The Seven Cities
The Primordials Rise…
The world of Erat is vast. Hundreds of miles to the east, across the Badlands, and the Great Plains, the mighty nation of Karystra grows ever stronger under the anointed rulership of their pontiff. Beyond that lie the dark lands of the Idaaran coast, where unknown nations wage wars of their own. Yet father eastward, across the sea, the cursed isle of of Atal crouches like a great beast, guarding the mysterious lands and empires beyond.
But in the lands west of the Throkkan Mountains, the great nations of elves and humans have fallen to waste and ruin.
Centuries have passed since the great green wyrm Khalipanofax rose to godhood, riding a wave of death and betrayal that crushed the kingdoms of old…
Since the Kozuni used forbidden magics to create the first dragonborn…
Since the lords of Adrideor sold their bloodlines to the lords of hell for the strength to resist the Kozuni.
Centuries have passed since the nation of Ahlverahl was sundered by goblins and the betrayal of humans…
Since the god-king Aechelleth was resurrected and marched on the elves…
Since his ancient enemy, Kodath Maelstrom, took the elven capital and made it a stronghold of the undead.
For centuries the eladrin of the Feywild raided the settlements of humans and halflings, and the sorcerer priests of Khalipanofax wrung tribute and death from the many peoples of the west.
For centuries the Blood Wars raged, and now, the empires of the west have fallen.
A hundred years ago a great magic swept the West, laying waste to the followers of the Jade Queen Khalipanofax, and laying a Blessing on the land.
A hundred years ago, the eladrin emerged from the Feywild bearing gifts, and pleading peace to the shattered remnants of the old kingdoms.
A hundred years ago the Redemption Age began, and the Blessed Lands of the West fell into a fragile, inconstant peace.
But in recent years, unrest has seethed across the Blessed Lands.
Four years ago the nation of Aechell, guardians against the ravening orc hordes of Malechar, turned their swords south in a bid for empire since the hordes of Kodath Maelstrom, god-king of the orcs, departed, en masse, for the vast wilds and frozen wilderness of the north.
In the cities, from Jen, shining on the shores of the Ahlnic Ocean, to Okorian, City of Pits on the edge of the Smoking Wastes, prophets were roaming the streets preaching, or raving, about the coming of cataclysm, and the return of the Primordial Lords.
Everywhere, the missionaries of Karys turned the hearts and minds of the people away from the gods of their ancestors.
And two years ago the Seven Cities of Mokiir stood on the edge of a fragile peace that threatened to thaw with the spring.
After taking M’ziir on Tulvan 5th of 101 RA, it took about three weeks for Isra’Asiel Az’Aziil, the so-called Blood King of Azeth, to conquer Arkassin , and another six weeks to conquer the sixth city, Shek’Zur, renowned home of the Underkeep.
On the 16th day of Maridan, called Jehnidahl, the first day of winter, Isra’Asiel was crowned the Kaz’Kazzar, the High King, of a unified Mokiir, and Darakor, the last of the independent Cities, was declared in rebellion. The new ruler spent the winter settling his hold and consolidating his power.
On Aeguran 1st, the first day of 102 RA, also called Flame Day, holy to Aerus, god of war, the Kaz’Kazzar marched his now enormous army into the Grey Peak Mountains to lay siege to Darakor, stronghold of Queen Ren’Raatha Az’Ebbezuur, last of the freeholding Kazzar.
Nearly ten months the siege of Darakor lasted. From Aeguran through the 1st of Maridan, called Marrimach, or Labor Day. Throughout the siege there were skirmishes, and minor sorties, but Darakor made few serious efforts to break the Mokiiran lines. More, it was clear that no significant food or other resources were making their way into the City. Nobody understood how they had held fast for so long and so easily.
On Maridan 1st, 102 an envoy under a flag of truce, exited Darakor to parley with the Blood King’s armies. With the envoy came an emissary from Queen Ebbezuur, as well as one from the dwarven city of Tor Endull, and Evette Bennigan, heir-in-exile to the throne of New Cormorell. At the parley this alliance of Darakor, the Silverlands, and New Cormorell offered a truce with Mokiir, and an alliance against Aechell. With the human nation having been stymied by Jen on the coast, and driven out of Rook’s Landing by the dwarves, it seemed almost certain that Aechell must next drive south into Mokiir.
The KazKazzar agreed to consider the proposal. Winter was, after all, coming, and his siege was accomplishing nothing. More, this surprise alliance was not something that Mokiir was ready or willing to make enemies of. An agreement was reached: King Isra’Asiel would withdraw his armies. Trade would remain blocked between Mokiir and Darakor, and negotiations for the future would begin on the first of the new year.
And so, everyone went home for the winter
As 102 RA drew to a close, the people of Mokiir prepared for the end of the winter’s truce. While six of the seven cities were united, there was unrest. Many thought that the Kaz’Kazzar was neither prepared nor worthy to rule a unified Mokiir. Many others felt that he was the only one who could lead Mokiir against the seemingly unavoidable aggression of Aechell.
But for the people of the Pale Quarter of M’ziir, it was a time of plenty not seen before. Some of their own, former gang members under the leadership of the legendary white dragonborn called Pendred, used the turmoil of the summer of 101 to gain favor with the rulers of M’ziir and the Kaz’Kazzar, and what used to be a slum was absorbed into the City proper.
At the height of the uncertainty, with a region poised between chaos and plenty, a small group of representatives from M’ziir traveled northeast to D’kath, hoping to do their part to help bring stability to Mokiir. While there, they found themselves unexpectedly fighting to prevent an invasion by a massive force of goblinoids and dragons, worshipers of the goddess Khalipanofax, whose attempted return was, many would later say, inevitable.
Inevitable, but for the deeds of heroes.
The details of what happened in the Greybane Mountains north of D’kath are both unclear and myriad in their apparent variety.
Some believe that the heroes known now as The Blessed destroyed a nascent brood of vampires under the City, discovered the encroaching draconic invasion, and traveled north to the ancient, cursed city of Cormorell. While in Cormorell, the Blessed banished the Necromancer that ruled there, brought the dead elven queen Persephone Lobenali back from the dead, and finally slew the Jade Queen Khalipanofax once and for all.
Others believe that these Blessed traveled to cursed Cormorell, where, using the goblinoid invasion as justification, they made alliance with the Necromancer, proclaimed a false avatar of the goddess Sephalia using the dead body of the elven queen, and took upon themselves the power of the Blessing that had graced the West for a century, leaving the people of the West to grow ill and weak in the face of the troubles to come.
What is known for certain is that, at the end of 102 RA, the Blessing disappeared, as did the Necromancer of Cormorell. At the same time, a woman claiming to be the elven queen Persephone took the newly-Blessed city of Cormorell as her own, and thousands of previously secret devotees of Khalipanofax were made magically known to those around them. Most were slain on the spot by their neighbors, and many died in the days that followed as injuries and illnesses which should have meant an uncomfortable evening suddenly became lethal, as in the dark days of the Blood Wars.
It is impossible to say for certain what truths would have become clear in the days that followed, as the very next day brought the Darkest Night: the worst Nemidahl known to any living. Worse still, following the Darkest Night, wars that had smoldered in the preceding months broke out across the lands of the West. Aechell was laid low by the allied nations of non-humans, New Cormorell was freed of occupation, and the risen Queen Persephone, avatar of Sephalia, Goddess of the Hunt, slew the Godking Aechelleth in a single combat that razed the land for miles around.
Finally, just as it seemed that the lands of the West might know peace enough to restore order, the land was rent by a terrible earthquake and tsunami. Volcanoes that had lain dormant for millennia began to rumble, and the elements themselves began to rise up in violence.
The rise of the Primordials, foretold by doomsday prophets and madmen for years, was finally come, and the lands of the West were woefully unprepared.
More than two years has passed since the Darkest Night, and the lands of the West are very different.
The ancient nation of Adrideor lies in shambles. Jen, the City of Dawn, long a bastion of light, is now barely more than a ruin in a vast marshland. The Shogunate and Kozun are at war, using the lands of the Dwarven Newfasts as their battleground. The elves of Lobenahl have sundered, many joining Queen Persephone in Cormorell, with those remaining despising those who left. Everywhere, death, famine, and natural disasters threaten.
But there are points of light in the darkness.
Nestled in a hidden vale east of the marshlands of Jen, the settlement of Lornen is overseen by a mysterious sorceress, some say goddess. The Lady of Lornen, it is said, brought the Blessing back from Cormorell, and bestowed it on the lands of house Lorn.
In the foothills of the Dark Tooth Mountains, near the dwarven City of Tor Endull, stands the Temple of the Phoenix. It’s acolytes ever watchful over The Scar, the Temple is a beacon of hope made Blessed by its leader, Darathuun the Falcon, a warlord among the mighty Grau Berg hacholu.
In the midst of the Greybane mountains, around a ruin called the Bent Spire, the new mining town of Greyhaven flourishes within the Blessing of their mysterious overlord, an eladrin warrior called by some Lady Boldheart, and by other’s Lady Coldheart.
And outside of any Blessing, Mokiir endures.
Some of the Cities have seen great hardship. Okorian has descended into rulerless chaos, and Darakor is a shadow of its former self. Arkassin in the south remains stalwart, but is beset constantly by threats both primordial and mundane.
But Shek’zur remains prosperous, doing trade with the warring lands in the south. D’kath remains a bastion of order, and prospers amidst the chaos of the day. Azeth, High Seat of Kaz’Kazaar Isra’Asiel Az’Aziil, flourishes.
And in M’ziir, Lord Regent Pendred, the pale dragonborn, once a member of the former street gang called The Shade, rules in place of the uncrowned Sul’Kazaar, Baal’Ikar Az’Guzuur. Under the rule of White Pendred, the City prospers, and poor and rich alike thank the gods each day for their regent’s alliances and friendships which keep them safer than most in the West.
But the wise know that the chaos has only begun. Even these bastions of peace will be tested in the coming days.
The primordials rise, and the Blessed must prepare to face the coming storm, lest all fall to ruin.