Zal'Kazzir's Stuff he knows

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***EYES ONLY*** This is a specialized "lorebook" of all things that would be immediately available (without skill checks) for the character. Things will be posted as they come up or are asked about. Players other than this character SHOULD NOT read this information.

Players can and SHOULD add to this page the things they KNOW from the stories and events they've been in. Please break it down into the sections noted below - Feel free to add sections as you like.

You may also ask for any information, and based on situation or skill checks that info will/or will not be placed on this page.

You WILL abide by the LAWS OF SHADOW

This is your Daily Life Under the Shadow




Baden's Bluff & the Region[edit]

Baden's Bluff Societal Structure as Zal'Kazzir knows it
the Baden's Bluff region
Baden's Bluff proper
The city of Baden’s Bluff crowns a wide peninsula that juts out into the mockingly serene azure waters of the Sea of Pelluria. The bluff is the last in a series of gentle hills that march north from the River Orh, a rich land blessed with fertile soil and good weather. The estates that the Dorn and Erenlander nobility once held here were famed for their splendid orchards, finely bred livestock, and vineyards that were the envy of the kingdom. Now, once grand manors lie in overgrown ruin or are occupied by traitorous usurpers who serve the Shadow and call themselves lords. The fine flocks and herds are gone, the pasturelands and orchards are reclaimed by the wilds, and the scions of the true lords are dead or live in secrecy among the winding back alleys of Baden’s Bluff. Towns that once dotted this pleasant land lie in echoing abandonment or have become slums where the race of men sinks into fearful ignorance, forgetting who they were and why they had once been proud. The rural folk whose ancestors lived free under the benign auspices of House Baden now eke out cruel lives as serfs forced to toil in servitude to traitors and black-hearted legates. They see little return for their back-breaking labors as the legates’ tithe-masters take most of what they grow to feed Izrador’s growing armies. Meanwhile the hateful orcs arrive from the north in never-ending numbers, their howls and the fearful beating of drums often filling the night air as they march along the Road of Ruin to the war fronts of Erethor.
Where the blue waters of the southern Sea of Pelluria meet the rocky shoreline, a broad peninsula protrudes into a deceptively gentle sea, its length crenulated by gentle hills cloaked with dreaming woods and pleasant pastures that have long provided a bounty as rich as the sea that lies beneath them. At the tip of this promontory a bluff of gray stone rears above the water; clinging to its sides and crowning its summit is the city of Baden’s Bluff. The west side of the bluff faces the open waters of the Sea of Pelluria, its surface pockmarked by ledges and mine shafts and scarred by the working faces of long defunct quarry works. The shallower tunnels and excavations are now used by the most destitute of the Bluff’s residents as squalid tenements. On the northern and eastern flanks, the ground rises less severely and is carved by a maze of canals and alleyways that make up the Tidewood district. The northern part of this district is the claustrophobic shantytown of the Worm Docks, bound by rotting piers and the sea in the north and the broad Aransway canal to the southeast. Home to dour Dornish fishermen and grim-faced laborers, the Worm Docks are rumored to be the last dominion of the Badens in exile. The Stone Docks lie on the other side of the Aransway canal. Here is the true port of Baden’s Bluff, where ships have for centuries found safe harbor behind the dwarf-built sea wall. Occupying the north-easterly flanks of the Bluff, the craftsmen and merchant quarters of Guildall and the Well make up the Bellows District. Clinging precariously to the northern face, the slums known as the Steep provide shelter of sorts to the downtrodden and desperately poor. These are the squalid breeding grounds of disease, misery, and violence—they are Izrador’s benedictions, and are tools used well by his black priests. Beyond Guildall, the plentiful inns of Hearthhome lie in crowded and incongruous proximity to a bewildering number of sinister temples and shrines to the dark god. Along with the administrative quarter of Kingshand and its imposing halls and governmental offices, and the dilapidated residences of Weirhold, Hearthhome forms the district of Leewall. Above it all, the once splendid Baden Court crowns the bluff, and within its walls pretenders, sycophants, and bastards squat in the Badens’ palace, acting out a charade of governance and power. On the delicate balustrades of the graceful Spire, a winged horror squats where elven diplomats and emissaries once gazed at the stars. Corruption and menace hang over Baden’s Bluff like a bilious cloud, and from its gates march a seemingly endless horde of orcs, newly alighted at the Stone Docks and on their way to war against the fey in Erethor.

The road that leads to the Burning Line passes through the wooded hills of the peninsula and traverses the borderlands bound on one side by the forests of Erethor and on the other by the Westland plains. To the east and west of the port city, the land rolls away in a series of low hills that follow the coastline, providing a northern edge to vast plains that stretch to the lush Eren River Valley in the east and the shores of the Ardune in the south. The Shadow’s grip is felt in the hill country, where the once multitudinous towns and villages of Erenland lie largely in ruin and the proud men and women of the kingdom eke out pitiful lives of servitude and toil. Only in the sea of tall sword grass can men and the last remaining halflings snatch some freedom from the Shadow’s tyranny, but their existence is a hounded one as orc bands led by traitorous men hunt them through the plains.
The Baden’s Bluff district stretches south and east from the Green March in an almost 200-mile arc around the city. Officially, Count Halrion, the bastard Baden, rules Baden’s Bluff, the largest human city on the southern coast of the Pelluria.

Baden's Bluff Districts[edit]

  • Leewall
    • Weirhold
    • Hearthhome
  • The Crown
    • The Spire
    • Baden Court
    • The Watch
    • Kingshand
  • The Bellows
    • The Well
    • Guildall
    • The Steeps
  • Tidewood
    • Stone Docks
    • Worm Docks
    • The Quarries



There is a cry across the shattered land of Eredane, one that cannot be heard by mortal ears. The spirits of the land itself are wracked by the pain of Izrador’s triumph and by the vampiric lust with which he drains the magic from the world. Some say that Aryth herself is responding to the Shadow’s rape of all life and energy. She cannot do so directly, they say, and she has therefore chosen messengers, warriors and champions of her cause.
Others suggest that these adventurers simply come to the forefront via fate, luck, or determination. These have the blood of angels and devils in their veins or can trace their ancestry to giants, lycanthropes, or any number of other magical creatures. It is only natural, these storytellers say, that such exceptional folk will come to the forefront of the fight against the Shadow.
Regardless of the source of these powers, each person follows her own path, one determined by the unique expression of her abilities. Some may choose to follow their destinies, while others will deny the gifts they have been given. However, these are not professions, religions, or skills . . .
they are part of who the character is. It is these powers, and the choices and responsibilities that come with them, that set the PCs apart from all of the other individuals in the world of MIDNIGHT. And it is those choices and responsibilities that define the PCs, for good or ill, as heroes.
Heroic paths are one of the few edges that characters in MIDNIGHT have, but it is a potent one. Some hone their skills to best utilize their path; for instance, someone born to the naturefriend heroic path is quite likely to find himself becoming a wildlander. On the other hand, some heroic paths can have surprising effects on a character; the most peaceful channeler may suddenly find herself directing seasoned warriors in combat.

Pathwalker: Seers[edit]

Seers are gifted with second sight, an ancient and mysterious gift. Visions come to them in their sleep, as they fill their canteens in clear, reflective pools, and in self-induced trances. Seer characters are often introspective, searching always within themselves for the answers they cannot glean from their visions.
Sight: The seer can divine information from an object, place, or person that she is touching.

Mystery and Magic[edit]

Magic Restriction Rules

Magic is as much a part of the world as wood and earth, water and air. Just as felling a tree or carving a stone requires the sweat of labor, so too does the working of magic tax the craftsman who would wield it. Whether one would learn and master a magic, harness that magic in the casting of a spell, or bind the magic in the enchantment of a material object, the sorcerer must always invest some of his own essence and vitality in his art. The student of magic must learn that a true channeler does not master a power or force outside himself, but rather one that comes from within. —Suruliam of Caradul, The Art of Magic

Aradil’s Eye[edit]

The Witch Queen of Erethor watches over the face of Eredane from her scrying chambers in the heart of the Arbor. With the war against Izrador closing in around her, even the queen’s legendary powers have been taxed, and she has been forced to rely on more mundane methods to gather information. This has led to the creation of Aradil’s Eyes, an elite organization of elven trackers and spies who can go to all corners of Eredane in search of information about the Night Kings and their forces.

Mysteries of Magic[edit]

From the ancient wisdom of the elves, we know that magic flows through all the world. Our world is made up not only of things that we can easily grasp, but also of forces that are often concealed from our view and apprehension. These things, too, are touched by the magic of Aryth. This magic flows through time, through the long history of the world, and it colors and even guides the lives of men and the course of nations. This is the magic of fate.
The world of Aryth is not just the ground below us, the sky above us, and all things in between, it is the thread of destiny that leads us from our past, through our present, and into our future. And just as the magic of Aryth seeks a just and proper balance in the natural world, so too does it seek order in history. The world has a destiny that is right for it, that belongs to it, and the magic of Aryth is always searching for this destiny, reaching for it, blindly but with great purpose. The rare men and women who stand at the crossroads of this magic, who shake the foundations of kingdoms and turn the course of events, we call heroes. When the Shadow in the North corrupted the Night Kings, it was not merely a corruption of mortal men, but a corruption of the magic of fate and destiny.
But the magic of Aryth has not been stilled. Even in this dark time, it strives to find its proper course once again. Just as the mortal vessel battles the disease that smothers the spark of life, so too does the magic of the world struggle against the dominion of the Shadow. New heroes will arise, driven by fate, to lead the world out of darkness and herald the coming of a new dawn. — Aran Noros of the Sahi Priesthood, Commentaries on Vesra’s “Prophecies of the Last Age”

Elven Raiders[edit]

Driven back into the dark shadows of their forests, the elves have suffered grievously under the iron fist of Izrador. Most hated of all the Shadow’s enemies, the elves have battled valiantly against a rising tide of darkness. Though their numbers are limited and their options few, the elves never hesitate in the battle against the darkness. Trained to haunt the wilderness with stealth and deadly accuracy with their bows, the elven raiders patrol the borders of the elven forests, constantly searching for the agents of Izrador. When they need supplies or equipment they cannot get for themselves in the forest, the raiders steal forth to attack the goblin and orc encampments, laying waste to their hated enemies and stealing what they can before fading back into the wilds.


During the wars of the Third Age, those nobles that were not captured, tortured, and killed by the dark god’s forces were left landless and wandering, striving to unite what remained of the people they had once protected. Those who were successful in gathering a loyal band of followers became wandering outlaws, striking where they could against the Shadow’s forces and battling every day for the survival of their families. Generations have passed, and now the descendants of these lords and their men are known as freeriders. Though some have settled down in one location to start new lives, many still roam the Eredane countryside seeking vengeance for their ancestors and freedom for their people.


Since the fall of most of Eredane to the troops of the Shadow, the movement of magical and martial equipment between the remaining forces of good has been severely restricted. Legates and orc patrols enslave or kill those found carrying such contraband, so the price for its transport can be very high indeed. This is where the smuggler becomes invaluable. He has established contacts along his familiar routes and knows when and where to hide his illegal cargo to avoid being detected by patrols. The smuggler is a useful, if elusive, ally in the war against the Night Kings and their foul master, and gaining one’s trust can be the difference between life and death in this titanic struggle.



The humans of southern Erenland, are smaller and much leaner than the big Northmen. They have dark brown skin and black, shiny hair. Their eyes are the deepest brown and set in narrow lids that grant them hard stares when angry and bright smiles when pleased. They paint their skin with herbal salves that bleach intricate, pale designs on their faces, arms, and chests for nothing more than the haunting beauty it creates. They dress in flowing pants and loose robes that offer them both protection from the elements and the freedom they need to ride and fight. Like the Northmen, these southlanders once swore allegiance to noble princes. With the rule of the Shadow, most of these sussars, or sworn riders, have been killed or forced to ride as outlaws. Those that remain are traitors to their own people, and have become soulless and hollow tyrants under the control of the legates and their orc enforcers. By the time the forces of Izrador had reached the southern cities of Erenland, the human armies had been crushed and only a few cities resisted. Cambrial and Alvedara were both razed for their refusal to surrender. Sharuun, Hallisport, and several other cities still stand, essentially as they did before the war. As a result, many southlanders still live in the cities their forefathers built. Unfortunately, the inflated false economies, brutal orc garrisons, and whimsically evil legates that plague these urban areas serve as a constant reminder that, while the cities may still stand, the spirit that built them has been all but crushed. There is hope, however. More and more of the southern Erenlanders have reclaimed the name of their ancestors, the Sarcosans, and have reverted to the nomadic, horse-tribe ways of those proud conquerors. These mobile bands are led by outlaw sussars or their kin and live in small tent villages that pop up in the night and are gone by dawn. Every tribe member is as one with her horse, and no other cavalry matches a trained Sarcosan unit in terms of skill and courage. But even these daring freeriders cannot succeed against those who occupy their lands, 10 times their number of entrenched, well-armed, and wellarmored orcs and goblinoids supported by legate commanders. Knights and princes are therefore forced to live as bandits and renegades, surviving on horse meat, wild game, and the spoils of their raids. They are continuously hunted by the minions of the Shadow and must be careful of whom they trust. Sarcosan riders favor versatility and finesse over brute strength. They wield Sarcosan lances and composite longbows when on horseback. On foot, they often fight with a wickedly curved scimitar in one hand and an inward-curving short sword, called a cedeku, in the other.

Great Houses of the Dorns[edit]

House Davin[edit]

House Davin ruled from the city of Davindale near the mouth of the Ishensa River.

House Dale[edit]

House Dale was one of the few Great Houses whose seat of power was not on the shores of the Pelluria. Its house keep was in the northern town of Riismark, and it supported its people supplying the Fortress Wall citadels and running trade caravans across the frontier.

House Sedrig[edit]

House Sedrig was the most diversified economic power on the Pelluria. It had a large trade fleet, rich agricultural lands, trade caravans, and a virtual monopoly on trade with the scholar’s city of Highwall. No one knows what happened to the Sedrig royal family, but many suspect they were put to the sword when Highwall fell. Their loss is mourned, for they were one of the most noble of the Dornish clans.

House Norfall[edit]

The Norfall clan claimed the greatest sailors of the Pelluria, and it is their ancestors that are said to have first discovered Eredane when the Dorns began migrating from their homeland. The kingdom was based on a strong navy and large shipping fleet. They employed many gnome bargemen and were one of the few Northman houses to sail river runners down the Eren. The seat of their power was in Fallport, along the Pelluria’s northwestern shore. Captain Jaden Norfall is the eldest heir to the crown of House Norfall, and he and his kin have become known as the Pirate Princes. Having taken to the open sea aboard its surviving ships, the remains of House Norfall live a pirate existence, capturing orc ships and coming ashore only to raid orcoccupied towns. It is said that the pirate fleet grows with each passing year as Northmen and gnome sailors alike rally to the Norfall banner.

House Redgard[edit]

House Redgard ruled over a vast region of the far north and was known for its rice, salted meats, and fine horses. The house seat was in the city of Cale.

House Chander[edit]

House Chander was one of the weakest of the Great Houses and was always discontented with its place among the other Dornish principalities. Other Dornish princes felt the Chander line had grown too dilute with Sarcosan blood and that its court had become as full of intrigue as those of the Sarcosan sussars. The capital city of Chandering was a tiny port off the main trade routes, and the members of its royal family had a tradition of underhanded dealings and conniving to set the other houses against each other.

House Falon[edit]

House Falon was once a strong House, known for its orc hunters and its warcraft. Its capital of Steel Hill was one of the youngest of the Northman capital cities, founded when Gerad the Northsword built a new house keep there to stand as one of the citadels in the Fortress Wall of the Northern Marches. Next to Low Rock and House Orin, the mines of House Falon provided the Northmen with most of their iron. The city became known for its smiths and armorers, and it was a great loss to the human war effort when it was betrayed to the orcs. Its last heir died defending her city, trapped outside her own walls by traitorous soldiers.

House Pendor[edit]

In the closing years of the Third Age, as Izrador’s agents spun their webs of betrayal and dark promise across the north, Pendor became more and more fearful that his people were certain to suffer terribly if they resisted the Shadow. In his despair, Pendor eventually convinced himself that allying with Izrador would be the best way to protect his people. When his pact with the Shadow was made known, the apparent betrayal drove his outraged people to resist the orcs when they came to Bastion. The battle for the city was short, the resistance was crushed, and many thousands were killed. House Pendor and its lands are now ruled by a corrupt Sarcosan prince named Sameal. His subjects despise him but fear his orc enforcers. They live as virtual slaves, working in the vast fields of the Pendor lands, growing crops and raising livestock to feed Izrador’s armies. Despising the memory of Tabel, many refuse to claim Pendor heritage.

House Esben[edit]

House Esben was always a minor clan, but was ruled by a good family from the capital city of Port Esben. They had a small trade fleet and benefited by contracts with House Pendor that gave them shipping rights to the greater part of Pendor’s agricultural trade.

The Southern Houses[edit]

Some of the Great Houses made their fortunes and their homes on the southern shores of the Sea of Pelluria. While of Dornish heritage and Northmen at heart, these Houses were more heavily influenced by Sarcosan culture than their northern kin. It was among these Houses that the Erenlanders, those with the blood of both Sarcosan and Dorn, came into their own. More about these houses, include House Baden, House Orin, and House Torbault

House Clans[edit]

Though every Northman traces his heritage to one of the Great Houses, each is also a member of smaller clans within each house. These groups are large, extended families that define a Dorn’s more immediate relations and loyalties.

The Corbron Isles and related[edit]

Story of the Surrender of Hedgreg the Red[edit]

After eighteen years of warfare between the Sarcosans and the Dorns, the final conflict came to the seaside city of Fallport in 853 SA. Convinced of the Sarcosans’ intentions of northern expansion by constant raids from their new base at Highwall, the remaining Dornish houses had come together to defend the city in what appeared to be their last gasp against the southern invaders. As the Sarcosan forces surrounded Fallport and dug in for a long siege, the Dorns debated the wisdom of their plans. Many swore that they would die before falling before the Sarcosans, but many more cautioned their leaders to give thought to a well-planned truce. Hedgreg the Red of House Redgard, who as the leader of the north’s strongest remaining house had been granted title of high commander of the Dornish forces, sat with his advisers and the other House leaders. After some discussion, they decided to send a messenger to negotiate a truce with the leader of the Sarcosan force that was camped outside their walls. When taken before the Sarcosan general, Fakeem Siyah, the cloaked messenger revealed himself to be none other than Hedgreg himself. Taken aback by the bravery and candor of his enemy, Siyah accepted the Dornish surrender without a single life being lost in Fallport.

House Redgard
House Redgard ruled over a vast region of the far north and was known for its rice, salted meats, and fine horses. The house seat was in the city of Cale; though sacked in the first war with Izrador and the target of long sieges in the second, it did not fall until the end of the Third Age. Its strong walls and proud defenders were of no use in the last war, as it was betrayed from within and razed by the release of a horrible demonic power. Whatever that force was, it is said to still lurk in the ruins of the city, contentedly supping on the memories of that single glorious night of feasting 100 years ago.
Roland Redgard is the last surviving heir of House Redgard and leads a growing nomad band of horse raiders that survive off what they can steal and live for killing orcs. They are a boon to the few remaining free Northland settlements and a bane to the traitor princes and their Night King overlords. They have built a valuable alliance with the elves of the Veradeen, trading them information, horses, and diversionary raids in return for arrows, healing elixirs, hearthstones, and the occasional forest refuge.
Even under the Shadow there is life and some small degree of hope. North of the Pelluria, sheltered in the eaves of the great forest and roaming free upon the Plains of Eris Aman, House Redgard still fights for its people. With the help of the Caransil and supposedly led by Roland, prince of House Redgard, these insurgents have brought thousands of refugees into the forest. While in some cases a burden to the elves, these refugees have also assisted the war effort by occupying elven villages that had to be abandoned when the Witch Queen ran out of troops with which to defend them. The raiders exist in a nest of uneasy freedom that is buffered on the south by the Foul Bog of Eris Aman and to the northeast by the ruins of Cale. With the Shadow focusing it efforts well to the south and so many troublesome obstacles in the way, only the orc garrisons of Fallport and Steel Hill remain to harry the Redgards.

The Fight for the Pellurian Sea[edit]

From the beginning of the Dornish War in 835 SA until just prior to its end in 852 SA, the Dorns and their Sarcosan enemies fought one another on the Sea of Pelluria. While the Sarcosans were masters of horse warfare on the plains of Erenland, the Dorns were much more proficient in ship to ship combat. Dornish longboats proved to be more maneuverable than Sarcosan war barges, and many southern ships were burned to the waterline by Dornish sailors. Dornish naval strength was epitomized by the heroics of House Norfall.

The number of longboats available to the Dorns was limited, however, and each loss suffered by the northmen was a painful wound that was not easily healed. At the same time, Sarcosan reinforcements seemed to sail up the Eren River on a near-daily basis, guaranteeing their victory in a prolonged war of attrition. Although House Norfall never surrendered its hold on the waves of the Sea of Pelluria, its fleet was eventually smothered by the constant influx of new ships from the southlands.

Meanwhile, north of the Pelluria in the decimated and thoroughly destroyed lands of the Dorns, orc tribes have begun to migrate out of the Vale of Tears to resettle in deserted towns and villages. Tens of thousands of the creatures have settled in the hills around Fallport, up and down the Ishensa River Valley, and throughout the barren lands to the north and east of Highwall. The orcs consider anyone in these lands to be their property to use or kill as they see fit. If the migrations north of the Pelluria continue apace, the orcs will soon outnumber the Dorns.

Along the Pelluria, in the heartland of the shattered Kingdom of Erenland, the Shadow’s grip is absolute. From orc infested Fallport in the west past Highwall, Port Esben, and Davindale, and even to the fearsomely garrisoned town of Chandering, the Shadow dominates all facets of life. Only the few fishing villages built in marshy areas or without easily accessible landing spots can avoid the tithe and therefore live with marginally less fear.

The Corbrons Isles[edit]

The Corbrons make up a large archipelago of treacherous reefs and rocky, heath-covered islands that were once home to little save fishermen and sheepherders. Now, a century after the fall of the north, the islands are the secret harbor refuge of the Pirate Princes of House Norfall.

The navy of House Norfall was always one of the largest and most powerful of the Dornish fleets, dominating the Pelluria for centuries. As part of the Norfall fiefdom, the Corbrons were a strategic port and key to their naval strength. The fleet’s captains carefully charted the seemingly impenetrable reefs surrounding the islands and House Norfall eventually established a base there, expanding a series of caves running through the low bluffs in the heart of the archipelago. Known as the Waterkeeps, the warren of caves would eventually become a safe haven for the Norfall resistance when the great houses fell. The complex and treacherous reefs serve as natural barriers to the largely inept orc and goblin-kin sailors; though there have been many attempts to land orc troops on the islands, they have so far met with disaster, a fact to which shipwrecks scattered across the reefs offer mute testament. Even those that land safely are unable to divine the caves’ whereabouts, as many entrances are underwater most of the time and those that are not are kept well-concealed.

The greatest threat to the Waterkeeps and the Pirate Princes is the great dragon known as the Wrath of Shadow. If the creature were to commit time and effort to hunting down the Princes’ harbors, it would undoubtedly find them and kill all within. Luckily for them, the beast seems to have other priorities, whether it is to burn the elves from their home in Erethor or to squat atop Theros Obsidia as Izrador’s most trusted guardian. To protect the pirate fleet itself from the dragon, magical attacks, or even sabotage, the Princes never allow more than a handful of ships to moor in the islands at any one time. The legates send terrible storms and winged creatures after such ships, but the rogues often lose their pursuers in the treacherous and cavern-riddled rocks of the Corbron Isles.

The Pirate Princes
The Pirate Princes, as they are called, are all heirs of the Norfall royal family—three brothers, one sister, two cousins, and an uncle. This fleet of pirates is led by Captain Jaden, the eldest of the brothers, and the orcs consider him the scourge of the Pelluria. The orc fear of drowning is so acute that even the mention of these sea raiders makes them nervous. The Pirate Princes spend most of their efforts hunting and sinking troop carriers and taking supply ships as prizes. For each ship they lose, they take three, and slowly their tiny fleet has become a sizable flotilla. Still, they are outnumbered, and they are forced to depend on surprise and their hidden harbors in the Corbron Isles to avoid the orc oar galleys sent after them.
Jaden Norfall is third eldest of the seven Norfall heirs that captain the fleet of the Pirate Princes, but he is the unquestioned leader. To those that do not know him, he appears every bit the handsome, arrogant, foppish, good-fornothing heir apparent of a once-great noble house yet the weight of his elders weighs on him and he feels it when disarmed. On the open water, however, he is a sea captain of unmatched skill and cunning. Countless times he has out-maneuvered superior numbers of orc and collaborator vessels, always coming away victorious, enemy ships aflame in his wake. He has forged his love of the sea and knowledge of its ways into a powerful weapon for resistance and revenge. Though the man seems charmed and all but invincible, Jaden’s kin fear that his increasingly bold actions and hunger for vengeance may soon be his undoing.
House Norfall
The Norfall clan claimed the greatest sailors of the Pelluria, and it is their ancestors that are said to have first discovered Eredane when the Dorns began migrating from their homeland. The kingdom was based on a strong navy and large shipping fleet. They employed many gnome bargemen and were one of the few Northman houses to sail river runners down the Eren. The seat of their power was in Fallport, along the Pelluria’s northwestern shore.
Captain Jaden Norfall is the eldest heir to the crown of House Norfall, and he and his kin have become known as the Pirate Princes. Having taken to the open sea aboard its surviving ships, the remains of House Norfall live a pirate existence, capturing orc ships and coming ashore only to raid orcoccupied towns. The clan has a number of secret seaport sanctuaries in the Corbron Isles, and it is said that the pirate fleet grows with each passing year as Northmen and gnome sailors alike rally to the Norfall banner.
Pirates and Reavers
In addition to acting as a bulwark against the Shadow’s forces, the Sea of Pelluria has proven to be a relatively safe haven to those who oppose them. The socalled Pirate Princes of House Norfall are, if any can claim such a thing, the true masters of the inland sea. They strike against the occupied cities of the north and south, harass the Shadow’s fleets as they attempt to ferry soldiers and supplies across the water, and run contraband back and forth between Erethor and the insurgent forces operating in Erenland. Their contacts with gnomish river families and the smuggling rings of the Badens provide them with information on the enemy’s movements and the supplies they need to wage a bloody war of attrition against the Shadow’s forces. Unfortunately, others have also found a haven in the Sea of Pelluria: violent, despicable reavers who raid the almost defenseless fishing villages and towns that dot the coastline, as well as less violent but no less selfish pirates who are not particular about whom they rob. Fortunately, because Izrador’s vessels are the most numerous on the Pelluria, these scoundrels more often than not end up attacking ships in service to the Shadow. Rumors in the ports of the southern coast speak of islands where men live freely, albeit in violent and dangerous communities. These tales of pirate-run enclaves and freetowns are not without credibility: many small islands dot the Sea of Pelluria and the ragged coastline hides countless coves and caves. These are used by the pirates and smugglers in the complicated, ever-changing game of cat and mouse played out between the various power factions active on the inland sea. The Norfalls attack the Shadow’s troop-carriers, hunt collaborators and reavers, and hide from the inevitable reprisals in the bewildering archipelago of the Corbron Isles; the unaligned pirates and reavers are opportunistic scavengers and low-lives who attack anyone they believe they can best; and the Shadow’s forces hate them all, but are more often victim than victor in the Norfalls’ domain.
Baden's Bluff - the Quay
House Norfall is rumored to have a hidden series of chambers beneath the city, referred to by its protectors as the Quay. The Norfalls keep two swift, flat-bottom boats moored there for smuggling supplies and agents into and out of the city. On moonless nights, using little or no light, the boats leave the caverns and slip down the coast to meet waiting ships and transfer their cargo. The Norfalls keep two crews in homes built into the face of the bluff in abandoned quarries. The crews try to blend in with the other refugees that fight the gulls for living space away from the gloom of the city. Their vantage point on the bluff face also allows them to monitor the ships coming into the city, providing valuable intelligence for the Pirate Princes.
The black market run by the Pirate Princes is where the true heart of commerce continues to thrive in Erenland. The Norfalls interface with the Badens, the gnome trading families, and other resistance groups to move people and supplies across the sea, and are the key contacts with the wood elves of the Gamaril. Even the unaligned pirates and reavers need the Norfalls to sell or trade their ill-gotten gains, though they play both the Shadow and the resistance groups for what they can.

The Heavy Hand of the Shadow[edit]

Erenland lies firmly under the hobnail boots of Izrador’s orc legions and at the mercy of the dark god’s priests, the Order of Shadow. Seemingly limitless numbers of orcs and goblinkin have spewed forth from the frozen north to occupy every major town and city, raping the land for the supplies they need to continue the war against the fey. Supporting this vast army are the traitor princes and false sussars, petty nobles and administrators who have sold their souls to the Shadow for privilege, as well as thousands of human mercenaries who are willing to fight and enslave their own people for a few scraps from the legates’ table.

Servants of the Shadow[edit]

The Night Kings[edit]

Directing the occupation are Izrador’s lieutenants, the four dread Night Kings, immortal creatures that were once champions in the fight against the dark god.

Sword of Shadow[edit]

In the occupied lands, the best known of the Night Kings is Jahzir, the Sword of Shadow. Once the Lord General of all the armies of the Kingdom of Erenland, Jahzir was captured and twisted by the dark god, and now commands armies of darkness instead of those of light. It was his knowledge and skill that allowed the dark god’s hordes to slice through the already weakened armies of good without breaking stride. He now commands the loyalty of many of the largest orc tribes and has unquestioned control of the orc legions. As the king of Erenland, he has the authority to command the forces of the traitor princes and can conscript troops from the enslaved population to serve as fodder for elven arrows and dwarven axes. Militarily, he is unchallenged by either the Order of Shadow or his fellow Night Kings. He often rides abroad with his armies, but also holds court from his palace in Alvedara and is known to frequent Theros Obsidia; wherever he goes, however, he seems to relish his control over the kingdom he helped to destroy, and does all he can to bleed its shattered remnants to feed his armies.

Sorcerer of Shadow[edit]

Possibly the most dangerous and least known of the Night Kings is the Sorcerer of Shadow.

Priest of Shadow[edit]

Controlling the dark god’s legates is the Night King known as the Priest of Shadow. This gaunt figure, once believed to be a Sarcosan holy man, is responsible for the sacrifice of tens of thousands to Izrador each year. He is reviled in the Sarcosan south for turning the once vibrant city of Cambrial into a vast necropolis. Rumors of his creations, including creatures built from the remains of man and beast and legions of undead soldiers marching to war, are told in every town and village south of the Ardune.

Wrath of Shadow[edit]

The most savage and openly destructive of the Night Kings is the mighty dragon known as the Wrath of Shadow. Thankfully, this creature is rarely seen outside of Highwall or above the battle lines of Erethor. Where she goes, destruction follows, and few live to tell of her attacks. The fey call her the Scar’garath, “doom of Erethor” in High Elven. The dragon is the most powerful creature on Eredane and there is no hero left alive who could withstand its terrible power.

The Order of Shadow[edit]

Administering the occupation are the legates, also known as the Voice of Izrador or the Order of Shadow. From the dark tower of Theros Obsidia, the high priests of Izrador issue orders to the greater legates scattered across Eredane. These latter act as Izrador’s viceroys, spreading both his commandments and his wrath. Each arc, the dark god demands the sacrifice of hundreds of sentient beings, their blood and souls flowing into the dark mirrors that reside within his temples. It is known that these mirrors leach both the life force of Aryth and any arcane magic that comes near them, but what purpose these energies are bent toward has not been fathomed. The Order has extended its tendrils to every facet of the occupation and the ongoing war. In cities and towns throughout Eredane the legates either rule directly or through a closely controlled local noble or orc warlord. On a wider scale they fight an unseen but deadly battle for control with their supposed allies, the Night Kings and the traitor princes. The legates’ power stems from their direct connection to their dark god, the only deity on Aryth who still answers his supplicants’ prayers. Only the Night Kings are more closely connected to Izrador and as empowered to interpret the god’s desires. Speaking with the dark god’s voice gives the legates the authority to command his spawn, including the orcs, oruk, and goblinkin. Izrador also grants his priests a portion of his divinity in the form of divine spellcasting; that tainted gift allows the legates the ability to crush spirits, break bodies, and corrupt souls, turning the twisted remains of their enemies to the service of the dark god. Many believe that a legate can see into your soul in search of disloyal or treacherous thoughts, so few are willing to meet a legate’s baleful gaze.

The Traitor Princes[edit]

Completing the Shadow’s hierarchy within occupied Eredane are the traitor princes, leaders of noble houses who betrayed the Kingdom of Erenland and their own people for an extended, though tainted, lifespan, as well as the power over their fellow men that they’ve always coveted. Lesser in stature but just as greedy and malevolent are the false sussars, petty southern nobles and administrators of Sarcosan descent who have become puppet rulers throughout Southern Erenland. Both types of leaders command their own (largely human) troops, establish their own laws, and conspire against their peers for the Shadow’s favor. Izrador’s gift of long life has heightened the character flaws of the traitor princes, leading to dangerous forms of insanity and instability, while the false sussars long for the dark gift whose cost they cannot fathom. While the areas controlled by the traitors still retain the veneer of civilization, they can be far more dangerous than areas controlled by the legates or even the orcs.

Steel Hill, Prince Aushav Fallon[edit]

In Steel Hill, Prince Aushav Fallon believes that he can ascend to the ranks of the gods and is so murderously insane that even his most loyal retainers fear him.

Bastion, Prince Sameal[edit]

In Bastion, Prince Sameal is a chameleon, changing personalities in the blink of an eye. Orders are often countermanded when his personality shifts and those who do not complete his original orders are punished when that former personality returns.

Prince Gregor Chander[edit]

Prince Gregor Chander bristles at unspoken slights and personally tortures those who do not treat him as the great ruler he believes himself to be.

Port Esben, Vildar Esben[edit]

By far, the most dangerous and calculating of the traitor princes is Vildar Esben, who delights in manipulating his family, his clan, military leaders, the local legates, and even the orc warbands stationed on his lands. They all battle for influence and power by dancing to his music, whose rapid shifts in tune and time are bewildering to all who do not have to live in Port Esben. Those who lose in this very deadly game adorn the gibbets outside the town, which never seem to lack for occupants.

Orc Warlords[edit]

The legates and traitor princes rule in occupied territory, generally what was once the kingdom of Erenland. Those areas that were strongholds of the resistance or are closer to the free realms of the fey, however, like the battle lines drawn up against Erethor and the Kaladruns, are firmly under the control of orc warlords. These regions are often devoid of human settlements, and those who remain are as likely to become food as they are to be slaves. Meanwhile, north of the Pelluria in the decimated and thoroughly destroyed lands of the Dorns, orc tribes have begun to migrate out of the Vale of Tears to resettle in deserted towns and villages. Tens of thousands of the creatures have settled in the hills around Fallport, up and down the Ishensa River Valley, and throughout the barren lands to the north and east of Highwall. The orcs consider anyone in these lands to be their property to use or kill as they see fit. If the migrations north of the Pelluria continue apace, the orcs will soon outnumber the Dorns. The power of the orc tribes continues to put pressure on the traitor princes, who watch as the whispered promises of Izrador fade away with each passing year. In the east, Gregor Chander has been denied the rich farmlands of the lower Ishensa River Valley that he had fought for in the Third Age.

In Bastion, Chandering, Port Esben, and Steel Hill, the princes are forced to house orc legions that “assist” them in maintaining security. Tension between human and orc troops is clearly visible and more than one human or orc patrol has gone missing in areas devoid of resistance activity. Open warfare between orcs and traitorous men has been avoided, however, as the punishments from Theros Obsidia and the Night Kings for such impudence would be swift and merciless. Orc warlords and even traitor princes can, after all, be replaced. However, those princes that survived the fall of the Shadow and those orcs who have clawed their way to leadership are not fools, and know well how to disguise their blows. The Shadow allows the weak to be culled as long as it does not detract from the war against the fey


The elves are more like the elder fey than any of the other fey races of Eredane, both physically and culturally. They are a slight race, lithe, quick, and agile. They are all children of nature, and even with their ancient culture and powerful magic, they still live close to the wilds as part of the Great Forest. They are a unified people, allied not only to tribes or family groups but instead to a single royal line that rules over all of Erethor. The racial devotion to their High Queen Aradil is akin to worship, and though there is a large and powerful Council of the Throne, it seldom opposes Aradil’s will. Despite this greater shared history and culture, there remain various subraces of elvenkind, each with its own unique physical traits and ways of life.

Caransil (Wood Elves)[edit]

The elves of central Erethor, the Caransil or wood elves, are the most widespread and familiar of the woodland fey. They range from the southern Highhorns, eastward to the Plains of Eris Aman and the Westlands, and south to the Aruun Jungle. Their skin is the beautiful brown of ino tree wood, and their hair tends to be long, shiny, and black. Their eyes are large and dark, and they are the tallest of the elves. They wear a variety of clothes, from the dark and mottled camouflage leathers of a scout’s kit to the sunset brilliance of a courtier’s elaborate silks. These elves live in enormous maudrial, or homewood, trees that have been coaxed to grow in elegant but useful domestic shapes by age-old spells. The Caransil eat mostly fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. They supplement their diets with rabbits and grouse raised in family hutches and with river fish from the Gamaril and Felthera. The wood elves are traditionally the artists, philosophers, and craftsmen of Erethor. They are also the lineage from which have come the greatest sorcerers and battle mages of recent times. Their warriors carry longbows and longswords.

Danisil (Jungle Elves)[edit]

These elves of the southern reaches of Erethor, where temperate forest gives way to tropical jungle, are small, slight, and ebony skinned. Historians speculate that they may be the elven line from which the halflings were born. The uninitiated consider the Danisil “feral elves,” but their culture is as sophisticated as that of their cousins. Many of Erethor’s most powerful druids are of the Danisil lineage. Their hair is dark and coarse and typically worn in short dreadlocks. Their eyes are black and so narrow that the whites barely show. They dress in loose shorts and brightly painted vests, but when hunting, they wear only layers of river mud to hide them from both sight and scent. Adults typically adorn their faces and arms with strangely beautiful patterns of ritualistic scarring. The scars are said to frighten away evil spirits. The Danisil live in boa-bil groves along the many small rivers of the Aruun Jungle. Their druids enchant vines to form large slings that suspend their tiny huts high in the jungle canopy. They live off the fruits of the forest but are also cunning hunters. They are good fishermen and use fleets of delicate canoes to fish and hunt along their rivers. The jungle elves have mastered the use of poison arrows and have developed several toxic elixirs uniquely effective against orcs. They also carry wide curved fighting knives called sepi. Izrador’s invaders learned long ago to fear these ugly little blades, but have little need to venture into the dark Aruun; the fell demons of that place fight on Izrador’s behalf without the dark god having to expend a single soldier.


The gnomes are a clever and resourceful race. Though it is well known that they share ancient kin with the dwarves, even the Kurgun do not like to claim responsibility for the lineage. Gnomes are barely taller than halflings, with only a slightly stouter build. They are bronze skinned but pale eyed, with jet black hair that they keep short as they are constantly in and out of the water. Gnomish culture and history are characterized by their adaptable nature. Their nimble outlook on life allowed them to first move from mountain life to that of the coastal hills of the Ebon Sea, and from there to become adroit seafarers and river runners. Though forced to flee before the onslaught of the Dornish invasions, their solicitous demeanors and mercenary hearts allowed them to return to their conquerors bearing little ill will and offering their services as merchants and guides. The gnomes even welcomed the Sarcosans, knowing that they could stand to make a profit as the newcomers’ liaisons to the fey. Through all these years and new trading partners, the gnomes always knew that their conquerors longed only for land and goods. With the coming of Izrador, this is not the case. They cannot fool themselves into believing that the orcs and their dark god will be content to let the survivors of the wars live their lives in peace; whatever the eventual goals of the Shadow, the gnomes know that Eredane cannot survive the heavy-plated burden of his orcs and the dark mantle of his legates. But the river fey’s strength was not in war. So, as always, they bowed before their new masters and offered to serve. Or so it seemed. Though the race has been subjugated along with the halflings, gnomes continue to enjoy a sort of freedom. Even the forces of the Shadow need to transport cargo and soldiers, and the river barges of the gnomes suit this purpose well. The orcs and legates suffer the existence of the gnome barges so long as they move only cargoes in Izrador’s name, while the traitor princes and the false sussars give them free reign so long as they receive the first pick of choice goods from afar. Most other races see the cost of this semi-freedom as the worst kind of enemy collaboration. What few realize is that the gnomes fight the dark god in their own way: as consummate spies and smugglers. It is their secret trade that keeps weapons, magic, and information flowing among the free races of Eredane. Gnomes wear loose pants and garish vests marked with the trader seal of their family. Rafters carry sharp daggers hidden in their belts and use small crossbows to spear pike or to protect their crews from hungry river eels. When they get the odd chance to turn their crossbows on the occasional orc, the weapons prove both stealthy and lethal.


Halflings are a race of tiny folk that some believe descended from the Danisil lineage of southern elvenkind. They call themselves the Dunni, or “the people” in their own tongue. They are almost as dark skinned as the Danisil, with the same coarse hair worn in small, intricate braids that mark their tribal membership. Their eyes range from common black to dark brown and green. Where still free-living, the nomadic tribes dwell on the open plains in large hide tents they share with their extended families. The farming families have almost been wiped out by the advance of the Shadow, but a few groups still remain along the southeastern margins of Erethor. They dwell in cozy sod villages kept alive through their exceptional horticultural skills and the watchful presence of their wogren companions. Halflings wear durable clothes of leather and fine, intricately woven wool. Sadly, most halflings now live in slavery, captured and forced to work in the occupied cites or military camps of Izrador’s armies. The free-living feed on their livestock and crops, while the enthralled survive off what scraps they can scrounge, beg, or steal. The halfling weapon of choice is the spear, with which they protect their flocks, hunt wild boar, and skewer the occasional orc.


The odrendor, or orcs as the men and fey of Aryth call them, are an abominable race created by the black will of Izrador. Though scholars only suspect it and every dwarf would savagely deny it, orcs and the dwarves share a common elder fey lineage. In the prehistory of the Kaladrun Mountains, a large clan of the elthedar was exiled by their kin and found succor in the embrace of the Shadow in the North. In the eons that followed, they were corrupted to Izrador’s cause and transformed into the foul beings they have become. Orcs are huge creatures, sometimes twice the size of their dwarf ancestors and bigger even than the Dorns. They are heavily muscled, with broad builds and powerful limbs. Their thick hides are tough and range from light stony gray to coal black. Their hair is tawny and manelike, growing over their heads, along their spines, and down their chests to their groins. Their large black eyes are hooded and protected by thick, bony brows. Their jaws are large and strong, with tusklike lower canines. Orcs are impressive creatures and even beautiful in a way that only fearsome predators can be. In the lands of the far north, orcs still live in deep mountain caves and rough-hewn, underground warrens. There they are directed by and pay homage to orc priestesses, the kurasatch udareen, “the mother-wives of Izrador.” They consume anything edible, including their own dead, but get most of their food from hunting the surface lands at night or by raiding their enemies. Immune to all but the coldest weather, orcs seldom wear more than weapon belts and armor. In conquered Erenland, orcs have taken over human cities, turning large buildings into meeting halls, communal barracks, and storage depots. They feed and resupply from the tribute they demand of their human subjects and relish the occasional meal of human or halfling flesh. Orc forces are garrisoned in cites throughout Erenland, and orc armies war with the elves in the west and the dwarves in the east. Large orc patrols range across the heartland, subjugating their human thralls and hunting spies, smugglers, and insurgents. In short, they are the enemies of all other people of Eredane. Occasionally, as rare an event as an eclipse or a comet, an orc’s mind will expand enough to present a glimmer of an idea: that there are other options. No one knows what allows an orc to move past his base instincts to slaughter and serve. Some may feel a particular hatred toward their oruk captains or the legates they must serve. Others are shocked and confused upon witnessing acts of kindness by other races. Some are simply desperate criminals among their own people. In any case, these orcs most often have little choice but to obey their masters or suffer the same fate as those of the other races who resist Izrador’s will. On some occasions, however, these orcs find themselves in the position to escape the army and to try to make a new life elsewhere. Such orcs are often turned in by citizens bent on revenge for the mistreatment of their people, but sometimes these refugees are welcomed not only for the muscle they provide but also for their skills in dealing with others of their kind. Orc warriors, whether servants of the Shadow or hunted by their own kind, take great pride in their fighting prowess. They make cuts along their arms for each foe they kill in battle, with different shapes for the race of each victim. The arms of warchiefs are usually covered in such marks from hand to shoulder, and at least half the marks are for killing other orcs. Orcs favor large spears they can both throw and use as thrusting weapons. They also carry heavy iron swords with blunt but serrated edges called vardatches. These weapons are slow but brutal and so heavy that the smaller fey races can hardly lift them.


"The destiny of the world is Shadow." — Anonymous note penned in the margin of the Academy’s Commentaries

“The closer you can stay to an enemy, the further he is from defeating you.” —Sarcosan proverb

Bond of Blood[edit]

Roa was just a young maid with some skill at channeling when her entire village was killed by orc raiders. She was badly injured in the battle and left for dead. Expecting the effort to cost her life, she used the last of her magics to mend the wounds of a dying wogren that had fallen defending her. The creature survived and carried Roa to shelter, where he licked her wounds and kept her warm and fed until she recovered. The two seem to have formed a closer bond than any halfling and wogren had before, and now travel the plains spying on Izrador’s minions. They pass word of enemy movements and activities to a network of halfling, gnome, and human contacts that Roa has developed over the years. Their information has served to save hundreds of halfling lives and kept whole tribes out of the slavers’ pens. Roa has become a legend of sorts among the halflings and every girl-child of the people hopes to one day be just like her.

The Hero[edit]

All my life, I’ve looked up to Eanos, our village smith. Eanos towers over every other man in the village. In a show of strength, on midsummer's eve, he lifts the round stones in the village square over his head and heaves them a full three lengths of his body. The other men can’t even lift one, let alone throw it.
Eanos is always the first man up when there’s work to be done and there is nothing he can’t fix with the strength of his body and the tools he’s been allowed to keep. The orcs constantly bait him, ready to test their strength against his, but he never rises to their taunts. It’s clear that the local legate despises him, but Eanos has never given him cause to vent his wrath until now.
Four days ago, a traveling tinker came to town bearing news and small items for barter. He had healing salves for burns and red rash that we desperately needed. He offered to give us the salves if Eanos would repair a small chopping axe and a handful of metal tools. Eanos knew the laws forbade use of the forge without permission, but he saw no harm in repairing simple tools. The tinker was a spy, sent to lure Eanos into violating the law. The legate and the tinker, with almost a dozen fully armed orcs, came for Eanos just after dawn. The penalty for his crimes was 30 lashes. Eanos, who could easily snap the legate's neck, walked meekly to the wooden post hammered into the center of the village green. He gripped it while the orcs leaned into each lash. Eanos screamed but never let go of the post. When it was over, we washed his wounds as best we could and carried him to his bed. It’s been three days and he still hasn't regained the strength in his left arm and some doubt that he ever will.

The Covenant[edit]

The wars with Izrador spawned many great heroes from all the races. The memory of these champions helps to keep the faith among human insurgents and inspire fey defenders who still battle the Shadow today, and some say the strength they gave in the fight against Izrador persists in the weapons they used.
Aio the Light Foot survived the razing of his village, but everyone and everything he loved was taken that night. Aio was given as a slave to a wealthy legate who wanted a halfling slave to cook his meals. He played the part, but learned to pick the lock on his collar. He stole a knife from the kitchens and snuck into the sleeping orc camps nearby. By the time he left an hour later, there were nine orcs dead in their bedrolls. Aio’s nightly forays continued for several weeks and word quickly spread of his stealth and prowess. Aio himself was eventually captured and executed, yet his blade has found its way into the hands of captive halflings ever since so that they might enact justice upon their captors.

Born and Bred[edit]

Couthlin wrinkled his nose at the rank smell. The odors of sweat, blood, and less polite bodily fluids wafted up to him as he strolled on the elevated walkway. The commoners milled about below in their usual mindless herd.
The large canine creature preceding him stopped and looked up at him, cocking his head in confusion. The legate frowned and kept walking, yanking on the chain attached to its collar.
“Stupid beast. No, they are not civilized. I was exclaiming in disbelief. Being facetious. Go back to your sniffing.” The astirax-possessed hound obligingly returned to scenting the air.
The legate frowned. It was pathetic that he had to rely on one-way communication with a magic-hunting beast. His skills at dialogue and manipulation would be all but blunted by the time he returned to Theros Obsidia. Asnort from the astirax snapped Couthlin from his thoughts. The canine form was watching a passing figure below, quite intently. Couthlin’s dark eyes.followed as well, noticing a suspicious narrow shape jutting out from beneath the figure’s cloak. Roughly hilt-shaped. “A weapon...magical?” he asked in a hushed tone. The astirax growled in assent.
“Then follow,” Couthlin said eagerly, releasing the chain. “Return to me at the temple when you’ve tracked the criminal to his lair.”
The beast slunk into the shadows and trotted after the offending figure...towards its demise, Couthlin hoped. The mage-hunting beast had been witness to too many of Couthlin’s intrigues and coups. The mercenary it now trailed had agreed quickly to his terms: kill the astirax in exchange for the sword the legate had given him.
Meanwhile, below, the astirax salivated in anticipation. The scent of magic was heavy in the air...not just from the sword, but from at least a few enchanted crossbow bolts. All of them aimed at the walkway above, where his master walked.
Rather, his former master

The Other Lands of Aryth[edit]

The peoples of Eredane know little of the lands that lie beyond our seas. Some say the elves of the First Age traveled to all the corners of the world, but even if such legends are true, this lore was almost certainly lost in ages past and was never shared with the wise of other nations. What little we know comes from the records of Dornish and Sarcosan settlers who traveled to Eredane from the eastern continent known as Pelluria in ancient days. Sadly, these records are often little more than folktales and must be held suspect in the light of reason.
From fragments of the Histories of the Old Empire, we gather that Pelluria is a land of greater aspect and extension than Eredane, as
“a youth shall gray and come to infirmity before crossing the breadth of the Kalif’s dominion.”
Even allowing for the excesses of a culture known for its vanity and embellishment, this suggests a vast continent unconstrained by the great oceans that embrace our land on three sides. Nor is there reason to believe that the “Kalif’s dominion” ever covered all the realms of Pelluria. It is known that the Sarcosan Empire conquered the Dornland river valley in the north. It is believed, however, that the fall of the Old Empire in the Third Age had as much to do with a war against a rival power in the east as with internal decay and the loss of its overseas colonies in the west.
The Dorns describe their ancestral home as a land of cold, rugged hills, glacial valleys, and deep, snow-laden forests. In the Sarcosan records, we learn of vast grasslands, endless deserts, and great cities of stone built in the oldest days by the first men of Aryth. The elder races of the fey are unknown in these lands, but the stories speak of stranger peoples that share no blood with the elder fey, of fearsome races that hate all others and feed on the flesh of men. Tales of serpent people and beastmen must be considered little more than fables told for the benefit of wayward children.

Ilsrid of Highwall, The Lands of Aryth

Prophecies of the Last Age[edit]

"I saw that the Host of Heaven was dark and rode no more in the sky. The icy gates of the land of the dead were opened, and the fallen god rode forth with a crown of iron and a sword of flame. His raiment bled the blood of the innocent and he smote all the lands of the world. His form was of fire and shadow, and his name was Sorrow."Vesra Anu, Prophecies of the Last Age

The Tithe[edit]

At dawn the headman woke us and told us it was time. The whole village lined up along the edge of the cornfield, which was strewn with cut stalks and the debris of the harvest. It had taken over four days for all the fodder to be gathered and stored for the winter. Nearby, the sheep and boro pens were full of animals noisily calling for their breakfasts. In the village, the windows and doors of every house were flung open and the hearths were cold; today was the day of the tithe. We stood there, in a line, for over three hours before they arrived. The legate rode in on the lead wagon with his guards; eight wagons in all filed into the village. The headman, head bowed, approached the legate and announced our willingness to provide the tithe to the Dark God. With a grunt and a wave of his hand, the legate dismissed the headman and sent the orcs into the houses and barns. Almost immediately, there were sounds of breaking furniture. I heard screams, and the sounds of people being hurt. I ignored it. It was better not to hear. Women buried their heads in their husbands' chests as they tried to stifle their tears. Then the orcs came and grabbed men to start loading the wagons; it was well past midday when the loading was done. Seven out of ten parts of the harvest were loaded on the wagons. An equal amount of animals were also taken, bleating in fear as they were tethered to wagons for the trip back to the city of Bastion.
When they were done the legate announced the Dark God's blessing on us and commented on the wisdom of our headman for not trying to hide any of the harvest. The legate reminded us that the Dark God only punishes those who are disloyal.