The Last 400 Years

Canam's free land grows smaller each year as new nations form and encroach upon expanding older ones. Only when they begin to brush together will antagonism rise from agitation. Although many of the fey nations learned to live in peace, this doesn't always occur with the echan human kingdoms. Not all relations prosper as successfully as Appareci's defense alliance with Limshau, the Finer Fire Pits, and Salvabrooke. Many humans banded together from a joined hatred of those not like them. Dozens of smaller towns and villages openly outlawed fey entry. Even a few went about hunting the "pointed ones" for slaves or racial cleansing. History books recorded mankind slaughtering each other over simple differences of skin color or religious belief. It was an easy step to divert that hatred to these new invaders. There is very little to no racism between human ethnicities in the modern world, regardless of their feelings to those inhuman. The individuals that kept their bigotries after surviving the hammer didn't last long.

Humans racially hidebound accuse the fey descendants of bringing about man's downfall. Regardless of their origin, laudenian, pagus, or damaskan, it made no difference. When the western coast of Canam fell under constant goblin attack and the northern shores suffered invasion from the kobolds of Xixion, it was difficult to convince many humans of another opinion. Unless one traveled far north to Fargon, east to Limshau or stumbled upon the hidden entrance to Salvabrooke, most humans only knew of the creatures of echa from the raids they engaged in. Most caravans around the bastion of Angel needed an escort or fall under attack.

Today, unlike Euras across the ocean, condensed and tight, Canam still prides its wide-open spaces. Huge distances connect the many different cultures of the continent. Supposedly, when the black rock cracked, a huge fragment toppled across the sky and landed near the west coast. It broke into dozens of pieces. To this day, they float in the sky, mumbling stories to each other. South of Angel rests the large forest of Janis of where the largest population of chaparrans live around the towers of Jibaro. Far north, across the only the safe pass at Dianaso, one reaches the exclusive land of the narros, known as Fargon. The largest city is Thos Thalagos. In between, somewhere in the hazardous Nankani Mountains, rests Laudenia. Some say the city moves from peak to peak, making an exact location impossible.

In east Canam, two Bastions sit side by side, the free port of York and the xenophobic fortress of Mann. One opens their doors to all, while the other shoots outsiders on sight. In the north, free pagus fell under control of typhox dragons. Gimfen built their underground capital nearby. The largest narros city, the Finer Fire Pits, sits close by. In the south, a more agrarian group of gimfen live in peace with surrounding human cities. In the centre of the continent, Limshau rests alone in the field of Serapea. Over the skies, narrow boats with butterfly wings ferry passengers from major cities. These Feng-Fu Flyers, even though imported from abroad, feature more in
Canam than anywhere else in the world.

If the pagus from Apocrypha didn't commit to attack under their own desire, typhox dragons would issue the orders to do so. The dragons would beckon their slaves from their controlled lands of Azhi Dahaka.

Despite strong alliances in the north, one nation refuses to accept the state of affairs. Darius Konig, ruler of the human nation Baruch Malkut continues his holy crusade against the unworthy. Carrying a fanatical belief that mankind are the only true inheritors of the planet, Konig orders armies to march slowly, expanding the kingdom, growing in strength and numbers. Every year, they gather humans to their cause, promising peace, uniting the masses in a shared hatred of all fey. They don't despise the world of magic like the humans of techa, but believe mankind stands superior to all others, the true final form created by god. With their superstitious and hysterical crusade, they rob, enslave, and murder all fey and their collaborators. A century ago, this Blessed Kingdom claimed all the land of southeast Canam. When Konig's armada reached the chaparran forests, the Limshau walls, and the Gimfen Grind Towers, their expansion halted.

Baruch Malkut's fall from grace started with a simple shift of moral ambiguity. They began their crusade with the notion that their leaders commanded armies of righteousness and purity against empires of corruption and evil. In this regard, flaunting principled judgment, because they believe themselves morally superior, they justify committing immoral acts. Being the largest human echan empire in Canam allowed Baruch Malkut substantial diplomatic equity in the view of their neighbors and potential allies, both in echan and techan humans and even with the fey. They squandered such leverage.

It is surprising how much damage one person and his few disciples caused in the political landscape of Canam. The lack of an effective consensus against the growing issues the land faces allows smaller problems to blossom in severity. The most notable example is to the sudden appearance of demon captains banding the roaming pagus camps together. When and how the demons began emerging on Canam shores is unclear, but unless the competing nations of Canam look past their political problems, a much greater threat may destroy them all.

The first time a demon captain was slain, the report fell on deaf ears. The leader responded, filing the report quickly away, partially oblivious to the threat, but more denying the truth, hoping others would act. No leaders of men or elf wanted war on their shores in their lifetime. For centuries, they believed the problems of Slav and Euras across the ocean remained the affairs of those living there. Canam settled with the annoyances of wild pagus raiders, bloated dragons concerned more with their meals than power, and the scattered complaints of slavery and ethnic cleansing from protesting fey nations often ignored.

Many analyzing the situation agreed the first sign of invasion would be the fall of Janoah. Janoah formed from human pilgrims from the south. They eventually found shelter and fresh waters surrounded by several massive lakes: Cyrus, Nioba, Jura, Noa, and Telos. Though once easy to cross, the influence of echa broke down cliffs and widened rivers, merging all the lakes. Between Telos and Cyrus, however, a massive land bridge ran across. The gargantuan expanse was 40 miles long and 600 feet wide, more than enough for an army to cross. The city of Janoah took root on the southern side of the bridge and began erecting defenses. It finally laid the final brick 100 years ago. Dozens of armaments dotted a massive fortification 150 feet tall, covering the entire expanse of the bridge. Funneling a huge army onto the bridge allows the Janoahn defenses to concentrate fire. The first test occurred five years later when a pagus force wandered over the bridge. Not aware of the strength of the wall or the will of the population, the raiders attacked. Two thousand pagus attacked. Janoah suffered no casualties. The pagus force carried no stern leader from pagus chief or dragon. Unorganized, they broke apart, confused by the sustained assault. None survived. After word of the Janoah victory reached newly formed southern allies, reinforcements flooded from Gnimfall, Limshau, and the Finer Fire Pits. Even though the Bridge of Tethuss suffered attack upon attack for the next decade, the real test occurred much later when the Azhi Dragon Lord Verkelen assaulted the wall. Only after his entire force died on or fell off the bridge did the great beast finally retreat. The Lords of Azhi are not stupid and they know another path exists. Once they push their forces around the lakes, and past the Noble Mountains, the armies of Apocrypha will be able to lay siege to all of Canam. Currently, expected loses prevent the long voyage. All that the dragons require are numbers.

The second occurrence of a demon captain transpired ten years ago. The third and fourth incident appeared almost immediately. The fourth won its battle with a force from the Finer Fire Pits pushing for new land into Alpinas. The demon commander slaughtered the narros captain, Gilthrack Bok and disappeared soon after. The last sighting spotted the giant more than 500 miles south, near the edge of Limshau. It had chameleon armor changing from red to green depending on the angle viewed. A human face was stretched unnaturally thin over an inhuman skull. A living vine of deadly thorns twisted around a shield of Holy Dragon scales. The single survivor of the Gilthrack expedition escaped. He chanted the creature's name constantly before a sympathetic spell caster, Gallasan Sagard, wiped his memory of the event. Sagard wrote the name down in hope it would eventually shed light on its origin… Thornshroud.

The sudden appearance of pagus raiders under the guided leadership of Ixindar forces alarmed the nations caring to notice. Leaders within Limshau, Abidan, Gnimfall, and the Finer Pits all became restless and worried. Where were these commanders originating? Did a small vessel survive the harsh oceans or did some corrupt intelligence create these beasts from the soils in Canam?

In the eyes of the fey, or at least the chaparrans, the greatest fear still lies with the forces of Ixindar. Many here sleep lightly, even considering the black gate sits on another continent. With the evil and corrupt lands of Sana and Tranquiss, evidence exists on Canam of corruption even here. This pales in comparison to visions occurring with several seers across all the fey nations six months ago. They all shared a unified image of great death and an immense battle to alter the events of the world.

A pit of stone. Ruins remain. Armies gather. Human, Fey, Pagus. Generals of Darkness. White clouds cradle wings of light from the east. The > pit beckons. It desires. It feeds. It grows with death. Not enough to fill its craving. A greater toll waits. The fate of our future waits at > mankind's final stand. The moment of the sin, committed against the world and whatever gods were listening at the time. A comet will fall from > the sky. Human and Fey will mix their blood. Great warriors shall fall on their knees. A mighty wind shall wipe the fields clean. Time holds > here. Nothing grows, remaining frozen in a moment of pain and death. The throes and screams of their souls resonate in the pits, surrounded > by the wall of a great fortress. A fortress called … Arx-Cis.

Not long after an August sun crept behind distant mountains, an unnatural wind rushed across the barren landscape west of the bastion of York. A winged goliath bellowed and coughed black smoke. Its bones of refined steel and carbon fiber splintered and shattered. Its feathers of chrome flayed off its delicate skin. The behemoth rolled over the clouds like a beached whale. As flames licked over its nose, it trailed a tail of stars, falling gently to the Earth. Finally, the mechanical beast slammed into the soft dirt.

A floating stone of immense weight, disobeying the gravity law god forbad it to break, sheared off the mammoth's left wings. As its hulk scrapped quickly across the jagged rocks, it began to tumble, shredding more of its body, leaving its remains scattered over miles. Disemboweled by a sharp landscape, the contents of its stomach dripped from its belly. A tail of flame stretched behind the beast in its carnage. The monster came to rest. In its death throes, the inferno rose up, consuming the remains of flesh. A final scream of pain convulsed and the colossus belched a mushroom cloud of fire and the final remains of its corpse were devoured.

When the flames finally subsided, only a few charred bones of titanium and the scar path of burned terrain behind it remained. Several wanderers arrived to investigate the fallen leviathan. A few helped themselves to the pickings they could scavenge, a piece of skin, or a broken fragment of bone. Days passed before anyone located its last meal, expelled in its fall. Most of the strange contents broke on impact. However, something survived.

A curious figure, knowing well more than he should, discovered it. The crate looked cracked, but inside, he saw the faintest glint of light. He fought and pried the final lock and opened the chest.

At first, his hand rolled through fluttering pieces of snow that felt neither cold nor wet and refused to melt in the warmth of his hand. This would scare some but this stranger knew of science and recalled this snow came from man and not the sky.

It dropped to his knees. A plain dull silver amulet designed in simplicity held a very serious purple gem. The encrusted stone showed no skill from a trained cutter. The shard looked formed on its own and not chipped from a rock or shaved from a tool.

As night set, the violet light grew beyond a glow, and its humble facade could lie no more. This was something special.

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