The world of Darken is a world of perpetual night. There are three orbs that traverse the sky. The yellow one is called the Sun, but does very little to alleviate the darkness. No one knows why it is called the Sun, or what it’s purpose is. The red orb is called Phardos, the moon home of the god of the same name. The green orb is called Leiros, the moon home of all the other gods. Leiros is larger, and somewhat brighter, than the other two, so is believed to be the primary. Phardos and Leiros are rarely in the sky at the same time. When either is in the sky with the Sun, it is not visible, and they both go through lunar phases according to their relationship with the Sun. When none of them are in the sky, it is impossible to see without darkvision or an artificial light source such as fire, or magic.

The earliest time generally remembered is The Chaos, unknown years of barbarism and anarchy. Out of The Chaos, the first nation to emerge was the Kingdom of Eiredore. The first Sword-King, Mathar, backed by the Paladins of the growing Church of Z’handar, created the city-state of Eiredore, named for the sword wielded by the Sword-King. From there they steadily expanded the lands under their control, until they reaced the Eastern Ocean along the Great River. Using the river as a means of transporting goods and troops, and with no interference from the elves on the southern bank, they solidified their hold on those lands. They then began expanding north and west to The Wall and The Nomad Steppes. The Wall is insurmountable except at Fallscliff, which refused to be subject to Eiredore. The Nomads proved to be a formidable cavalry and they soon came to an agreement with Eiredore. The northern border of Eiredore would remain loosely defined. Eiredorans could settle the southern steppes in small groups as long as thy didn’t present an obstacle to the caravans roaming the area. Thus Eiredore recognized the second nation, that of the Nomads, as the area of the steppes from the Ocean to the foothills of the Dragonspine, and from Eiredore to the northern ice (which comes south to what would be considered the tropic of cancer).

The next nation to establish itself was the dwarven kingdom of Thangar. Originally encompassing the entirety of the upper lands from The Wall to the Dragonspine. The advent of Karnas followed by Barakash forced the dwarves back into the mountains and the fortresses that neither nation has been able to breach. There are four known fortresses establishing the current boundaries of the kingdom of Thangard. Ironforge and Doomhammer on the south (Karnas), and Quellfast and Stonewall on the north (Barakash). The dwarves say there are three more fortresses including that of their capitol, Thangard, but there is no record of anyone non-dwarf ever visiting these city-forts. The dwarves seem able to move freely between these forts by way of tunnels carved into the mountains themselves. In fact, the fortresses are carved mostly from the faces of the mountains and foothills surrounding them.

Next was the Sea Kingdom. During The Chaos, the Seafolk often clashed with humans who built ships to sail the Ocean. About 100 years after the birth of Eiredore, a very enterprising Seafolk man named Caradon managed to capture a human ship. He took it back to his clan-home and studied it. Five years later he sailed out with fifteen ships; one for every major clan of the Seafolk. He negotiated to give each clan one ship, if they would recognize him as sovereign. Only two clans refused, and he promptly wiped them out using the ships he intended for them. Thus was born the Sea Kingdom. The Seafolk took so well to sailing that they quickly overcame all other seafarers to rule the Ocean. None sail her waters without paying tribute to the Sea Kingdom. They even took the port city of Delta from Eiredore. They now use it as a point of trade with the land-nations. Seafolk ships do sail up the Great River to Fallscliff after paying a tariff to Eiredore.

Shortly on the heels of the Sea Kingdom, the Lich Lord Karnas and the Ork-King Barakash both started carving out their own pieces of history. Karnas came out of the south lands with an army of undead supported by a cadre of necromancers, and the eye-tyrant Oq leading a batallion of Beholders. he quickly took over the uplands from the Frost-marsh to Fallscliff. Fallscliff and the two dwarven forts proved too expensive to overcome, so Karnas settled in to solidify his grip on what he had. That is when he was reportedly betrayed and killed by Oq. Under Oq’s control, Karnas has actually prospered and generates trade goods.

Barakash mustered his Ork-kin army in the foothills between the Dragonspine and the Nomad steppes. He then marched south into the dwarf-lands. Claiming it had been foretold that no humanoid could ever stop him, he decimated the dwarves and swore that Eiredore was next. The dwarves, already suffering on their southern frontier, sent a desperate plea for help to the Nomads. Barakash was laying siege to Quellfast and was on the verge of breaking it when the sound of thunder rolled through the valley on a cloudless day. The fighting paused just long enough for everyone to understand what that thunder meant. The sound was that of ten-thousand horses riding into the valley at the back of the ork horde. Even outnumbered six-to-one, the Nomads proved again why they are the greatest cavalry in the entire history of the world. In wedge formation, they cut through the horde without slowing. they were aimed perfectly for Barakash. Being near the fortress gate, he ordered it broken and rallied his best troops in the courtyard of the dwarven fortress. With the rest of his army outside the fortress scattering, Barakash made one of the most heroic, yet ultimately futile, last stands in history. As the Nomad wedge narrowed into a lance through the gateway, and with dwarven arrows raining down from everywhere, the Ork Blood Guard never stood a chance. Barakash was still screaming his prophecy of no humanoid defeating him as Avon Dar rode him down. Reportedly, Dar came back around, looked down at Barakash’s corpse and commented, “You may have noticed, my horse is not a humanoid.” He then rode straight away with his entire cavalry back to the steppes, not even staying to receive the gratitude of the dwarves he’d just saved. The orks have managed to hold what they’d taken, barely. Their government is still rather chaotic and for the last fifty years seems to be ruled by the biggest bully able to kill his predecessor.

The rest of the land is covered mostly by the elven forest of Syldanath. The forest covers an area from the southern bank of the Great River along the eastern coast to three-quarters of the way to the southern ice (at the tropic of capricorn)and west to the frost-marsh. The frost-marsh covers an area roughly half the size of the forest of Syldanath, yet stretches from Karnas, to the southern ice. The frost-marsh seems populated mainly by kobolds and spiders. There is a small area of free lands between Syldanath, the frost-marsh,the southern ice, and the eastern ocean. There is one city on the coast which does trade between the free lands and the seafolk.

And that is the way the world stands today.

The World of Darken

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