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Kingdoms of the East

Minitirith, the Holy City

No more glorious a sight can be imagined in this realm or any other. A glorious city of soaring White Walls, sitting astride the single pass through the Khaolir Mountains into the Lands of the West. It is here that the Faith of Ramma is centered, and as any citizen of the Holy City would tell you, the great impenetrable walls exist not to protect the people within but to guard the Great Statue that is the most holy artifact of their faith.

Minitirith is by far the greatest city of the East, a claim that would perhaps only be disputed by the Elves (but few have seen their capital of Anjiel), and even among those aged folk there are many who appreciate the glorious wonders of the Eternal City. Ancient even by the records of the Dwarves who helped to construct it, the city is the one solid unchanging reference point in the lives of the East. All else might fall, the hand of Raizeth has touched all else, but the Holy City remains as it has always been and so shall it always be.

The City can not truly be considered a Kingdom in it’s own, for it’s domain does not extend outside it’s boundaries, and it has no King. Yet over one million people live in the Holy City, and the reach of it’s spiritual arm is long indeed. The Church of the One God is the undisputed master of the Holy City, yet it does not actually control most of the bureaucratic and organizational factors of the city. The Dwarf Clans, whose ancestors helped to build the city, instead handle most such work and act as stewards for the Church in matters of governance.

Hranjiel, the Jewel of the East

No human has laid eyes on the home of the Elves in over five hundred years and returned with the tale. Some of those that attempt to pierce this mystery are lucky, returned to their loved ones to speak of little but verdant wilderness and sudden overwhelming ambush by Wood Stalkers – the secretive elven order that guards the borders of their lands. Many more such uninvited guests are never heard from again.

Those few records that remain speak of the Lands of the Elves as full of wonders, unimaginable beauty, and abundant powerful magic. The Elven City of Anjiel, it is said, is a sight that once seen can never truly fade from one’s mind entirely. Instead, it will always remains burned in one’s vision, a sight of such beauty that it cannot be denied or forgotten in the slightest detail. Some hopeful souls whisper that this is why humans are no longer welcome in the lands of the elves, suggesting that human souls were not strong enough to survive such wonders unchanged. Others, especially the Church of the One God, suggest darker motives and wonder just what the Elves are hiding.

Ambyrl, and the Virgin-Queen

The Soverign Land of Ambryl has ever been a shining beacon of the East, a place of learning and nobility, located among the Foothills of the Northern Khaolir Mountains and along the shore of the Bitter Sea. The dominant feature of Ambyrl, and the one it is named after, is the Ambyrl River, which runs down from the Khaolir Mountains and into the sea. It is along this river that the prosperous city of Tirith lay and from here that the Queen of Ambyrl has ruled since the founding of the Kingdom in the last age – excepting only the Dark Ages, when the Queen was forced into hiding and the False One’s armies openly marched about the Kingdom burning villages and capturing slaves.

Of all the Kingdoms of the East, Ambyrl is the one that fared the worst from the War against the Dark One some 800 years ago. Yet such wounds are easy to forget now, buried as they are by time and deliberate effort. The city of Tirith has been rebuilt, villages have been resettled and farms resown. Now and again, however, one passes a ruined fortification that was never rebuilt or a forgotten battleground haunted by unquiet dead.

Not all the troubles faced by this kingdom are so past, however, for 7 years ago parties unknown murdered Queen Ananda and her daughter (aged 8 at the time) was not fully ready to take the burdensome position. The regency that rose up around her is widely regarded as a poor one, and the Kingdom suffers from their corruption and mismanagement. The day of the new Queen’s coronation nears, and all wait with baited breath to see what will come.

Julee, and the Ruins of War

Long has the Kingdom of Julee been the bastion of strength and righteousness in the East, and always has it stood as a brother and defender to other lands in times of woe and hardship. The Delayn line had proven itself sound and wise in rule for most of the age, and the people were well governed and filled with pride in their homeland. The Paladins of the One God rode out from the Capital of Kalin, and all bowed and paid heed to them as champions of all that was good in the eyes of the One God.

Such times are far past, however, for the ancient line of Regents was broken and the land itself still burns from the Throne War that has nearly tore it apart. It all began when High Lord Regent Julian Delayn perished of a wasting disease at the age of 30, having left behind no heirs and with no obvious direct line of succession. Most of the nobility of the land had some blood relation to the line of the Regency, and many stepped up to take the place. The infighting began almost at once, and was a early warning of what was to come that went sadly unheeded by everyone involved.

The High Order, Paladins of the One God and Servants of the Regent, might have been able to settle things peacefully – except for their Lord Commander. Lord Commander George Septomber, a cousin of the regent, both had a better claim to the Regency than most and believed that he would be a better ruler than any of the other claimants. He thus made clear his claim to the Regency, which initially settled things down to some degree. Several Nobles, most notably Duke Rodai Tolari, did not accept this claim and indeed rejected the entire idea of the High Order taking such a active role in the rule of Julee.

No one knows who hired the assassin, but once word of the Lord Commander’s death got out the battles began in earnest and within a month the entire kingdom was enmeshed in some of the most brutal fighting seen since the war against Gaolin nearly 100 years past.

The fighting has been over for almost 6 months, but the damage has been done and the land will take a long time to recover. Most of it’s nobility is either dead or in exile following the victory of ‘High Lord Regent’ Rodai Tolari, and even the High Order has suffered shocking losses – and now labours under a Regent who considers them less of a servant and more of a potential enemy. The Church has largely remained silent on the matter, but many priests of the One God are at work in the battered land.

Tomarl, the Peasant Kingdom

The “peasant kingdom” of Tomarl is known throughout the East as a peaceful and idyllic rangeland, widely settled by hardy and strong-spirited folk that live a simple and fulfilling life tied to the land. Most of the populace is scattered across the fertile land in small thorps and villages, but a few towns are also scattered across the countryside and well-marked paths and the occasional ancient road from before the fall of the old empire connect most of the kingdom. The single city of Tomarl, “Faer-ulot”, only scarcely lives up to the title and serves largely as a nexus of trade with the other lands of the East and the center of the One Gods’ religion in the kingdom. The meager palace, which once belonged to the Tyrant Kings who ruled here long ago, lay empty and abandoned.

Tomarl is an uncomplicated land, located between the more civilized near east and the wilds that lay beyond the frontier. In particular, Tomarl is known for it’s co-existence with the wild men of Oaerl and it’s continued contact with the Elves (one-way though it might be). While the One God holds a great bit of strength in the lands of the peasant kingdom, the Druids of the Old Faith remain strong as well. While the two bicker a bit in Faer-ulot, the people of the kingdom don’t put up with such behavior and the two faiths mostly co-exist. Indeed, there has seldom been any real conflict in Tomarl. The kingdom even survived the conflict against the False One more or less intact.

The land was not wholly untouched, however, for a great many monsters and fell beasts ranged across the land. Most of those beasts were vanquished or fled into the depths of the Earth following the defeat of the False One, but some of them remained and continued to cause scattered mischief over the years. In recent years, however, this mischief has been anything but ‘scattered’. Goblins have been especially rampant throughout the kingdom, entire warrens of them breeding in the isolated sections of the wilderness, and lately they have been ranging out over the land in force. Even worse beasts have been spotted on rare occasions, and the rumors of such monsters are beginning to attract heroes from all over the east to this simple land.

Oaerl, and the Pagan Lands

There are some places in the East that were never touched by the armies of the old empire and that have never accepted the words of the One God’s missionaries. The people there live ‘savage’ and ‘uncivilized’ existences, worshipping the Old Faith and living according to the whims of the natural world. In the eyes of the clerics of Minitirith, the pagan lands (when they are considered at all) are simply “the kingdom of Oaerl”, but the people who live in these rugged and beautiful lands hardly consider themselves such.

Four major cultures are ‘grouped together’ in this fashion. On the windswept plains of Ghan, the Ghandan Horselords live free existences in tune with the migration patterns of their herds of cattle, defending against the frequent raids of the Forest Goblins that live on the borders of their territory. The far eastern range of mountains is home to several savage tribes of ogres, but also the sophisticated culture of the Sran Cliffdwellers. Past the eastern mountains is the Devil’s Plate, a harsh and deadly field where little will grow and the heat of the unceasing sun rapidly grows unbearable – here the warlike Matanni live, fighting their unceasing war against the lizard-fiends. Finally, past the barren lands of the Devil’s Plate, the eastern shores beckon and the unending waters of the Great Eastern Ocean stretch on until the edge of the world. It is here that the Dago Nation dwells in peaceful contemplation of ancient mysteries and mystical secrets.

The notion of the “Kingdom of Oaerl” is one that dates back to the time of the False One when two great heroes united the tribes of the Far East for a time. A powerful warrior of the Matanni and a potent shaman of the Dago, the two heroes had fought and sacrificed to protect their people against the unspeakable minions of the One Who Would Doom the World. While the False One himself never marched into the barbaric lands many of his minions rampaged through the land and many of his greatest servitors were sent to the ruins and mystic sites of the Far East to claim power for their master. Many tribes were depopulated entirely, and a number of heroes emerged to confront the terrors of these dark times. When at last word reached (name of the two great heroes), they gathered what warriors they could and hunted down the greatest of the beasts of the False One to ensure that they never again threatened their people.

These hunts did not cease at the borders of their lands, but instead all across the East wherever the great beasts of the False One could be found – a war party even attempted to follow a horrid unloving beast that drew out life with a touch and could not bear the light of the day into the city of Minitirith! When the great shaman (name) was asked whom she and her fellows served, she answered, “We are the warriors of Oaerl,” naming an ancient and legendary ruin said to exist beyond the Great Eastern Ocean that was sacred to her people. The exact reason why she said this are lost to time, but even when the ‘mistake’ was discovered the name remained largely out of tradition. Even those warriors that range into the wider lands of the East utilize it, when useful.

Gaolin, and Evil Defeated