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The Story of Fistoria

Exodus from Athalan, the fall of Verlake

Ah, let me tell you about the History of Fistoria. As you know, we humans fled the darkness five hundred years ago from the continent of Athalan. We had been driven to the very western edge of the land – at the walled city of Verlake, mankind made a final stand against the evil hordes.

By that time, the whole continent had been overrun by evil monsters and undead. All who had stood in their path, and every human who had surrendered had been slaughtered, so there was no discussion of peace. The Sightless One feared he would never fully crush or sufficiently twist the human spirit, and so wanted the human race totally exterminated.

The remenants of our civilisation hid behind the giant walls of Verlake, the once glorious capital of the Empire of Verlake. In just under ten years, the human population had been decimated from almost 60 million, to around 3 million.

We were surrounded. To the east lay the EndlessOcean. Only a legend of land remained from an ancient tale of a famous adventurer who swore he had found another continent, Eldroar, months sail to the west.

Denial, refusal to believe that we would be beaten had prevented us from making proper plans. And perhaps also fear of the unknown, of the sea. Somehow, everyone believed that we would overcome, that the walls would hold. It had to be. But it was not to be.

For days the enemy army gathered outside the walls. Hordes and swarms of them. Testing attacks were made, probing our defences with magic – these were held off by the powerful human wizards, clerics and fighters.

Nobody knows what the tipping point was, but suddenly, large portions of the human crowds realised that no matter how hard we fought, we would not survive if we remained. The great city of Verlake would fall, and all would die. And so began the trip across the endless ocean.

A great and victorious rear guard action to hold off the hordes while others fled, while others remained for reasons of their own, believing that they might survive, or feeling that the trip was suicide anyway.

Some heroes were told they had to leave. That the heroic action would be to live, and help others survive the journey. So the greatest heroes split into two groups. One to stay and hold back the evil, the other to help the human race survive.

Chaos. Madness. Evil. Even the best of humans seemed to lose their grip. Fights for boats. Arguments about leadership.

We made thousands of new boats. Everything in the town was cannibalised. New boats and giant rafts were constructed.

All the time, people were leaving in a long, steady stream into the sea. They anchored just off the coast.

Everything edible was taken.

On that final day the army of darkness broke through the walls on the Northern side of the city. They poured down to the harbour and attacked the defenceless people there. We saw people at their best and at their worst. Some became instant heroes. Others gave in to their evil nature and looked only after themselves with no thought to others. Some swam out to the sea, boats were capsized as overcrowding got out of hand.

The remaining wizards created giant bowl rafts of magical wood.

Still the floating armada did not set sail westwards. Hoping and praying for another option to appear. Until we saw the evil army start to construct ships of their own.

The few survivors left on shore started to torch everything they could. Anything of wood was burned. It was our final sight of Athalan. Our most proud city going up in flames. Our greatest heroes sacrificed. Monsters and undead alike killing the last of the humans and sacking our city.

And so we set sail.

 

The trip across the endless ocean

About 5000 ships of various shapes and sizes left that day, carrying an average of three hundred people per ship. The entire human population of the world (about 1.5m) was afloat on the endless ocean.

I will not go into details about the trip. That is a whole story for another time. Suffice it to say that there were dangers in that sea.

The undead sent ships after us, and we fought them off.

Giant storms engulfed us. In one day, twenty ships went down with all hands to the roar of nature.

Another time a huge whirlpool sucked a raft down to the bottom of the ocean, leaving not a single trace.

Huge sea monsters as we progressed further into the unexplored ocean. Feeding frenzies of sharks and other monsters as they learned to tumble rafts.

Starvation threatened. The clerics called daily on the gods and they provided miraculously. Fantastic shoals of fish leapt onto the decks of the boats. Mysterious edible seaweed floated up from the ocean depths. Indescribable flocks of birds appeared out of nowhere.

Our finest fighters hunted and caught huge fish, while the wizards polymorphed the ubiquitous rats into sheep or cattle.

Slowly, we started to win the war against the sea, although the overcrowding and the dependency on the heroes was unbearable. We created the Weapons of Mercury.

We survived. Our human heroes did us proud.

Remember that it was a company of rafts, fishing boats, hastily made dingys, huge warships and merchantmen, pushed and drawn by magic, oars, and sails. Literally millions of humans had fled.

 

Three months it took, with no sight of land.

Then, our gamble was rewarded with the arrival at Eldroar, the forgotten continent. The first wizard scout sighted land. It was planned that an exploratory party would go ahead and scout the area.

 

After so long of getting along, suddenly the divisions started again. People started fighting. Politics. Endless debates on how to set up a new society. Before we were ready a giant storm raged in from the sea and down from the north. It smashed the ships against the shore, scattering people all along the western coast of Eldroar.

Of all the people who had set sail, only a third survived to set foot on Eldroar.

 

Arrival on Eldroar

What did we find? Eldroar was an ancient continent, older even than our own Athalan.

It was a rich and lush land, seeped in magic. Supporting more life than Athalan had, but at the same time sporting more danger than could be remembered since the earliest days in human history, before our continent was tamed. Not only had it obviously been inhabited by intelligent species for thousands of years as evidenced by the ruins of castles, temples and cities, but civilisations still inhabited it.

 

The first days were purely about survival. Small bands of humans huddled together where they had landed. The set to building basic shelters and gathering what food they could. We were thrown back into pre-civilisation. Even making fire was difficult.

 

Trying to hunt was difficult. We had become used to farming, hunting was difficult, almost impossible given our prey. They were used to surviving the challenging predators of Eldroar. Luckily, the last times in Athalan, and the trip had prepared us somewhat for the harsher conditions.

 

Anywhere where there was space, we found huge numbers of the small Sprint Buck, sometimes over a two hundred of them in a single herd, each one the size of a sheep. Astonishingly fast and agile, almost fishlike, and confusingly coloured with tawny stripes so when they ran they seemed to blend together and it was difficult to pick one from another.

 

In the forests we found families of Blink Buck who could teleport short distances, and Blend Deer with their magical fading abilities.

 

Herds of Wild Cows with their tough hides and wicked horns, and gorgons with their iron scales and petrifying blasts which could turn a predator to stone, and angry Indomitaboars prone to charging at the hint of danger, little Fright hares with their deceptive illusionary powers.

Hill giants, the big, dumb humanoids, eating tree tops. Short sighted and short tempered, using large clubs to beat off predators. And of course the fantastic flying Pegasi which immediately caught the imagination of children and adults alike, as well as their graceful winged deer cousins.

Not to mention the numbers of giant lizards and insects, and numerous other less common but equally fantastic creatures.

 

But then there were the predators, and other humanoids. Many of whom preyed on other predators and humanoids.

 

The most terrifying were naturally the dragons. Clawed, fanged, scaled and winged. Highly intelligent, proud magical monsters with fearsome breath weapons. The most evolved predators the earth has ever seen, their hunting seemed to be more about asserting their power than about feeding their stomachs. Luckily they were relatively rare, unlike the other flying terrors. Griffons and hippogriffs, and giant birds of prey. Manticores hunted humanoids before we arrived, and quickly added us to their menu.

 

We recognised wolves and large cats, and although we had never seen such giant specimens, spiders, snakes, and scorpions were easily labelled, if not so easily avoided as were the huge crocodiles which infested rivers and lakes.

 

We found ogres and goblins which blurred the boundaries between animal and humanoid, although the packs of vicious goblins were the worst. The worst of both animals and humanoids. Happy to eat any meat, dead or alive, they feasted on human flesh for months, immediately recognising that we were weak.

 

It was the orcs which seemed most similar to us humans. Intelligent, advanced, warlike. Their culture and ways were alien in that they seemed to have no desire to subjugate the world, despite their love of fighting and competition. Our meetings with them varied hugely. Some tribes attacked us immediately, wiping the unprepared human villages from the face of the earth, sacrificing us to their gods, or burning everything. Others were content to trade, or even help us. Some seemed to view us as a sport given to them for entertainment, some took humans as slaves.

 

Dwarves, despite their ugly looks, seemed content to live and let live. From the safety of their impenetrable fortresses and burrows they provided some hope that a life could be won on the harsh Eldroar terrain. Easily won over with gems, they proved staunch allies against the goblins and provided valuable trade partners.

 

And, to our horror, more undead, although we realised soon that these were not the same army as we had faced at home.

But, I have become distracted. Our story continues.

Landing (T0-T5)

We landed in disarray. We set immediately to building shelters, as hunted and gathered food. Thousands of people were killed in those first weeks.

Over the next five years, the losses gradually slowed as we got established, building defended villages with strong walls, finding food and each other. Small villages were established all along the coast.

Of course, those places with powerful adventurers became established more quickly. As we grouped together we became stronger and were able to benefit from the really powerful heroes. Slowly, people either gathered at Zenith Andor or Talgar where large cities were established by powerful heroes. Trade started with the orcs and dwarves.

Humans had come perilously close to being extinguished (some records suggest the total population dipped at one point to 250 000) but we had survived and henceforth have grown in strength.

 

The Age of Heroes (T5-T100)

But as usual, politics reared its ugly head. As soon as survival was not the primary concern, people started to argue about leadership, wealth, power. And so a steady stream of explorers and settlers left the large cities to form their own communities to make the most of the opportunity that presented itself.

 

The land was there for the taking, and take it we did. Although while in retrospect it looks like a co-ordinated assault on Eldroar, actually it was the selfish ambitions of greedy individuals that lead to the creation of our wonderful kingdom as you know it now. Perhaps that is a bit harsh, some had noble intentions and were truly trying to create the best possible society given our new chance.

 

It was a good time for all humans, with such opportunity. The wilderness was waiting to be settled and cultivated. For farmers and herders, there was land for the taking – new rulers offered generous terms to entice settlers to civilise cleared lands and they too became wealthy, driving the growing economy to produce more and more goods, which in turn meant that artisans and merchants prospered.

Adventurers were hugely rewarded as they found and explored the remnants of the ancient civilisations, lost cities, forgotten castles, cursed temples, or beat back other humanoids and took their treasures (although it was then, perhaps even more so than it is now, a very risky business).

 

And so we spread westwards along the Andor river and along the Tenathalin river into the interior of Eldroar as our numbers grew, and southwards along the coast, joining our towns and expanding our territories.

 

In those first days, there were numerous human kingdoms and states, trying every system from Democracies and Republics, Magocracies, Monarchies, Theocracies, and Dictatorships. Some allied with non-humans (although that seldom lasted long as the cultural differences were too great).

 

Who were these rulers, I hear you ask? We all started on equal footing in Eldroar, no person arrived on with more than they could swim with. Family names and past wealth meant nothing on the trip across the endless ocean, and in fact sometimes was a downright liability. Some families had managed to exert their influence anyway. If it wasn’t exactly fair (you can’t remove education, training, experience, networks or self confidence), it was as close as one could possibly get. The resentful remind us that powerful leaders on Athalan managed to keep their power across the endless ocean, and onto Eldroar. But I always remind them that other powerful leaders were lynched on that same trip, while people who had been nothing on Athalan became leaders on Eldroar.

 

There was no prescribed formula for leadership:

Powerful families. The Al-Faisukes. The Blazedj family. The Ngozogagahiri’s.

Powerful individuals: Thuán. Teasag. Laurentiu. Shikoba. Moana. Superfly. Yong. Samnang.

Powerful movements: The Wekesa Virtue. The Way of Iam. The Silver Talon. The Platinum Guard.

Many of these you will still recognise in various shapes and forms today if you look closely.

Nor any single method:

Alone, or through teamwork. Raw power or politics. By force or charm. By strength or by cunning, arms or trade. Suffice it to say that there were numerous successful routes.

 

For just under 100 years we expanded across Eldroar, beating back other evil races and taking the lush and beautiful land that the gods had given us.

 

Omolaraland, The Kingdom of Vander, and the Beledil Outpost (T100-T150):

In AL102 the first cracks since Athalan showed themselves in human unity.

 

Cassandra Omolara, a powerful priestess, proclaimed herself Queen over the northern   territories. Raising an army of humans and orc mercenaries, she immediately set about claiming the other human territories for herself. Her vision was of a united human empire which would return and reclaim Athalan from the undead.

The most northern territories fell quickly, and her movement gathered strength as she claimed more land for Omolaraland. Meeting resistance at Talgar, she demolished the town, slaughtering all the nobles and ruling families, and distributing their wealth to the poor and her army before continuing her march south wards with barely a pause. After that, most of the remaining human states quickly swore fealty and the few other uprisings were as quashed. By AL112, at the age of 25 all the human lands were united under the name of Omolaraland.

 

However, not everyone was pleased with her plans, nor with the heavy handed manner in which she ruled the lands. Most complaints centred around her high taxes, which were being invested in war training, armour, weapons and boats with which to mount her campaign against Athalan.

In AL115 Dukes Fujimara of Vander and Count Val De Beledil of Gabos, each powerful fighters and well respected leaders, co-ordinated a rebellion of twenty five thousand which was to march against her stronghold in Zenith Andor, having armed themselves with the Queen’s own weapon stores.

However, Queen Cassandra Omolara had a strong intelligence network and responded immediately to the news of the marching rebel armies. She rode hard southwards from Zenith Andor to Talgar using magic to speed her trip and leaving orders for the Andor Armies to start marching westwards. At Talgar she gathered her troops and led them southwards, catching Beledil totally by surprise. She routed his rebel army and drove him south from the human lands. Leaving her trusted generals with orders to chase them all from the human lands she turned and dashed northwards, travelling alone because none of her guard could keep up.

She joined her other army at Joeg where a much harder battle awaited her. Vander had been warned of her speedy movement and was not going to be caught by surprise. In the bloodiest human versus human battle in our history Queen Omolara held Vanders forces for three days of fighting.

 

Not wanting to lose more of the army she was building for the Athalan campaign, she opened negotiations on the third day. Vander, who realised he was slowly losing and would be ground down eventually by her stronger supply chain, leaped at the chance.

The Queen suggested that anyone not happy to live under her rule, leave Omolaraland and join Vander in exile into the wilderness. They would have three months to prepare, and could take any of their own equipment, including livestock, produce, and equipment.

Seven thousand people, mainly poor but also others wanting to better their situation, decided to join the organised exodus.

In AL116 Vander lead his forces against the easiest target west of the human lands, the Halflings. They were a small and gentle race of green fingered farming humanoids who had survived by hiding from danger. The human army cut through them like a thin blade through a straw target and appropriated their already tended land. To the best of our knowledge, no Halflings survive these days.

 

Meanwhile, to the south, Count Val De Beledil, formerly of Gabos was fleeing through orc territory with the remnants of his army. They fled to the southern tip of Eldroar and established a new human base there.

For the next four years, Queen Omolara’s nation grew from strength to strength. Her army was powerful and well equipped. She was just 33 and only two years from her planned invasion when Queen Omolara suddenly died in her sleep, apparently of natural causes. With her death, her vision of a return to Athalan died too.

The Four Regions (T150-T200)

With the death of the queen, Omalaraland had split into two, and after much fighting was ruled by Nombuso in the North, ruled by Overlord Vangarorg, a powerful human barbarian adventurer much loved by the farmers and hunters of the north.

The southern half of Omalaraland held democratic elections, overseen by the church and the mages guild, and the Talgar Council was elected to rule. The Republic of Talgar.

 

The Talgar Council quickly opened trade routes with Southsend. With the re-establishment of friendly relations, families travelled to Southsend to reunite with those ousted in the Beledil rebellion. The smithies of Talgar found a hungry market in Southsend, which was expanding northwards along the Great Prosper river under the guidance of King Beledil the Second.

 

King Vander (previously Fujimara Vander) continued to strengthen his hold on the Vander territories and built strong relationships with Nombuso.

Peace descended on the human settlements. It was a prosperous time, and the population grew rapidly once again.

The Supremacy Wars (T200-T250).

Enter battle

By 200 AL (After Landing) our expansion had reached a natural break point. Orcs, goblins and Dragons had been displaced and pushed back into their rivals territories, (in the process the minotaurs and Halflings had been virtually exterminated). Before they had given ground relatively easily, moving onwards rather than fighting the powerful human forces. Now they had nowhere to go and conflict was inevitable.

For ten years, tensions grew. The human population continued to expand, but our territory did not. Our efforts to claim more land were met with increased and co-ordinated resistance.

As in every conflict there is a tipping point. Ours came when the Talgar Council evicted the Dwarves from their territory. For years we had been living with a large Dwarven community in our midst, trading happily with them. They farmed and mined the land as they had always done, and provided us with excellent metal work in exchange for gems or food. But with the population pressures on the Council’s land, people started to resent the Dwarves fertile farmland and ore rich mines. Eventually, in the winter of AL210, riots broke out and humans attacked the Ran’Dan’Barak dwarves for the first time in over eighty years.

The attack was unsuccessful from the humans viewpoint, 500 Dwarves held off over 5000 human peasants, killing 2000 of them. But, politically it was a success. The Council bowed to the pressure of his people and delivered an ultimatum to the Dwarves. If they went peacefully, The Council would provide them with safe passage to the other Dwarven clans in the north west and pay them in gems for their land. If they refused, the human army would attack and slaughter them all. The small nation of dwarves had no choice but to capitulate. In the winter of AL211, The Talgar Council escorted the dwarven refuges northwest.

That may have been the end, except that as they reached Dragonsbane Cragg Castle in the North of Al-Vander, the Lord Ethalon (who had been engaged in skirmishes with the Dwarves of Bar’Zol’Tazak) believed he was being attacked from the south. His knights charged the convoy and ruthlessly cut down whomsoever they could. The surviving dwarves fled, believing they had been betrayed by the humans.

The Supremacy was had begun.

The Bar’Zol’Tazak dwarves raised a powerful army and marched on Dragonsbane Cragg. They were joined, to their surprise, by the Dragon Tooth tribe of orcs, who had lost their territory to Vander the previous year. The Black Hand clan of orcs saw an opportunity for glory and surged to their aid, eager for war as only orcs can be.

We don’t know how far the dwarves would have taken the war. Was their intention to destroy just Dragonsbane Cragg, or retake all the land lost to Vander or even more. Certainly, they burned with a righteous and deep seated anger at the humans from east to west of Eldroar. We will never know, for the war soon grew far beyond a Dwarf Human conflict.

 

The dwarves were a powerful army in their own right. Well equipped, and, as we realised for the first time, with some powerful heroes of their own.

But it was the Roth’Zyntar Bitterwyrm, the huge red dragon who truly caused the Supremacy Wars. He had a personal vendetta against Vangarorg the Barbarian of Nombuso who had rescued a human virgin from his cave and punctured the dragons’ right eye with his sword. Roth’Zyntar created what the monsters called, The Army of Justice.

Dragonsbane Cragg may have held against even the combined might of the dwarves and the orcs, but with the power of Roth’Zyntar on their side, the keep was soon a smoldering ruin. They may have turned back then, satisfied that vengeance had been had, but Roth’Zyntar urged them onwards to pillage and burn all the northern villages.

They swept down to FortPain and razed it too, and, after burning the nearby settlements, laid siege to Shatakhir Keep.

Roth’Zyntar was a cunning one. He knew it would not be long before we humans responded with massive force. Already the leaders of the four human territories were summoning the greatest heroes to retaliate.

But Roth’Zyntar the red dragon was far too wise. Even Vangarorg had only managed to wound him. The huge red left the siege and flew to the CobaltMountains in the north to ally with his old enemy. Clagrimcha Wortwyrm the Great Green had been driven from his territory in the early days of human settlement and now skulked in the cold of the Cobalt mountains, brooding and mateless. Roth’Zyntar persuaded Clagrimcha to lead the orcs, trolls, and other monsters against Nombuso to reclaim their territory.

But he was not done. He flew westwards and met with Jezadim the Sphinx. Now Jezadim had no bone to pick with the humans, nor any particular love of war. But she loved riddles and was well know to be the best ridller in the Eldroar, a fact of which she was very proud. The stakes were high, if Roth’Zyntar lost he would give Jezadim his enormous and valuable library, if he won, Jezadim would agree to lead the Western forces of the Army of Justice. The winner would have the title of Ultimate Conundrumaster of Eldroar.

In an epic clash of wits, Roth’Zyntar battled with Jezadim for two days and two nights. They started with the easiest of riddles, and quickly made it progressively harder, taking it in turns to answer and then ask a riddle. By the third day, Jezadim was enthralled. It had been over a hundred years since she had been in such an exciting competition. On the morning of the third day, Roth’Zyntar told Jezadim he had to go, leaving the match in stalemate, but that he would return after the war. Jezadim was furious so Roth’Zyntar offered to ask one final, deciding question.

So far, they had played that if the opponent got the correct answer, the competition continued. Now, Roth’Zyntar raised the stakes by suggesting that if Jezadim could correctly answer the riddle, Roth’Zyntar would give up the title.

Jezadim agreed and Roth’Zyntar smiled, “I will only concede defeat to one person, who is it?”

Jezadim laughed for she knew she had been tricked, but she was thrilled because she had won and the contest had so pleasing an end. “The general of the western forces of the Army of Justice” she answered correctly.

And so the brilliant strategist Jezadim the Sphinx joined the Supremacy wars. With her as general, it was much easier for Roth’Zyntar to convince the western orcs, goblins, giants, trolls, even ogres, kobolds and other intelligent races to join the war, for they knew they would be under a great leader.

And so the war rapidly spread down Western Eldroar and took in even Southsend.

 

You may think it was unwise for the Army of Justice to attack on so many fronts. It was not. This meant that the humans could not send a group of powerful heroes to any one place, and that the reinforcements had to be spread over a large area. Soon, every boarder castle and fort in the north and west was under siege.

Roth’Zyntar convinced the Beholder from the northern Khubos Forests to lead the orcs there against Nombuso and Vander, and The Twin Blues (two powerful blue dragons) to lead the southern Khubos Forest Orcs against Southsend.

 

Only Talgar was not attacked. Roth’Zyntar was very careful to ensure that they were not brought into the war, going so far as to promise personal vengeance against any who attacked Talgar. So typically Talgar, the Duchy which was ultimately responsible for the war, did not want to join it. Its people were reluctant to send significant aid, or to get embroiled in a war in which they did not believe.

 

And so by AL215, every border castle or fort, except those in Talgar, were under siege. Most were losing.

 

Enter Ironfist

AL220: In Southsend, Penthorn Way, a small Fort that protected the Easter boarder, was under siege by an army of orcs, goblins and ogres. The Twin Blue dragons were overseeing the sieges at Meralill and Doch.

Juztin Ironfist, a junior soldier at Penthorn snuck over the wall and broke for Talgar to request help. Up to this point, Talgar had refused to send aid to the besieged castles in Southsend. Juztin reached StrathanCastle where his older brother Jaim Ironfist, aged 30, was serving as second in command.

Now Jaim, and Laaz, he best friend and low level wizard, had been an adventurer, although was not very powerful at that stage. It was his charisma that had seen him promoted quickly to deputy-Lord of StrathanCastle.

Jaim made the first of his now famous war speeches. He dressed in his army issue armour and strode into the barraks where his off duty troops were resting, he leapt onto a table in the middle of the room, “Talgar is not involved in the war it started. We lie here safe behind our wall, while our brothers die for our mistakes. Those are our blood. I will not stand by and watch them die, I am riding for Penthorn and for battle. Who will join me? Will you Mattues? Will you Tempra? Katrina? Larsus? Enthador? Helen? Then let us ride”.

The Ironfist brothers with 200 rebels stole horses, and gear. They rode past the farms of family members in Talgar whom he knew to have relatives in Penthorn, and gathered a peasant army.

Laaz, Ironfists wizard friend was to stay to keep them informed of any news and to try and cover for them (they hoped to have returned before Lord Strathan realised they were not on normal patrols).

Showing huge trust, he left them and charged ahead with his Mounted company, telling them. “Do not give up, we will need your arms before the end of this day. He was that kind of man. They would not betray that trust.

Orcs and goblins were attacking Penthorn fort. The outer walls had been breached, but the humans were fighting for survival and had retreated to the keep.

Ironfist and his company charged in from behind. The orc attack lost momentum but did not falter. All through the day they battled, Ironfist leading charge after charge. Ironfist and his small crew were driven back. In the late afternoon, the peasant army crested the hilltop, armed with pitchforks and threshing flails.

The goblins broke, their moral giving in. The orcs were made of stronger stuff and not one surrendered, but the humans slaughtered them all. It was the first human victory in the wars for Supremacy.

 

Laaz joins them. Lord Strathan had collapsed upon hearing the news that goblins had attacked the Castle of Gabos in Talgar and that Ironfist was in Penthorn. Nowdays there are questions about the incident, and about the attack on Gabos. Did Ironfist or Laaz engineer it? We will never know. The current king Ironfist XX, says it doesn’t matter. If Ironfist I did, then it was dishonourable and he condemns it.

 

Gathers the army from Penthorn. Sends the peasants home, thanking them, but telling them to vote against the councils decision to remain out of the war.

 

Immediately rides for Gabos, via Strathan gathering the rest of the troops who now have to follow him. Charges straight into a new battle.

Famous Eradication speech. Council is too afraid. We are the people.

After defeating the goblins at Gabos, takes half the army from there, volunteers only. With the Strathan knights, Penthorn and Gabos armies. Rides for Meralill, pausing at Penthorn for a day to rest the troops and gather as many farmers as possible.

Famous Eradication speech again. Council is too afraid. We are the people.

The new land speech. Not just free our under siege boarders, but expand and take new land from the forces of evil. Army of Darkness. We are the Light.

Rides on Meralill with a triple army.

Defeats the army. Orc army retreats. Chase them all down. New policy of extermination. No surrender.

Arguments from generals. But Ironfist refuses. The army goes with him. So do the peasants.

Once remnants of orcs are mopped up Ironfist orders the troops to return to Meralill and re-supply. They are then march three days to meet at FortDoch in seven days.

He sends generals who agree with him to New Gabos to raise as many soldiers and peasants as possible, requesting them to tell the Generals at New Gabos that Ironfist is happy to follow their orders and hand over his army to them for the battle of Doch.

 

King Beledil III hears of their exploits and is thrilled for the help, for his land has been under siege, and unlike his father, is not a fighter or a man of war. He fears that without help, he will lose his country. King Beledil III hears that they are hunting the Blue Dragon Twins and sends his man-at-arms and powerful wizard, as well a some magic weapons from his late father’s armoury. Just as well, because, in Ironfists own words – the dragons would have eaten us for breakfast. But helped by the experienced warriors of King Beledil III, Ironfist, Laaz, and the other heroes they manage to kill one of the Blues, and drive the other into the Forest of Kabos. They take all its treasure. Ironfist divides the magic amongst the heroes, including Laaz. There is none left for him but he says its fine.

 

Then, they caught up with the armies heading for FortDoch, where King Beledil III met them on the field and made Ironfist the General of his armies.

Another epic battle ensued, although without the Dragons to lead or provide additional power the non-human army was somewhat under strength. Ironfist lead his troops to a morale winning victory.

 

Their armies then swept west and northwards. Taking a huge risk and leaving forts behind them as lightly defended, and sometimes undefended and manned by peasants. Sweep up to FortBhaan. Everything goes their way until then.

 

Meanwhile his brother, Juztin Ironfist is travelling north in Talgar stirring up the people. Juztin argues that the council cannot lead, and that Icehammer should be made Duke of Talgar for the period of the war. He suggests a particular powerful cleric from the church, Icehammer, who adventured with Jaim. Now of course there are conspiracy theories.

 

Ironfist and Laaz teleport to Talgar and Zenith Andor to try and persuade the Talgans to join the war.

 

Now push across to FortAhzeed. Meet real resistance. Jezadim leads her armies to make a real stand there. Also, Roth’Zyntar flies over them and attacks the unprotected forts, burning them to the ground. Ironfist and Laaz, much more powerful now, go into the mountains to hunt the red but cannot find him.

 

Stalemate. Except that the goblins make a stupid and daring attack on the villages behind FortClare burning the villages, destroying crops, killing livestock. Conspiracy theories are now suggesting that Laaz and Ironfist transformed themselves into goblins, teleported across Eldroar, and lead the attack. It seems far fetched I think, but it did break the stalemate. The people of Talgar, who had calmed down after the original attack on Gabos, were now furious.

The Talgar Council was ousted and Icehammer the Cleric was voted in by as War-Leader of Talgar. They want to immediately send reinforcements from southern Talgar to join Ironfist in the Amsbergs and to send another army to Dwint Porses Keep to break the siege there.

But Ironfist instead argues for a different strategy, and teleports to the north to execute it. He leads the additional forces to retake JoegCastle in the North, and from there sweeps on to Nogothagaga. Sticking to the radical extermination policy of Ironfist, they continue to chase and kill all the major orcs and goblins in the region. This leaves the North East secure, and the humans are free to roll westwards, systematically freeing castles and growing their army.

Icehammer suggests Ironfist is voted General of the Nombuso forces so he can co-ordinate the attacks. This is done and the avalanche war effect gains momentum.

Heroes, Ironfist included, are ordered leave all other battles to join in the hunt for Roth’Zyntar. T’Thec Vangarorg (The original kings grandson, who is a great adventurer) and Ironfist, with a number of other heroes, finally kill Roth’Zyntar, but the heirless T’Thec Vangarorg dies in the process.

Ironfist is asked to be Duke of Nombuso, and to everyone’s surprise refuses, arguing that he is not an administrator but a soldier. He suggests that Icehammer, who is famed in Nombuso for his role in the battles of Joeg and Nogothagaga be named King, and that Talgar is returned to a council rule since it is no longer directly facing war. People are amazed and agree.

Ironfist’s first action is to meet with the Talgar council and show them a cost benefit analysis of the war against the dwarves versus the gems from the original dwarven mine. Having their approval to buy peace, Ironfist personally visits the dwarven king in the dwarven territory. He apologies for the atrocities on behalf of Talgar and the humans and offers all of the gems from the mine in perpetuity, on his own honour. The Dwarves are tired of fighting, for war is not in their nature. They agree to peace and Dragonsbane Cragg is rebuilt and renamed to Dragonspeace Keep.

 

The enemy battle slowly starts to tip. Jazadim withdraws from the war.

The roll up continues with many great battles for another three years.

Finally Ironfist leads the human armies northwards to save Vander which is still under siege from the orcs who will not have peace. The final siege is broken at Lemath hold in AL226.

 

Consolidation (T200-T240)

Ironfist was loved throughout the four kingdoms, lauded with castles and land and offered positions of power. While he accepted all the titles and gifts, he refused to take any position of authority. Instead he argued that the war was not over. He moved from region to region stressing the danger of the return to power of the non-humans.

He stressed the fact that the the Blue Twins were not killed, only drive off, that Jazadim had retreated to the desert, the Beholder was still somewhere in Khubos.

His main concern though, was that the orcs and goblins could breed quickly, and would soon be a problem again. He argued that consolidated human defences needed to be erected, and that mutually supportive pacts needed to be agreed now, while the humans were still working together. Using his influence and relationships with Icehammer of Nombuso, the Talgar Council, King Vander IV and King Beladil III of Southsend, he forges a United Human Army, funded (not equally) by all the provinces to defend (not equally) all the provinces.

The contract is for thirty years, to be re-negotiated at that time.

Over the next 30 years, Ironfist rebuilt the defences of the human lands, and forged armies that were “separate but united”.

Ironfist pursued his vision of a consolidated expanded human territory until his death at age 70, driving the other races back so that the humans lands were consolidated. He reworked human boarders cleverly, through negotiation, strategic building of castles and forts, and by careful merging of people to ensure that each province flowed into the next. He left his fortune and lands to his brother Juztin Ironfist.

 

Juztin had married a lovely merchant lady and three children. His eldest daughter studied under the best teachers and became a powerful fighter adventurer before joining the army and serving under Jaim Ironfist. Juztin’s son became a wizard, also adventuring and also joining the army. His youngest daughter, Ester ran the family businesses, managing the vast estates of the Ironfist house and investing her father’s fortunes wisely. The three siblings were as close to each other as Jaim and Juztin had been to each other.

 

Upon Jaim’s death in 260 Emma Ironfist became General of the United Human Forces, General Ironfist II. She continued to work towards the vision her father had dreamed, and was supported staunchly by her brothers and the next generation of the rulers of the human lands. She extended the UHA contract for another 30 years. Her brother, Errol, developed the Dragon riders of the East.

 

How did the Ironfists gain power? Well, one must remember the definition of power – the ability to make things happen the way you want them to. One has to look at what the Ironfists wanted? A united human empire, based on capitalism rather than feudalism – this was their dream.

1)       Argued for a united currency, so that the soldiers could be paid anywhere. Agreed by the kingdoms. Also no actual power, still made things happen as she wanted them.

2)       Continued to consolidate and build the army to protect against outside threat. Army based on merit, on worthiness. Pay not linked to rank, but to value.

3)       The Great Toll Roads. Road network, so the armies could move quickly. Built by the armies. But this also opened trade between the kingdoms, with the intention of spreading a united culture.

4)       Invested in a spy network and propaganda. Set up official bard guilds.

5)       Modest lifestyles, invited the church to build on their lands. Growing the churches power throughout the land but also providing movement across the kingdoms and common religion.

6)       Invested in private schooling, and private healthcare.

7)       Outreach to the poor. Offer every poor person a position in the army. No excuse for law breaking. Ever. Period. But, the doctrine of responsibility. Potential death penalty for desertion or disobeying of orders.

8)       Slowly took over policing responsibilities in many communities. Blurring between the police and army. Made sure that the police were able to call on the army to settle disputes.

9)       Mage meetings and tours. Grand tournaments. A huge library in Southsend Gate and Zenith Andor.

10)    Trade and specialisation, making the nations dependent on each other.

11)    Active disregard for human borders and defences.

 

The Ironfists continued to be a widely loved and hugely respected family. Their good works brought humans together and strengthened the human countries.

The Time of Darkness (T300)

Emma Ironfist died in the summer of AL290, and the four nations mourned her passing.

Felomath was due to become General of the UHA, however there was much argument from each of the kings. None of the kings were confident of being able to seize control of the armies back from Felomath since the commanders were generally more loyal to him than to them. Also, the Kingdom’s were distrustful of each other, and were concerned that if they were the first to pull back, the other three would seize the opportunity to annex it.

 

Felomath had been riding with the armies for over 28 years, starting at age 12 as a Recruit, working through Private, Corporate and Sergeant. He had built a reputation as a good fighter, but more importantly as a great leader. He had worked his way on merit through Lieutenant (in Talgar), Captain (in Nombuso), Major (in Southsend) and was working as Colonel of Vander when Emma died.

 

Emma had ensured that he had been given excellent training, coaching, and experience, so he was a natural successor as far as the soldiers were concerned, because they could see that they would be fairly treated under him, while the same was not certain from the Kings.

 

The human lands entered a time of self created strife.

Instead of continued co-operation, the leaders started to fight amongst themselves. In each of the three kingdoms, arguments about succession of the King dominated. The Talgar Council was known only for its corruption.

Meanwhile, as Ironfist I had predicted, the orcs and goblins bred quickly, and the Untied Human Army was constantly fighting battles on the human borders.

Tensions climbed as Talgar started once more to grumble about the lack of benefit they received from the UHA’s protection.

Vander continued to trade peacefully with the Dwarves. However, war between Talgar was only just averted. Talgar refused to continue mining and paying the gem tribute to the dwarves. Vander was going to march on Talgar, but the threat of the UHA managed to avert that particular disaster. Instead, Vander was beset with internal conflict as members of the nobility fought for leadership.

The Burning Fever of 312

The Burning Fever of 312 swept across all the human lands, taking almost a third of all humanoids, human and non-human, rich and poor alike.

The Plagues of 314 (Goblins and Orcs)

It took just two years for the Goblin Plagues to begin. They bred so fast that they were nearly up to full strength and the West battled with sweeping tides of the green evil humanoids.

 

The same effect occurred in the North, where Orcs recovered faster than either humans or dwarves and attacked both of us. The Orcish Hordes attacked and burned forts and villages all along the Northern border.

 

The Church Wars and the Drak Suth (330)

In 330, Pendlehorpe the Pure published his treatise “The Light of Humankind versus the Darkness of the Abominations”. The outcome was the Church Wars which ripped Talgar apart as every person became embroiled in the debate on the vileness of non-humans. Establishment of the Drak Suth, where people could live freely with other humanoids.

The Elven Backlash of 333

The culmination of the victory of the Church was the ill-prepared invasion of the Forest of Khubos and the Elven Backlash. Humans had barely even known that Elves existed, save for a few sightings by rangers in the forest, and some tales from the shrouded mountains. But the elves existed, and proved that they were more dangerous than dragons. The Elves, using magic and weapons, and together with the other creatures of the forest, destroyed every human fort and castle on the border, showing their utter contempt for human superiority. Then they retreated into the forest where they remain to this day.

 

All in all it was a difficult time for mankind, although through our own fault. The poor were hit the worst, with forced conscription, increasing taxes, and no provision of any services.

 

In 349, in an effort to promote goodwill between the humans of the Drak Suth and the Humans of Southsend, the GreatSouthSuthBridge was built by the wizards and clerics, linking both continents.

The Emergence of Fistoria (T350)

In 342 Benolath Ironfist VII was born into a devout, if wealthy, Church and Army family. His father, General Ironfist VI of the UHA was fighting from the day of Benolath’s birth, and his only son soon followed him onto the field. By the age of 4 he was riding, by 6 he was jousting, by 10 he was a Champion of the tourneys. He studied at the Universities of Zenith Andor and Talgar, where he united his wizard and priest peers in a common vision.

It is tempting to like the handsome blond boy who stole the heart of a dark haired northern girl and stares back with clear blue eyes from the portraits in the castles. But make no mistake, although Benolath was a visionary, he was hard and fanatical. He did do many good and selfless acts, and disregard for wealth is disarming. But one must always remember that this general plunged the human territories into full scale civil war. He murdered entire families and toppled the wealthy for his own glorification.

Although much good came of it eventually, Ironfist VI wanted to rule so that his vision of society could be forced upon humankind. He wanted ultimate power, for him and his family forever. It seems that he has it.

 

His moment came when, in AL362, King Vander refused to pay the levies for the UHA, arguing that since his kingdom had peace with the dwarves, and could hold back the orcs alone, he did not want to pay for a combined army. While Ironfist V wanted to enter negotiations, Ironfist VI argued for immediate and full scale retribution. His father disagreed and went to talk to King Vander, but Ironfist VII was not prepared to wait. He addressed the troops, “Vander wants to hold back your pay. That is what these actions are about. If he is allowed to break from his contract with us, each of the kingdoms in turn will withdraw – every one of you will be out of a job!” The dissent in the ranks was tangible. “But, we are men of the gods – our pay and our ambitions are irrelevant. It is the good of mankind that we need to think about. If the UHA is disbanded, we will return to four separate vulnerable kingdoms, warring with each other and in danger of losing to the non-humans when they inevitably consolidate. It will be the Supremacy Wars all over again – but this time there will be no heroic Ironfist to save us. Mankind will fall. Evil will win. Is that what you want?” NO! The army shouted. “Is it our duty to protect mankind?” YES! Shouted the army. “Then follow me – Ironfist VII!”.

They marched on Zak-Vander castle where King Vander was enthroned. Vander surrendered, but Ironfist VI charged him and his family with treason and had them executed, to the horror of the other kingdoms. His father was stepped down from General and Ironfist VII took his place.

Ironfist VII appointed Graphen Silverthorn, one of his cleric adventurers, Duke of Vander, and promised to hold elections in five years to choose a duke from the people.

He sold all the King’s lands, except the actual castles and invested the proceeds in public works which pleased the people – theatres, dams, roads, mills, churches. As well as setting up hospitals.

It is tempting to think that because of these actions he was a good man, but the records of his closest friends reveal that this was part of a long thought out plan to rule humankind.

He used the army to gather taxes, and the taxes to pay the army. The army was also used to govern the people.

His main focus was on lawfulness. People within the law prospered, and those beyond the law were dealt with harshly. Some argued too harshly, floggings and term slavery in the mines or on the roads were common.

He brought in the Platinum Guard to dispense Truth and Justice, and used the Actors guild to provide a regular travelling news service.

He believed strongly in justice, but not much in mercy.

“There should be two types of punishment for every act of lawbreaking. One to repair any damage done. Another to encourage the perpetrator and others not to engage is such activity again”.

He had no regard for position, and treated rich nobles and poor commoners alike. This pleased the commoners. The Duchy of Vander prospered under their rule. Ironfist VII continued to maintain the UHA.

 

He invested heavily in propaganda. And soon the people of Nombuso and Southsend were discontent. The UHA clearly outshone the local rulers armies in terms of discipline and fairness, and the Ironfists set an impossible example for the kings and local rulers to follow with the generosity they showed.

Ironfist pushed King Southsend to breaking point by increasing good deeds.

It is recorded in a close friends diary, “You think I am generous, that I give my wealth away for the benefit of the people. Sadly, it is not so. I see this land as my land, every cent I spend on it comes back to me two fold. I try to own nothing, because as King I own everything! Every person in Vander is working for themselves, and in doing so making me richer as the taxes grow. The army’s power grows daily. The people’s love for me increases and I entrench my dominance.

It is exactly as it says in the Sacred Texts. The more I give away, the richer I become. Its crazy but it works. When I lower taxes, the people earn more, so they work harder, so in the end I get even more tax income. I spend money on roads and dams, the land is more productive, and I earn more still. I give my land to the peasants, they love me for it. Nothing has changed, they used to work the land, and give a portion of the fruits to me. Now they work the land much better, and give a portion of the fruits to me willingly. The other kingdoms will not last long”.

 

Ironfist VII was a hard man but a fair man. It is recorded that one night he went out in disguise to get drunk. In a bar he got into a fight and beat a man up, breaking many bones. The next day, the man called for justice, not knowing with whom he had fought. The guards found it was Ironfist, and were tempted to let the matter drop, but Ironfist insisted that no man was above the law. He took his public flogging in the main square crying involuntarily in pain as the whip fell, while the crowd watched in silence as their king bled. Ironfist paid the terrified man five golds from his own pocket with an apology. Then he put his shirt and jacket back over his bloodied back and returned to the castle. His guards put the word out that anyone causing harm to the farmer would suffer the king’s wrath.

 

The Kings of Southsend, Nombuso, and The Council of Talgar were increasingly worried. They were corrupt, and their people and armies were increasingly disloyal. They feared Ironfist would overthrow them using the UHA for which they paid. However, they could not stop paying their duties because it would give Ironfist the excuse he needed to attack. Instead, they increased the size of their personal armies. But to do this they raised taxes further. The people grew unhappy and tried to avoid paying their taxes, and the Kings had to punish them. This only served to make the people more angry, and in AL368 civil war started in Southsend.

Mobs attacked castles and forts held by King Southsend. He called on Ironfist and the UHA for support to maintain control in his kingdom, but Ironfist argued that the UHA was not created to fight other humans or protect individuals. King Southsend was furious. In fact, there are unofficial reports that Ironfist gave some of his generals and soldiers unpaid leave to help the mob if they so desired, hinting that they may be able to gain valuable leadership experience there which might help in their careers.

Under the guidance of the UHA generals, the mobs turned into armies, and King Southsend in desperation hired Orc mercenaries to deal with them.

Immediately Ironfist marched on Southsend. Labelling the King and his family collaborators, he tried to have them executed, but they fled to the Drak Suth.

Ironfist elected a Duchess of his own choosing for Southsend, also promising elections in five years, and then set about in the same manner as he had in Vander.

In the next year’s elections of in Talgar, Ironfist offered himself as an alternative to the Talgar Council. Faced with an opposition they could neither intimidate nor bribe, they tried to have him assassinated. In the elections, Ironfist gained a huge majority.

The three duchies prospered, trade between them flourished as for the first time there were no taxes levied on transported goods.

Ironfist continued to consolidate his grip on the country, and his dukes continued to rule according to Ironfists edicts.

 

By 375, matters in the Independent Kingdom of Nombuso were not coming to a head. The king had eased off on his own taxes. The UHA continued to defend the country from the orcs in the north and King Nombuso continued to pay his levies to the UHA. Ironfist VII was becoming frustrated. Nombuso gave him no reason to invade, and adopted many of his policies, including the propaganda by the actors and bards that Ironfist had used so effectively.

 

By his own admission, Ironfist VII fully intended to attack and conquer Nombuso, with either a legitimate excuse or not. However, in 380 the Drak Suth gathered an army and attacked Southsend Gate.

 

War of the Wall 380

A huge humanoid army including humans, allied with dragons and undead, stormed Beledil castle. Human slaves were taken from the city of Southsend, the town was pillaged. Upon his hasty return from Nombuso, Ironfist VII found Southsend Gate in and being dominated by the non-human army. The UH Armies were quickly able to restore order to the city, but the siege on the castle was harder to break.

In one of the charges, Ironfist VII was killed and his young son, a mage, assumed his place.

 

The battle continued for months, until eventually the humans were able to retake Beledil castle. Ironfist VIII finally drove the non-humans from Fistoria and spent the next fifty years building The Wall, the greatest Castle and Tower in human history, which to this protects the southern entrance to Fistoria.

 

During this time Ironfist VIII rebuilt strong relationships with King Nombuso, and they spend many hours together. Unlike his father, Ironfist VIII had no ambitions to conquer Nombuso, famously quoting, “If its working, work it.” Instead, he invested heavily in business in Nombuso and regularly met with King Nombuso to discuss policies and strategies. He even went as far as to offer Nombuso’s daughter a position as Countess in the Talgan Duchy.

 

Ironfist VIII had no sons, his wife bearing him four daughters.

The Kingdom of Fistoria (AL450)

The youngest daughter, Trilamere Ironfist IX (born in 390) married King Nombuso’s Great Grandson in 410, the first son of Nombuso’s First son. In this way the Kingdom of Fistoria was finally to be consolidated, although the culmination of the event only occurred in AL450, on which date the Kingdom of Fistoria was officially created.

The Fistorian Dynasty (T450)

The Fistorian Dynasty ruled successfully for the next hundred years.

The success of the family has been attributed to a focus on the gods, family, and friends. The parents have spent huge amounts of time on their children.

 

Trilamere and Nombuso had two boys, Thabo and Ochang.

Upon the death of his Father, Thabo succeeded as King of Fistoria. He married a Southsendian woman and they had three children. The eldest, Olirin, was an excellent manager and she focused the entire length of her reign on making Fistoria more productive. It was a time of plenty; trade with the Drak Suth, Dwarves, and even the Orcs has flourished and Fistoria is in a good place.

 

Number Name Title Class Birth Coronation Death
i. Juztin & Jaim Ironfist

General of the UHA

190 220 260
ii. Emma The Wise

General of the UHA

229 260 290
iii. Felomath General of the UHA 250 290 308
iv. Lebo Goldentouch

General of the UHA

268 308 312
v. Yiloshan Blood-spiller 291 312 333
vi. Caraclese The Defender Fighter 310 333 380
vii. Benolath The Good

King of Vander

King of Southsend

Head of the Talgar Council

Fighter 342 362 381
viii. Zephanon Del Pilanar

King of Vander

King of Southsend

Head of the Talgar Council

Wizard 360 381 460
ix. Trilamere Queen of Fistoria Politician 390 450 459
x. Nombuso King of Fistoria Fighter 410 459 480
xi. Thabo King of Fistoria Fighter 430 480 490
xii. Olirin Queen of Fistoria

The Good

Manager 450 480 520
Xiii Namoalina

 

Queen of Fistoria

The Bright

 

Politician

 

481 520 546
Xiv Roscorian King of Fistoria

The Just

Fighter 510 546 570

 

As one looks at this, it is clear that the Ironfists are a long lived family – this is largely due to their huge wealth and the availability of magic, which is even able to bring them back from pre-mature death.

 

Roscorian is brought up to believe strongly in justice and works hard to ensure that Fistoria is a just Kingdom; his focus is on implementing fair rules and applying them to everyone equally.

.

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Posted September 21, 2013 by dalevice

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