The Fallen Lands

The Fallen Lands

Overview

The ravaged and plague ridden lands now known as The Fallen Lands previously formed the western Karnish empire and included the satellite states of Yeod, Ghent, Eastdale and Vidor. All were once proud independent nations, but which are now destined for the annals of history, having been completely overrun by the forces of Zykerathox and the chaos that has consumed them. Goblins, orcs and wild humans populate much of these lands and the dead walk freely, slowly consuming those that have remained, most probably enslaved and forced to work or fight for their new master.

Some cities have yet to be defeated in their struggle against the tyranny of Zykerathox, in particular Ghendenbur, Vidor, and Northport, where the war continues to rage on. These cities are ravaged by plague and disease and struggle against the Black Death is constant. Both Ghendenbur and Northport are ably supported by their allies, with Ghendenbur well defended by large numbers of dwarves and Northport supplied directly from Karnish, where they still launch attacks against the evil forces that now control much of the land. Some of the better defended smaller communities have also managed to retain their freedom, but these are few and far between and become rarer by the day. If the hordes are not killing them, the Black Undeath is destroying them instead.

Zykerathox has made Skrenos the new capital of his fiefdom and there installed the devil Justice to oversee his operations on Arrasia. Skrenos was once the stone city of Hochden, capital of Eastdale, hewn by dwarves out of the very rocks of The Great Barrier Mountains at the base of which it sits. It was here that the forces of Zykerathox first emerged in a corrupted portal that saw thousands of his minions pour into Hochden straight from the fiery pits of Herophet and it has since become a foul, dark place, totally consumed by the evil that overrun it. Goblins and orcs now form the majority of the population, with the humans and dwarves either dead or enslaved. Demons are other foul creatures are everywhere, fulfilling the will of Justice.

With war on every border and in every nook and cranny, the country is burnt, ravaged and covered in the rotten corpses of the fallen. The Black Death has swept through the country, devastating the population and the dead can be seen everywhere. Many are under the control of powerful undead lords who are minions of Zykerathox, but many mindlessly and indiscriminately wander the landscape. In the east, on the border with Badathur, large scale battles between the forces of Zykerathox and Karnish are common and bloody and the borders themselves change daily as the two sides gain and lose ground in equal measure. Badathur and, ultimately, Karnish, would have been entirely overrun if it hadn't been for the unlikely intervention of the forces of Hith, whose orc armies poured out of The Great Barrier Mountains, forcing Zykerathox to concentrate his goblin and orc armies against them instead.

The Fallen Lands are now rotten to the core. Death, disease and destruction are everywhere. It is a place consumed by chaos and terror, where orcs and goblins roam freely and where even the dead stalk the land. The border regions in particular are consumed in bloody and violent battles, though for the moment at least, the spread of Zykerathox's foulness seems to have been halted.

Brief History

The history of the lands now more commonly known as The Fallen Lands is long and bloody. Emerging as independent nation states - Yeod, Ghent, Eastdale and Vidor - after the retreat of Amman, strife and war saw them all annexed into the burgeoning Karnish empire, until they were powerful satellite nations who acted as a buffer to the then enemy, Hith and his orc armies. The rise of Zykerathox saw these lands destroyed and consumed by a new evil and much of what was built has been smashed and corrupted. Some small enclaves still hold out - in particular, Ghendenbur and Northport - but these are few and the lives of those who live there hard and unpredictable.

Eastdale was the first of the western Karnish satellite states to fall to Zykerathox after his forces emerged through a corrupted portal directly into the capital, Hochden. Once the northern most region of Ghent, civil war saw Eastdale secede and declare its independence and emerge as a new and fledgling nation. However, even as the war continued with Ghent, the armies of Hith swept out of the mountains and Eastdale quickly fell. Life was difficult for those trapped there and many fled north into Vidor. It was not until the coming of Karnish that Eastdale was finally freed of its occupation. However, it was immediately consumed into the greater Karnish empire and became important in the ongoing struggle against the forces of Hith, who had retreated across The Great Barrier Mountains and where The Land of Hith would emerge as a constant threat to the whole region. The status quo was maintained for several hundred years until the surprise and unexpected rise of Zykerathox, who claimed the throne of Herophet and with it unleashed a new chaos in Arrasia, with Hochden and Eastdale the first to fall. Having established himself in Arrasia, Zykerathox quickly turned his attention towards the neighboring states of Ghent and Vidor, further satellites of the Karnish empire.

Although fighting was concentrated along the border with Ghent, to the north Vidor found itself isolated and squeezed between the armies of Zykerathox and Hith. A vicious and terrible war consumed these three forces and for a period Vidor was at the very heart of the struggle for Arrasia. Hith's forces swept over The Great Barrier Mountains through Echopass, while Zykerathox's quickly consumed much of southern Vidor. The three opposing armies met in several indecisive battles and Zykerathox soon found more of his resources pouring into Vidor, allowing Ghent - and Karnish - enough respite to gather their forces and prepare their defenses after the sudden and unexpected rise of this new foe.

Bogged down in Vidor and with a large Karnish force imminent in Ghent, Zykerathox unleashed his Black Death across the land. It came out of Eastdale, sweeping into Ghent as people continued to stream out of the now fallen lands and into the relative safety of Ghent. Soon the people began to fall ill and die, and it was only then that the real horror was revealed as they rose to walk the lands as undead. Large swathes of the population fell victims, as well the soldiers of Karnish, and the authorities were hard pushed to keep it under control. In the north, the plague swept through Vidor, decimating humans and humanoids alike, and in several key battles Zykerathox's forces smashed the Karnish army who were entirely isolated and exhausted. The lands once known as Vidor are now a battlefield between Hith and Zykerathox, with neither being able to find a decisive victory. The lands are rotten, filled with the ruined towns and cities, smashed castles and keeps, and everywhere is awash with orcs, goblins and foul creatures. Many of those who perished from the plague now walk as undead.

With Ghent weakened from the plague and the Karnish army forced to retreat from it, for fear of losing before they had even had a chance of coming to battle with their enemy, Zykerathox's forces quickly consumed the land and spread their evil. Ghent had first emerged with the withdrawal of the Amman forces after the uprising of the south and the rise of Fandor. The ancient city of Ghendenbur, built into the very rock face of the Great Barrier Mountains, was said to have been built by dwarves enslaved by the forces of Amman and that it represented the western most citadel of their empire on the southern continent.

A general uprising under the leadership of the charismatic Dedrik Ullathord saw the Amman forces defeated and overthrown and Ghent emerged as fledgling nation free of the tyranny of Amman. Dedrik was declared it's first king, who set about securing their lands against the humanoids and other emerging nations, and in particular Yeod and Badathur. After a long and successful period as an independent nation, Ghent was overrun by the forces of Hith who poured out of The Great Barrier Mountains and pillaged and burnt much of the land. Ghendenbur itself held out in a long siege until the Karnish army defeated Hith, forcing him to retreat. Although Ghent was freed from the evil that had consumed, it was instead annexed by Karnish into its empire.

Despite initial tensions and conflicts, the vast majority of the population over time became happy with the arrangement, which brought with it security and wealth. With Hith's armies a constant threat from the mountains, large numbers of troops were stationed there, especially in Ghendenbur, and Ghent flourished. The initial tide of the coming of Zykerathox out of the neighboring country of Eastdale was slowed by the large number of Karnish soldiers, but would have nonetheless been overrun had not Zykerathox become bogged down in Vidor in an unexpected war with Hith. Just as it seemed the humanoid hordes had been halted, the Black Undeath swept through the land, decimating the population and army and with a land rife with plague and the walking dead, the forces of Zykerathox came again and it soon fell. Ghendenbur and Olthorn continued to hold out against the sieges and plague, and though Olthorn was eventually captured, the well-defended city of Ghendenbur has continued its resistance against the evil that surrounds it.

Like Ghent, Yeod largely succumbed to the Black Undeath which ravished the lands and severely weakened their ability to defend themselves. Yeod rose from the ashes of the old Amman empire after Granthus Yeod fortuitously claimed the throne after the defeat of his great enemy, Orthia Pannin, a hugely charismatic woman with dedicated and loyal followers. But for the intervention of a barbarian horde, Yeod's history could have been entirely different. As it was, the lands were named after their new king and the fledgling nation soon found itself embroiled in wars against its neighbors, Ghent and Badathur. Only an alliance between Yeod and Ghent saw off the Badathur threat and fully established the borders of these nations, as well as those of Karnish.

Life was hard in Yeod, with constant raids from HuriGhol - the region now known as the Confederation of U'Thol - as well as humanoids. A devastating civil war saw the country split in two and after the newly seceded region declared its support for the illegitimate Lord Tharg for his claim to the Karnish throne, King Deymus led his forces out of Karnish and defeated the divided forces of Yeod, annexing the nation into the Karnish empire. Resistance against Karnish was at first strong and the Warriors of Yeod emerged as a powerful organization which fought against their occupiers. However, following the death of King Deymus I and the relaxation of the stern laws put in place during his reign, the people of Yeod found their lot in life much improved, being both freer and safer and slowly Karnish culture was embraced and their language spoken in all corners.

The land was briefly overrun by the forces of Hith, though Northport held fast and was sieged. Holding out against the evil tide that surrounded it, with precious supplies being sent from The Northern Territories (then known as The Kingdom of Tharg) to help allow the struggle to continue and alleviate the suffering, with the rest of Yeod consumed in the misery of Hith's occupation. There was little rule during this time, with orcs and goblins murdering anyone they could find and bringing chaos to the lands. The delay enforced by the siege of Northport meant that this defeat was soon avenged by Karnish, whose forces pushed the disjointed Hith armies back into the Great Barrier Mountains and Yeod emerged once again as a Karnish province.

With security and wealth, the region was content with its role within the empire, although the Warriors of Yeod remained a potent anti-Karnish force. The nation looked well placed to defend itself against the forces of Zykerathox after the fall of Ghent, especially when his forces became embroiled in Vidor with Hith. However, the Black Undeath ripped first through Ghent and then into Yeod, and with the Karnish army forced to retreat to Badathur for fear of losing large numbers of troops to the plague, and with what remained consumed with the dead who walked the streets of their cities, the forces of Zykerathox managed to pass into Yeod almost unopposed and much of the land fell under his control. Both Northport and Southport have retained their freedom, with Northport under constant siege. Only the constant supplies brought by ship from Karnish and The Northern Territories have allowed the city to survive. Southport, being on the Badathur border, has become a major military center from where Karnish launches attacks against the enemy and the land there is now covered with the rotting carcasses of the fallen.

The whole of these lands are now consumed in violence, death and plague. The Black Death, unchecked, has ravaged the people, humans, dwarves, elves and humanoids alike and dead walk freely. Powerful undead lords control large tracts of land where even the hordes of Zykerathox fear to tread and the bodies of the dead lay rotting where they fell. In the north, the war between Zykerathox and Hith is vicious and bloody and much of what was once Vidor is a chaotic land where even the enemies sometimes find it difficult to distinguish between friend and foe. Karnish stopped the decline of their empire at the borders of Badathur and although the Black Undeath can be found there, rigorously burning the bodies of the dead has helped to keep it in check and maintain the health and numbers of the soldiers. This battle on two fronts has seen Zykerathox forced to split his forces and he currently seems bogged down on both fronts. It is with this, and the Black Undeath, in mind that many wonder what his next move will be.

The Major Towns and Cities

Skrenos: (pop: unknown) Situated at the base of the Great Barrier Mountains, much of the city is actually built into the rock itself. A huge stone defensive wall was built to defend the city, then the capital of Eastdale called Hochden, where it had grown beyond the mountains, but now stands as a terrible irony, entirely bypassed by the forces of Zykerathox as they poured into the city through a corrupted portal. With Hith's forces having driven many dwarves out of their citadels, Hochden had become their new home and they delved deep into the mountains in search of precious stones. Indeed, so deep that a law was passed forbidding any more delving. Secretly, however, the dwarves continued until they came across an ancient portal that Zykerathox used to launch his attack against Hochden, Eastdale, and all of Arrasia. Skrenos is now a terrible place, filled with death and misery, where the dwarves and humans are either dead or enslaved and where the Black Death is rife and the dead walk. Justice has made this the new seat of the power of Zykerathox on Arrasia and it is from here that he carries out the will of his master.

The streets are tightly knit and rise into the mountains as three tiers, each of which gives access to the vast underground citadel dug out of the stone by the dwarves and which is now home to thousands of humanoids. It is exceptionally well defended and highly industrialized, with smoke constantly rising from the furnaces and the pounding of metal from the forges ringing out across the filthy, plague-ridden streets.

Ghendenbur: (pop: 20,000) Once the capital of Ghent, it was built into the very rock of the Great Barrier Mountains. An ancient city unlike any other, its rock streets and buildings follow the contours of the lower reaches of the mountains, with numerous large plateaus carved into the rock and tightly packed with all manner of buildings. The streets were once lined with orange, lemon and lime trees and was home to a large dwarven population, but the place is now bleak and the Black Undeath is rife, with foul undead a common feature of life here, despite the attempts of the authorities to keep the streets clean. Despite this, Ghendenbur has remained defiant against the forces of Zykerathox, its vast stone walls and large dwarven contingent holding out against the long siege. The population once stood at over thirty-five thousand, but has been almost halved and the authorities struggle to keep the streets clean of the bodies. Funeral pyres are a constant feature of life in Ghendenbur and the smoke and stench hang over the city.

Northport: (pop: 17,500) With stone towers and an extensive stone wall, plus a moat and defensive pickets, Northport is well defended against the marauding humanoids of Zykerathox, who have found it impossible to break through. A long siege, along with the constant threat of the Black Undeath, has brought much misery to the city, but with a stream of supplies come by ship from Karnish and The Northern Territories, the siege has been mostly ineffectual. The city is a dirty affair, with a mix of wooden and stone buildings and tight, muddy streets that form an intricate web of back streets and alleys, where the many criminal organizations that presently thrive can easily hide. Funeral pyres burn day and night in an effort to keep the Black Undeath under control and small units scour the city for signs of the walking dead.

Vidor: (pop: 12,000) what remains of the Karnish army in Vidor can be found in what was once the capital. With nowhere left to run to, the city of Vidor became the last hope for the people and it has continued to hold out, though for how much longer no one is sure. Plague, death and disease are all a part of everyday life and the streets are awash with funeral pyres that burn day and night, but are still not enough to stop the dead from walking the streets. The city itself rests against the slopes of The Great Barrier Mountains, with a large keep sitting on a low platform that overlooks the city and the surrounding countryside. Well-spaced out stone buildings are situated along the rocky slopes, while the city situated on the flat is well built up with narrow streets and tall buildings. Much of it has been smashed by the siege engines of Zykerathox that pound the city, but still the people continue their resistance, aware of the even worse fate that awaits them if, and when, they are defeated.

Southport: (pop: 10,000) Being so close to the Badathur border, Southport essentially still remains inside the borders of the Karnish empire. It is highly militarized and newly built bridges connect it directly to Badathur. Large numbers of Zykerathox's goblin armies are stationed outside Southport, who constantly bombard the bridges, which are either entirely rebuilt or patched up to keep the access to Southport open. Anti-plague measures are high, with any signs of illness dealt with immediately and the streets constantly patrolled for any signs. As such, the plague has been kept under control, though the city is not free of it. The once leafy suburbs are now home to the thousands of soldiers based here. The center is much more urban, with rutted roads and, primarily, wooden buildings.

Olthorn: (pop: unknown) Once the second largest city of Ghent, Olthorn held out against a long siege but eventually succumbed and fell into evil. The defensive walls that held out for so long were smashed and now the city burns and is home to the orcs, goblins and other foul creatures of Zykerathox's armies. Olthorn itself is the birthplace of Dedrik Ullathord, who would lead his army to victory over Amman and become the first king of Ghent, but that history has no significance to the new inhabitants of the city. Being so close to the border with Badathur, it has become one of the focal points of the war.

Gwyth: (pop: unknown) Once a significant mining town, the population were soon overrun by the orcs and goblins. It is now a terrible place, where enslaved humans, dwarves and elves are forced to mine for ore and precious metals. It is industry heavy and dense smog constantly hangs over the place and the air filled with the ringing of hammers as they forge weapons and armor for the war effort.

Barad: (pop: unknown) Once the heavily fortified town of Farraby, Barad has seen some of the fiercest fighting between Hith and Zykerathox. The town is smashed beyond recognition, having been taken and retaken by both sides on so many occasions that none can actually remember how many. The streets are thick with rotting bodies of orcs and goblins and humans and fire constantly burns. Everywhere the landscape is desolate and the walking dead are commonplace.

Organizations

Eternal Watchers
The Eternal Watchers emerged during the Hith occupation of Yeod, but even to this day little is known about their organization. They are believed to be spies and cohorts of Hith, who use their connections to report on the movements of both Karnish and Zykerathox's forces, and can be found within besieged cities and amongst Zykerathox's forces.

Stone Lords of Garamanx
These exceptional dwarves are master stone workers whose skill is such that many believe them to have a special affinity with the very rock itself. They were prevalent in Hochden, where they played a significant role in developing the underground aspects of the city and were largely responsible for its ultimate downfall. However, the dwarves have yet to be entirely routed and have continued their struggle against Zykerathox deep under The Great Barrier Mountains, using the deep shafts they built to their advantage to launch surprise attacks. Garamanx was an ancient dwarven citadel said to have been founded after the destruction of Lima, but was destroyed by Hith and his minions.

Warriors of Yeod
Established after the occupation by Karnish, the Warriors of Yeod used to be found all over Yeod. Once capable of mustering armies to fight the Karnish occupiers, the support dwindled and the movement was all but at an end until the coming of Zykerathox. With it, the Warriors of Yeod found new purpose and have formed a small resistance force consisting of the men and women of Yeod who were forced out of their homes into North or Southport. They usually fight in small bands, making quick raids against the enemy, using their knowledge of the land to great effect.

Important Personages

Justice: A powerful devil, Justice is regarded as Zykerathox's right hand and is the leader of his forces in Arrasia. It was Justice who duped Karnish into unwittingly fighting Zykerathox's enemies, allowing him to take the throne of Herophet, and there are rumors suggesting he is in fact the offspring of an Aslah, even perhaps Zykerathox himself. Justice has many faces, depending on his mood and who he is talking with and no one knows his real face. He has made Hochden, the old capital city of Eastdale, his home and has remained it Skrenos. It is now a filthy place filled with his minions.

Kamlak: Another of Zykerathox's powerful devil minions, Kamlak is in charge of the military operation against Karnish. There are many who believe that it was Kamlak who created the Black Undeath - though many others believe that only Zykerathox himself would be capable of creating such a vile plague. Whatever the truth, it was under his orders that the plague was unleashed and both Ghent and Yeod fell. However, with the war having stalled against Karnish, it is rumored that Zykerathox is not happy and that Kamlak must soon prove himself or face the consequences of his failure.




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