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Why we fight

“I know, you’re going to ask me why we fight. Why we must send the sons of Arkhosia, our shipmasters, our captains, to their deaths fighting Bael Turath.

I could tell you it is out of necesity, out of defense, and this would be true. The Tieflings attacked us first, and we are obliaged to defend ourselves.

I could tell you it is for honor and glory, and this would be true. They dared attack our homes, and we are honor-bound to respond in kind, to prove ourselves as warriors.

But, these are all only partial answers. In every being’s heart, from the stoutest dwarf to the most graceful elf, lies the potential for greatness, the potential to leave your mark upon the world and do great things for which you will long be remembered. However, the tieflings represent a shortcut, an easy way out, a way to make their mark on the world by using power which they have not earned and they do not own. That is why we fight; to wipe out those that take that which is not their own. Humans are a young race, but they can build empires and do great things, should they not be taken by this greed which plagues the world in the form of Bael Turath.

That is why we fight. That is why your father died."

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( I'll think of a name later, but this one is pretty epic)

“Long ago, in the days before Sigmundson united Atticala, the country was a land of unrest and chaos. Nobles and rich towns and merchants maintained Legions to defend their wealth and take those of others, and the worshipers at the Temples trained to be the first Knights of the Temples, for their own defense. Although a time of darkness and unrest, this was also a time of great heroics and legendary deeds of valor. Companies of warriors, some noble and some less so, roamed the countryside, fighting for different banners and causes. One band, however, would go down in history as the greatest pair of warriors ever to wander the Fabled Lands, and their adventures would change the face of that realm forever. Their names were Adrian and Magnalas.
Adrian was, until the time of Sigmundson, the greatest warrior ever to be blessed by the gods. His feet were fleeter than any horse; he could snap trees with flicks of his arm. Greatest of all, it was said that his skin could resist almost any blow; his only weak point was his heart, but, of course, that was unreachable unless one went through his skin. Adrian was the greatest swordsman of his time (and some say of all time), and he was also supreme in all other combat arts. On the other hand, his companion Magnalas was just as skilled in the magical arts. It was said that with a twitch of a finger he could level a strong tree, and that his spells made him almost invulnerable to the magic of others. Each of these two men of war were two of the finest warriors to ever roam the fabled lands, and were also best friends. Wherever Adrian went, Magnalas followed; some believed they were brothers. Together, they were the most sought-after mercenaries in Atticala. They led Legions to impossible victories, and could turn the tide of any engagement. They were also reckless, hard to control, and expensive to hire; they were well known for leaving before their contracts were forfilled. However, the two lived a relatively charmed life, traveling throughout the country making friends and having adventures.
However, there would come a war that would bring that happy existence to an end. The Calliadian Empire was built upon trade and controlled most of the islands in the Violet Ocean and the surrounding seas. Somehow, they insulted much of Atticala; the exact transgression is lost to history. Also, the Calliadians were encroaching upon Atticalan trade routes, upsetting the mostly trade-based economy of the nation. A coalition of lords, merchants, and Temple guardians joined their forces together to punish the Calliadians, and were led by the lord of Skios, Barimphone. Barimphone and his comrades begged Adrian and Magnalas to join them, but the two didn’t like the concept of being stuck in a long campaign that would take them far from the country they loved to roam. Fate conspired against the pair, however; during their stay at Skios, marshaling ground for the offensive, one of their close friends was killed in an accident. Adrian and Magnalas stayed in town three days longer than they had planned to put his affairs in order, and during their stay Adrian fell in love with Barimphone’s beautiful daughter, Emmlyann, who loved him back just as passionately. Of course, Adrian knew that Barimphone would only agree to allow them to wed if he and Magnalas joined the expedition. Thus, for Adrian’s love, the pair would sail to attack the Calliadians.
Although a merchant empire, the Calliadans had a much smaller navy than that of the Atticalan alliance; instead, they relied on Island outposts to secure their empire. However, while this system was suffecent to keep pirates off of their shipping lanes, it meant that the Atticalan fleet could sail virtually unopposed to their home island of Calliay, in the heart of what are now the unnumbered isles. At the time, the island chain was afar more stable, but still a twisting maze of sandbars and islets. The Atticalans planed to use these islands as a base from which to cut off and choke the life from Calliay…..tbc”

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The Dark Sorcery of Uttaku

“After their defeat at Dweomer, the Shadar-kai were thrown into complete political chaos. The brief period of relative unity within Uttaku was shattered within a few months. However, Harkuna was too weak from her war with Golnir to capitalize on their vulnerability; hence the Shadar-kai kept what territories they had conquered. What was more, the few surviving ships to return from Dweomer brought with them great secrets in the magical arts, torn from the Sorcerer’s Isle. Unfortunately, before these secrets could be completely utilized, civil war on a massive scale broke out in Uttaku. Although there were many small factions, as is normal among Shadar-kai, all were generally part of three main political factions that controlled different sections of the country. Also, these groupings followed the lines upon which the magical secrets from Dweomer were divided among the magicians of Uttaku; thus, each political faction utilized very specific forms of magic when equipping their armies.

The smallest (yet second strongest) faction was made up of the Shadar-kai who held the cities, champions of industry. These Shadar-kai were few in number, and relied on the construction of Warforged to fill their armies. Previously, such technology had been alien to Uttaku, but after recovering it from the rubble in Dweomer, the Shadar-kai built hundreds of these death-machines. At first, their designs were relatively primitive, but within months they were producing deadly bipedal killers, capable of wielding a dizzying array of mechanically enhanced weapons ranging from repeating crossbows to electrified swords. However, these metal warriors were difficult to manufacture, meaning that the armies of Warforged never exceeded a few hundred.

The second (and weakest) faction was composed of the Shadar-kai of the hills and forests, who were by far the largest of the three factions. Under the division of the magical secrets, these spellcasters had received knowledge of a great many enchantments, but although their sorcerers were now second to none in Uttaku, they still lacked manpower, and were forced to breed armies of orcs to fill their ranks. These Shadar-kai were forced to fight in a more traditional manner, and their orc hosts were supplemented by war bands of the Shadar-kai themselves. Their armies were weak, however; despite their numbers they were on more or less equal terms with the Warforged armies of the cities.

Unlike the first two factions, the Third faction (and also the strongest) was not so much a faction than a single Shadar-kai and his disciples. Lorunth was the most talented young magician in all of Uttaku, and he felt it was his personal duty to wipe humanity from the face of the earth. His origins are still unclear; some say his father was killed in a human raid, while others say he was taught in the black arts by Doranth Barrun, the fabled sorcerer from the fallen Tiefling kingdom. He was strong, arrogant, disciplined, and fanatical; he was also exceptionally cruel. Due to his obvious talent, he had been selected to be one of the youngest leaders of the Dweomer expedition. However, during the campaign, he was often reprimanded for his wanton waste of his soldier’s lives in suicidal attacks. Additionally, his tendency to brutally execute all human prisoners was met with reservations from higher command.

During the naval portion of the battle, on the other hand, he succeeded in sinking no less than 20 Allied warships, over half of which were Cordoban men of war. His ship was sunk during the fighting, but he was able to drift into the Unnumbered Isles, where he commandeered a lost human packet and sailed it back to Uttaku. In the closing weeks of the war, he led the remaining Shadar-kai forces in overrunning several more of Harkuna’s northern fiefs.

To his disgust, the war ended in a cease-fire; in order to satiate his bloodlust, his superiors made him governor over the newly won territories. He also was given a share in the magical secrets from Dweomer. These new abilities, coupled with his own dark talents, Lorunth created a diabolical spell that would make him the ultimate power in Uttaku. The spell Lorunth created is now known as the Blood Chant, a ritual that used dark energies to turn humans into a breed of half-orc, completely loyal to the ritual’s caster and combining the greatest fighting qualities of both orc and man. Lorunth cast his ritual across the human villages within Uttaku’s new borders, and soon his own personal army was terrorizing its way across Uttaku, breaking the contending armies left and right.

At first, the Harkunans were too busy recovering from the war with Golnir to take much notice of the events happening in Uttaku. However, as Lorunth’s army grew in size he began to cast rituals on small frontier villages to gain new recruits for his dark armies. Soon, reports of an army of barily-human beasts led by a band of extremely powerful Shadar-kai terrorizing the countryside began to trickle, than stream into the High King’s seat. Lorunth’s armies, meanwhile, were growing more powerful by the day, absorbing the new technologies they stole from conquered foes. Too late, Harkuna attempted to alter the balance of power within Uttaku by using the Red Guard to fight a guerrilla war against the half-orc army, but they soon realized that petty ambushes and training of disidents could not stop Lorunth’s forces. When the Harkunans recieved word that Lorunth would strike the large village of Bayruth, just inside the Uttakuan border (taken during the last days of the war), the desicion was made to defend it and its citizens. Unfortunately, the Half-orcs would reach the village before the rest of the Harkunan army; the task of defending the village during the first few crucial hours would fall to the Red Guard which, as it was already deployed in Uttaku, could congragate quickly in the Village’s defense.

The diabolical host was perdicted to arrive at midnight in the third week of Thermador; the first units of the Red Guard began arriving the morning beforehand. They quickly armed the few men they found in the village, and errected a small palisade fronting the only possible ford in the stream to the north. Behind this palisade was a small clearing before the wooden walls of the village itself. As dusk fell, the last of the 500 or so Red Guardsmen arrived and took up positions on or behind the palisade. Many at least had experience as bowmen, and a good portion were some of the finest archers in all the fabled lands. The were highly trained and confident they could at least hold until the rest of the Harkunan army arrived in the morning. However, even they, who were the spearhead of the Harkunan intelegence section, didn’t full comprehend that as darkness fell an army of over 10,000 was desending upon them.

The sun soon departed, and the moon cast its faint glow across the land. The night was clear and crisp. However, an unearthly mist slowly crawled from the forest across the river and onto the defenders. Soon the Guardsmen were completely blinded, unable to see more than a few feet in either direction. Suddenly the missed disappated. There, on the other side of the river, stood seven robed figures. Behind them the mist continued to swirl, but was seemingly retained behind the robed creatures. For a time, neither side stired. The Guardsmen tensed their weapons, breathed heavily, but the creatures across the river didn’t twitch. Finally, the Guard captain spoke,
“Show yourselves cowards, or remove yourselves from this land!”
At his voice, the seven figures jolted thier heads in his direction. The one in the center of their line spoke in a voice that could peal the skin off a grown man,
“I am Lorunth, human scum. This land, like all lands, belongs to the most sacred Raven Queen. You men will now join her”
With that, the robed figures raised their hands with inhuman quickness, and in a blast of mist, water, and magic energy, blew back the palisade in one might explosion.The Guardsmen were sent sprawling and dazed. When they recovered their senses, they looked up and saw, coming through the mist, the tortured forms of the half-orc warriors, weapons glistening, and battlecrys filling the night. With a yell, the Guard recovered and charged the creatures.

For hours, the night rang with the clash of steel on steel as the half-orcs swarmed across the river. Their weapons were of the finest quality, their strenght exceeded that of any man, and their resilience far exceeded that of any human opponet. The Red Guard, however, put up stanched resistance, killing many half-orcs before succuming themselves. Unfortunately, many were killed, and they were slowly driven from the field back toward the walls of the town. Most of the townspeople who hadn’t fled ran to the walls to drop stones and other missiles upon the attacking host, while the guardsmen put up a fighting retreat to the gait, which they managed to shut. Before the tired Guardsmen could get a moment’s rest however, the gate was blown inward, and Lorunth himself led the creatures through into the town. The fighting began to take on a house to house nature. The town’s citizens were hacked down with unbelieveable savagery. And yet the Red Guard fought on, from rooftops to basements….

All through the night, the Redguard fought on. The half-orcs took tremendous casualties taking every inch on ground, but they were slowly overwheming the guardsmen. Finally, as all hope seemed lost, and the Guardsmen were making a final stand in the town square, the sun crested the horizin. With it came the first elements of the Harkunan army, which had marched through the night to rescue their comrades. The first soldiers on the scene were Tuetons, who, after assesing the situation, charged into the square, sending the half-orcs reeling. For the rest of the day, the Harkunans arrived piecemeal and slowly drove the half-orcs from the town. The Teutons persued Lorunth into the forest, where he was cut down. His disciples continued his movement, but it is now a shadow of its former self. Uttaku has reachieved a level of stability, but still is divided and without the power it once weilded"

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The Great Siege of Dweomer

“In the centuries following the Great Battle of Nerech, the Shadar-kai waited, biding their time until they would be able to strike again at humanity and, this time, destroy them. They had planned this move with the utmost patience and cunning; for hundreds of years they stockpiled weapons, trained new generations of warriors, and, above all, sent spies throughout the Fabled Lands, looking for a weak point in the human defenses. The Shadar-kai found such a weak point in the Isle of Dweomer, home of the mages. The island was strategically located in practically the center of the Violet Ocean, and its mages’ magic could easily turn the tide of a war in humanity’s favor. Although the Shadar-kai overran most of Harkuna’s northern provinces during Golnir’s War of Independence, when they were afforded an opportunity to strike the Isle of Mages, they concentrated most of their force against Dweomer.

To strike Dweomer, the Shadar-kai assembled a massive fleet made up of quinqueremes, rowed by goliath slaves, and carrying an invasion army of over a million. The mages’ Isle was defended by a few thousand knights drawn from throughout the Fabled Lands known as Equitum Cinereum Insulam; most of the knights were either Cordoban or Sokarran. When the Shadar-kai armada arrived, the defenders were taken completely by surprise; most of the defending warships were driven into the Grand Harbor, or they fled to the Unnumbered Isles. The first landing parties quickly overran most of the city’s outer defenses, driving the Knights out of most of the housing and market districts. Resistance only began to stiffen around the Harbor districts, the extremely important Warehouse districts, and the military districts. The Floating School was at first used to rain down missile fire on the attackers, but after several rather devastating friendly fire incidents this tactic was used only sparingly. One of the most hotly contested districts was the only library district on the island’s surface, as it contained one of the teleportation circles connecting with the Floating school. When the Knight commander in the district was given an erroneous report that the circle had been captured, he ordered part of the school dropped on the area, causing tremendous destruction and loss of life on both sides.

By the end of the first day, the Shadar-kai had consolidated their hold on the housing and market districts, fiercely contested the Harbor and Warehouse districts, had nearly taken the Government district, held the ruins of the library district, and couldn’t gain any ground against the great fortresses in the Military districts. The two massive forts at the entrance to the Grand Harbor, Fort San Juan and Fort San Elmo, were holding despite being isolated and greatly outnumbered. Over the next three weeks, the Shadar-kai gained little ground against the ferocious fire from the defender’s batteries; the mages’ magics gave the defenders’ weapons uncanny accuracy, and provided them with devastating flame weapons. The Shadar-kai commander eventually came to realize that the standard human-wave tactics so favored by his people would never succeed in bringing down these walls; something else would have to come into play…

Meanwhile, the human nations of the Fabled Lands called a council to coordinate their movements against the Shadar-kai threat. The council included three representatives from the Council of Atticala, a Templar, Three representatives from Harkuna (one of which was also a Templar), three representatives from Sokarra, three from Cordoba, three from the Black Pagoda, one Teuton, one Knight of Dragon, and three from the outlying territories, headed by the King of the Pirates. At first, the council was sharply divided, especially the Harkunans and Sokarrans, but the oratory skills of the Pirate King soon brought unity to the group. It was decided to form a relief fleet in Yellowport, made up of ships from across the Fabled Lands, that would liberate Dweomer, while in the meantime the Pirate and his men would ferry supplies and reinforcements through the Shadar-kai blockade to the city. The Shadar-kai in the north of Harkuna were to be opposed by all parties, and a truce would pervade between Sokarra and Harkuna. Adventurers from across the Fabled Lands volunteered to be part of the relief fleet, and many hundred were slipped through the blockade. It seemed as if all was going well in the human camp.

However, the situation on Dweomer was rapidly deteriorating. The Shadar-kai had built massive siege engines with the help of some of the mages and alchemists captured earlier in the siege (and tortured into compliance). Ballistae, magonels, and hundreds of trebuchets rained missiles upon the walls, killing all who stood upon them to return fire. The defenders were forced to fire from arrow slits in the walls, and the mages were able to use magic to keep them standing, but they could not fit any of their own artillery within the walls. The Shadar-kai exploited the lack of defending artillery by building massive siege towers higher than the walls, allowing their warriors to swarm over. Fort San Elmo was taken quickly, and soon after most of the Harbor district fell. The defenders realized that they needed to find a way to return fire or they were doomed.

Luckily, the mages were able to provide a solution. In the years leading up to the siege, the mages had been working on building springs of extreme power and size. These they had used to make a ballista that was extremely narrow, basically a tube surrounded by springs that could fling projectiles with the same force as a ballista. The project had been shelved due to the high cost of the materials involved. However, as most of the wood in Dweomer had been used up anyway, there was a surplus of high-quality metals, and the mages began frantically building these devices, called cannons, for the knights. As the siege towers approached walls of the Military district, they were met by furious cannonade from the walls themselves, smashing the towers. Within a week enough cannon batteries had been constructed to crush the Shadar-kai artillery, which couldn’t reach the cannons within their great stone walls. As reports came in that a massive human fleet was just off shore, the Shadar-kai decided to abandon the siege and retreat to their boats, all the time harried by the Knights.

Once at sea, the Shadar-kai were confronted by the great Human Armada (although it actually contained several ships from Akat-Surai). The Humans relied on their ranged weapons for attack, and shot apart the Shadar-kai. Out of the thousands of quinqueremes, less than ten survived and returned to Uttaku. The Shadar-kai had been decisively beaten."

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The Purification

“As Sigmundson’s empire collapsed in the wake of his death, most of his kingdom’s outlying territories were either abandoned, made independent, or gradually assimilated into the surrounding culture. The Atticalan colonies in Ankon-konu, for instance, were mostly abandoned to the jungle or handed over to the expanding Cordoban colony. However, on the far western side of the continent, the local governor created a new kingdom for himself known as the kingdom of Raciath. A mountainous kingdom, the region had been and remained impoverished and isolated.

Perhaps it was this isolation that drew a group of religious fanatics to establish a plantation in the mountains. These men worshiped a god who had been killed and destroyed during the Dawn War, and were devoted to peace and justice. Despite their pacifist disposition, they created a great fortress in the mountains, and practiced martial arts incessantly. Soon, they began to exert more influence over the countryside that the Raciathian king was willing to tolerate.

Unfortunately, the fanatics (known simply as He Who Was, after their god) had grown too powerful for the government to deal with, so the king decided to recruit an army of mercenaries to deal with them. Three great companies were raised; One was made up of Templars and Teutons, another of assorted Adventurers, and the third made up of troops from Hoplus. Although there were some tensions between the Hoplites and the Templars, gold did much to alleviate these hostilities. As the fleet of mercenaries moved toward their destination, they were attacked several times by pirates; the fleet fended them off with relative ease.

As they arrived in Raciath City, they were welcomed by a sullen crowd; life in the mountains was hard, and few cared enough about the politics of the nation enough to even register the crusading army. In the town square, they were greeted by King Odava, who welcomed them wearily. The army was billeted in the town for two nights before they set off for Demsada, the fanatics’ fortress. As they left, the army was joined by two companies of native Raciathians. The Raciathian army was made up of peltasts, using small shields, short curved swords, javelins, and the deadly Rhomphaia. The army set off into the mountains, with the natives in the lead and van and the adventurers, Templars, and Hoplites in the center.

As the column reached Lake Valious, they soon became engulfed in a thick mist. The more experienced troops became nervous, and when they heard the battle cries going up from all sides, they realized their fears had been confirmed; they were surrounded. Fanatic spies had discovered that the army had set out, and they sent their best warriors to ambush the crusaders in the pass between the lake and the mountains. The fanatics deluged the crusaders in very accurate arrow fire, inflicting tremendous casualties on the poorly armed adventurers. The Hoplites and Knights took cover behind their shields and were spared the worst of the arrow fire. The heavily armed fanatics then charged down the slope, crashing into the adventurers. The Raciathians charged into the fanatics, holding their own, while the Hoplites formed a shield wall and the Templars recovered from their initial shock and launched a counterattack.

Although the fighting was fierce, the Raciathians and the Templars broke through and rescued the rest of the column, sending the fanatics reeling. The fanatics retreated back to their fortress, while the crusaders resumed their offensive. As they arrived outside the fortress, the fanatics met them on the plain below. The fortress itself was on top of a great mountain, but the plain below was one of the largest open spaces in Ankon-konu. The fanatics had assumed that their cavalry would be able to crush the infantry-based crusading army. However, the Hoplites threw them back in disorder and the Templar cavalry ravaged their ranks, pursuing the fanatics toward the fortress. The defenders waited until most of their men were back, and then sealed the only path up to their position. The crusaders surrounded the fortress, and quickly began their first attack.

The crusaders swarmed up the mountain, but were met with a hail of arrows and javelins. Demsada was situated on the top of a very steep plateau, and since the defenders had blocked the only pathway up, the crusaders were forced to scamper up the bolder-strewn, sandy mountainside, all the while facing the defenders’ murderous fire. The crusaders had with them a significant siege train, but they had outpaced it; their siege engines didn’t arrive until late in the day. In the meantime, the defenders’ various artillery continued to pound the crusaders, hurling large rocks from their mangonels and great javelins from their ballistae. The fanatics also destroyed the aqueducts bringing water into the city from outside so they would not be used by the crusaders to gain entrance. By the end of the first day the crusaders had cut off the fortress but were stalled less than halfway up the slope. What was even worse was that several of their number were missing in action, including the high-ranking Templars Sir Andrew and Sir Thomas, a Legion Sergeant named Pyruss, and three Raciathians: Spendius, Autaritus and Zarzas.

Over the next week, the crusaders tried time and time again to scale the steep mountainside, now with covering fire from their own artillery, only to be thrown back down again. By the end of the week the crusaders decided on a change in strategy; they would build a ramp up to the wall of the fortress, and push a siege tower up that ramp. The building would be covered by the artillery and a group of Harkunan longbowmen from the company of adventurers. These longbowmen were some of the few survivors from the adventuring company and had amazingly suffered no casualties throughout the venture; it was rumored that they were, in fact, secretly members of the Red Guard.

It took three grueling days to build the ramp, a backbreaking labor in and of itself that was made more difficult by the accurate defending fire. However, on the fourth day, the crusaders were ready to begin their assault. They concentrated all of their artillery at the wall at the top of the ramp, and the siege tower was slowly pushed up the ramp. The resulting battle was vicious. Within a few hours, the siege tower was within yards of the wall— suddenly, the defenders poured water out of the wall’s loopholes, turning the earthen ramp to mud. The siege tower was stuck. Most of the crusaders were angered and frustrated; many wanted to return home.

However, the Templars struck down such propositions; alone they sent a prayer to Kord and charged the slope. The skies darkened; lightning arced across the sky; wind blew from all directions toward the fort. The defenders’ arrows blew off course, while the Templars’ arrows always found their mark. The Templars surged like a great wave to the wall, and were soon joined by the valiant Raciathians and the rest of the army. Scaling ladders went up; Templars leapt over the wall. The clashing of sword on plate and axes on helms drowned out the thunder cascading from the heavens, and the smell of blood and sand blew through the air.

As the crusaders worked their way into the fort, they came across Sir Andrew, fighting in center of the square. Around him were the bodies of Spendius, Autaritus, and Thomas; Pyruss was propped on the well behind Andrew, badly wounded, and Andrew was defending the body of the mortally wounded Zarzas. His pure white Templar tunic was stained red, he had lost his helm, instead using one of the Raciathians’; and on his left hand was Pyruss’s hoplon. He and his companions had snuck into the fort through an aqueduct on the first day of the siege but had been cut off when it was destroyed. For a week and four days, Sir Andrew and his men had endured extreme hardship, fighting off hundreds of foes single-handedly.

The crusaders finished off the fanatics, killing them to the last swordmage. The last to die was their leader, who, in his dying words, claimed that they would never be forgotten, and one day one of their own would take part in the Templars’ cleansing.

The fort was occupied by the Raciathians, who were eternally grateful toward the crusaders and paid them well for their service. Ever since, Raciathians have been on friendly terms with both the city of Hoplus and the Templars. In light of Sir Andrew’s valiant exploits, the city of Hoplus and the Templars became neutral towards each other, if not friendly. Hoplon ships were never attacked by Templar pirates, the Hoplite leader was granted an honorary title of Captain in the Order, and several gifts were given to them. The Templars, in return, were given many gifts as well, including the rank of Captain in the Hoplon legion. The greatest gift of all, however, was the shield Sir Andrew had used during the battle. The shield was, in fact, none other than the shield used thousands of years before by the great Hoplite, Lysander. To this day, the Templars now often wear Raciathian-style helmets, and receive a great deal of recruits from there."

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From Might into Myth

Long ago, long before the great Dawn War, there existed a peaceful god who presided over the domains of kingship, wisdom, mercy, & love. He ruled from his divine dominion of Baathion, an idyllic world of beauty & peace. His wisdom placed him as one of the most powerful gods, if not the most powerful. His energies were focused on maintaining peace & prosperity throughout the cosmos.

This god was at the forefront when the gods sought to perfect the material world that the primordials wrought. He crafted the race of humans from the essence of the world, just as Moradin forged the dwarves from the rock & Corellon sang the elves from the wood. He worked with many other good-aligned gods to craft the world into a place of beauty & relative order, a place where peace may thrive.

Thus when the primordials enacted their vengeance upon the world, no other god was more stricken than he.

The Dawn War broke out all across the material plane. The world that the primordials forged & the gods refined was now threatened with the destruction of war. Flowering meadows burned, valleys flooded, mountains crumbled, and utter catastrophe befell the world.

At the war’s outbreak, this god reluctantly entered the battle between gods & primordials in order to protect this realm of possible peace. His led his forces to be pacifists, serving as healers for the forces of the other gods. As the war escalated, more and more of his angels turned away from their pacifist pledges & took up arms against the primordial forces. There were no finer divine servants than those of this god.

As the war raged, however, the god learned more and more about the gods’ enemies. From the reports of Lolth’s spies, he saw through the prejudice of the gods & saw the hurt pride & partly founded anger of the primordials. He saw the devastation wreaked upon the world he helped to lovingly craft. Above all, he feared what would happen to his servants & the humans he created should the war carry on. He feared that the thrill of war would infect the purity of his most loyal followers.

He could not have been more correct.

Soon, the god sought to make a truce between the gods & primordials to ensure the safety of the material plane. He sought a compromise that would leave both parties richer than before at only minor cost to both sides.

This cost was too much for his first lieutenant, Asmodeus. At one time a loyal servant of the god, Asmodeus had been corrupted by the Dawn War. He sought power & prestige, and viewed his god’s aims for peace as weakness. Asmodeus envied his god’s power, and plotted to usurp him. Upon learning of his god’s search for a truce, he struck him down with his Ruby Rod, an artifact recovered from the spoils of the war.

As the god lay dying, the god pronounced a curse upon Asmodeus that warped the angel’s once-fair form to show the evil being he truly was. With his dying breath, he sent one last breath of divine power to the mortal world, hoping that one of his servants would use it to overthrow Asmodeus. Then the Rod struck, and the god was no more.

Asmodeus absorbed the god’s remaining divine energy, which was more than enough for him to ascend into godhood. However, the curse that marred his body spread to his new dominion, and the beautiful gardens of Baathion twisted & writhed to become Baator, a place of evil & despair— & a fitting place for the god’s fallen lieutenant.

Outraged at the loss of his beauty & the bounties of Baathion, Asmodeus used his new divine might to strike the name of the god from all memories & records. Although mighty, Asmodeus could not completely purge the name of the god from all records, & certain texts guard the god’s name— a word of power— to this day. But for all intents & purposes, the dead god has been thrown from memory into myth, & is now only known as He Who Was.

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The founding of Golnir

" In the years following the Great Battle of Nerech, the King of Harkuna decided to grant the province of Sokarra its independence in light of their extraordinary service in the campaigns against the Shadar-kai. However, independence was withheld from the other great province of Harkuna, Golnir. This province was the breadbasket of the empire and, as it was far more rural than Sokarra, her independence movement could be much more easily ignored. However, as time went on and Golnir became wealthy from trade, the nationalist movement began to gather steam, until the entire province was seething with revolutionary fever. When a member of the local nobility responded to an increase in taxes by burning down the local tax collector’s office, much of his county flocked to his banner. Soon, Owen Gates’ rash act caused a massive uprising as word reached out across the province. The Harkunan army, at this time mostly made up of heavy calvary, was quickly driven out of Golnir after great battles on the Fields of Schlamm, where the King’s knights sunk deep into the mud, and at Hügel Hill, when the king’s forces charged the rebels uphill and were routed. The rebels named Owen the first King of Golnir. However, the rebels then foolishly decided to attack Harkuna itself. Several of the rebel armies broke off to besiege the outlying imperial towns while Owen himself led an army against the High King’s Seat. This army contain most of the rebellions limited supply of knights, and a contingent of Sokarran Infantry. As the rebels marched further into Harkunan territory, however, they rapidly realized that the local population was decidedly hostile toward them, denying them food and supplys and informing the King’s army as to their movements. When the King’s army met the rebels outside the High King’s Seat, his more experienced knights cut apart the rebel knights, lancing their horses and then massacring them on the ground. It was clear that only the youngest, least experienced knights had joined the rebel cause; the more experienced knights stayed loyal to the King. By the time the rebel army staggered back into Golnir, most of their heavy calvary had been killed, and their Prince was reported missing in action. As Owen was not known to be dead, the title of Prince of Golnir has yet to be placed upon another. Still, the rebel losses were serious; though they continued to besiege several Harkunan towns their calvary was now made up of poorly-armed and unmotivated Citizen’s militia. Whatsmore, the leadership of the rebellion now fell to Golnir’s nobles, including the Baron of Ravayne, Alexander Ravenski.

The King’s forces, for their part, were also not in great shape after the great battles of the first summer of the rebellion. Several of their major cities were under siege, they had lost a good many knights, relations with both Uttaku and Sokarra were greatly strained (although not to the point of outright war), and, worst of all, most of their commanders had either defected to Golnir or had mysterious disappeared only to turn up in the Sokarran army. Desperate for leaders for their army, the Harkunans contracted the Knights Templar to come to their aide. As Sigmundson had only been killed a few decades before, the Knights still were a great and powerful order at this time, with many experienced commanders thanks to the unrest in Atticala and a strong tradition of leadership left over from the Imperial days. The Templar commanders quickly reversed Harkuna’s fortunes; the city of Servian was liberated when the Templars led a calvary charge that, although outnumbered 4 to 1, dispersed the rebel citizen calvary. Days later, the siege of Choznoce was liberated after a party of Templars snuck though the siege lines to inspire the garrison to a sortie that carried the day. Despite their apparent success, an overly ambitious attempt to invade Golnir during the winter was crushed by Ravenski on Lake Nealros.

In the spring the Harkunans decided to take the offensive. They split their army into three groups; the Templar Bertrand de Blanchefort would lead an army to the north to return the valuable grain-producing regions of the north to the King, while the other two armies, commanded by the King and his Son, would capture the cities of Metriciens and Ringhorn, Golnir’s most valuable trading cities. The Templars were none to happy with this plan; they feared that the King and his Son would be far to rash and lead their armies to disaster. Still, Bertrand’s men marched north, destroying the of Amerca before being bogged down in a never-ending guerrilla war. The peasants were assisted by an alliance with the Highlanders from the north and, under the brilliant generalship of Kazak Susha, won several victories against the crusading Templars and their forces, although they were never able to overrun the Harkunan army. The Northern rebels were fond of using formations of pikemen and used their wagons as battle platforms. The Knights, for their part, attempted to both deprive the rebel army of grain and somehow bring it to decisive confrontation.

Meanwhile, the battles in the south were resolved decidedly in favor of the rebels. Outside Metriciens, the King’s Son had foolishly charged his knights through his own infantry to close with the enemy’s citizen militia, preventing his archers from being able to break up the dense thicket of pikes the citizens formed. The Prince’s knights were slaughtered, the Prince himself had his helm caved in by a battleaxe, and the rest of his army either defected or ran for its life. In light of this catastrophy, the King decided to detach most of his Infantry to attempt to remedy the situation at Metriciens, while continuing toward Ringhorn with his heavy calvary. The Ringhorn militia met the King’s knights on a plain outside the city. Lusting to avenge the death of his son, the King and his men charged the rebels, putting their calvary, which was recruited from the city’s higher class, to flight. The King and his calvary then descended upon the militiamen, but like at Metriciens the foot soldiers formed a dense thicket of pikes and held against every attempt of the enemy knights to overwhelem them. Inspired by the infantry’s stand, the rebel calvary returned and routed the King’s men; the King himself was unhorsed and forced to retreat whilst sharing a horse with another knight.

Embarrased in the south, the Harkunans decided to reinforce the Templar-led armies to the north, resulting in several victories at Fuslalia and the relief of Reca castle. However, the rebels remained aloof, defeating a Harkunan army at Balckburn. Inspired by the Golnir’s successes, and wanting to extend their own territory, the armies of Sokarra decided to intervene on behalf of the rebels. The Sokarran navy crushed that of Harkuna at Sylus, and their armies, made up of highly professional foot soldiers, repeatedly trounced the Harkunans. They won at Sialac, Arejan, and and captured and burned the great Harkunan city of Lathinia Court. A Harkunan attempt to outflank the Sokarrans by sending an army over the Spine and attacking through the Pass of Eagles in alliance with some of the Goliath tribes ended in a costly failure. Three things saved the Harkunans from a most certain defeat, however. One was, ironically, a Shadar-kai invasion, which brought a virtual truce between the powers as they attempted to beak back the invaders. The Harkunans lost several small fiefdoms to the Shadar-kai but were able to hold their borders, while a great Shadar-kai invasion fleet was destroyed in the Great Siege of Dweomer, with help form both Cordoba and Sokarra. Second, the Harkunans gained heart from their younger leaders, inspiring the relief of several besieged cities. Lastly, the Knights Templar put up fanatical resistance, holding castles to the last man. They and their brother organization, the Tuetons (a sub-unit of the Templars composed solely of native Harkunans) continued to fight the Sokarrans even when their Harkunan army brotheren fled. The Harkunans soon won several key victories, forcing out the Sokarrans. As the war passed into its third year both Sokarra and Harkuna were exausted, and both were looking for a way to save face yet end the war. In the end, Sokarra agreed to pull out of the war in return for a secret clause within the peace treaty that would give them the best parts of Golnir should the rebellion finally be crushed. The thinking was that should the Harkunans win, Sokarra would get most of Golnir, and if the rebels win, Golnir will ask to be annexed by Sokarra. As the Sokarrans withdrew, the Harkunan army prepared to launch one final assault against the rebel host.

However, the rebels had taken advantage of the lull in the the fighting to rest, rearm, and call for aid. Several Atticalan cities, hoping to defeat the Templars, make business deals with Golnir, and out of general appreciation for the rebel cause, began sending aid in the form of weapons and equipment, money, and military advisors drawn from the battle-hardened legions. With the legion’s assistance, the rebel army became a formidable fighting force; their infantry was trained in phalanx tactics popular throughout Atticala and their field artillery was second to none in Harkuna. Most importantly, the Atticalans funded to formation of a heavy calvary force, based out of Ravayne, to provide the rebels with their sorely-needed calvary support. The Rebels were caught off-guard, however, when another Atticalan city provided its ships to transport a small Harkunan army to southern Golnir.This new army was small, and commanded by the brash nephew of the King, the Duke of Sinut. Without time to call upon the Paladins of Ravayne, the rebels instead relied on their artillery to devastate the Duke’s forces, killing almost all before they reached the rebel lines. When Bertrand heard of this disaster, he knew the war was lost, but the King ordered him to face the rebels regardless. Abandoning the North to the rebels (correctly guessing that most of their militia would not stray far from their homes to assist their southern brethren), Bertrand assembled a great army out of what was left of the Harkunan military, convincing the Harkunans to pay massive amounts of money to hire more Templars and for Atticalan gunners for their field artillery. All of Harkunas remaining resources went into this one final effort. Victory or defeat would come in the next great battle.

The day of battle came on the plains outside Ravayne. Both armies formed with their infantry in their center and calvary holding the flanks. The artillery was interspersed in between the infantry. The Harkunan calvary was a mixed force of Templars, Teutons, light calvary (formed in light of the casualties from earlier in the war), and all of what remained of Harkuna’s noble heavy calvary. The Golnirian calvary was once again citizen militia, who eyed the opposing Harkunans warily. Many asked, Where were the Paladins of Ravayne? The new Paladin force was nowhere in sight; the citizen force seemed likely to bolt given the slightest provocation. The initial exchange of missile fire was dominated by the Rebels; for all of Bertrand’s preparation, his artillery was still greatly outnumbered. Both sides then ordered their infantry to charge. The levies of the Harkunan army came of worse when faced by the unyielding, well-trained rebel phalanx, and soon began streaming from the field. Bertrand’s calvary charged through the infantry, crashing like a tidal wave of steel into the rebel calvary. The rebels fought desperately but were being cut to shreds. Many began to flee. The Harkunan calvary soon was descending on the rear of the rebel phalanx. The rebel line wavered. Then, from the forest to the rear came a noise like an avalanche of iron. From the trees came the Paladins of Ravayne, arrayed in deep crimson, lances crouched, hurtling toward the battle in full tilt, led by Alexander Ravayneski on a dashing white charger and wearing no helm so the rebels could see his face. The Harkunans were caught unprepared and in the flank; the rebel army took heart and soon surrounded them. Bertrand was killed, and with him all the nobility of Harkuna. His Templars and Teutons were crushed, their pure white tunics trampled into the mud. The day was won.

Within days, the Harkunans surrendered their claims to Golnir, vowing to never again seek the province. The Sokarrans, for their part, were ready to annex the province when a Teuton reviled to Ravayneski and the other nobles of Golnir the provisions of the Sokarran’s secret treaty with Harkuna. Golnir declined Sokarra’s overtures to annex their nation, and to this day tensions between the two countries still run high.

In Harkuna, the the defeat in Golnir prompted some massive military reforms, with the emphaisis placed on the infantryman. Some say that the elite Red Guard were originally Templars, hired to protect the King at all costs and continue to keep order during the unrest following the defeat outside Ravayne. They were forced to adopt a new guise, as their distinctive uniform was no longer well-accepted by the Harkunan people. In Golnir, the emphasis has been on building up the heavy calvary, to avoid the shattering defeats and embarrassments of the citizen militia during the war. The Sokarrans were vindicated in their emphasis on an infantry corps, and learned far more from their encounters with the Shadar-kai during the war, discussed later. The real losers in this war, however, were the Knights Templar. With most of their best knights lying dead on the plains of Golnir, they became a shadow of their former selves. While still able to resist a combined legion-Golnirian assault on the Citadel, they were eventually forced to become a bandit force, raiding villages to make up for their horrendous losses during the war.

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Yet more Legends

“Some legends come from the time after the fall. The greatest story, of course, is not legend at all, but the story of a great battle.

The town of Corlus was ruled by a tyrant by the name of Charles the Audacious. Corlus had always been a local military power due to it’s extremely easy-to defend position; it was situated in a large surrounded on three sides by impassible mountains, and on the fourth side was a great gorge traversed by a massive bridge. Despite it’s military success the town was only moderately commercially successful, relying mainly on exports of mineral water from its great springs and metals from its mines. Under Charles, however, the mining industry expanded greatly; soon Corlus was rich beyond comprehension from her metal exports. With these newfound funds Charles built a great army, expanding upon his Legion (armed in traditional Hoplite fashion) with a massive Infantry Corps and groups of mercenaries. Charles soon began expanding its territory in Atticala, and it appeared as it he might be a contender for the next king.

The other city-states and their legions would not stand for this, however, for it was assumed that the next king would come to power from one of the old imperial organizations, the Templars or the Legion, to maintain his connection with Sigmundson. Two legions, the 20th of Matronos and the 1st of Germanica, joined with a force of Templars to destroy Charles. The Corlusians suffered some early defeats and withdrew back to their city. The alliance was still gathering its forces and siege train but realized that the key for capturing the city was taking the bridge, so a force of seven Knights, led by Sir Jefferious. The seven arrived at the bridge just in time, quickly rushed over the span, and proceeded to keep the surprised Corlusians from retaking the bridge for several hours. The Seven fought bravely against overwhelming odds, and they held long enough for the first units of the Legion to arrive.

However, by the time the Legionaries got to the bridge, only Jefferious was left standing. The legionaries beckoned for him to rejoin them. He was halfway accross when a ballistae bold crushed through his chest. The Legionaries formed a phalanx and continued to hold the span, but the Corlusians had recovered from their initial surprise and ensured they could not establish a bridgehead. Meanwhile, they Corlusians began to emplace artilery around the sides of the bridge, the fire of which, when combined with crossbow fire, began to drive the legion back. Soon, the legionaries were fighting for their lives, holding less than half the bridge and only kept on its span because the Corlusians were afraid of hitting their own infantry. Luckily, the Allies own artillery began to arrive, and it soon provided counterbattery fire on the Corlusian positions.

By the end of the first day a stalemate had ensued; within days it became clear that neither force was powerful enough to take the span. The two sides began building up more and more artillery, while the besiegers began to build ladders and entire new bridges— all of which were smashed before they could be emplaced. It seemed as it the battle would drag on for years until one of the Legionaries came up with an ingenious plan: in secret, the Allies built several enormous Ballistae. In the dead of night, the Allies used the ballistae to launch several of their soldiers across the gorge, assisted by sets of batlike wings. The raiders knocked out several of the enemy batteries and flung open the bridge gates. The allied army poured through; the enemy attempted to stand but their militia were routed and cut down. The allies had a falling out over the spoils and the Templars and Legion never again worked together.

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More Legends of Atticala

“And where did the Varangi Guard come from?

Properly, Varangi translates in Old Atticalan to Highlander. Many years ago, during the Regime of Sigmundson, the Empire had strong ties with the King of Harkuna. Before the Shadar-kai threat consumed Harkuna, the kingdom’s greatest threat was a great rebellion mostly made up of the peoples of highlands along the Spine. The Highlanders were brave, physically imposing, and tenacious in battle. Their smiths were extremely talented, as well, but they could only produce short (but high-quality) dirks for their soldiers. Still, they pressed Harkunans hard enough for them to call for aid from Atticala. Sigmundson himself led a small party of Templars to answer the call. However, the Harkunan army they were supposed to accompany made contact with the enemy before they arrived, and foolishly attacked them in the twilight. The Harkunans were crushed. Undaunted, the knights rode on, and attacked the Highlanders at midday. They fought Highland army all day until it was decided that the contest would come down to a duel between the highland leader, Bruce Balliol, and Sigmundson. The Emperor easily bested his foe. However, he was much impressed by the Highlander’s skill and bravery. He and Bruce went alone into the mountains. Under Kord’s guidance, Sigmundson struck a great stone with his bastard sword, and it cracked to reveal a great claymore. With the sword came the inscription,

“To serve the King of the East
And the Lords of the Hills”

Ever since, the Highlanders became famous for their fine-quality claymores, and the greatest of them were sent to Atticala to serve in the Varangi Guard. Of course, after the Shadar-kai and the fall of the Empire the Varangi could no longer be recruited from the Highlanders. At first they were replaced with Relâmpago from the coast north of the Spine. These men were hardy warriors who practiced a strange sect of Kord and lacked a great intelligence. In time, even these sources dried up. As a result, the current Varangi are Atticalans."

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Legends of Atticala

“Why yes, I know a great many of the legends of the Templars.

Most legends come from the end of the Empire of Sigmundson. As the Legion and Templars battled over the right of succession, the Empire’s oversea possessions fell one by one. Some of the isolated units, cut off and abandoned by their superiors, left their posts and struggled back to Atticala, where they either joined with the Templars or the various conflicting city-states. Others, like the famous 9th Hispan˜a legion, held their ground and were eventually integrated into the surrounding population. The 9th, of course, heroically fought at the Battle of Nerech, and eventually integrated into the Sokarran population.

Not all Legions were so noble, however. In Ankon-Konu, four Legions were fighting desperately for survival. The XVII, XVIII, and XIX legions had been long stationed in the deserts of Ankon-Konu, fighting both the Hwalayadun and Shadar-kai from the Hole in the World. These three legions, hardened by years of desert fighting, were led by the skillful General Hanibus. His origins are a mystery; some say he was a Hwalayadun, others say he was descended from the Dovakeen (the dark legions of men raised by the Dragonborn during their invasion), and still more say he was the only Shadar-kai to join the Templars. Whatever his past, he was one of the greatest commanders of the old Empire, but in the waning days of the Empire even he was forced to call for reinforcements. Sigmundson sent his best formation, the Vth Macedonian, under command of Alexanderous. A commoner, Alexanderous had been taken in by the royal family due to his nobility of heart. Together, the 4 legions of the Ankon Korps drove back the Hwalayadun temporarily. Unfortunately, as the situation in Atticala deteriorated, the legions came under greater and greater stress. They soon realized that no help was forthcoming from Atticala, and were soon faced with a massive influx of barbarians. Outnumbered 30 to 1, they fought on, but for every barbarian horde they trounced another rose to take its place. Through attrition and an ever-rising number of barbarians, they soon were outnumbered 50 to 1, then 100 to 1. Still they fought on, until, cornered in the desert with no hope of resupply or escape, they were surrounded by a horde that outnumbered them 10000 to 1. Hanibus knew they were outmatched, and favored attempting to break out to the southwest, to melt into the rest of the tribes. Alexandrous demanded they stay and fight. When they day of battle came, Hanibus and his legions were nowhere to be found. A massive trail of bodies marked their route toward the south. Where Hanibus took his legions no one knows, but most of the Vth was destroyed. The survivors eventually filtered back to the coast to tell their tale to the Templars, who stripped the Lost Legions of their titles. Survivors of the Vth Macedonia can be found scattered across Ankon-Konu, Atticala, and the Violet Sea. Hanibus’s legions, on the other hand, are more of a mystery. Some say they became part of the Hwalayadun; others say he marched over the mountains to the Land of the Hidden Ones, joining the Shadar-kai.

They say that one day, should an Army come from out of the deep south of Ankon-Konu, many believe it will be made up of Shadar-kai; others know that, no matter its composition, the Army will be led by the Three Lost Legions."

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