Broken Lands Faction: College of Silence

From the journal of Barnard of Shelton, master trader in the employ of the Illyria Trade Council, recording his journeys to the Broken Lands.

On my arrival I was somewhat shocked to find that, as a trader, I was directed to the dingiest, most miserable, labyrinthine maze of alleyways imaginable, in the shadow of the great college itself. In this ramshackle city I found a cramped market, shoddy lodgings, a bustle of traders and laborers and beggars, and, as the narrow streets are also open sewers, an unpleasant stench.

Naturally I made straight for the College itself, proceeded up the broad steps, and at the huge wooden doors I requested an audience with the Mistress. My demand was met with some bemusement, but I was politely allowed in to the great building, which rises above the surrounding squalor like some giant majestic temple.

Within, everything was in contrast with the world outside. The halls were light and airy, with hugely high ceilings supported by slender columns. Few people seemed to work or live here, though a few figures drifted through the halls, books in hand, not speaking. I tried to make conversation with my guide, but he rebuked me, saying: “Within the College we speak only to exchange knowledge. We might exchange knowledge regarding history, diplomacy, magic, engineering, or any other worthy subject. But we do not make idle chatter.”

The Mistress of the college greeted me, also wordlessly, in a room which seemed to be a private library, its walls lined with bookshelves. She sat not on a throne, as a ruler of a great city might, but at a desk strewn with scrolls.

I explained that I had traveled many miles, to establish profitable trade links with the cities of this land, so distant from my own. I’d like to think that it was a pretty slick pitch. But she dismissed all I said with two short sentences.

“Base concerns are dealt with in the alleys. Inside the college we have a higher calling.”

Obviously I was aghast. A higher calling than ensuring the prosperity of her city? What sort of ruler was this? I queried this, of course, and was brushed off again.

“We have a vital duty to perform here,” she frowned. “When the King dies, his successor will be chosen based on who in the lands is most blessed with wisdom, justice, compassion, duty and purpose. It is vital that people understand, and particularly, that the Kartur-Hhakrall understand, who might be worthwhile candidates, what their strengths and weaknesses might be. The whole continuity, peace and stability of the Kingdom relies upon the quality of the King, and so our role is key. During the reign, we simply amass information, and advise if and as we are requested. I am sure that you will understand that compared with this calling, to haggle over commercial transactions is insignificant.”

I tried to remonstrate, of course, but I was cut off with “Here we speak to exchange wisdom. You wish only to exchange gold, and so you should return to the alleys outside. The local merchants will welcome you. Farewell.”

Broken Lands Faction: Clan Dollogh

Clan DolloghFrom the journal of Barnard of Shelton, master trader in the employ of the Illyria Trade Council, recording his journeys to the Broken Lands.

When the Sundering ripped across the land at the end of the Second Age, the magics tore trees from the ground, whipped the air into great cyclones, and tore at the earth itself. The lands shook, plains rose up to form ridges, and mountains plunged into an abyss to be swallowed by the sea. For surface dwellers this was a cataclysm. Millions died, and only thousands survived.

But how much worse for races that dwelt beneath the ground! The deep halls of the Dwarf clans collapsed, their tunnels caved in, the entrances to their strongholds were buried. And not only the Dwarves were thus destroyed. In five hundred years no Kobold, those scrawny underground-dwelling greenskins, has been seen in these Broken Lands.

Of all the underground strongholds, only one survived the Sundering. It is a Dwarven hall. Its masters are Clan Dollogh, and they call their home Lasthold.

For five centuries they have dug in, built up, reinforced, defended. They are the last survivors of the Dwarves in these lands, and they will, they insist, endure.

I went to visit Lasthold. I passed through seven sets of gates, set in huge walls, and at each gate I was quizzed, searched, regarded with suspicion and fear. At last I thought that I was in, as I emerged into a broad market square. But then I noticed that there were almost no Dwarves here. And the Dwarves that I did see in the market, were surface-dwellers, from settlements in the lands about, visitors just as I was.

Beyond the market was another set of doors, made not of wood but of granite, set in yet another sturdy wall. I approached, but saw no guards, nobody I could speak to. As I stood there another visitor smiled at me. “That is Lasthold, in there. Nobody gets in, unless you were born there. And you aren’t a Dwarf, so you weren’t born there.”

All the gates and checks I had been through had not even been to get into Lasthold. They were just to get to the market where visitors come to trade.Dollogh Mech

I returned to the seventh gate, and attempted to engage the sergeant of the guards in conversation. I explained that I wanted to talk to their rulers, about trade deals. He did not answer. I asked who his rulers were. No answer. I pestered for several minutes, until in the end I hit a nerve and he exploded in a rage, shouting at me as his face turned deeper and deeper scarlet. My mistake was to ask how emissaries from “his King” (meaning the King of Virten) gained access to Lasthold.

“A thousand years,” he fumed, “a thousand years! For a thousand years we were slaves to Elf wizards, duped by their human servants, and abused by their Orc dogs! For a thousand years we were tortured, forced to work until we died. And then we were killed. All of us. When the mountains fell everyone died except five hundred Dwarves here, and a few thousand out on the surface! My people here, my forbears, they clawed through the cave-ins with their bare hands, and rebuilt! Now you think some human Orc-lackey is our King! He’s your King! Or he’s the Orcs’ King! You think after everything we’ve been through, we’ll let some human peasant, raised up by the Kartur-Hhakrall, tell us what to do? Out there, he’s your King. In here, we are free, and we will stay that way even if the mountains fall again!”

Broken Lands Faction: Virten

Hello Illyrians,

With the announcement of the Broken Lands expansion, and the introduction of an entirely new continent to explore, many new factions are coming to the world. Get to know them here, before they appear in game, with regular updates to the Broken Lands Factions category on the dev blog. The first faction that you’ll get to know in the Broken Lands is Virten. Their knights maintain peace in areas of the Broken Lands. Check back for regular updates!

GM Luna

Virten SigilVirten

The First Decree of King Lucios I, the New King, founder of the Kingdom of Virten, at the dawn of the present age:

Let no man be King because he is mighty. Let no man be King because of his birth.

Neither the amassing of power nor the practice of warlike arts will guarantee that a man be just. No parentage or lineage will guarantee that he be wise.

Each of you who stand before me today, have lost family and friends in the Sundering. For each of you who stands here, a hundred have been killed by tyrants, who believed that their lineage and power gave them the right to rule as they wished, to abuse who they wished, to slaughter wherever they wished.

As you grieve for those whom you loved, as you give thanks for your own survival, and as you pray for a better future, each of you will swear now, and each of you will swear again each year, and each of your descendants will swear every year until the end of time, that you will uphold this decree.

The daughter of the King shall inherit the land, but shall not rule.

The daughter of the King will marry whatsoever man be foremost in the kingdom in justice and wisdom. Her husband must be calm and purposeful, able to resist the temptations of the highest office, not afraid of acting without sentiment if needs be, but striving always to aim for the highest standards of morality, conducting himself with absolute integrity, ruling always for the good of the land.

The husband thus taken will be King, and will rule.

Virten Guard

This is my first decree.

Thus may we hope that a new kingdom, a better way of life, will rise from the atrocity of the Sundering. It is a hope that you and your children must be ready to fight for, and perhaps to die for. But in this way we may hope that the tyranny and destruction of the last age will never be repeated, and that we can build a future of peace, wisdom and justice for our descendants.