everything, almost as if it is alive, trying to extinguish whatever lights ay be evidenced.

    IN some ways, the Abyss could be seen as another dimension, but it isn’t. There’s no such complexity to it. It is an anomaly, but, at the same time, it is almost necessary - not quite, but almost. The Abyss is the only thing restricting the growth of Reality. Where Reality would go to, or whether it has limits is another discussion, but the Abyss is best seen as a parasite, and Infection; the sac of pus that any Infection may hold at it’s centre.

    THE Abyss contains the greatest evil to be known, for it is an evil of utter indifference. It does not care about the suffering of either those within or those in Reality. It KNOWS of both, and is entirely aware of what it is doing, but it simply doesn’t care. To the Abyss, the knowing of what it does only increases it’s interest in doing so. Those within it’s confines are aware of Reality on their environs. To them, it’s twinkling lights, suns in the Void, are a thing of yearning.

    THE creatures of the Abyss perform different functions within it’s depths, and the Abyssal Lords number in the dozens, but there are those that have tasted Reality, and they are the most active and aware of all creatures. Even their Servitors have memories of such a thing. Alone in the Abyss, they suffer, but in Reality they are aware of things that they can live through, making them suffer, tasting every pain, trauma and other delicacies they both yearn for and cannot feel when alone in the dark.

    REALITY in it’s nature expels the Abyss or things made thereof. The Void came into being to force it’s constant probing from it’s fabric. Void burns, even kills the Cthonae (creatures of the Baleful Dark - denizens of the Abyss), and can defend Reality in a more than adequate fashion. One of the few, or only, ways the Abyss can breach Reality is to bypass the Void.

    THIS would mean appearing inside the atmosphere of an Egg (or planet), since the Void normally doesn’t exist inside this boundary. The Void is death to much of the inhabitants of Reality, as with the Cthonae. It is bereft of air, is cold to death and is filled with rays of the Mother Dragons, power which burns outside of the atmosphere of Eggs. The Atmosphere of Eggs is created by the powers sacrificed by the Child, come into being when they are expelled from the Mother Dragon, although there is some evidence that her final magic before Ignition is her breath, activating the magic of the Child, forming an atmosphere.

    THE Cthonae are bereft of much save dense, vile longings. Some do not even have that, yet exist somehow. There are several things that act as beacons to the Abyss. The foremost is massive displays of emotion, which act like shining red lights, drawing the consciousness of Cthonae to the emotional plume. Their vision sharpens, the Void collapses through distance, as the Void is empty and such distances are in vain, and the CThonae see into the light of these displays, in some ways akin to fireworks.

    EVIL, yearning, longing and desire also draw the Abyss, as there exists freedom in all creatures of Reality to do what they wish. If they desire evil things enough, they can connect to the conscious of the Abyss, and the gaze of vileness once more latches onto this small fire in the dark.

    ANOTHER element of attraction is the pain of a Celestial Dragon, and the damaging of an Egg is the most glorious of all. This damage can occur through many ways, but, liek a wound, the CThonae can burst through dead matter ona Dragon, to explode into the wound as an Infection.

    SHOULD the Cthonae be drawn to an event, they can attempt to Breach Reality. Through the expression of pain or hate, they can link the Abyss, for miliseconds, tot he atmosphere of an egg, and soemtimes rupture it, sending Abyssal entities through into the Inner Reality, having avoided the ‘space’ between worlds.

    OFTEN, the Abyss will cause only small breaches, sending a handful of the baleful through, the breaches so fleeting. Sometimes, many will enter - thousands, such as the Infection the Dwarves caused, but virtually never will they send anything of real power through. The job of the Servitors is simple - they want to taste Reality’s most painful food and they wish to open a wider Breach, to draw reater entities, even their Lords, to devour the life of the Dragon inside it’s Egg.

    AN Abyssal Lord is often the size of many of the Eggs, even larger than several Mothers and their broods together. If a Breach is large enough, they can wriggle their mouths into a Breach and devour the Dragonling itself, in it’s entirety. There have been vast battles in the Void, where greater Lords and their armies have assaulted the Celestial Dragons. Their vainful target is the elimination of the femal Dragons, before they birth, as these are rarer than the males, and their gestation contains such a dazzling swathe of life, enough to sate the Abyss utterly, yet never is there satisfaction.

    FOR any creature of Reality can be pulled into the Abyss, there to be tortured or devoured, pulled apart by millions of it’s denizens; a fate that can take thousands of years.

    WHEN a Breach is made, the Cthonae pour towards it; some get through, others rush and are expelled into the Void as the Breach closes; others are devoured by those behind as they salivate and despair.

    OFTEN, the Cthonae will take the bodies of the dea as hosts to their spirits, or will even possess those whose emotions are dark enough. The greater the spoirit, the more flesh it needs to truly gain it’s shape - they will take sometimes dozens of bodies of dead or possessed creatures to form their own with savage and precise surgery.

    MANIFEST CThonae are often the lower forms, or Drunes, and they search for methods to Braech the Void again, even to maintain a Breach. Each world contains beings that have awareness of such things, and many times, they are hunted and destroyed before much can done, or they even lose control and attack rather than try to create a breach.

    BREACHES ae made by either managing to persuade denizens of that world to aid them with magic; magic either granted to them, or by that they already possess. Bloodfed magic is often the choice, but there have always been Warpers and those that can be linked to a Lord and given Warping powers. Warping is the third form of Ley manipulation; it consumes the Ley accessed and deepens the impact of the Abyss on that world, expellign the Le into the AByss itself, widening an attack to force further Breaching.

    MOST however, will be ‘untalented’, and their onl;y route to power is through Bloodfed magic; the CThonae can often then take the corpse, if they have spirits to take them as hosts.
    THE Haladin have means other than this most usual path. They have discovered that CThonae, accessed through Bloodfed Rites, can be bound into Malech metal, that the spirit may occupy the metal rather a dead husk.

    THIS creates an issue for the AByss, and also potentially a greater possibility. Those rapped within are drawn from the pits of the dark, and it is not anything to do with what power they may possess. This means that greater powers can be drawn through. Within the metal, the spirit may work upon the wielder, corrupting and controlling him. They can break this fool, and dominate him, with the intent of massive power injected into a Breach. Some are possessed, some actually freely draw the Baleful into Reality, allowing them to take husks of the dead prepared for them in advance. This poses the greatest risk, for the other methods are far less likely to succeed.

    A BREACH can only be formed by huge bursts of power. Such power may be stored; the Cthonae can beginto construct great Abyssal reserves, creating Black Supporator Crystals, which power devices that operate much like a Ley Artillery piece. If enough are made, they can expel their power in one burst, Breaching a great rift to draw their brethren inwards.

    THE Infection was somewhat different than this. The Khezdruli wounded the Dragon terribly, forcing the war with the Elves. As the war raged, Holts fell, and the deeps were filled with dead. Where the body of the Dragon was wounded, the CThonae slowly took the dead, and built an army, often within occupied Holts. At the last, the Infected burst forwards, slaughtering the Dwarves, driving them out, even as those behind ebgan to manufacture Suppurators, to bring their brethren in.

    THE Elves, Dwarves and Rhysthari assaulted the Infected, and they fought them to a standstill, until the Avatars warned the Elves of the true danger. The Ildiri rerouted rivers, combined with Rhysthari magics and flooded the Holts. Flowing or fresh water carries the Abyssal manifests into a state of torpor. The power of water is a strange thing, evidenced again in the Ghaurchlai Genocide. It is thought that water is a force that purifies, that it is the very basis of life. It is not grown or created from nothing, but is present from the Dragon’s birth. The Ildiri believe that it isolates the CThonae from the Abyss, snapping the thread of Darklight that joins the two, trapping the Cthonae inside the husk they occupy, as the Abyss’s power can no longer thread it’s way to them, they lose any ability to move. It is possible that it is even more complex than this, as the Farstream carries the souls of the dead into the Moon, to the Dragon’s own soul, where the dead and their gods live. It is a sacred substance, as it bears both life and death in one flow.

    HAD the Infected been allowed to fester for even a few more weeks, the Abyss would have breached in dozens of locations. It is certain that one or other of the Lords would have broken through enough to drag the Egg back through to the Abyss, or simply have fed on it in the confines of Reality itself. Battles have been fought in the void between Lords manifested in Dragon-Eggs and the Celestial Dragons, as the Cthonae try to kill the females and drag their Eggs back for feeding to begin.

    ONLY the dimmer of the AByssal Lords, or the more cowardly, will drag an Egg into the Abyss - the more intelligent will feed and occupy the Egg itself, to fight battles in Reality itself. Despite their cunning and intellect, the Baleful lords cannot see or imagine what would be left should they destroy the Celestial Dragons and empty the Universe. As with most things, they are simply indifferent and thus cannot contain the doubt or questioning to wonder about their existance in an empty Universe.

    THE powers of the Abyss are not infinite. Msytics have seen the way the Abyss works, in dreams and visions, and it is believed that the power of a creature is based on size in many senses. This is definite in physcial means, as the larger will destorythe smaller instantly. Some consider age and also the devoured sections of Reality.

    IN actuality, it is these and more besides. There is a basis in the Abyss by which such things are governed. The creatures and Lords have no substance, as such, as they are ‘unreal’, but they flow through angular shapes and possess collapsable inner workings. The power they have is measured by the implosion of angles; in a chain reaction, the angles of their inner being would collapse, and the enrgy they possess is measured by the Potential of these implosions; a creature with thousands of collapseable angles creates more of a reaction than a simple shape.

    THIS is a difficult thing to imagine at all, let alone truly understand. Like Reality, physcial shapes and matter has ‘potential’ energy laying dormant. Upon a reaction, this becomes kinetic; where there is not Reality and hence no real matter, it is the complexity of shape that governs a creature’s potential power. The collision of the sides of angles collapsing would governs the true power of an Abyssal creature - a Lord will have many appendages and tentacles, vast growths, exploding in every direction, tangled withi each other, whereas a Drune will posses few and small angles within their shape.

    SHOULD a Lord of the AByss be drawn into Reality without a host, he would implode, or simply be turned inside out, probably dying in the process, but the inner workings would then grow outwards, probably destroying whatever the gibbering mass touched, even as it winked out of existance.

    IN the AByss there is a basis or order. The small serve the large; this is inescapable and impossible both. Riding the Lords are tens of thousands, even millions of lesser Cthonae, lining their masters’ forms with Suppurators; vast cannons that collapse angles to generate power in combat. COnstantly, the Lords send their Servitors to war, and there are battles in the dark, the great white forms of the Masters struck by pale, sickly green fires that burn and savage bodies. Certainly, in Reality, the Lords that have warred on the Dragons are carrying vast armies of Servitors and their suppurators fire barrages of Balefire at their foes. Each Lord is a living fortress in some ways; destroying such a thing is an unimaginable task, yet the Celestial Dragons have done so in many battles. The Abyss cannot win such a war, so they must hunt the Eggs and destroy them so no more Dragons can be born. It is certain that thousands of Dragons have died and been devoured in the darker places, but so have vastly powerful Lords of the Abyss been slain, but slain in far lesser numbers.

    THERE are certain of the Abyssal Lords that hold particular mention. On our Dragon there are those that came with the Infection, and their eyes have never left it’s body, burning with desire and dull indifference, combined into a torpid form of hate.

    ANBAEN - Also actually worshipped by the Barren Naerns of the Fennweyr as the ‘Horned One’, Anbaen is the Cthonian Lord of the Bloodied Cauldron, the master of the dead, whose winter cauldron brings the dead to life once more. These dead are in fact hosts of Drunes in the main, but Anbaen is the only Cthonian Lord that has regular access to this Dragon.

    CRUACH -’The Gaping Maw’, or the lord of Teeth. Cruach’s children are an insistent host, pressing on Reality. Many press too hard and are burned by the Void, weak as it is in certain places on the Dragon. He was isntrumental in the Infection, and his warriors were the swiftest of all, capturing many Holts. Their unceasing desire and movement was a main decider, as they broke from the Dark too soon, drawing the allied forces in on the diseased Holts more swiftly than was wise. He can taste every piece of pain his children bring and thus presses them beyond the intellect of his other brethren would like.

    CTHUGUAR - ‘The Pestilential’ or ‘Pillar of Flies’, the Children of Cthuguar are an obscenity. They can break their forms down, severing their angles, to reform elsewhere. His most powerful servants are those that teach Warping to mortals. He is worshipped by a few Cults of humans, but they are not strongly evident. He prefers manipulation and inflicts suffering on huamn servants. Cthuagura and Matehlbuar created the Abyssal comets that brought the Celesti down and created the Ghaurchlai, but wisdom was less evident in their mistaken belief that the Ghaurchlai would make pliable servants.

    KALACRIS - ‘The Tormentor’. Kalacris is most at work within the Haladin and is instrumental in controlling their swathe of hedonistic Bloodfed Magery. The majority of their Malech artefacts are occupied by his servants, and they are bringing some of his greater Servitors through the Void voluntarily. Aspects of the Cimrai worry him, and he seeks the slaughter of the Kanaan Clan and it’s supporters. He is far more patient and more insidious than his brothers, and savours each tiny piece of suffering more than a glut as a whole.

    MATHELBUAR - ‘The Glowing Eye’. He was the main power behind the comets that ruined the Celesti, and his eagerness was the undoing as time was spent warping the Celesti to purpose rather than subjugating them first. When they became the Ghaurchlai, he lost his power over them, and was savaged by the experience. His is the most active hate focussed on the Dragon, and he never slumbers, unable to close any of the thousand eyes he possesses. Mad, tormented yet surprisingly balanced in his insanity, he is a vile opponent, and has an ability to think coherently that fights with an insatiable pain to destroy utterly his foes. He seeks the Ghaurchlai, and is likely to overstep caution to gain revenge upon them.

    THE ABYSS AND THE GHAURCHLAI
    THE Ghaurchlai were a machination of the Abyss, orchestrated by Cthuguar and Mathelbuar in the main, aided by others in a more murky role; one that faded swiftly after the comets were unleahsed. It took the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of Servitors to send this, as they needed their sacrifice to ensure the breach and guide the comets to their target. The comet that struck the Void Temple was Ghaurchlai made, but is often associated with the Cthonae still; they were, however, ignorant of the existence of the Void Temple entirely, and it is unlikely they would have attempted to challenge them with an action so blatant and so inaccurate.

    THE Celesti were buried within the earth itself, which was poisoned very cleverly. The Rhysthari were misled by the attack, as they were ready to stop the Celesti and their plans ina physical war. When their plateaus collapsed and they were buried in their golden pillared cities, the Rhysthari failed to sense the Abyss, as they were drawn from this by power fed into the Infected Holts, which drew them away to bolster the wards on a dozen or more that were ravaged by powers that held their attnetion. By the time they could truly examine the araes where the Celesti had fallen, the taint of the Abyss was fully absorbed by the Ghaurchlai and the transformation was well underway.

    ELVES do not suffer from the Abyss in the same way and men and, to an extent, the Khezdruli, and the Celesti underwent the physical transformation of the AByssal taint, but retained their own hatred and sense of purpose, and, more important, their utter autonomy. Even when a connection was made to the Abyss, the Ghaurchlai simply drew what they could of it’s power, fed their htared into it and prepared for war on their own terms. The Abyssal Lords were successful in their aim, but had no control over the beasts they had created. In fact, the Ghaurchlai damaged the Abyss’s presence, as they manipulated events to hide their presence, allowing many groups to find and eradictae cults and covens across the west. To hide their own growth, they sent visions of these places, able to see them directly by their own abosorbtion of the Abyssal taint.

    CLEVER manipulation of this knowledge allowed their numbers to grow and allowed their own Shapestealers to go to work in places they could not have otherwise penetrated. The Emperor was bewitched, the Only Cult had been subverted in purpose and the Void Temple was unable to immediately pierce the defences they had fashioned, despite the Ghaurchlai’s lack of awareness of this Temple’s being.

    DURING the war in nehemia, when Valerian seized the Province, the Ghaurchlai had worked and fought. It was their defeat, however small, that made them look at Valerian in a different way, forging plans to simply neutralise him and restrict the response of his Empire. Whilst this occured, the ghaurchlai used their Abyssal powers to enable them to breach the mists of the Ildiri, and they brought the huge masses of rocks and dust that obscured the sun from the Selediri lands, causing many of their cities to crash and be so open to assault.

    THE Dwarves were dealt with differently. They were given aid in eradicating the Infection in their western Kingdom, by the help of small groups of Ghaurchlai Shapestealers, who could pinpoint the Infected within the old Holts and allow the Dwarves to slaughter them, shielding them from the CThonae magic the Infected used, essentially rendering the dead powerless. It was here that the oddness of the magic of the Ghaurchlai became evident, albeit in a small way, but it passed virtually unnoticed. One single Dwarf, a member of the Azraghal Cult, noticed and spent many months delving into accounts of magic, until finding a single evidence of the limit of Colours - this display, the scrying of the Gahuarchlai to find the Infected, had evidenced power that could not come from Ley and it’s colours. He was alarmed and thus paved the way for the Dwarves to doubt the Ghaurchlai, resulting in them joining the war towards the pivotal ending.

    IT is entirely possible that the Ghaurchlai would have won their war had they not acted against or at least manipulated Abyssal interest. It’s highly unlikely that what was eventually arrayed against them would have included at least a third of those at Saden Fields. The appearance of the True Dragons tipped the balance, and they may have brought other powers to play had they joined the Abyss, but the Dwarves and most of the East would not have been there in likelihood. In the time they were left alone, the Ghaur could well have created enough of a breach to end the world, perhaops a hundred years or more than their initial emergence twenty years before the conquest of Nehemia.

    EVEN now, as the Ghaur surge forth again, it is impossible to see the Abyss and Ghaurchlai in any form other than enemies. Descati is bound to his path, and any signs of Abyssal involvement in his path will be eradicated, possibly with more vehemece than mortal enemies will recieve. Whislt enjoying their power and sense of purpose, a part of the Ghaurchlai still feel shame and hate at what they have become. They direct this mostly outwards, and reserve the worst for the Abyss, in all it’s forms. Alliance is not just unlikely, it is an impossiblity. If the Ghaurchlai could enter the AByss itself and purge it of the CThonae, they most probably would. Who is to say they can’t and won’t?






    The Haladin - Bloodfed Lords of the Iudruul


    FACTION UNITS

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    LORE

    Faction Intro/Lore-ical Overview



    Known also as the Bloodless - those who do not bleed, the CImrai were once a free culture of mountain warriors, before the nobles of the high walled fortresses took a tangent and began the exploration of the world of Blood Magic, of binding creatures alien to this reality, burning them into weapons and armour, wings and jewellery.

    These creatures would animate these objects and lend power to the wearer or wielder, gifting them with preternatural strength, the ability to fly, weapons that aided the skill of the warrior, making the Iudruul Bloodmages the highest power in their culture, damning the rest to a life of fear and servitude. Alone, the Kanaan Clan stood aside from this, and, after a bitter series of battles, their reputation as the best of the Cimrai was cemented in fact.

    The Iudruul could not dislodge them, and an agreement was reached, whereby none of their people would be taken for ritual of Everdeath, where the souls of the bleeding were used to summon the Abyssal Powers into devices of power.

    Abhorrent to almost all, the Iudruul have reigned, and will do so for time immemorial. They have taken may lives, often of their own people, although their dealings with Ashapur and Hanghaven provide a steady stream of broken volunteers.




    The Two Classes




    THE HALADIN are the noble castes, 90% of the original nobility or more (as they murdered the others), who are the blood mages. Over 70% of the clans now are their thralls and feed their experiments when they run out of slaves, glad to do so.

    The CIMRAI are what the original nation called themselves; here the Haladin STILL marked the name of the noble caste, but the Kanaan clan refused to give their people up (we're talking hundreds of disappearances) any longer, and were outraged at the slaughter on non blood-fed nobles. They raised banners and fought to a rough standstill. The Haladin realised that wiping them out would reduce the nation's strength too much I suppose, so they just signed a peace whereby these clans were not involved in Blood Magic at all. SOOO, they live in the west, separate, but if the Earthspine Mountains are threatened, they WILL still fight alongside their disliked/hated neighbours. The CImrai, as they still call themselves, have probably 30% of the nation's populace.

    A SHORT TALE


    The soft hiss of rain as it runs down the mottled glass of my room brings life back into sharp focus, a flicker of lightning cast the room and its contents in harsh cold light before the light of my one lamp resumes its mad dance as it nears the end of its life. I guess I should introduce myself; well I would if I had a name that could be remembered by me or anyone else. Call me slave and leave it at that, it will make things easier on all. I feel I will perish soon here deep within one of the great fortresses ruled by the Bloodless, but before I go I wish to tell you a tale or a history of the Haladin. This will be my last gift to anyone who will find it, by guttering lamp and poor penmanship I will scrawl all I have learned.

    They, the Bloodless have always dwelt here within the Earthspine, shadowed vales and twisted valleys a pale faced people with great manes of blood red hair. Some might call them beautiful; I would now call them terrible to behold having witnessed the dark rights performed. Once they were squat of build and broad of shoulder, but could never be misconceived as the Khezdruli, but with the first years of mans existence the Lindiri came upon the Bloodless. The Lindiri sought to better the Bloodless, as they do love to meddle, for they saw the Haladin did suffer from haemophilia. With some success they did help the Haladin, but as always the changes they wrought upon the Bloodless had unexpected results.

    A small number of the Bloodless grew in height and if possible they became even paler of skin, weak in the flesh, but strong in the mind they became the nobility of this race. From what I have read and found rotting in the deepest parts of this place as the wind moaned through long forgotten passages the first amongst the Bloodless were given visions in their rest, warned of the weakness of villages they built three monstrous fortresses. Perhaps I should point out to whoever chances upon this written word that chief among the Bloodless rule three clans, the Iudruul with the Sieldruul and Karathuul. With the strongholds built the visions proved to have whispered truth for the Empire began what was to be a prolonged and bloody war. As Spurhawks swarmed into the first valleys they swiftly took control of the shadow ridden vales, but with the speed of their conquests came high casualties.

    As the Empire pushed deeper into the lands of the Haladin or as some would call them the Cimrai three clans fought back, the Kanaan, Kharst and Kaden. As the three clans tried to hold the Empire back, many stayed within their great fortresses, the massed garrisons forbidden to leave despite clan affiliations. What followed the initial assault by the Empire was a truly grim and bloody time for my masters. The Kanaan Clan and the Siedruul planned for the coming battles lead by the nobles who had proven to be sharp of mind but weak of flesh and unable to fight, this could have been the end for the Bloodless for many lost faith in their feeble commanders, but in the end the Kanaan managed to rally eight clans to the defence of a crucial vale. As a slow cool wind played with the proud banners of the Empire, twenty five thousand men massed and ready to unleash hell upon the Clans who stood upon the opposite side of the vale. Sixteen thousand Bloodless lead by Valerian for half the forces were Kanaan, stood ready to die for their twisted valleys and mist shrouded mountains.

    From musty tome and by wane light of a single poorly made candle I was able to find reports of the following battle.

    Four days of death, the cries of the Empire and Bloodless rode the wind a song of pain and anguish as they slew each other. Line after line of fortified positions fell, but the Kanaan held, a bloodied rock among a sea of war. The Empire had tried to defeat them with all their cunning and might and as a blood red sun set the Kanaan had proven they could equal the best the Empire could throw at them for they were the Kanaan, fearless in the extreme.

    As the battled raged the Iudruul Clan sought to expand upon their knowledge of their arcane powers. The Kanaan fought with blade and shield, feeding the land with their own blood as the Iudruul stole their own people, each soul given to the use of Blood Magic. From what I can gather what happened next changed the Bloodless, for better or worse I can not judge for I am a simple slave and not very wise. Demonic spirits were touched upon and from this foul caress the Iudruul made them selves preternaturally strong. Armed with blades of power and some now with the means to fly, metal wings that remind me of the bats that plague some parts of this Fortress, they fell upon the Empire. The Spurhawks were rolled back, most returned to their beloved Sea of Grass. Wheeling they then turned upon the Empires flanks. With a surge the Kanaan saw an opportunity and pressed forward. A moment or hours and the Empire were in full retreat. Thousands upon thousands died in the coming rout, the fallen left to rot in the vales and misted mountains. So many dead, the moaning wind echoing with the cries of the dying even to this day.

    Now the Clans play games with deadly powers, the Blood magic sings to them, whispers of more power to come, but I can see things my masters cannot. The shadows dance and darkness gathers, they dream of war and conquest, but risk utter dominance from the power they crave. A rift is soon to be opened; a gate way to the Cthonae, soon things will change, soon. The Iudruul play a dangerous game, they have tried to subject all, and failed for the Kanaan have resisted and now defend the Earthspine from any who threaten the Bloodless, but perhaps they should look within their boarders for dark powers gather and the Iudruul welcome it with open arms.

    A flash of bright lightning and my poor candle ends its life as the room fades to darkness, not that it matter for I’m naught but a lowly slave who likes to tell tales




    Foot Steps in Blood – The Bloodfed Wars.


    Belief, a difference and chosen paths have brought the Bloodless down this path. Some have chosen the way of the ‘Blood’ whilst others cling to the old ways. The Haladin nobles have listened to the darkness that hides in the depths of their souls, twisted lust, and need for power have opened them to the whispered thoughts that ride the nightmares of all. Others, the Cimrai nobles, hold to the old.

    The Haladin nobles have left a bloody trail throughout the Bloodless histories, crimson stained foot steps that tell a tale of death and struggle. All have given themselves to the dark arts of Blood Magic, and those that opposed the darkness are nothing but sighs on the winds and faded memories, save but a few brave members of lost clans that still fight for the old ways, waiting in the deeper vales and the western parts of the kingdom.

    Only in the free parts of the western reaches of the Earthspine some clans still openly clung to the old ways and sat in open defiance. The Cimrai nobles remembered their heritage, unwilling to ‘donate’ their peoples to the dark arts of the ‘Blood’ the main clan being the Kanaan, but when there was the need they still lent their war bands in war. How this came about will all be explained in the following tale.

    Hiding in the shadows, fevered eyes darting the Iudruul practised ‘Blood’ in paranoid secrecy. With the dark powers riding their minds they gathered the other powerful and susceptible clans to their banner. By flickering flame and howling wind the mad gathered and then the people of the Bloodless began to vanish in numbers.

    With disquiet felt in the air the other nobles gathered the Clans together. Hundreds gathered, all there willing to find what this oddness meant, all but some. The Iudruul had come as well; most unaware of the madness that now rode their minds. As the great doors closed and a hush fell upon the hall the council was to begin when a noble stepped forward. All looked to the noble, some muttering that the Iudruul should wait for their turn to speak. The muttering soon turned to cries of fear and fury as the ‘Blood’ was unleashed. The council was a massacre.

    From the gore fill chambers came the Iudruul and their allies, macabre cloaks of blood flowing about them as the Bloodfed War began.

    In the following months castles fell, inhabitants left hanging from the walls, pale corpses drained of blood, horrible wounds grinning back at all that came to witness the latest horrors of the civil war. Blood Mages continued to rain death down on all they met on the field of battle, allies rewarded with possessed weapons and armour for deeds of violence against the people. But the Iudruul soon learned that if they pushed the people too far they would push back, and the war took another deadly turn.

    As war raged over the land the Kanaan in a desperate bid to find answers infiltrated the Iudruul’s seat of power. From the shadows they watched a terrified villager dragged forward and torn apart by dark arts as baying Nobles and Blood Mages dragged more of the Bloodless’ peoples forward, their terror feeding the Iudruul into a frenzied ritual of slaughter. The Kanaan fled the fortress, screams of the dying chasing them as ran haunted by what they had witnessed. With the images of their country men and women being tortured they raised their banners against the Iudruul. Others flocked to the Kanaan’s banner, the Khaast, Khagan and Koruvel all joined with other smaller clans rushing to be part of the vengeance, for all had felt the power of the ‘Blood’ and feared what would happen if the Iudruul came to true power over all Clans.

    With mournful wailing of the wind the Clans moved to lay siege to Castel Karadruul, the seat of power of the Blood Mages. With the stench of released bowels and the metallic sting of blood on the air the two forces battled. As the red blush of the sun lit the sky for the last time that day the armies withdrew the fighting inconclusive. The Iudruul’s ‘Blood’ had been met with the sheer ferocity and skill of the Kanaan’s war bands and the grim determination of their allies.

    With the cold light of the pale moon painting the land in washed monotone the Kanaan moved to attack again, but this time its nobles were clad in looted weapons and armour. As the massed ranks surged forward again nobles bearing the Maleach weapons and armour lead the assault upon the walls. With the protection of the full plate Maleach armour the Kanaan breached the walls for the first time. For six nights the battle raged, the song of war riding the vales as the Bloodless fought, eventually the Kanaan and their allies are pushed back.

    The Bloodfed War has now lasted three years, neither side has gained much. Most Clans now side with the Iudruul with the Kanaan still fighting from the western parts of Kingdom, only their skill at killing has kept the Iudruul at bay. As the war entered the forth year an accord was finally met. It was ‘agreed’ that the Kanaan would hold the western part of the kingdom, with the Iudruul holding the rest. It was agreed upon that the Iudruul would not seek sacrifices from the western Bloodless, unless the victim was willing to give themselves to the ‘Blood’, with the majority of sacrifices now coming from the local Empire, the Sun Kingdom and other unfortunates that were bought from Wolfborn and Ashapur traders/slavers/raiders.

    With the accord written thus ended the Bloodfed war.


    Blood Magic
    - feared by most and understood by few. The Iudruul have long studied the dark art of Blood Magic and this can be witnessed by the thousands of bound objects that haunt their lofty towers deep with the Earthspine Mountains. The Nobles of the Bloodless have always been weak of flesh but strong of mind, but some knew that the strength of mind would never be enough to maintain their seats as a ruling clan among the others. The Iudruul have sort to study and learn all they can about the foul practices of Blood Magic and were the first to discover it, or as some histories suggest they stumbled upon like a lost child in the night.

    With strength of mind the Iudruul gained yet more knowledge of the Blood, this was evidenced by a ‘psychic’ ability, enabling the Iudruul to access strange and disturbing dreams. What started as dark visions and whispered words in the dead of night, soon changed to waking meditations. Day and night the Iudruul witnessed visions of true terror, some going insane and plunging themselves from the windswept towers, cries of fear echoing from the shadowed vales as they fell to their deaths, but others welcomed the darkness of these visions.

    Problems came when the Bloodless woke from these visions, the dreams and their contained knowledge were lost as red rimmed eyes were cracked open and sweat drenched bodies were dragged upright. The Iudruul turned to a psychic ability know as ‘Automatic Writing’ to combat this problem. As the Iudruul woke they would write manically any snatches of what could be remembered before they fully awoke. With knew knowledge gained, and being eager and perhaps foolish the Iudruul moved forward, caring not how this new power had come about only that it was theirs.

    As the Iudruul chased the power that was Blood Magic, the Abyssal Powers continued to feed them dark visions, either to destroy the Bloodless or to give them power none had felt before. With careless abandon the Iudruul attempted dark rights again and again. With each failure a little knowledge was gained and as more victims were given to the ‘Blood’, but with each step toward understanding the dark powers more problems arose. The Iudruul did not know or really care that this pursuit of Blood Magic would led to future problems for them, namely with the Clans of the Kanaan, Khaast and Kaden. With eyes locked forward and dark dreams ruling the night the other Clan’s mutterings were lost in the wind.

    Soon it was discovered that the blood taken from their sacrifices gave them something they had sort from the beginning, power. The willing or not were drained of their life the Iudruul gaining strength, the weaken flesh growing physically powerful as the victims lay next to them, pale eyes staring sightlessly as the now strengthened Nobles flexed magic fuelled muscles.

    With more blood filled research the Iudruul learnt that they could bind ‘Abyssal’ souls into objects. A rare metal, Malech, could be used and fashioned into weapons, armour and used to make the dread metal wings that beat with a life of their own. Amour was made into fearsome exoskeletons, giving great strength as weapons gave the wielder speed in their movements and ferocity in their attacks. The metal wings allowed the Iudruul to fly, but required much blood and many victims to make, something the Iudruul did not mind doing.






    The Ildiri - Ilsithi Kindoms of Heron and Swan


    FACTION UNITS

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    LORE

    Faction Intro/Lore-ical Overview
    When the world was Young, the Ildiri were the first brought to the light by the Celesti elves. They were given power over the Air and Water, for the two endlessly intertwine.

    As water is the lifeblood of all, so the Ildiri remained the base of all life, and they were swift to recognize and bind the Avatars of the Dragon to their own friendship. The Ildiri are without guile, without equivocation, and their word is a bond as strong at the deepest oceans, by which they gladly bind themselves to those who are deserving.

    They live long lives, and hold themselves in two kingdoms - those of the Swan and the Heron. Unless cloaked, they have skin as blue as the most beautiful waters, their eyes shine violet, and their bodies are bound around a strong, strong coral.

    A warrior race, they maintain a large professional army, yet take no joy in killing - they are just wise enough to know that life is never free of bloodshed or external threat. Aware in a whispered way, they know the Ghaurchlai are free to roam once more, and they sense the Cimrai bringing the Cthonae of the Abyss into reality once more - the first time since the Infected smashed the Dwarven Holts in the youth of the world. They are not fools, and remain vigilant, knowing that evil always finds a way.

    The Ildiri, often referred to as 'Sea' or 'High', 'The Fairest' Elves, are one of the elven races that began awakening from the conception of the Dragon's Egg in physical matter - so, when the planet/world was at it's youngest, the elves, as they originally were, came into being.

    The Ildiri are the Elves with domain over Water - the lifeblood of the world. They had the broadest task of all elves, as there was water inland, in lakes, pools, waterfalls, streams, rivers - all kinds of water bodies, still and flowing. There was also shoreline water, deep ocean water, and, weirdly, the water in the atmosphere - the vapours of the dragon's breathing.

    What are the Ilidiri?
    The Ildiri, often referred to as 'Sea' or 'High', 'The Fairest' Elves, are one of the elven races that began awakening from the conception of the Dragon's Egg in physical matter - so, when the planet/world was at it's youngest, the elves, as they originally were, came into being.

    The Ildiri are the Elves with domain over Water - the lifeblood of the world. They had the broadest task of all elves, as there was water inland, in lakes, pools, waterfalls, streams, rivers - all kinds of water bodies, still and flowing. There was also shoreline water, deep ocean water, and, weirdly, the water in the atmosphere - the vapours of the dragon's breathing.

    The Ildiri, as with all elves, have two forms; a 'natural' one and a 'Glamour' form; a form designed to appear how others would be more comfortable seeing them. This is kind of like a translator for languages, in that it allows them to meet with other races in similar form and the two can then find immediate common ground.

    Their natural form is a simple humanoid, yet long limbed and lithe, graceful, swift, calming. They seem as though they are made of very dense liquid - there is a 'skin' but it is not utterly opaque. Beneath this skin are the bones, which are formed of coral, and the organs, which are formed of vegetation - to filter their fluids are sponges and there are 'seaweed' type substances acting as other organs - they do not follow a human pattern of organs, but have their own, but they approximate in the same way.

    Their eyes are ever changing, yet stunning; like liquid pools that change from blue to lilac to sea greens....many colours that shine at their perfect hue and luminosity. This form is not weak; it is rather strong, but physically, they probably aren't as strong as humans in some ways, but are far swifter, more dextrous and have remarkably agile minds.

    In their protective form, they appear as human in form, but often with white, blue or very pale skin. Their eyes shine and follow similar colours to their other form. The darker skinned areas are usually colder in appearance; so you get icy blues where there were sea blues etc. They seem solid, opaque, comfortable looking to the eye, and intensely captivating. They are the most beautiful of all creatures on the Dragon to most that view them.

    Ilidiri Colours of Magic
    The Ildiri are Ley channellers, which means they collect the brain impulses (Ley) of the Dragon and form it into magic, which they use part of, returning all that is taken to the flow of serotonin fed nerve pulses that cascade around the ley-lines. They are 'positive' magic 'users'.

    Their primary colours are White, Blue and Mercury - so Life/Healing/Peace, The Waters and the Air/SPeed etc.

    I can waffle about that later, but there are threads on magic in this forum...have a peek at anything there is.

    THE DEATH OF ITHIL, FRAIL FEATHER OF THE ILDIRI
    The Ildiri have always been present wherever water was. They are irrevocably tied with the air and sky, but there used to be a distinction, before the time when the Aethiri left the sides of their brothers - named Aethiri after they made this distinction between water and air. The Aethiri were said to have a city that floated above the clouds.


    However, with the advent of man, and the colonisation they began, the Ildiri and other elves gave ground, many of the smaller communities fading back into the deeper regions, where they remained guardians of life. However, the King Iythair, the first Heron King, founded a kingdom called the Kingdom of Herons in the west. Here dwelled many of the Ildiri - tens of thousands, and they made their peace with humanity, offering only that they would stay within these bounds for the price of allies and supporters of the most benevolent humans - the Empire. Under Valerian, a pact was agreed, as was a place in the east in the lakes of Mirytine...the Lake Kingdom.

    The Kingdom of Herons was draped in a mist, a fog, that obscured all entrances to their lands, and would confuse enemies, turning them always back to the edge of the Kingdom, no matter how many times they tried to penetrate, foiling any attempt to map the routes in. This was powerful magic, coiling mists that drained the energy from those that attempted its passage.

    The Ghaurchlai were the only ones to broach this mist, and they did so in two places...one was the entryway to the Heron Kingdom, one was more secret, but broached all the same, made as a way of passage from the Ildiri Kingdom into the secluded port city of Ereneth.

    The battle between the Ghaur in the south was fierce, and the Heron King's son, the Swan Prince, laid his life and that of his entire host down to summon the Water Phoenix, an ancient Avatar that they had been friends with for thousands of years. The Phoenix exploded in a torrent of water, drowning all in its path, or crushing in a welt of water; even burning them with the bite of ice. Upon the death of the Prince, the Ghaurchlai's second army broke through, with none to oppose them. As the populace fled, the White Fortress gathered those it could across its magnificent bridges, but many thousands seemed unsaveable.

    The Princess, the Frail Feather, Ithil, set forth from her court, aided by her few hundred Maidens, warrior healers, and a thousand of the Fort's garrison. They crossed the bridges in solemn grace, to meet the army of the Ghaurchlai, who numbered at least 50 times their own. As the people streamed past her and her host, she advanced, solemnly singing until they met the Ghaur that had come forth in a frenzy. These they cut down, as they were the weakest and less controllable of their kind. As she claimed a hill for her forces, the main Ghaur force advanced to meet her.

    On this hill, the snow drops grew in abandon, and would become mired, drowned in blood that day - ever after they grew red.

    The Ghaur crashed into Ithil's lines, and met defiance and steel, with Ithil in the centre, flanked by her Moon Maidens. Spearmen thronged each side, and the small number of bowmen lined the hill's crest. For two hours the bitter battle was fought, assault after assault beaten by her host's conviction and their love for the Princess. Something about Ithil made the Ghaurchlai frenzy in desperate assaults, and all the while, her people fled to safety. After the Demon Spawn fell back in dismay, the lines held, but many of the greater brethren of Ghaurchlai walked forth from their throng. Slaughterstars, Baelogres, Vore Angels, the Revenants; all kinds of the worst beasts of nightmare slowly moved to the inevitable slaughter.

    The Ghaur hit the front lines of Ildiri, and their ranks crumpled, bent, then resurged to hold the position they would soon die in. As the Moon Maidens fell in droves, the Spearmen became isolated from Ithil, whilst she sang what was said to be the most beautiful song ever sung. All eyes turned to her in lust, and she moved amongst her Maidens, as the Spearmen fell silent. As her words changed, the survivors melted away, ordered to save their own lives, and the Ghaur did not oppose them in this.

    Revenants fell upon her maidens, but they fought them to a standstill, for only the best of her warriors remained. One after another, the Ghaur assaulted her lines, even as she sang and cut down all of the beasts sent against her. True light shone from her very soul and her voice was joyous. Then a shadow fell upon her, as her lines buckled and were forced from her side. A Slaughterstar bent over her, hunched and deformed, the light of stars in it hungry maw. Ithil met it blow for blow, and her clothing became slick with blood, until her blade shattered and she sank to her knees. She remained defiant, and as the Slaughterstar pulled her up to devour her, she drove her broken blade in its face again and again, even as he tore her apart. Upon the moment of her death, the Slaughterstar fell, lifeless, savagely burnt by her purity, and a thousand Swallows streamed from the sky to gather her body, to take this last indignity from the expectant Ghaurchlai.

    Even the stars did not shine that night, and the Kingdom of Herons lay silent, save for the weeping of all that was good.






    Ilien - The Rose of War


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    LORE

    Basis of Ilien
    ILIEN was a General in charge of much of the constant warfare between the Western Federation and the Empire. Her victories were many and she never was routed from the field. A charismatic woman, she gathered her forces and won their hearts and adulation

    The Council of Nine knew this, and decided she was a huge threat to them. Voting 9 in favour, the Council issued orders to arrest her and bring her before them to 'answer questions'. She forbade her soldiers from preventing the arrest and they stood dumbfounded as she was led away.

    The next day soldiers arrived to arrest key members of her staff, but this time, the army reacted - some amongst knew they would become the next batch of fanatics in the famous Penal Battalions.

    In Strongpoint, the Western capital, the Council tortured Ilien, gaining information that showed her nature was contrary tot he Federation's 'principles' and was inherently dangerous to keep alive.

    Without any delay, they crucified Ilien on the walls of the huge fortress city. She would last longer than any had before her.

    Meanwhile, her soldiers revolted upon news of her fate. The arrest of their remaining leaders had failed and panic had nearly set in, but the news of their beloved 'Rose of War' being crucified had welded them to an iron fury. They knew that some of the Council’s new elites - Descati's Hounds - would come for them. Swiftly, the decision was made. 4000 men would march south to Strongpoint, whilst the remaining soldiers fortified their barracks further and prepared for the coming storm.

    Marching in stolen uniforms, the 4000 reached Strongpoint. In a swift attack, they managed to take Ilien from the walls, and they fled north, screened by the 600 cavalry lancers they had brought.

    On the march north they were attacked thrice. Each battle was won, but barely half of the rescue force remained in fighting capacity...at least 400 were wounded, some would die, and corpses littered the roads north.

    The fortress barracks of Castlerock had been under sustained by a number of Descati's Hounds and regular Federation forces. Ilien's men arrived to see the walls burning and under assault. Like a falcon, they fell upon the rear of the attackers, and broke them, slaughtering nigh on all of them. Any of Descati's brood were executed, but the deluded Federation prisoners were given leave to go or stay. Most stayed, swelling her ranks.

    Ilien did not die. She has recovered, and seeks answer to their future; they were now penned in on all sides. Would the Empire forgive her and welcome? This and other questions remain, as we watch the blossoming of the Rose of War.


    Ilien is the most famous and successful young general in Federation’s service, who has delivered countless crushing defeats to the Imperial forces in a long-dragging and gruesome border war. An orphan from a tiny mountain village and the best graduate of the Academy in Strongpoint, she had risen from a mere captain in a small and insignificant garrison to the commander of the entire Imperial front. Called the Rose of War by her followers as well as many enemies, she has personally forged and trained a regiment of veteran troops, who later nicknamed themselves Ilien’ s Roses, as a sign of their loyalty to their beloved general.
    Fully devoted to the proclaimed freedoms and Liberties of her state, she has soon come to see the true and ugly face of the ruling Council…
    The Council of the Nine, long since infested and controlled by the vile Ghaurchlai, feared Ilien’s influence in the army and what they saw as a rising threat to their power. After a brief meeting, they ordered her arrested and tortured on the walls of the Western Capital, proclaiming Ilien and all of her followers traitors and members of a secret plot to overthrow the legitimate Council. Yet despite all the odds, she survived. Terribly wounded and with the right hand cut by her tormentors, Ilien was rescued by her loyal soldiers, and is now leading what is for all intents and purposes a full-scale liberating movement, the war to free the people of Federation from the tyranny and horrors of the Council.

    The Rescue of Ilien
    When the carnage was over and the Federation forces were no more, the army retreated from the burning husk of Castlerock. At sunset, in the dim light of bloodied sun, tents and pavilions were set, and a busy camp spread on the hills.

    Then the rearguard arrived. Several hundred bloodstained, wounded, covered in thick mud and dust, yet unbroken, valiant men, the ones, who would later be known as the Blood of the Rose Company.

    They paced warily, slowly, gently carrying the general they snatched from the enemy’s claws, walking bent and hunched, as if carrying a heavy burden, though the body of Ilien then was light and weightless as a feather.

    And so they carried her to the camp, where the army awaited, and laid there in her simple rustic tent, for she had always detested luxury and extravagance.

    And the hearts of men of women, uplifted by the miraculous rescue, sunk even deeper than before, at the sight of the injuries, inflicted by her tormentors. (on such a young and full of life body)

    There she lay, the snow white blankets slowly turning crimson red, and nothing could be done to heal her terrible wounds, to stop the blood dripping from the maimed hand.

    Only by the sheer steely determination and unshakable will her soul still clung to the mutilated shell of her body, the breath coming ragged and faint, and the chief army surgeon looked dazed and confused, unable to counter foul Ghaurchlai magic with all years of his experience.

    The camp descended into silence, although the discipline hold fast, two dozen grim Petals encircled Ilien’s tent, and the Roses waited; waited for a miracle, or for more Federation troops to come and finish them off.

    History of Ilien
    Ilien, the woman who would lately be known by her enemies and adorers as the Rose of War, was raised in a small village on the border between the Western Federation and Empire. One dark and stormy night a priest of a local temple found a small and crying bundle on his threshold. He gently lifted it and carried inside, and unwrapping it cried in surprise when the red hair of the baby blazed in a faint candle light. He prophesied her to have a grand and bright future, and raised her with all love and care he could provide. Nobody knew who the girl’s parents were, but people whispered about the nearby village completely disappearing on the dark and stormy night…night like many others happening through the whole Federation.

    Ilien was by all means not an ordinary girl. Unlike her coaevals, she spent most of her free time reading whatever ancient books could be found in a modest temple archive, and listening to the stories of old war veterans and members of war parties passing through the village on their way to border forts.

    As soon as she turned sixteen, she enlisted and carved her way into the military academy in Strongpoint, the Western capital. Corrupted and patronage-driven, the Academy nevertheless still had several ‘true officers’, who seriously regarded the ancient right of women to enlist, declared as the Twentieth Great Liberty.

    Soon, despite her young age and slender build, few could match her in sword fencing and riding, as well as in tactical sessions. Graduated among the best, Ilien was sent to a remote and forgotten garrison on the northern border with the Empire.

    Despite the odds, Ilien saw it as an opportunity. Fiercely devoted to the Federation proclaimed principles of freedom and Liberties, she was deeply committed to maintaining and supporting them. With her enthusiasm and endless energy, the garrison was transformed. Reluctant and grumpy at first, the soldiers soon came to love and worship her, after the very first bloody skirmish, where Ilien personally led the desperate charge of her outnumbered troops and routed the stunned Imperials. Eyes under the bloodstained helmet shining and long red hair flowing in the wind, it was then that she was first named the Rose of War by her men.

    In a few years Ilien was a famous and victorious general in charge of much of the constant warfare between the Western Federation and the Empire. Many talented officers considered serving under her a great honour; with their help Ilien formed her own elite unit of veterans, who started calling themselves Ilien’s Roses – without doubt, the best regiment in the Federation, experienced, fiercely loyal and extremely skilled warriors.

    The Federation’s Council of Nine was not pleased by the rise of the young general. They saw her as a huge threat to their power and secret schemes being plotted in the rotten corpse of the Federation, where reality was as distant from the written Liberties as the Dragon from his warming sun.
    Voting 9 in favour, the Council issued orders to arrest Ilien and bring her before them to 'answer questions'. When the Council soldiers arrived, she forbade her men from interfering and they stood dumbfounded as she was led away. At first Ilien genially believed the arrest to be some sort of mistake…but the events that followed proved otherwise.

    The next morning soldiers came to take the members of Ilien’s staff, but then the army reacted - some amongst knew they would become the next batch of fanatics in the famous Penal Battalions.

    In Strongpoint the Council tortured Ilien, gaining ‘proof‘ that showed her nature was contrary to the Federation's 'principles' and was inherently dangerous to keep alive. It was then that she finally saw the Federation for all the evil it was...that the ideals and dogmas she followed all her conscious life were a ghost, a terrible and deadly lie. Then she swore aloud that she would make it alive no matter the costs, and reforge the Federation as it was meant to be, with just rulers and free people.

    Then the Council members swayed in fear, for the power of her voice ringed in the high hall of Strongpoint, and they heard their doom in her voice. Terrified, they cut Ilien’s right hand and crucified her on the black walls of the huge fortress city. She would last longer than any had before her.

    Meanwhile, her soldiers revolted upon news of her fate. The arrest of their remaining leaders had failed and panic had nearly set in, but the news of their beloved 'Rose of War' being crucified had welded them to an iron fury. They knew that some of the Council’s new elites - Descati's Hounds - would come for them. Swiftly, the decision was made. 4000 men would march south to Strongpoint, whilst the remaining soldiers fortified their barracks further and prepared for the coming storm.

    Marching in stolen uniforms, the 4000 reached Strongpoint. In a swift attack, they managed to take Ilien from the walls, and then fled north, screened by the 600 cavalry lancers they had brought.

    On the march north they were attacked thrice. Each battle was won, but at great cost, barely half of the rescue force remained in fighting capacity...at least 400 were wounded, some would die, and corpses littered the roads north.

    The fortress barracks of Castlerock had been under sustained attacks by a number of Descati's Hounds and regular Federation forces. Ilien's rescuers arrived to see the walls burning and under assault. Like a falcon, they fell upon the rear of the attackers, and broke them, slaughtering nigh on all of them. Any of Descati's brood were executed, but the deluded Federation prisoners were given leave to go or stay. Most stayed, swelling her ranks.

    Now the Roses found themselves in deadly peril. Their general dying, their comrades terribly wounded, pinned on all sides, they must find the way to survive and bring justice to the Council.





    Iryn Thaan - Windwakers and the Icekith


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    LORE

    Faction Intro/Lore-ical Overview
    The Iryn Thaan are the people of ice, a small kingdom of men who have stood against the Naugiri’s attempts at annihilating them for centuries. When the orcs have invaded their homeland, the outmatched people of Iryn Than fought valiantly, but were utterly defeated and fled to the north, pursued by their relentless and merciless foe. The harsh climate, constant skirmishes and the threat of total annihilation have forged them into hardy and skilled warriors. Though few of them remain today from the original population of a prosperous kingdom of far warmer and welcoming climate, they do not stand alone in their battle.
    Their inhuman allies are strange and many: the Awakened Snow Leopards and Serbire Tigers, distant northern kin of the Ferakine, the cat-folk; the Kithgaat Urune, grotesque snow monsters, terrible in their wrath; the Silent Death, spirits of the North Wind, floating through the battlefield in empty ancient armour; the Yaga Dai, the children of the 'Human' gods, forming the Dust Host, the most numerous and faithful of the Iryn Thaan allies. Their help, both military and in times of peace is what keeps the kingdom alive and enduring.
    The Kingdom has a number of scattered villages and only two settlements that deserve to be called cities: Iythaan, the citadel under ice, and Rutharr, the city of flying bridges. But great is their hatred towards the accursed Naugiri who drove them to die on the cold snow, and great will be their vengeance.

    Irynn Thaan Wlcome Text
    A blast of cold wind gusted through the dimly lit shadowy chamber, flapping old palatial tapestries and filling the air with hundreds of glittering snowflakes that started dancing around a dark figure of a man, standing at the high arched window. He was tall and powerfully built, with long salt and pepper dark hair, clad only in a thin black shirt and leather trousers and jacket, despite the chilling frost in the room. In the depths of his icy blue eyes dark shadows lurked, as he gazed into the endless blankness of the valley several miles below. Kail Walsey, the Lord of Iythaan and all People of Iryn Thaan, was deep in his thoughts. For decades now he has led his nation in its struggle for survival, each day marked on his weathered face; he has kept and strengthened alliances, inspired faith even when little was left in him, fought in endless clashes on clean snow stained by bright crimson. All these years his designs and plans were dedicated to one goal only: to deliver justice to his sworn mortal enemies, the Naugiri.

    And now all the carefully arranged schemes were being put into motion.

    In his frozen capital of Iythaan lights are burning bright. Shadows are moving on the cyclopic walls of ice, spears and swords sparkling like the morning frost-dew, as the last sons of Iryn Thaan are going to battle.

    In the haze-covered heights of Rutharr the Snow Ferakine are afoot, passing with graceful evenness through the lowered bridges and heading down into the valleys in a torrent of fur and steel.

    Under the thick crust of frozen snow the Kithgaat Urune are tumbling in their lairs, waking from a long and deep sleep to bellow their bone-chilling war cries into the skies, and follow the call of their ally.

    The mysterious powers are also moving in the great game that will decide the fate of his kingdom. Ice splits and ruptures as the hulking Icewyrds rise from their cold cradles, Ley crystals pulsing and sparkling inside. The Silent Death drift into the night, wings of the North Wind carrying them hissing in empty sockets of ancient helmets. The vast hosts of the Yaga Dai are on the march, their columns stretching beyond the horizon, ready as ever before to assist and support their human friends.

    All this might at his fingertips, but the shadows in Lord Walsey’s eyes were anticipation and concern. He couldn’t allow himself the luxury of doubt, yet with so much to gain, there was equally much to lose. The Naugiri were a terrible foe, and the victory against them could come at too great a cost…

    Lord Walsey stood at the high arched window, gazing into the unknown, and cold wind played in his hair.

    Ice Wyrds
    Icewyrds, the Avatars of the Ice, are amongst the most powerful and dangerous allies of Iryn Thaan. The Avatar is born in the deepest caverns of millennia-old jokulls and gletschers, when the elementals of water and ice find one of the Ley Crystals. They flock to it, drawn by its power and pulsing energy, and gather in droves, making the snow and ice grow and expand in odd patterns, and take vaguely humanoid, powerful forms.

    The Avatars of Ice possess only a rudimentary collective intelligence and are sought and brought to the battlefields by the Yaga Dai allies of the Iryn Thaan. Once directed though, they are a terrible foe, smashing through enemy formations and turning warriors into gory pulp under the heavy tramp of their feet.

    Their smooth ice armour is impenetrable to conventional weapons and the desperate strikes of terrified Naugiri leave only tiny dents and scratches on its cold blue surface. The only vulnerable point is a hollow space where amidst swirling and dancing lesser elementals the Ley Crystal floats in the air. When the Crystal is damaged or destroyed the Avatar collapses to the ground in a cloud of ice dust, and the elementals disperse into the atmosphere.

    At War With the Naugiri: How a Nation was Born
    WHen the Naugiri emerged from the dark places, crawling like insects from the broken earth in what was the grandiose Kingdom of Bethaladirn, they began a full assault upon the humans who lived there. The Kingdom had stood strong for centuries, battling against the mad Lindiri of the jungles to the south, warring with the warriors of Kalaiydan, the black skinned warriors who fought like demons - they had survived and prospered in the face of multiple and constant threats, even against other humans and kept the horrors of the Dusts away from their borders.

    Bethaladirn was one of the strongest of all human kingdoms, challenged only by the EMpire of Valerian at it's height, the EMpire that lay in the unknown lands beyond the maelstroms of the deeper waters, vast whirling sea storms caused by the Deepwater Ildiri in their homes.

    Then the earth split asunder, and the Naugiri came in their tens of thousands. It was a war of extermination, but the King of Bethaladirn could not grasp this for some time. They fought them in fields and forests, across rivers, where the great Rune Carapaces breached their lines, and knights and men fell in heaps. In the forests they were slaughtered, in the lowlands and fields they held for a time, but villages fell, city walls were broken and the kingdom fought for several years before the hope faded - they had won battles, but were losing settlement after settlement, and the King devised his desperate plan after the nobles began to leave to die with their families instead of holding as an army.

    He took a large portion of his forces that remained and marched south. What he could gather of his people, he sent north, and he died on a nameless hill whilst they fled. Many would not leave, and many argued against the madness that was become reality - they all died. Some survived for years, some died quickly, but the son of the King moved northwards, gathering what he could of the people that lay in his path. Behind him, the Naugiri thundered, and the kingdom was being splintered at an increasing rate as they moved, yet they kept ahead of the Naugiri.

    He moved to join the fleet that had been sent to Aederis, but found that destroyed, huge Rune Carapaces towering above the burning waters. The pace was slow; he had women, children, frail, elderly, and they were forced to slow to a crawl. Ever the orcs harried them, and many died in delaying actions, but they were joined by nobles of the east, who had finally realised that this was the only hope. His numbers bolstered, the Prince began to fight more heavily in his sharp-minded battles. The host that had become simple refugees edged northwards, and the Prince fought every day to stem the Naugiri. Thankfully, the rest of the Kingomd held in places as they moved north, and he felt no sadness that they foolishly resisted; this simply bought him more time.

    After a year and a half of retreat, they finally reached the end of their journey; snow and ice awaited them, and the King had reasoned this would stop the Naugiri, as it held no value. He was wrong, of course, but the refugees celebrated.

    The next two years saw the refugees pushed ver further into the ice, but the Naugiri were not made for these conditions - however, neither were the men of Bethaladirn at first; they however, at least proved more adaptable, and the weak had already died long before.

    The Prince died in the Ice, caught by three armies of Naugiri at last, his clever strategies at an end. All that remained were seven noble families, and they took the train of their people northwards. All seems lost when scouts reported having discovered a large ice structure that was hollow, leading into a dip that held a strange city, a thing of metal and ice...walls of the two combined, intertwined, fused by the cold.

    This city bore a massive gateway, heavily fortified, but the gate lay open, it's housing bearing words in a an alien tongue...simply unintelligable, yet the characters and strokes that made up whatever it was the words said simply looked to the scouts like 'Iryn Than'. It was, most importantly empty, as far as they could tell, and the Nobles pounced on it like feral cats. Swiftl, they moved their people to the city, and the gates slammed in the face of the naugiri that followed.

    The city was besieged, but it was an odd place. Water ran hot throughout the houses, and in wells in streets; there were strange plants that mostly appeared to not be poisonous and the refugees spent the first months of the siege simply exploring. The Naugiri could not find a way in, for so much beyond the walls was closed off, the ice gripping the land like iron; even their run carapaces were rebuffed. Then the men of this new home found the massive graveyard under the city, and they were joined by the Yaga Dai. Not much is told of this, but it appears that the ghosts of the dead came to aid them. Many declare them sent by the humans' old gods, which is entirely possible, but they came to aid the humans of Iryn Than, host materialising in places all over the city. Like shadows, they fell upon the Naugiri, and they were pushed out. However, they returned; the entirety of the old kingdom was gone before they returned, and their numbers were appalling.

    Yet the people of Iryn Than had hope, for they had made strange allies. To their cause had come the Kith of the Ice...Leopards that could be ridden, ones that walked like men; great white Bears that bore riders of the Iryn Than. Many beasts of the Ice came to them in lasting alliance, and they began a new kingdom - the intelligence and wit of the beasts were a wonder, and they became firm friends, fighting for this new world, for the beasts of the Kith could not see the Naugiri as friends.

    Now, a century has passed since they found the city, since hope was rekindled, the people of Iryn Than have forged a nation...a small nation, yet a strong one in it's roots. The Orcs have been beaten in many battles, yet they still come - not all battles are won, but enough have been, and the Naugiri bleed heavily for their victories, few as they are. Danger remains constant, yet there is life here in the ice. There is warmth; of friendship and of food and water - of strange herbs and tastes, but it is an acceptable existence for the folk of Iryn Thaan.

    The Prison of Ice
    The Battle of Saden Fields was done. tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands lay dead, piled up, fields were scorched beyond recognition by dragonfire, Imperial mages had sent rolling waves of flame at their foe, abyssal magic scarred the ground in pits and troughs of black ichor, and Dwarven Gnomes stood still at last, defiant to the last, now nothing more than simple statues, pitted and scarred, their makers lying dead around them in haphazard mounds of corpses.

    The final push to end the battle had come from the Ildiri and the Void Knights. A lone Seeker Knight had reached Prince Allaendiel to bring word of a key phrase of the Elohim text, translated in a blaze of clarity mere days before. It told of the weakness to water of the Abyss, about the nature of it's vulnerability to running water, fresh water, even sea water to a lesser degree.

    AT the final point, when the Dragons were spent, Valerian borne away, the Gnomes silent, all seemed futile. The last of the Ildiri wrought a massive sorcery, abetted by the sacrifice of the remaining water Avatars, who gave their essence for the spell.

    Miles away from the field of death, waters began to respond. Rivers began to bend their path, waters flowed up hills and across fields, swamp water from Nidon Hal fumed and spat as it writhed to the tune of the Ildiri magics. It slowly built upon itself, as more and more water moved, at greater speeds, frenetic, hungry, driven, it surged in a flood into the Saden Fields. Water flowed into the opened nest of the Ghaur, it swirled about the shattered regiments of man, dragged screaming Ghaurchlai under it's frothy surface and dragged them, spitting and fizzing into a growing poll of fresh water that spiralled into the nest, dragging most of the Darkness with it.

    None records the fate of those Ghaur that were not dragged under the roiling waters, but one can assume they met with an end fitting to their disgusting existence.

    AT the end of the battle, there were drowned mean and elves clogging ditches and the Ghaur bodies of the slain seemed to have been dissolved by the flood, cleansed, but the true victory over the entropic remnants of the angelic Celesti was not to come yet. The bodies in the Nest were not dead, just dormant, and a solution was needed. A way had to be found to seal this threat away for good. Killing all of the Ghaur was not an option, and their very presence would poison all eventually, so they needed to be discarded, to do no more harm.

    The solution was found by the Ildiri Channelers, who sent mariners to find their kin of old. This is not recorded anywhere, and there is no joyous reunion, but they returned with an idea, enough to work, but an idea that would exhaust all reserves of the Ildiri magics, and need the participation of a large part of the avatar powers that held domain over water. The Ildiri would fashion a polar cap in the South, much as the one in the north, made from fresh water, dragged by massive amounts of power and sacrifice, to build layer upon layer of glassy, terrible ice. A prison was wrought that took an entire continent to be made. These men and women were driven, and it is said that many perished through exhaustion, malnutrition, all kinds of woes, but it was eventually finished, and the Imperial fleet began to ship the Ghaur they could reach across to this Ice cap. It is said that tens upon tens of thousands were taken and entombed.

    Only one record details why the Ghaur were not simply slain; 'the Ghaur and the Abyss were never to be friends, and to exterminate the entirety of the Celesti would be likened to undo all of the magic in the world. One day the enemy of your enemy can become the deciding factor that saves all. DO not look to this as salvation, but merely an abstinence of hatred, a grace that is not deserved, but is a person's only recourse should they wish to remain untouched by what they have endured'

    For those that survived, this made the only sense the world had left to give.





    The Sun King - Kingdom of the Salient Sun


    FACTION UNITS









    LORE

    The people of the Sun King, for so long, had to refer to themselves as an Imperial Protectorate. Their young men marched to foreign wars, dying on the spears of the Federation, Ashapur, even falling to the Ghaurchlai , and the people grieved for them. Upon their return, after ten years of indenture, they were treated fairly, given land and a start at life, but they still lost their early years, and they knew their children in their time would do the same. To many who were given land, the feeling that is was theirs in the first place persisted. Of course, there were those who weren't called to war, and some who wished it too.

    All knew the Sun King's line had persisted, and were aware that he would return, but hopes faded early on, until the Prince Asphaelian Dawnsong came from the mountains. The segments of society mobilised, Young Sons digging up forbidden arms and armour, The Moon Huntress Sect rallying from hiding, having mounted a secret war for decades. The Lions of Eryn marched with their King, the Exilians, Scyllan Devourers and others, and from the preservations came the Rhuagh cat-folk. The Sun Kingdom was ever a place for peace and plenty, yet, within two weeks, it was in full revolt. There were many small clashes. Some places were true to the Empire, and the skirmishes and violence crackled across the land. Some towns fell to their own people, some fought the Sun King, others rallied to him as a whole.

    A surprisingly low casualty count was inherent in this rebellion. Many estimate the dead to be less than twelve thousand in all, most military. Should this event happen anywhere else, the count would be ten times that many. All Legion garrisons that went peacefully were allowed to leave. Few resisted long, asked each day for their departure, before any fighting began. With the Naugiri exploding onto the scene, there were many other things occupying the Empire, and the Warden of the East was simply grateful for the mercy of additional troops from the garrisons. Naugiri who probed the Sun Kingdom were killed mercilessly, as they were seen as demons. One part of Sun Kingdom heritage is the Styxian Guard, who ward the world from demons, and they reacted strongly. They watch the borders in the north, and not for Imperial threats; they see the Naugiri as the Ghaurchlai were, and the Haladin had been hunting the Sun Prince for years.

    Life in the Kingdom of the Salient Sun is good. For the average 'peasant' it is probably the best life outside the Empire, and, in many ways, better than much of the Empire. It is a good place to live in; tall grasses, rich crops, fishing is plentiful and the wars of many do not come here. But they will. The King has taken his land back, but lives on the edge of panic, as he sees much his people do not. In his private moments he sometimes doubts his ability to rule, and sometimes wishes he had never come forth to his people. The only allies he can find may well be the Empire. There are no Elves here, no Dwarves or any others, and he worries. Once, however, there was peace and more with the Lindiri, and the Rhuagh press him to attempt their favour, as they bred the cat-folk at the dawn of time. Isolated and alone, yet there is vast strength in this land; mainly in it's people, who are good people, and the strong backbone of a skilled military.

    Faction Intro/Lore-ical Overview
    Simply known as 'The Rebellion' by the empire, the realm of the Sun King became a part of the Empire after all city-states were assaulted simultaneously. Spurhawks swiftly gained control of the walls, and huge war engines smashed gates in and rained fire upon the defenders.

    Quickly taken, the Sun King capitulated, escaped and went into exile within his own realm. For many years the youth of the Sun Kingdom went to war for the empire - the 'Young Shields', returning after at least ten years of service. This system was the undoing of the Empire in the east however, for they had thousands of veteran soldiers in the wake of the indentured service.

    With this base of fighting men, the Sun King, Lyscila, gathered the Ferakine to him - very few of these awakened/ bipedal cats dwelled within the city state of Ruhr any more, and he gathered them swiftly from their places of hiding. With these accomplished forces, he struck at the city garrisons with at least three times their number. Swiftly, the city states were relieved of all Imperial forces, and the Rebellion had started.

    The lands of the Sun King now gather all to hem. The Lions of Eryn have gathered; Icarine Knights; the dour Exilian Guard - all have come to the banner of their beloved King. Few know where this will take them, but the Sun King is prepared for war![CONTENTBOX]

    Last edited by Shankbot de Bodemloze; March 12, 2013 at 02:22 PM.

  4. #4
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: UNIT and LORE Preview part 1 RELEASED

    I haven't read through it all.... but it looks amazing.

    +rep

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    oelewapper's Avatar Tiro
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    Default Re: UNIT and LORE Preview part 1 RELEASED

    I just discovered this mod, and I have to say.....WHAT CAN I SAY? IT'S ******* INCREDIBLE!!!!! All those lovely factions, all those lovely units!!!! It's a wave of awesomeness!!

    EDIT: +REP!
    Call of Warhammer

    Dragonborn Total War

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    deusvult6's Avatar Cornicularius
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    Default Re: UNIT and LORE Preview part 1 RELEASED

    Well, that took a little while, had to take a few breaks for RL stuff, but it was every bit awesome. You guys have clearly put some intensive thought into this to say nothing of the work necessary to realize it. This is an exhaustively deep and thoroughly interesting lore base. Well done and keep it up! Now I'm off to read Part 2.

    Some questions. If they're answered in the next one, don't bother.
    With regards to the setting, is it right after the emergence of the Naugiri? So that the Iryn Thaan and the Sun Kingdom are only newly established?

    Will some of the races, peoples, and creatures mentioned as existing on the separate continents which were previously shown be featured in-game? I don't expect emergent factions (although that'd be cool too) but as mercenaries available perhaps in the port cities to appropriate factions?

    PS. Man, I really wanted to see what the Cthonae look like. Looking forward to it.
    What's life like if you don't take a chance now and then? ~ Matrim Cauthon

  7. #7
    Squeaks's Avatar Being All Mimsy
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    Default Re: UNIT and LORE Preview part 1 RELEASED

    Quote Originally Posted by Shankbot de Bodemloze View Post
    I haven't read through it all.... but it looks amazing.

    +rep
    Thanks Shankbot...you've been great in all this

    Quote Originally Posted by oelewapper View Post
    I just discovered this mod, and I have to say.....WHAT CAN I SAY? IT'S ******* INCREDIBLE!!!!! All those lovely factions, all those lovely units!!!! It's a wave of awesomeness!!

    EDIT: +REP!
    Well, the thing, to get here, has taken 13 years, on and off. It's very gratifying to get comments quite as excitable as this

    Quote Originally Posted by deusvult6 View Post
    Well, that took a little while, had to take a few breaks for RL stuff, but it was every bit awesome.
    Cool! Like I said, thirteen years, on and off, to get here. We've worked together here a lot. Text has had input from many people (Borissomeone, Bandit KS, Willowran, Torvus, Beregond, and others); all of it has had many people to get anywhere with it. That's quite dedicated of you, to read it all. We'bve tried very hard to make it so not everyone has to look at all factions, cos we thought they would definitely lose interest...you're living proof that not everyone wants to avoid it...

    You guys have clearly put some intensive thought into this to say nothing of the work necessary to realize it. This is an exhaustively deep and thoroughly interesting lore base. Well done and keep it up! Now I'm off to read Part 2.
    Yep. I kind of jump from obsessive to dead. If I read bits from years ago, I always surprise myself, as I find little bits of paper with cool things scrawled on them. Sometimes I wonder quite where all that came from. Willow and Bandit have done TONS to collect and store, and make better of various things. They both have factions they LOVE too, and are quite fanatical about them.

    Some questions. If they're answered in the next one, don't bother.
    With regards to the setting, is it right after the emergence of the Naugiri? So that the Iryn Thaan and the Sun Kingdom are only newly established?
    Uhm...it's in the next one I would think, but, yes, the Naugiri have only been here a while. Iryn Thaan are a lot older. Sun Kingdom is ancient, but newly free.

    Will some of the races, peoples, and creatures mentioned as existing on the separate continents which were previously shown be featured in-game?
    Well, the Eolhim come from there and fight for Ilien and Lian Elune, and they only have 3 units between them at present - will have more. The last Celesti MAY jump in, but they're few. That's a really tough one. At the moment no. What would be wonderful would be the flying cities of the Aetheri, or the floating Ildiri ones, as they could move around the map..not doable

    I don't expect emergent factions (although that'd be cool too) but as mercenaries available perhaps in the port cities to appropriate factions?
    Maybe. It's all possible and doable. Emergent factions...well, the CHitkinne and CThonae are, I guess.

    PS. Man, I really wanted to see what the Cthonae look like. Looking forward to it.
    Certainly Cthonae, many Ghaurchlai and many Lizard units won't be shown until the release. It's for many reasons, one of which will be shock value...they should be something else indeed, if they all work as they should.

  8. #8
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: UNIT and LORE Preview part 1 RELEASED

    Thanks.

    I've had a chance to read through everything, and despite the fact I have almost no knowledge of Dragonborn it sounds (and looks) amazing. The Iryn Thaan is my favourite so far.

    +rep

  9. #9
    HTVfanatic's Avatar Vexillifer
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    Default Re: UNIT and LORE Preview part 1 RELEASED

    Yes I can't wait to play as the Iryn Thaan after reading this, so excited!

  10. #10
    deusvult6's Avatar Cornicularius
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    Default Re: UNIT and LORE Preview part 1 RELEASED

    Thanks for the reply!

    I'm tied between the Iryn Thaan and the Fennweyr with Badabaska as a close third myself. All underdogs, aren't they? I have some tough campaigns ahead of me.
    What's life like if you don't take a chance now and then? ~ Matrim Cauthon

  11. #11
    Kaiser Leonidas's Avatar Lord of the Cheese
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    Default Re: UNIT and LORE Preview part 1 RELEASED

    Quote Originally Posted by deusvult6 View Post
    I'm tied between the Iryn Thaan and the Fennweyr with Badabaska as a close third myself. All underdogs, aren't they? I have some tough campaigns ahead of me.
    All of those factions definitely start out as underdogs. But once you defeat the Naugiri/Principality/Ghaurchlai and whoever else these factions start at war with then they should be able to get very powerful. So all you need to do is beat a much more powerful faction right from the start and then you'll be fine .

    I'd say that my favourite factions at the moment are the Sun King, the Bandit Kingdom and the Wolfborn but I'll probably end up trying out every faction anyway because they all look fantastic .

    Quote Originally Posted by Shankbot de Bodemloze View Post
    Thanks.

    I've had a chance to read through everything, and despite the fact I have almost no knowledge of Dragonborn it sounds (and looks) amazing. The Iryn Thaan is my favourite so far.

    +rep
    Quote Originally Posted by HTVfanatic View Post
    Yes I can't wait to play as the Iryn Thaan after reading this, so excited!
    Iryn Thaan sound pretty popular at the moment .

  12. #12
    Squeaks's Avatar Being All Mimsy
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    Default Re: UNIT and LORE Preview part 1 RELEASED

    Quote Originally Posted by Shankbot de Bodemloze View Post
    Thanks.

    I've had a chance to read through everything, and despite the fact I have almost no knowledge of Dragonborn it sounds (and looks) amazing. The Iryn Thaan is my favourite so far.

    +rep
    Thanks. Iryn Thaan is a cool little bunch. The weird little bunches are cool, because they have all these odd units. Once you have the humans, then the Ice Weirds, the Yaga Dai 'Windwakers' (dead hosts) and the icekith (leopards to ride and leopard-human warriors), you do have quite an odd mix. Mind you, they're needed to hurt the Naugiri, although they might be busy elsewhere anyway. It'd be nice to make it rather random as to who the naugiri go for.

    Quote Originally Posted by HTVfanatic View Post
    Yes I can't wait to play as the Iryn Thaan after reading this, so excited!
    They were the most difficult to do; after knowing I wanted them, they became a difficult one to make interesting, as they'd be awful if they weren't interestingly odd.

    Quote Originally Posted by deusvult6 View Post
    Thanks for the reply!
    If that was from me, then glad, otherwise someone else has picked up the job .

    I'm tied between the Iryn Thaan and the Fennweyr with Badabaska as a close third myself. All underdogs, aren't they? I have some tough campaigns ahead of me.
    I HOPE these three will be the most fun out of all of them funnily enough. I like them loads. There are a couple of others just as strange, but these three are simply the most 'open' and challenging.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaiser Leonidas View Post
    All of those factions definitely start out as underdogs. But once you defeat the Naugiri/Principality/Ghaurchlai and whoever else these factions start at war with then they should be able to get very powerful. So all you need to do is beat a much more powerful faction right from the start and then you'll be fine .
    I'm naff all good at playing the game, so I'd have to rely on everyone else. When the Badabaskans are attacked, and the Gnomes come out of the walls to defend them will be a COOL moment. I hope that the Iryn Thaan start getting the more powerful Yaga Dai 'dead' units at a nice pace too. Some of them will be interesting, if done right.

    Fennweyr will be lovely....all the hidden units and Avatars and other stuff; the ancient world, the Deeper Magic, will begin to awaken as they begin to grow themselves territorially, so you'll find new units based of WHERE you conquer.

    I'd say that my favourite factions at the moment are the Sun King, the Bandit Kingdom and the Wolfborn but I'll probably end up trying out every faction anyway because they all look fantastic .
    Sun King is a love of mine. I like most, but I wouldn't play the Haladin, Ghaur or CThonae I doubt. The smaller ones will be nice, and the Elves and the older factions too. For sheer power, the EMpire will be great, unless civil war happens, in which case it won't be very nice. Even without that, the EMpire will be constantly pressed to survive. IF we get this right, then all of them should be brilliant fun. Luckily that's not my job at all really.

    Chitkinnen should be much better than they might seem to be.

    Iryn Thaan sound pretty popular at the moment .
    Yep.

    I will warn people that I am going to be not really here for a while. If I don't, then it'll be a disaster. SO, don't expect a huge amount of stuff from me. There will be the TWC staff-stuff, which will show a lot more off, but I will be limited for 'blegh' amount of time. Rest assured that the mod will continue and roll on, whether I'm there or not.

    Thanks for the response to this effort. It's very nice

  13. #13
    deusvult6's Avatar Cornicularius
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    Default Re: UNIT and LORE Preview part 1 RELEASED

    Quote Originally Posted by Squeaks View Post
    Fennweyr will be lovely....all the hidden units and Avatars and other stuff; the ancient world, the Deeper Magic, will begin to awaken as they begin to grow themselves territorially, so you'll find new units based of WHERE you conquer.
    That's a cool mechanic. So often, the unique units for each faction are only available to the home regions and the places you expand to can only produce the blaise generic ones, which makes things a little boring after a while.

    Take care on your time off.
    What's life like if you don't take a chance now and then? ~ Matrim Cauthon

  14. #14
    Emrys's Avatar Pili Posterior
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    Default Re: UNIT and LORE 2013 Preview part 1 RELEASED

    I must applaud you on this amalgamation of creativity and talent. You and your team has done a superb job in everything from the models, textures, mapping, and story. It looks amazing right now and I eagerly await the release of this beautiful creation.

    I especially am interested in Illian and Liane Elune as factions. Their hard pressed beginnings appeal to me for some reason...
    Wulf -- Aldrich -- Beric -- Charles

  15. #15
    Squeaks's Avatar Being All Mimsy
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    Default Re: UNIT and LORE 2013 Preview part 1 RELEASED

    Quote Originally Posted by deusvult6 View Post
    That's a cool mechanic. So often, the unique units for each faction are only available to the home regions and the places you expand to can only produce the blaise generic ones, which makes things a little boring after a while.
    Sure. The difference will probably be climate or similarly based. I'm thinking of maybe a dozen different ones, based on where you are at the time. There's the whole thing of Avatars anyway, so this almost falls into that in some ways.

    Take care on your time off.
    Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Emrys View Post
    I must applaud you on this amalgamation of creativity and talent. You and your team has done a superb job in everything from the models, textures, mapping, and story. It looks amazing right now and I eagerly await the release of this beautiful creation.
    I hope it's done as best as everyone can possibly make it. It will be, of course, so that might be enough It does make a difference when people enjoy what's being done.


    I especially am interested in Illian and Liane Elune as factions. Their hard pressed beginnings appeal to me for some reason...
    Yep. The smaller and weirder ones are probably the most interesting, judging from reactions. None are ones that aren't worth a good go at, which is where it does do it's job. I don't think any of them are 'fillers' or boring, so you might just be surprised by a lot of the ones that may not immediately jump out. Even the big ones are unique enough. Where there's a possibility of 'too much' power in a large faction, there are counter-measures to make it not like that at all. I think the main difference between large, medium and small factions is going to be management. BIG factions have a lot of settlements, but are also pushed hard on most fronts, which might be a little confusing if you leap straight into them without any idea. I'd like the big factions to ease you into them a little more, and build and build into a massive struggle, and the smaller to throw you into the action immediately, then level off slightly. If you overcome their main enemy then another will soon introduce itself. There shouldn't be a 'what the hell do I do now?' factor in it. Kadasandra is probably the most secure faction early on, in some ways, but it won't last.

    Off to curl up again.

  16. #16
    Macrath's Avatar Hastatas Prior
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    Default Re: UNIT and LORE 2013 Preview part 1 RELEASED

    Amazing Of all the mods on TWC this is the one mod I simply can not wait to play.. And from the looks of the previews it is being put together very well. really in need of a new fantasy mod

    Best wishes on development. Hope to have something to play in the near future

  17. #17
    Squeaks's Avatar Being All Mimsy
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    Default Re: UNIT and LORE 2013 Preview part 1 RELEASED

    Quote Originally Posted by Macrath View Post
    Amazing Of all the mods on TWC this is the one mod I simply can not wait to play.. And from the looks of the previews it is being put together very well. really in need of a new fantasy mod

    Best wishes on development. Hope to have something to play in the near future
    Hi...I'm trying to catch up on these things today...

    Hopefully you will have something to mess with fairly soon. Someone will re-release the battles soon, with largely updated sections, and then more after that...as the battles stood, they were dodgy, but that's my lack of concentration on these things Certainly it was down to me being an idiot and not having the wotsit to sort them out. Hope to have some news within a week or so on a few things; just waiting on some more competent people than me

  18. #18
    DaedalusTW's Avatar Yari-hei
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    Default Re: UNIT and LORE 2013 Preview part 1 RELEASED

    Wow, this looks absolutely amazing. I haven't had a chance to read it all yet, but I am definitely going to have to find the time. It's mods like these that keep Med 2 going, keep up the good work I am definitely looking forward to the release.

  19. #19
    Squeaks's Avatar Being All Mimsy
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    Default Re: UNIT and LORE 2013 Preview part 1 RELEASED

    Quote Originally Posted by DaedalusTW View Post
    Wow, this looks absolutely amazing. I haven't had a chance to read it all yet, but I am definitely going to have to find the time. It's mods like these that keep Med 2 going, keep up the good work I am definitely looking forward to the release.
    Thanks The first release will be smaller - just 8 factions, as it makes a release much more 'soon' and everyone wants to do that...even a smaller release will be great if it's quicker.

  20. #20
    Tiro
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    Default Re: UNIT and LORE 2013 Preview part 1 RELEASED

    ok umm, finish the damn game so I can play ) +rep awaiting your marching orders!

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