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Lyanna

Tales of Irilion

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The Idal Empire

 

Geography

 

Stretching from the vast trees of the Crimshin Forest on the west to the plains of Melinis in the east, from the Larimone Ocean in the north to the Idalo and Vormus Rivers to the south, lies the human empire of Idal. Centered on the Imperial Capital of Idalorn City, the entire region is ruled by Empress Hyanithe IX, of the Second Hyanith Dynasty.

 

The Empire is divided into five provinces, each ruled by a Prefect. In the capital city, the High Prefect Polinnix manages the day-to-day affairs of Idaloran Province, and serves as the leader of the Council. The Council, made up of the five Imperial Prefects as well as the six Imperial Advisors, jointly administers the affairs of the Empire as a whole and enables the Empress to rule her Empire. The five provinces are, in order of rank: Idaloran, Sedicolis, Bethel, Palon Vertas and Melinis. The six Advisors advise the Empress on Home Affairs, Military, Trade, Foreign Affairs, Magic and Religion.

 

Demographics

 

The Empire's majority race is human, making up nearly four-fifths of the population. The other one fifth is composed of a mixture of Dwarven craftsmen, mostly from Zirakinbar, and Elves from the nearby forests. There are occasional Gnomish traders and Draegoni travellers, but a near-complete dearth of Orchan visitors. Any Orchans are greeted with suspicion, since the Empire has been at war with them for a long time.

 

History

 

At the time of the two continents, the Empire was founded by a young village chief named Idalor, who managed to unite the different villages in Idaloran and Betha against an marauding army of Orchans. Having soundly defeated the Orchans in battle, Idalor had gained a reputation for being a strong and just leader. Villages throughout the provinces began to petition him for protection against the various bandits that had plagued their society. Thus, the dream of Empire was born. Idalor consolidated his combat veterans into what would become known as the First Imperial Legion, and marched throughout Idaloran and Betha, rooting out and destroying every band of criminals in the land.

 

By the time Idalor was fifty, the entire provinces of Idaloran, Betha and Sedicolis had pledged allegiance to him, and his army comprised 3 Legions - numbering in excess of 3,000 soldiers. He established the capital city of Idaloran, named after himself, and appointed his former commanders as prefects for Betha and Sedicolis. Being a wise ruler, he trained his eldest son, Idalian, to continue in his footsteps, and thus the First Idal Dynasty was born. The First Idal Dynasty ruled for over 1500 years, and it was called the Golden Age of the Empire. Idalor's successors built the port at Crimshin, negotiated peace treaties with the Crimshin Elves, banished the Orchans to the eastern islands, dominated trade throughout the continent, and expanded the Empire to include Palon Vertas.

 

The Hyanith Dynasty, which arose after the death of Idalor XXIV in battle, ruled wisely and well, but did not manage to produce any great achievements. Most historians nowadays viewed the Age of Granite under Hyanith rule as a time where the Empire strengthened itself internally. Eventually, the sixth Emperor Hyan died peacefully in his bed, childless, and rule passed over to the House of Scylla.

 

The Scylla Dynasty was marked by a series of rulers that gradually descended from brilliance to incompetence. The dynasty lasted for nearly 800 years, in which the Empire expanded to Melinis in the face of an Orchan threat from the east, expanded trade throughout the continent, built up its military to 40 Legions of 1,000 crack veterans each, concluded an alliance with the Dwarves of Zirankinbar, persuaded the Crimshin Elves to begin casting protective magic over the Forest, made contact with the reclusive Draegoni of the southern islands, concluded a peace treaty with the Gnomes, and built Idalorn City into the largest city on the continent. The rule of the Scylla Dynasty became known as the Age of Diamonds. It was Scylla IV, possibly the Dynasty's greatest ruler, who initiated the building of a network of roads to connect the Empire together. However, that very same network, which improved trade manyfold throughout the Empire, also proved to be its downfall.

 

Scylla XII, the last of the Scylla Dynasty, was an idiot by anyone's reckoning. He ignored the advice of the Imperial Advisors, alienated the Prefects, mismanaged the Legions, and generally made the populace hostile to the Imperial Throne. When a horde of undead began to arise as a threat to the Empire, no effort was made to trace and eliminate the cause. Instead, the Emperor sent out the Legions in a poorly-planned attack to stop the walking corpses.

 

Thirty-nine thousand soldiers died.

 

After tales of the massacre filtered back to the Imperial Throne, legend has it that Emperor Scylla XII fell into a frothing fit and had to be summarily put out of his misery. That created a power vaccuum in the Capital, and there was no one able to keep the Empire united. The Council, a mere shadow of the brilliant band of men and women that had followed the Emperors of the past to glory, fragmented. One by one, each province fell to the undead, and the Empire broke apart. In a last, desperate move, Commander Starva of the 21st Legion (the only remaining Legion protecting the capital), ordered the mass evacuation of the populace of Idalorn City into the Crimshin Forest.

 

The entire 21st stood at the gates of Idalorn City against the horde of undead and perished to a man, buying time for the populace to escape. Legend says that Commander Starva herself was dismembered into 49 pieces, while fighting at 8-to-1 odds. The Empire descended into the Age of Darkness. Idalorn Cemetary today stands as a grim reminder of the bold sacrifice of the 21st.

 

The undead horde, balked by the magic of the Elves, hesitated at entering Crimshin Forest, allowing a small remnant of humanity to escape their ravages. Over the next few decades, the other races began to search out the source of the undead plague, and eradicate the animated corpses, one by one.

 

Eventually, the lands of the Empire were free again, and the survivors emerged from the forest to rebuild their cities. Slowly, spurred on by the memories that their grandfathers had told them about the glorious days of the Empire, this new generation of settlers grimly determined to regain their lost greatness, and set about it with a will. Idaloran City was rebuilt, Crimshin Port began operations again, a few settlers moved to Betha and renamed it Bethel, Sedicolis became a boom town. Throughout, the brave settlers had to battle against the frequent Orchan raids and campaigns of conquest launched from their distant islands. However, eventually they succeeded, and the lands were cleared.

 

Today, under the rule of Empress Hyanithe IX, the Empire has regained much of its former glory. The Crimshin Forest remains sacred and inviolate to the citizens of Idaloran, and has become a place of last refuge, should there ever come a threat to the existence of the Empire again. The Legions patrol the region from Crimshin to Melinis with vigour, numerous colonies of other races have begun to settle within the Empire's boundaries, drawn in by the Empress' bountiful and generous policies towards the people. Wonderous new discoveries and inventions have been made, and the Age of Silver bids fair to become a prosperous one.

 

Polonius VII,

Court Historian to Her Imperial Majesty, Empress Hyanithe IX.

 

 

Storyline Jump-Off Points

(For other writers to write short stories about)

 

* The Last Stand of the 21st Legion.

* The Battle of Melinis - banishment of the Orchans

* Idalor's unification of the villages

* Palace Intrigue; How Scylla XII was gotten rid of.

* Life as a refugee in Crimshin Forest

Edited by Lyanna

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The Kingdom of Iscalrith

 

Not much is known about the icy homelands of the Draegoni. Few adventurers dare to venture into such harsh conditions, unprotected by Draegoni blood or magic. And the Draegoni that do leave their mystical caves are reluctant to speak of them. Usually, of the other races, only those desperate to leave the civilizations they were born into dare to live in close proximity to the most reclusive of all the races. The small armed settlements of igloos in the icy tundra of Iscalrith were built by human criminals and political refugees, seeking asylum from the vengeful Legions of the Idal Empire and the Clan-Chiefs of Zirakinbar.

 

However, beneath the hardscrabble environment in which these destitute beings survive lies a world of wondrous glory. Travellers who have been granted access to the Ice Caverns of Iscalrith speak of crystal-lit passageways, reflecting a thousand facets of light, homes marvelously decorated and warmed by carefully-contained fire magics, awe-inspiring laboratories reeking of magical residues where the mages of the Draegoni conduct their craft, and the Grand Library of the Draegoni, which is rumoured to contain every book that has ever been written in the world.

 

After participating in the War of the Gods a few millennia ago, the surviving Draegoni vowed that they would not take part in any more wars, and instead locked themselves up in their icy fortresses to protect their long-lived selves, and devoted themselves to the study of the cosmos and the principles of magic. Individual Draegoni young may at times seek to venture out into the mainstream civilizations of Irilion, but by and large they eventually tire of it and return to their solitude in the ice. There was only one instance where a sizable contingent of Draegoni warriors emerged from the caverns - when the Empire of Idal was overrun by the undead. Establishing a fortress of caves in Betha, they systematically cleared the area of the decaying monsters before retreating back to the icy south and shutting the doors behind them. To this day, no one has ever fathomed their reasons for doing so.

 

It was Perrilin the Gnomish explorer who was recorded as the first non-Draegoni to have ever gained access to the Kingdom of Iscalrith, by virtue of his heroic deed in saving the life of the young Princess Zzanthia. Befriended by the Princess, he was granted a special dispensation to spend the rest of his life within the Kingdom and it was his writings on Draegoni culture, published surreptitiously, that gave us the first insights into this noble race of scholars. Ever since then, there have only been a handful of people who have been allowed into the Kingdom, most of them ambassadors from the Idal Empire.

 

However, it appears that a new age is dawning upon us. Under their young ruler, Queen Pilaxith, the Draegoni have been actively seeking out new contacts in the world, and have even begun forming small villages and colonies on the surface. It is speculated that they had been aware of the dangers of Mortos' curse, and had decided to join in the effort en masse to eradicate its effects. Others believe that this is the first step in a diabolical plot to invade the rest of Irilion and establish Draegoni dominance over society. Whatever the reason behind their motive may be, the borders of the Kingdom are about to be opened, and a race that has been locked away for nearly four millennia is about to enter our world.

 

Polonius VII,

Court Historian to Her Imperial Majesty, Empress Hyanithe IX.

 

 

Storylines Jump-Off Points

 

* The Princess and the Gnome; or, "How Perrilin saved Zzanthia"

* Perrilin's Notes on Draegoni culture

* Criminal Secrets - the building of Fort Telmont.

* The Guide to Iscalrith for Tourists

* Why the Draegoni have joined us - a scholarly debate.

Edited by Lyanna

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The Sacred Caves of Bethel

 

We remember.

 

Though the humans who live there have forgotten, we of the Draegoni still remember.

 

Though the dwarves of the mountains and the elves of the forests have forgotten, we remember what the land now called Bethel was.

 

Before the human Empire arose, before the Orchans retreated to their eastern islands, before the war that shook us to the very foundations of our beliefs, we of the Draegoni used to wander the lands with our lord and maker, Glydoc.

 

Before the Centaur and the Satyr were destroyed, we used to find pleasure and entertainment in their company. Before Selain overran the whole of Irilion with his army, we had peace and prosperity.

 

All in the land you now call Bethel. It's true name we are forbidden to tell, yet we must not let you forget.

 

We cannot forget.

 

In the days when the Centaur and Satyr were still alive, we settled in the plains of the land you know as Bethel, and built a mighty fortress and a port there. It was a time of harmony. But when the Gods began to make war upon each other, we followed our masters into battle. The lands of Irilion fell to the armies of the Orcs, Orchans and Ogres, until only our fortress was left. The other races came to us, for they had been decimated by the insidious attacks of Selain, and we sheltered them. We built a mighty fleet to sail to the continent of Seridia, where our allies needed our help. We fled to the sea in our ships, carrying all of our soldiers with us.

 

Except a few.

 

We of the Draegoni still remember. The last of the great rulers of the past, Irinveron of the Black, had formed the members of his caste behind him, and strove to defend the port while the armies of Irilion fled. We last saw the Black retreating into the caves that we had carved out from the mountains, centuries ago. Those caves still stand, until today.

 

But the Black are gone.

 

We have lost our greatest caste - that of our natural rulers. It was by necessity that the Gold took up the burden of ruling our race. But our ties with our forefather - the great Iringold, have been cut. The Black did all perish in those caves. When we arrived back in Irilion, after waging bloody war on Seridia, and witnessing the deaths of our closest companions - the Centaur and the Satyr - we searched those caves, hoping to find even one of the young.

 

No more, no more.

 

So we sealed the caves with great and powerful magics. Though the Humans and the Orchans have fought over the lands, and have even used the caves as camps and fortresses, we know that they have not penetrated our spells. The final resting place of the Black shall not be disturbed, though it may have been forgotten by time. We had buried them with royal honours, along with the bodies of our dear and long-lost friends, the Centaur and the Satyr. We mourned them, and we retreated to the ice. No longer would we be involved in the arts of war. No longer shall we take part in the affairs of the world. Our wounds are too great.

 

The undead came.

 

The undead came, and with them, we sensed a great and terrible danger. The Human Empire lacked the strength to prevent them from entering the caves of the Black. We knew that whoever controlled the undead had the power to unravel the spells in the caves. When we heard of the news, the Gold gave the orders, and we marched out to protect the caves. We held the land for years, re-learning the arts of war and fighting the undying hordes to preserve the remains of our ancestral rulers. Once the other short-lived had cleared the source of the menace, we retreated again to the icy fortresses, and left behind our rulers to the unknowing care of the lesser races.

 

But now, there is great trouble afoot. And great hope as well. For the God of death has relinquished his hold over the caverns of the dead, and the souls of the past are rising again. Now, we open our kingdom with great eagerness, and the Gold have sent out Draegoni to all parts of the world to search.

 

To search for the risen souls of the Black.

 

Once again, we of the Draegoni may soon see our long-lost ruling caste, and begin anew. We need no longer mourn them if they have arisen again. And so, we now spread the word, in hopes that those of the Black who have risen again as Eternals may remember how we have honoured them, and come back to take their rightful places among us once more.

 

 

~As told by a wandering Draegoni mystic to Captain Gaildren~

Edited by Lyanna

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