"Jerrod! Time to come in! It is late and you must be to bed!" The elderly woman called to her grandson.
"Aww Gran!" Jerrod complained, " I need to practice! When I grow up, I want to be just like Dupre!"
The woman ran her hands through her white hair and chuckled. The boy was just like his father, who had also wanted to be just like Dupre when he grew up.
"Come in, Jerrod, and I will tell you how our world came to be what it is," She said to him, a little less sternly this time, " It is a history you will need to know if you want to be the Knight Dupre was."
This got the boy's attention and he scooped up his wooden sword, running for the cottage as fast as his short legs could carry him.
It wasn't long before the child was safely and warmly tucked into bed, his grandmother sitting at his side, her hands folded in her lap. His eyes were wide as she took a deep breath; this was a signal that meant this would be an epic tale....
"Our world began much like the other mirrored worlds: Empty, at first, dominated by the dragons and other wild creatures of Sosaria. But then the humans came, and built great cities: Britainnia, Trinsic and others. But this was not enough. People needed places to call their own.
"One such city, Paxlair, spouted up within the Feluccan lands on an island off of the Yew coast near the northern part of the Yew Prison and Courts of Truth. It was erected with peace in mind; peace for all walks of life, and was begun by a group known simply as The Band. Their leaders, Nightfall and Ender were well known for their temperance and compassion. The people who made up The Band were craftsmen, fighters, healers, and diplomats. It wasn't long, though, before they realized they would be in need of more space. With this in mind, their scouts were sent abroad to search for more adequate land. In the late winter of '98, they came across a large expanse of land just northwest of the Shrine of Compassion. Armed with axes, hammers and other tools of creation, they soon erected a saloon, twin forges, a tower and several other buildings. The original Forge, owned by Wild Mike can still be found in Paxlair to this day, but it has been taken over by a band of civilized orcs and is now called the Orcs Tavern, which I will speak of in detail in a moment. A gent by the name of Red Soulweaver is also a prominent key in the growing of Paxlair.
"People came from across the lands and seas to see the new City of Peace, including wealthy nobles who also purchased land and built homes there, along with many guilds, including the Sillyhood, who with their rather comical approach to the world, enlightens PaxLair to this day. The Sillyhood, as a guild, took its first breath in '97, before many knew of this great new world. In the winter of '97, a man named Ihad and 18 other members founded the Guild's first home. It was with the Sillyhood that two entrepreneurs, Lords Xanthio and Judge Harm would erect the Duir, one of Yew's most famous taverns, complete with a stage for actors and shops. The Duir and Paxlair would continue for years to work together for the community. The Duir, now much quieter, still stands, just north of the Yew Moongate.
"As I had mentioned briefly, other races came to call Paxlair home, including a rather intelligent clan orcs calling themselves OIag Hai, led by an orc named Gorbag, along with a secondary clan called Kaar Barashalu, led by Ga'kuct. T'would seem their calling was to " give blood to the wargod." An orcish shaman from these clans seemed to have been the smartest of the bunch and to this day keeps a library stock full of old tomes and histories. The library, housed in a small tower, sits just on the outskirts of PaxLair.
"It wasn't long before the gods noticed this rapidly growing city and came to see it for themselves. They were pleased with this City of Peace, and bestowed many gifts upon the town and its people. Even Lord British himself graced the town with his presence!"
Here the woman smiled a bit, a chuckle coming deep from her throat.
"In those days, it was rather difficult to nail the furniture down, and thieves would creep in when the townfolk were sleeping. In the morning these poor people would find their tables and chairs missing. This went on for some time before the gods took pity upon the people of Pax and nailed their furniture down for them. It was during this time that Lady Winmere, one of the nobles who founded the town, was gifted with something quite magical! A piece of a waterfall! Who would have thought of such a thing! She called upon the gods and showed them her gift. The gods were impressed with this gift and made a small wall to keep the waterfall in for all to enjoy. The gods then named it The Spring Of Knowledge.
"But the City of Peace was not to remain calm for long. Immediately after the gods' blessings, the Spring of Knowledge turned blood red. This occurance was later attached to one known as Mazrim, who we shall hear more about later. This strange and rather frightening occurance was only the beginning. For soon monsters and other evil creatures came and began to attack the people of PaxLair. A call for aid was sent and people from all over the realm came to assist the City of Peace. It took over a year to gain advantage over the attacks and to cleanse the spring. But it wasn't until a demi god known as Daemon sacrified his very mortal life that the cursed attacks finally came to an end. This act of pure couage caused the grateful townfolk to rename the Spring, and it now know as the Spring of Courage, in memory of Daemon's incredible sacrifice.
"Now that this nightmare had ended, the people of Pax could continue building and growing. Soon Luigi's Pizza and The Ladies of the Lair were founded, among many other places. A government, which still stands today, with Winfield, Paxlair's first Mayor as their caretaker, and Lady Minsk as their current Mayor. Lady Winmere still resides there to this day, advising the Mayor.
Much of PaxLair still stands, and has expanded into the Eastern Asian Lands, known as the Tokuno Islands. But that tale is for another time."
"PaxLair wasn't the only place to stake its claim in the lands of Britannia. Exedore of Arden, with his masons and carpenters, worked through a fortnight, building what would soon come to be known as the Falconer's Inn. There is a bit of mystery to this place, for not a single person knows where the name came from. The carpenters drove in the last nail, admired their work and retired for the night. When morning came, all were shocked to see a bright new sign hanging from the front of the building that read the Falconer's Inn. It has been named that to this day." She smiled a bit, her eyes twinkling. " It would seem this place pleased the gods as well.
"It was sometime after that Minax took up arms with Britannia, attacking Yew and Trinsic. Jou'nar, the fallen paladin, now King of Liches, ruled supreme over our golden city. Minax's henchman, Keeonean, had decided he wished Yew for himself. In his greed, he destroyed much of the land he desired, including the Falconer's Inn. Exedore vanished and most assumed him dead. When months passed into years, no one believed they would see Lord Exedore again. But again, the gods intervened, and saved his life. No one is sure where he was, including Lord Exedore himself, but all were grateful for his return. In the new lands of Malas The Falconer's Inn stands rebuilt once more."
"Many other towns sprouted up out of seeming nothingness. I remember when Nidaros first came to existence. Laying almost perfectly between Skara Brae and Britain, Nidaros was cozy and warm, why, if memory serves me correctly, Nidaros was founded the very day the explorers discovered Trammel!
"There is quite a legend that surrounds Nidaros: It is said a comrade of Lord British, a viking they called Leif Wonswar was one responsible for fighting off the natives of Trammel, and helping to secure these new lands. But Wonswar would pay with his life. Mortally wounded, he lay in a heap on a small mound of land, his blood soaking the soil there. That mound of dirt is dead now, for no flowers or grass of any kind will grow there, as if in mourning for dead viking. It sits in the midst of Nidaros proper and is called the Mound of Compassion.
"Nidaros was founded by an adventurous man named Vlaguard the Grey, his equally adventurous wife, Jess, and a man they affectionately called Da Fishman. Guilds such as the Keepers of the Chivalrous Heart, Knights for Nidaros, and the Ranger Traders of Britannia soon formed. Time wore on,and The Keepers of the Chivalrous Heart are now known as the Keepers of the Crimson Rose. Most, if not all of the original founders have either moved on or passed on, but Nidaros stands true to this day.
"Trammel was the land of opportunity for many citizens. In the summer of the turn of the century, Crystal Rose and her husband Lord Kondor founded Mythndale Village. Mythndale, meaning " Mist Meadow by the Sea" is veiled in magical history as well!
"On the night Crystal was to move her family to the new lands of Trammel, her daugher Maya spoke of wishing to "see the white dragon again." Curious, Crystal pressed her children for an explanation. The children explained that for the last few nights they had been visited by a white dragon in their dreams. In the dreams, each child, (Maya, Nuala, and Nighthawk) visited the ruins of a strange ancient city. At the top of the largest tower in the city, a great white dragon would perch. The dragon would speak to the children, telling them he watched over the the ancient city, and the dragon promised to watch over the three children when they "willed him into the realm of the waking". This peaked Crystal's curiosity, and when the children had fallen asleep, she approached Kondor about the tale. Kondor dismissed it as being the result of the children's overactive imagination and the excitement of the move. But Crystal wasn't entirely sure. She had been told by a sage sometime ago when the children were very young, that they were gifted....
"The next morning all was set as they settled in for their journey to seek out a new home. The scouts had travelled ahead to find anything suitable to start the family's new life and home. It wasn't long before they returned with news of an ancient city all but swallowed by the forests south of the City of Britain, and the group hurried to the site. Crystal knew in her heart of hearts that this was the place. Two ruined towers were there, while the rest of the city was nothing more than piles of stone and mortar. But Crystal had made her decision. Or, rather her heart did. This was to be home.
"Suddenly, Maya pointed to the sky, calling out "Look! There he is!" All eyes looked to where she pointed as gasps rang out. High in the air a silhouette of a dragon could be seen. Bows were raised, arrows notched as warriors stood at the ready.
" No!" cried out Maya, running south in the direction of the flying reptile, "he is our friend!" The two other children followed suit.
The rest of the group, fearing for the children's safety, ran after them, and when they caught up, found themselves standing in front of a very large tower. On the roof, the dragon, armoured in blinding white scales, sat gracefully. No one moved, fearing the dragon would attack. Suddenly, it let out an ear piercing cry and took to the sky over the bay.
The children explained that it had spoken to them, telling them that the north tower was now theirs, and also warned of staying away from the southern most tower.
Soon the family was settled into their newly repaired tower, and the workmen, despite the dragon's warning, ventured to the south tower. They found the door locked from the outside, as if to keep something in. Try as they might, they could not pick the lock, and, eventually the double iron doors had to be removed.
What they found inside was not for the squeamish. The odour of death, age and decay wafted out from the darkness, and while many declined entrance, a few brave souls ventured in. Nothing of value was to be found in the dark tower, but after some exploration many men claim to have heard strange, unearthly noises within and shadows darting about. Not much longer after, all fled the tower and it was declared officially haunted. The tower, now Mythndale's museum and historical library, still stands, along with it's haunted past.The towers of Mythndale still stand, albiet a tad quieter. Lord Govannon Mac Lyr, retired Commander of the Mythndale Knights serves as the town's steward. His beloved, Lady Fawne Goldynhart acts as Vice Mayor, and Lady Eve Le Rieux as Mayor. Lord Kondor and Lady Crystal have decided to live a much quieter life and prefer to stay out of the public eye."
"There were certainly many towns Gran," the boy said in wonder, " Where there any more?"
"Indeed there were, young lad!" Gran replied, rubbing her hands together and leaning forward to tuck his blanket up under his chin.
"There was also Haven, the name alone explained its purpose. It was a haven for all who wished one. Its people consisted mainly of craftsmen and women at first, but soon became known for its many walks of life.
"Theros Ironfeld and his fellow blacksmiths of the United Blacksmiths of Britannia chose a spot just off the shores of a large lake just northeast of the entrance to Delucia, and just southwest of Trinsic. Not long after the lake came to be known as Lake Hammerfell, soon enough creating its own history. Along with Theros came Korin the Scribe, and Tempest of Skye. Tempest was a just knight, smart and strong and brave and was immediately commissioned to form a brigade of guardians for the young town. The first to come under his command was Angriff Brightblade, and with the two men, The Celestrial Knights were formed.
"But a town would not be complete without its entertainment! It wasnt long before Lady Gyspy joined and began the Mystic Lake Tavern. Haven was now open for business. The year was '98.
"Soon after the founding of the town, rumours of something mysterious in Lake Hammerfell began to be voiced.
Tales of a mystical artifact that lay at the bottom of the almost depthless lake was soon on all local lips. No one could swim to the bottom of this lake in search of it without fear of drowning, so Korin and Theros pondered the problem until they came up with a solution: They would find the pieces they needed to make a machine that would take them to the bottom of the lake!
"With this settled, the town folk split up into parties and sought out the pieces Korin said they needed. But Korin knew there may be more than treasure hiding under the placid suface of Lake Hammerfell. He believed a creature of great evil lived there too. Armed with this news, the Celestrial Knights rode through all established towns to seek out information gleaned from any library they could find. Do you know what they sought, Jerrod?"
Jerrod's eyes never left his grandmother's face, " No Gran", he said breathlessly, " what?"
"They looked for anything they could find, any clue, on one called Xerxes."
"Xerxes! Who is he?" Jerrod ask, his curiosity brimming.
"Quiet now child and I will tell you," Gran chuckled.
"Although there was not much to be found, some clues were indeed recovered. Xerxes was a necromancer that lived long before the rule of Lord British, and his power was unsurpassed. But once his power diminished, so did his life force. But those who followed him did not. His followers stood strong and as this news reached Lord Theros, he swore this cult would be destroyed, lest any more evil take its place. The Celestrial Knights tracked down and slew each cultist, all but one. This one was cunning and managed to evade the Knights for some time before they found him amidst the stones of a graveyard. They fell upon him immediately, but not before he had time to do what he had come for. After the slaying of this final cultist, they found an open grave and an empty coffin. The name on the stone was Xerxes. He had returned from the dead.
"It was about this time that the townsfolk had found the necessary pieces to assemble the clockwork machine they needed to delve the bottom of the lake, and all set about building it.
"It was a fortnight since Xerxes had arisen, yet no sight of him had been seen. Korin manned the delving device himself, plunging to the bottom of the black lake, pulling up a large chest. Inside lay a magical hammer, imbued with powers and utterly indestructable. The hammer became the town's symbol, and Korin, ever the scribe, continued his study of this rather unusual hammer, knowing there was a deeper purpose to its existence. All seemed in harmony. But, just like any other time when all seems perfect, fate is there to remind you it is not.
"Xerxes chose this time to resurface and, with an army of undead so loyal they would die for the Necromancer even a second time, struck Haven with the force of doom! The Knights fought valiantly, dispatching the undead army with ease, yet none could approach Xerxes as if an invisible force protected him. A brave knight named Connor, who had become Angriff's right hand man, was struck by Xerxes when he attempted to attack the Necromancer, and, horrifically, came away blinded. Xerxes proudly declared he would gather five generals, each to represent the Five Horsemen of the Apocolypse and the Archangel Herald, and take back was rightfully his.
"With this declaration, Xerxes fled the town, but his minions continued their onslaught on Haven ceaselessly. Within two weeks, Xerxes returned with four horsemen, claiming he had come to claim his fifth, and, turning to the one who had to bravely (or is that foolishly) attacked him, used his dark magic to befuddle Connor, convincing him to join his forces. The Celestrial Knights vowed vengeance on Xerxes. It would be another fortnight before they would encounter the necromancer again.
"It was during this time that Korin the Scribe found another purpose for the Hammer: Its destiny was to create the Sword of Truth. This sword was powerful indeed, for it delivered death to those who had cheated death. It was with this sword that Xerxes was eventually defeated and Connor rescued. Much celebration was to be had during this time, and it was also during this time that the Lands of Trammel were discovered. Many were lured with the promise of peace and harmony, to live in a place where brigands and murderers were not allowed. Through this, Haven remained strong.
"But Haven had one vital enemy who would prove to be their downfall. A large band of thieves, known as the Army of Thieves, would prove to be Haven's final straw. The few left to protect the town and it's heritage eventually gave way and moved to Trammel. The Celestrial Knights migrated to PaxLair, defending the city there for some time before moving to Shadowcove, Trammel, then on to Silvervale. Haven may no longer stand, but its spirit lives on in those who built it, lived in it, and protected it.
"Another group, one of the oldest clans in Cheasapeake history, Heartkin, led by Lady Ilina Le Kyteller, took the opportunity Trammel offered and also migrated to the new lands. Just north east of the desert of Compassion, and a little farther north of Britain, Ilina and her clan founded what is now known as Silvervale. Many wars have been waged there: The Wraiths and Clan of Vampires attacked there ceaselessly, just as they did in Mythndale. Another well known tavern, The Siren's Call, still stands and does brisk business to this day. Between the alliances of Silvervale and Mythndale, the Wraiths and Clan of Vampires were held at bay.
"Along with "Myth" and " The Vale", Concordia was born, starting off as a simple school of sorts for new adventurers. Moriah, the founding mistress of the school set about teaching new squires the tricks of survival and ultimately helping to place them within guilds best suited for them. The school was quite successful, and before long a town, not far from the Yew Abbey, was founded. Via ab Vates, headed by Lady Talia Crevox, the newly resettled Celestrial Knights, The Zealots of Chivalry, The Church of Steel, The Dark Warriors of Britannia, and the Guardians of Chivalry sit as government of the town, and Lady Moriah as the Mayor. For all newcomers to our land, this is a good a place as any to get your bearings! Perhaps you should see to it when you're grown, boy."
Jerrod nodded dutifully and waited for her to continue.
"Many towns had their foes, and one particular town was no exception. Aryslan, nestled in the woods north of Vesper, Felucca, was a place destined for greatness. But it was not without its dark times. Mazrim, you remember we spoke of him earlier? Well, he had designs on Aryslan as well. Rumour had it, hidden somewhere within the town of Aryslan, was a book known as the Book of Ages. Later it would be learned that the book consisted of six volumes. Mazrim wanted them all. He would stop at nothing to gain this power he knew lie within. He unleashed hordes of undead to break Aryslan, but nothing could quell the dedication of Aryslan's people.
"Not far from the outskirts of Aryslan, Mazrim had a tower built. The tower, in all its darkness, can be found today, complete with a fount of rich blood flowing from it, and the carcasses of those who were not fortunate enough to escape Mazrim's wrath. The tower, aptly named, is the Tower of Souls.
"Eventually Mazrim was defeated with the help of the sapphire dragon Zephyr, leader of all dragons. But, like many of our realm's powerful evil entities, a following was born. Enter the Crimson Fist of Mazrim. Aryslan is still there, along with Mazrim's tower of souls. But Mazrim and the Crimson Fist have not been seen in a very long time. Perhaps they lay in wait..."
Gran thought a moment, before continuing.
Jerrod shifted a bit, lifting himself up to look into his grandmother's eyes.
"But there must be more Gran." he said.
Gran chuckled. " Indeed there is! Are you not tired yet, child?"
Jerrod shook his head vigorously, his mopsy blond hair flying about his head. " More, Gran!" he said his face full of expectation.
Gran settled more comfortably into her chair and pulled a quilt over her legs. " Very well. Then let us speak of the darker side of Chesapeake history...."
Gran stood a moment, stretching her aged and aching bones, and went to the window to look out at the night. Jerrod watched her expectantly, knowing she would continue when she was ready.
"Corwyn," she continued, " was another town founded by the good people of Britannia, yet, it was also responsible for the origins of the Clan of Vampires. Legend has it the vampires of our realm were fathered by one named Orestel, known later as OM. With his sired childe Hephastus at his side, he established the Clan of Vampires.
"A citizen of Corwyn, Lady Dell, was taken by OM and sired. It is suspected that she was may have been taken agaist her will. At this time, a legendary artifact known as the Tapestry of Souls surfaced from the shadows, yet few live to tell its tale, and in the shadows it remains. The Clan of Vampires grew and became very powerful, the reign of Princedom being handed down from each generation. Dell herself held the title before passing it on to the next generation. As bloodlines branched out, other clans and tribes were born such as the Caitiff, a rogue group of vampires who preferred to stay in the shadows.
"Raistlia D'ardin, a direct descendant of OM, eventually left the Clan of Vampires and created her own clan, The Circle of the Ebon Rose. From this clan other clans such as Army of Thorns and the Forsaken developed.
"From the darkness another city arose, and, although this city cannot be properly labeled as evil, it can be called dark. Founded by a myserious woman named Lady Morgaine, Shadowcove stood proudly across the road from Silvervale. Ironically war never broke out between to the two townships, for Morgaine, dark as she was, had no need of it.
"The town, now deserted, was shrouded in mystery. This, however is known: Its name comes from legend, but we know legend is the stuff of many truths. Morgaine and her companion, Trazal, had somehow gained access to Lord British's secret library. It wasn't long before the pair found what they were searching for. An ancient tome, blanketed in dust, lay upon a pedestal. On its cover in fine writing were the words " The Shadowcove".
"The book bade a warning, and spoke of love and betrayal. It told the story of a girl, Eliaz and of a nameless boy who loved her. But Eliaz was foolish, and in a moment of greed, lured the love-stricken boy out into the middle of the lake that sat aside their lovely village. As she kissed him, she plunged a dagger deep into his chest, ruthlessly ripping the boy's still beating heart from his body and plunging it into the icy waters of Mystic Lake. Magic exploded from the lake, foaming the calm waters, the magicks of the lake attempting to infuse a life force into the boy's innnocent heart. The heart, now embued with the powers of the lake, is now one of our land's most powerful artifacts, The Heart of Purity. Eliaz, shocked by the sudden eruption of the lake, accidentally dropped the heart, and it sunk to bottom of the dark lake. Her fury overtook her and she threw the dead boy's body into the lake as well. Immediately, the lake turned from its crystal clearness to a dark brackish sludge, the surrounding garden soon to follow. What was once an Eden, a sacred place, was now a bog, saturated with the stench of death and decay.
"Eliaz refused to leave her home, and became the Mistress of the Swamp, ruling over the lizardmen and other foul creatures who had come to make this once beautiful place their home. The others of the village left sadly, seeking out new places to call their home. Now known as the Shadow Wytch, most of what is left of the village, garden and once pristine waters of the lake are buried under layers of slime, an evil past and legend.
"Armed with this knowledge, Lady Morgaine, along with Trazel founded what was to become known in Trammel as Shadowcove.
"The darkness horded yet another clan of sorts, these known as The Wraiths. These faceless creatures of the night with their glowing red eyes cared nothing for life, except for the souls they could gather for one they called the Dark Father. Led originally by Uuban Dalik, leadership changed hands until eventually falling into the hands of a wraith known as The Unforgiven. Attacks on Mythndale and Silvervale were frequent, yet, over time, they attacked less and less often. No one knows where they are to this day, as all know wraiths, already dead, cannot die. Perhaps they are planning yet another attack upon the living..."
Jerrod had laid back, barely suppressing a yawn. Gran smiled softly at the boy, and knew he had reached his limit.
"There are many more tales, young man, but you will have to seek them out on your own, and perhaps make some history yourself." She tucked him in more securely, snuffing out the candle by his bed, " Now you had best get some sleep, child. I will see you in the morning."
But Jerrod didnt hear her, for he was already fast asleep, dreaming of becoming a brave Royal Knight of Britannia...
Many thanks to the following for their undying dedication in assisting in the writing of this piece. Without them, it would have never happened:
Neo of Lothlore
Wizard of Id
Exedore of Arden
Anton of Nidaros
Memnock of The Sillyhood
Elaywn of Yew
Govannon Mac Lyr