The Kingsblood War raged for almost a millennium between the monarchy of Anaewen and the caste based country of Tirinoth. Time is now kept based upon the start of this tragic event in human history. Archives have been lost, but the histories tell of how once, long ago, both nations were ruled by one king. The youngest of his two sons slayed the king and laid claim to the throne at the prompting of a group of nobles who wished the reigns of power in the hands of someone they could control. The eldest son had the loyalties of many who had sworn fealty to his father and together they were able to route the coup from the palace. The resulting civil wore tore the country in two. Tirinoth is named for the youngest son who built his palace into the cliffs of Whiterock. Anaewen is the originating country, though it has fallen far from the beacon of civilization, culture, and prosperity that it once was. Generation upon generation passed and the Coralis family still rules the throne of Anaewen. Tirinoth’s line, however, wasn’t quite so lucky. Upon his death, the nobles murdered his wife and children and set themselves up as a council, immediately creating a caste system within Tirinoth and enslaving a third of the population.
War waged back and forth endlessly. Thousands upon thousands have died in the name of both kingdoms. Today each country has a large fortress that watches over the main route of travel between both kingdoms, dubbed by many the Vale of Tears. This vale lies amid a break in the Falkhirst Mountains. To the south, the range of mountains runs straight into the Endless Dunes. This forces travelers to subject themselves to several weeks travel through harsh terrain following the mountains edge through the lifeless desert or to take the heavily guarded and restricted passage through the vale.
In the year 922 King Edwin Coralis III brokered a temporary truce between the two countries for a period of 5 years. Shortly after he was assassinated by agents of two noble houses, Midestes and Ki’Shael. The agents attempted to kill Edwin’s son but were stopped before they could finish their task by the royal guard. The 2nd legion lead by General Caelus Xevium assaulted the estates of both noble families, executing all they came across for treason. The youngest son of Baron Ki’Shael was out on a hunting expedition into the Lower Wilds with several dozen men at his command. They were pursued into the Endless Dunes on the southwestern border of Anaewen before Caelus was forced to give up and return to the capital city. Anaewen now lies in the care of Queen Lilian Coralis who serves as regent until Edwin IV comes of age.
It is now year 926 of the Anaewenian calendar, 9 months before what many call Edwin’s Pact ends. Soon the peace shall be over. Lilian is well loved by the people, but her control over the nobles is tenuous at best. Edwin IV is only 7 years of age and has another 9 years yet before he can assume the throne. Attempts at continuing negotiations with Tirinoth have been unsuccessful, though they have not as of yet breached the truce. Many nobles see the unwillingness of Tirinoth to continue peace talks as a sign that they are again preparing to invade. Queen Lilian remains stalwart in her attempt to resume discussions of peace in hopes of forever ending the bloodshed between Anaewen and Tirinoth that her husband gave his life for.
The Endless Dunes are home to both halfling and human tribes. The Su’Lakriis are nomadic bands of humans who are extremely suspicious of outsiders. They’ve developed a healthy respect for the halfling tribes that live off the desert. The tribes want no part of either human kingdoms disputes. They’re a harsh people who expect each member to contribute to the survival of all. The Su’Lakriis are known for their affinity to clairvoyance. They seem, as a people, innately attuned to magic that allows them to locate sources of water, avoid Tirinoth troops or even ambush them at times, sense sandstorms, and find food. Those who show these gifts are venerated as seers. The Tirinoth military attempted to conquer the Endless Dunes but determined the cost of waging war over land with so few resources as not worth it. They lost many men to the hit and run tactics of the Su’Lakriis while trying to subdue them. The Su’Lakriis that were captured and enslaved either fought to their death to escape or killed themselves.
The exact numbers of Su’Lakriis is unknown. The desert is vast and littered with rocky spires protruding from the sands. The tribes wander, often times making their homes in caves beneath the spires. These spires are an anomaly, often clustered as five to ten large rock spikes a hundred feet tall. Mages who study the formations call them dragon’s teeth, due to the aura of arcane magic permeating the stone and the dunes surrounding the spires. So far, mages studying the stone have found no source for the magical auras and no foreseeable use for the stone as either a component in rituals or anything else. Stone taken from the spire slowly loses this magical aura until it becomes normal stone and it shows no special properties other than the fading aura. The Su’Lakriis, while wary of travelers through the desert, usually accept outsiders into their temporary camps as long as people respect their customs and show no signs of hostility. Members of the the tribes mark their faces with tattoos denoting rank, experience, and bloodline.
The Deep Halls of Mokardin were crafted by the dwarves at the heart of the Falkhirst Mountains eons ago. It is there each living dwarf can trace their ancestry back to its roots. Pillar after pillar rises to the vaulted ceiling carved with runes representing a massive family tree back to the original 13 clans. Lineage is the most important part of a dwarf’s life and defines everything about them. The dwarven kingdom stands alone among the other mortal races. Ages ago the dwarves had trade agreements with the kingdom of Anaewen but when Tirinoth threatened to declare war on the dwarves for supplying Anaewen with their masterfully crafted weapons and armor Mokardin declared it’s neutrality and suspended all trade with humans. With the tentative peace between the two human nations, many dwarves are beginning to emerge into the world. Some seek to establish themselves as merchants while others have traveled to the surface in the hope of making a name for themselves as mercenaries. Overall isolationism has served the dwarves well. While the humans have waged war on one another the dwarves have expanded their halls and established 7 new cities up and down the spine of the Falkhirst, the newest being Tokorsh which lies just north of the Endless Dunes.
The aloof eladrin hail from the fey realm. They have many cities though only one borders the human lands, the Spires of Eternal Sunset or Sir’ele-Taolis in the eladrin tongue. This city lies off the western coast of Tirinoth on a lush island. The veil there is thin, but the city is only available for a period of 1 hour each dusk and dawn. Around year 485, Tirinoth warned the eladrin to stay off the mainland. The eladrin ignored the warning and responded to a Magistrate (a high ranking bureaucrat of Tirinoth) indicating they traveled as they chose and the petty squabbling of short-lived humans was not going to change that. Tirinoth erected a large wall blocking the coast but was unable to stop eladrin from traveling throughout the human lands. Tirinoth responded by taking hundreds of eladrin traveling within its borders captive, enslaving them, and attempting to assault Sir’ele-Taolis. As the ships of Tirinoth traversed the sea to the island massive storms rose up and destroyed a quarter of the fleet. Upon landing, the troops advanced on the spot the city was soon to appear at dawn. As the city shimmered into being on the mortal plane, a combination of arrows, flames, freezing hale, lightning, and a green mist that ate away at the soldiers flesh decimated the oncoming army. The mages of the Tirinoth were driven insane, petrified, or were pulled into the fey never to be seen from again. The entire army was annihilated. The eladrin attempted no retaliation as they didn’t consider Tirinoth a credible threat. To this day, eladrin travel throughout Anaewen openly and have an ambassador at the palace. Some still choose to travel through Tirinoth in secret. It is believed they use weak spots in the veil between the Feywild and the mortal realm to travel back and forth. The mages of Tirinoth seek out these spots and attempt to seal them or put them under guard, but the eladrin are much more sensitive to the Feywild and have continued slipping through.
The halflings do not have their own kingdom, however they have several settlements around Anaewen where they are welcomed. Halfling settlements that used to lie in Tirinoth were pillaged and destroyed centuries ago. Those that survived were enslaved. Halflings have a fierce hatred of Tirinoth and several communities banded together and have, over time, learned to survive in the Endless Dunes. From there they make raids into Tirinoth. Despite their small stature, they have successfully liberated many slave camps in southeast Tirinoth.
The Upper Wilds are the domain of the elves, which sit at the foot of the Falkhirst Mountains. There are two factions of elves, those who are primal and instinctive, almost feral creatures, and those who partake in civilization. To the elves it’s simply a lifestyle choice between those who choose to study and understand nature and those who choose to become one with it. The civilized elves call the feral elves Cerlith-Nhekt, or Wild Spirits. The Wild Spirits typically travel in packs of 6-11, hunting similarly to wolves and other nocturnal predators. It is not uncommon for a normal elf to give in to their primal selves and spend a period of months or even years with the Wild Spirits, who readily accept them as part of the pack. It is often recommended to elven youth to spend at least some time with the Wild Spirits and these experiences often shape an elf and their role in traditional elven society.
As a whole, elven society isn’t clearly understood by most humans who often hear tales of Wild Spirits and presume that all elves are like that. Elves have little to no contact with Tirinoth, but do encounter the peoples of Anaewen as the Upper Wilds reside along the northwestern border of the country. It’s more common to see an eladrin in Anaewen than it is an elf, but elves do travel into human lands at times. Many who follow the path of Melora are drawn to study and live among the elves, even if for a short time. Elven people are peaceful by nature and are open to accepting strangers into their communities, particularly ones following the goddess of the wild. Elven history tells of three great elven houses. One settled in the area the humans call the Upper Wilds. Another populated a land far across the western sea. The third traveled to the east and hasn’t been heard from again. Elves build no large cities, though they have many small settlements that are created by using magic to promote tree growth into habitable structures. They are extremely protective of their woods. While they allow humans in need of food to hunt in the wood, any unnecessary hunting is considered a crime against Corellon and Melora, resulting in immediate expulsion from elven lands and a cold warning not to return. Most are wise to heed such a warning. Though elves live simple lives, they do so by choice. When angered they have proven time and again their skill with sword and sorcery is a force to be reckoned with.
Tiefling and Half Elven Kingdoms
Like the halflings, neither tieflings nor half elves have their own kingdom. Tiefling are extremely rare outside of Tirinoth. The people of Anaewen view them as harbingers of darkness and evil. While they aren’t prohibited from traveling in Anaewen they are shunned and feared. In Tirinoth, however, things are very different. There tiefling lineage is looked upon extremely favorably. It isn’t uncommon for a city of Tirinoth to have several dozen in residence, typically in positions of power. While elves aren’t common throughout the land of Anaewen, half elves are. Elves are a passionate people about life, and as such often enter into relationships with humans they encounter. Unlike the eladrin who look at humans as lesser beings, elves see all as a creation of Melora and Corellon’s seed, and as such do not see a blending of races as a weakness. Many humans are enthralled by the sheer beauty of elves, often tragically as elves see those types of unions as fleeting and momentary attractions. The result is most humans of Anaewen encounter far more half elves than they do elves or eladrins.
There are no dragonborn in this world, nor have dragons been seen in ages. There are ancient tales that speak of dragons but most consider them fairy tales to scare children. As such, dragonborn is not a playable race.