Here are several points of interests in Kingsport. Places of worship, shops, crafters, taverns, etc. They are arranged in no particular order.
Sacred Baths of Sedna
Fast Feathers Rookery
The Silver Cross
House of the Raven Queen
Here are several points of interests in Kingsport. Places of worship, shops, crafters, taverns, etc. They are arranged in no particular order.
Here are a list of the different wards, their descriptions and some points of interest.
Old town lies directly north of the palace on the slopes of Garamond Hill. It’s flanked to the south and west by the city and palace walls, to the north by the Street of Spices and to the east by Hill Street.
Due to its location next to the Western Gate and its proximity to the docks, old town is a popular ward for foreigners to take up residency. Beauclairois, Cyprian and Càrcerian merchants mingle with courtiers who chose the ward in order to remain close to the palace. The ward is also known for the well maintained courtyards and gardens.
The hill is a small and expensive ward where many noble houses keep a small manse for when they are called to court. The palace to the south, Hill Street to the west, the Street of Spices to the north and Palace Road to the east, the ward is known for its high number of crownsguard patrolling the streets.
Despite it’s proximity to the palace and expensive wards like The Hill, The Salt is a ward of labourers that mainly work on or around the docks. Bordered to the south and east by the docks, to the north by the Street of Spices and to the west by Palace Road, the ward gets its name from the strong smell of salt water from the docks, though some proudly proclaim that it’s because of the important work the people do there and that dock workers are “worth their weight in salt.”
The houses here usually have more than one family living in them, resulting in a very tight-knit community. There are several taverns and inns that cater to the many sailors that come through the port, and as a result the water front can get quite rowdy. The ward doesn’t nearly get the same attention from the crownsguard as The Hill, but “salties”, as the people from The Salt call themselves, have their own way of dispensing justice, especially to those who overstep their boundaries.
The Docks are flanked on three sides by water and on the remaining western side by The Salt. Some consider it the life blood of Kingsport as it is the most important commercial port in the Verdant Kingdoms. Most of the buildings here are used for storage, although there are several taverns and inns which get used by sailors and foreign merchants.
There is a weighing house, a fish market, a port authority office where the port master adjudicates conflicts between captains and merchants, levies taxes and assigns docking spots. There are also a large number of shop fronts that sell specialised maritime goods, like salt, pickled and dried food, rope, sail cloth, tar and the like. The shops are small, but what is sold is always in bulk. Gondoliers can often be seen making their way up river in flat boats, picking up goods from warehouses further up-river.
Dockhands, sailors, captains, merchants, fishermen, crownsguard and people looking to hire transportation, day or night, rain or shine, the docks are always busy. And then there are the ever present seagulls, squawking at each other as they fight over the refuse left behind by the fish market.
Just south of the river Lyn and north of the Street of Spices, to the east of the Western Gate, lay three distinctly different trade districts that are collectively known as the Southside ward.
The western most district within the ward is dedicated to selling food and you will find grocers, fishmongers, bakers and butchers here. There are a few residencies, but mostly they are inhabited by the people working in the shops and stalls. Most of the building that sit on the river are used for storage and processors of meat and fish; salters and smokers process the meat and fish and bring it up or down river for trade.
The central district in the Southside ward has been designated by the name of the narrow street that runs right down the middle of it, leading from the Street of Spices to the river; the Street of Steel. This district houses some of Kingsport’s finest metalworkers, blacksmiths, weapon smiths and armourers. There is a small square on the Street of Spices which is used to display the wares, since the district’s forges can run hot and are generally considered to be uncomfortable. The smoke that rises up from the district has lead to some disputes with the surrounding wards and districts.
The eastern most district, which also is the smallest district in the Southside ward, has the finest silk makers, dyers, tailors, weavers, spinners and clothes shops in Kingsport. Also the are several renowned cobblers, as well as rug and tapestry weavers in the city. Thread makers receive wool from the farms around Kingsport and silk gets imported from Càrceres for further production.
North of the docks, straight across the river, lies Steward Square, a small but essential part of Kingsport. This is where the city houses it’s administrative building, from where the Steward of Kingsport adjudicates all matters that have need of the Queen’s attention, as well as passes judgement on criminal matters which transgress the authority of local magistrates. Public executions are performed and as such, there is a significant underground goal called the Kingsport Carceratum.
Due to the large number of administrative buildings and the often wealthy people that do business there, the square has attracted a lot of pickpockets, beggars and vagabonds looking to steal, swindle and scam the less weary among the wealthy. The business became so lucrative that several gangs and thieves guilds started fighting over the territory. This attracted a lot of crownsguard attention, so the gangs and guilds have settled into an uneasy truce around the square.
The square also houses temples and shrines to almost every major religion, the biggest being the church of Paladine, the shrine of Chauntea and the temple of Pholtus. The latter also acts as a place for the old, the sick and the infirm to go for treatment.
The square was renamed to Steward Square in 1246. Before that, it was called Independence Square, to commemorate the end of the Beauclairois occupation. The reason given for the name change was to celebrate the great work the current and past stewards and stewardesses had done for the city, but it was widely understood to be a symbol of improving relations between Lyria and Beauclair. Many of Lyria’s patriotic citizens have yet to adopt the change, and will happily refer to the square as Independence Square.
North of the Lyn, south of Tiverton street, which leads from the Brown Gate to Steward Square, there are three districts which together make up the Northside Ward. Much like its southern cousin, the three districts are very distinct in their own atmosphere and inhabitants, but have been placed together in a ward for political purposes.
The eastern most district in Northside is Chiselton. A large saw mill has a prominent spot on the river, and around it there are several traps which allow for the collection of logs. The logs are processed in smaller portions, which are stored in one of the many courts that the district has. Woodworkers, woodcarvers, woodturners, wheelwrights, furniture craftsman, and carpenters are all found here. The woodworker’s guild has a very strong presence in this district.
The central district in Northside is called The Lace. Hemmed in between Chiselton, The Briddle, Tiverton street and the river, The Lace is known for it’s small, winding streets, brothels and taverns. The buildings on the river are all in use as warehouses, much to the dismay of the district’s residents, who would much rather have seen them turned into residences. Now many of the people working the taverns or brothels have to travel from other wards to come to work. Especially the women have become the target of harassment in other parts of the city as they come to and from work.
The Bridle is the western district of the Northside Ward and is known for its manège and bustling market where Silesian horses are bred and sold at auction. Other animals are sometimes bought and sold there as well, mostly livestock and sometimes more exotic animals, but this is unusual.
Politically, the ward is going through an interesting time; Madam Brécourt, the owner the Silver Cross tavern, is considering running for the alderman elections. Traditionally, the alderman has come from Chiselton, backed by the stakeholders behind the Bridle auction house. If Madam Brécourt can mobilise the Lace, she might stand a very real chance of winning the election.
Even though political and trade relations being very warm with Càrceres, Lyrians still have a natural suspicion towards their swarthy, southern neighbours. Culturally, they feel more kinship towards the Beauclairois, despite having as tumultuous a history with them as the Càrcerians. As such, Kingsport has designated La Costa Verde as the only ward they are allowed to settle in. Several exceptions have been made for diplomatic envoys and Càrcerian nobility, but anyone without the necessary clout who wants to settle gets settled in La Costa Verde. The houses here are quite expensive, and artificially kept that way in order to dissuade Càrcerians from settling down.
The ward is known for being just south of the Locked Gate, a gate that opens up onto Fore street, a wide street that leads to Tiverton street. It’s called the Locked Gate because it no longer connects to any of the major roads that leads out of the city, so “it might as well be locked.”
The ward is known for having several beautiful gardens. The settled Càrcerians tried to make the best of a bad situation when they settled and made use of the fertile soil to start cheering up their neighbourhood with flowers and plants. There are several rooftop and balcony gardens which are also a sight to behold. As a result, the ward is also sometimes called the Ward of Flowers.
Politically, the ward has very little influence. Càrcerians, or native Càrcerians are not allowed to vote for their alderman, and as such, the aldermanship is nearly dormant, going from one landlord to the next without much interest being paid to it.
Lewisham is the poorest and most populated ward in Kingsport. The houses are old, crooked and often not particularly safe to inhabit. That said, this centrally located ward is considered to be a must-see for any traveller to the capital due to its maze-like streets, friendly and welcoming populace and its music, which gets played on its streets as well as in its taverns. If Steward’s Square and the docks represent the heart of Kingsport, then Lewisham represents its soul.
Many Lyrians who decide to make a life for themselves in the capital end up settling here. They either do it for the cheap lodging or because of an overly romanticised idea of what it is to live in Kingsport. They are tolerated by the locals until they’ve lived there for a while and have started to adopt the distinct Lewisham accent that is popular among people trying hard to seem authentic.
Many of the gangs and thieves’ guild have a strong presence in Lewisham, mostly because of the unspoken code of conduct among its populace to settle matters internally and not call in the crownsguard to settle a dispute. Some of the well-known underworld hard men are celebrated figures in the district, none more so than the Guv’nor, a hard-nosed brawler who spends most of his time at the Hoxton, an inn which is considered neutral territory amongst the thieves’ guilds and a regular place where meetings are held.
The Guv’nor is a title rather than a nickname for a person and every Guv’nor is expected to keep the peace in Lewisham and facilitate the possibility for the thieves’ guilds to work out their differences. Every year a bare knuckle boxing tournament is held where the grand prize is the right to challenge the standing Guv’nor for his title and the deed to the Hoxton. The current Guv’nor is a much loved man by the name of Lenny, who used to be a grafter out of the eastern part of Kingsport. He’s held on to the title for over a decade, which makes him a legend in Kingsport.
Tiverton Street to the west, Steward’s Square and Elysian Street to the south, with the Serrated Street running right through the heart of it, the other boundaries of Lewisham can be hard to define and can shift regularly.
The northern ward of Correntine, hemmed in between the city walls to the north, La Costa Verda to the west, Lewisham to the south and the wide Corbray Street to the east, is an unusual ward. Where most of the buildings around the different wards in Kingsport have timber frames, Correntine is one of the two wards where the buildings are mostly made of thick stone masonry. They are tightly built together out of the same stone that the older parts of the city walls are made of.
Most of the streets are often empty and desolate, and few people know anyone that lives in the ward. There are no crownsguards patrolling the streets; instead, there are Lyrian knights who keep watch. Behind thick walls the Lyrian knights educate recruits and receive foreign dignitaries. On the southern end of the ward, overlooking the Serrated Street, is a large, oddly shaped tower that stands well over three times the height of most surrounding buildings. Nobody knows the purpose it serves, but it seems to have been inactive for so long that nobody really pays it much heed.
Occasionally, a contingent of Lyrian knights enter the city through the Corbray Gate. It draws a lot of attention, but the host quickly disappears behind the thick wooden gates in the Correntine ward while a small group breaks off to report to the palace.
The Sevenoaks ward is a mostly residential are with a few small shops. It’s situated between the city walls to the north, between Corbray Gate and North Gate, Corbray Street to the west, Northstreet to the east and Wickenham Street to the south. Most of the people that live in the ward are simple, hard working folks.
Wickenham Street is a well known place for chandlers, wax traders. The narrow street that runs up from Wickenham Street to the city walls has a lot of book binding and pamphlet printers. And in the norther-eastern part of Sevenoaks is the home of the College of Bards.
The College of Bards run by the legendary bard Le Papillon himself. Le Papillon, real name Adrien de Rouleau, is a Beauclairois musician, poet and playwright who impressed and moved Queen Isabella so deeply that he became the court minstrel for years, before opening up a school in Sevenoaks. The price of admission is steep, but the curriculum and the teachers are sanségal.
The ward of Ravensbourne, like Correntine, are mostly constructed of high quality masonry. The ward is likely to be the smallest ward in Kingsport in terms of population, and this is because made up of five large, multi-building, gated estates. House Courtenay, house Bromley and of course house Ravensbourne after which the ward is named, each have an estate here. The remaining two estates are occupied by the Circle of Mages and the embassy to the Daerlan empire.
All the way inside the north-eastern city wall, between the North and the Elysian Gate, Grimsdown is a large, well-populated ward, full of houses, shops and crafter’s quarters. It’s likely the most well rounded and least remarkable ward in Kingsport.
The only thing that stands out is that it has a rather large falconry set up in the shadow of the Bastion of Restraint. The falconers are allowed to take their birds of prey up onto the top of the Bastion and train them from there when they are ready to fly free.
The eastern ward of Bremerton is known to house the crownsguard barracks, armaments depot, and training grounds. As a result, it also houses a lot of the crownsguards’ families and it has a lot of supporting inhabitants, like cobblers, blacksmiths, armourers, and the like. The ward is a popular place for middle class people to settle, since it is considered one of the safest places to live and raise a family, due to the large number of crownsguard living in the area.
It runs along the eastern ramparts of the city wall, between the Elysian Gate and the Old Gate, both to the east. To the north, the entire ward is bordered by the Elysian Street, which allows the crownsguard to quickly deploy deep into the heart of Kingsport. To the south, the Street of King Augustine divides Bremerton from Eastminster. The ward of Blackheath borders Bremerton to the west.
For the longest time the ward of Blackheath’s status as a city park was sacrosanct under the rule of Queen Marianne of House Valois. When she passed away, a bronze statue of her likeness was revealed as part of the coronation ceremony of her son Augustine. The farewell given to her and the celebration of the newly crowned king was a lavish affair, all held in Blackheath. In order to accommodate such a grand celebration, many parts of Blackheath were “temporarily” turned into buildings. Once the celebrations had passed, many of those buildings became permanent, and the newly crowned king was petitioned by very wealthy and influential aristocrats for the right to build an estate in Blackheath. Unwilling to completely ignore his dearly departed mother’s wishes, he declared that part of Blackheath was open to for development, while a significant portion should be set aside for the royal botanical gardens. Plants and flowers from all over the kingdom were retrieved and displayed in an impressive fashion, while the rest of Blackheath was left to be developed by whoever was willing to pay the most for the privilege.
Until today, the botanical gardens are open to the public and are maintained from the palatial coffers. It is still considered a marvel to behold, but the elderly remember a time where the park was larger and unspoiled. It is said that Queen Isabella has inherited the spirit of a her grandmother, and there have been rumours that she might try and reclaim some of the buildings and estates to restore Blackheath to its former size.
The most eastern district of Kingsport is Eastminster, best known for its large monastery devoted to Paladine. Situated between the Old Gate and the Eastern Gate along the city walls, in the valley just north of Quayhill and south of Bremerton. The entrance to the large, fortified monastery is located along the Street of King Augustine and serves as a public shrine to Paladine’s many legendary champions. Pilgrims come from all over the Verdant Kingdoms to see the tomb of Saint Catherine of Dunagore, the first chaplain of the Order of the Shield, who gave her life to save Sir William Garamond, leader of the Knights of the Silver Crusade, before he was crowned King of Lyria, at the battle for Blue Harbour.
Quayhill, pronounced “key hill”, is the south-eastern most ward of Kingsport. Nestled between the ramparts of the city wall, touching both the Eastern Gate and the Salt Gate, the shores of the Lyrian gulf, as well as long the bank of the river Lyn, it is the site of several well known boat yards and dry docks along the river.
The square behind the Salt Gate is the highest point on Quayhill, and its decent to the river is rapid, leading to a terraced layout of the ward. The Salt road, starting at the Salt Gate, has 98 steps, divided in seven groups of 14 steps each.
The southern most tip of the ward is held by the Bastion of Illumination, which is the last bastion to make up the ramparts, standing nearly as high as Garamond Hill on the opposite side of Kingsport. It acts as a powerful lighthouse and houses several powerful Scorpion ballistae.
The two oldest of the Verdant Kingdoms are Càrceres and Lyria and it’s hard to say which of the two came first. Lyria became a kingdom when most of the other current kingdoms were still warring, bickering tribes and clans. It was born from the necessity of uniting the different regions against the threats pouring from the rifts caused by the conjunction of planes.
During the Time of Peace, the first humans settled themselves along the northern coast of what is now known as the Lyrian Gulf. They found the land to be fertile and verdant with a predominantly temperate climate. They quickly started to explore and spread in all directions.
They were quickly introduced to the elder races, who had been living in what would become Lyria for aeons. The dwarves of clan Thoradun and the Aen Canell elves were infatuated with the curious and precocious humans. They took them under their wing and introduced them to the lands, its inhabitants and its creatures.
Relations with the elder races were very warm and under their guidance, the humans started to settle all long the gulf and further inland. They worked the land, fished the streams and hunted in the woods. Eventually, they were self-reliant enough to start exploring the rest of what the lands had to offer.
When the Conjunction of Planes happened, the Age of Fear started. The elder races had retreated to their mountain and forest sanctuaries, leaving the humans to fend for themselves against overwhelming evil. While under siege from the evil that poured out of the rifts that opened up across the lands, the humans grew bitter and angry. Their innocence and precociousness made place for impulsiveness, selfishness and greed. Some of the elder races would later claim that it was merely the corruption that the demons brought, while others claimed that the corruption had been there all along, and that the demons had just lured it out of the humans.
Eventually, the human started to come to terms with the idea that if they wanted to survive the onslaught, they would have to fend themselves. No longer could they rely on the protection afforded by their association with the elder races. Groups and organisations started to form which actively sought to protect the vulnerable and put up a resistance against the monstrosities from beyond the rifts.
One such group called itself the Knights of the Silver Crusade. They found some success when they discovered the demons to be susceptible to the lyrium ore they had found around the rifts. It took a generation for them to learn how to work the rare metal so that it wouldn’t lose its special properties, but once they mastered it, their ability to strike back at the fiends multiplied. With every victory their notoriety grew and more men and women lined up to join their ranks. Their losses were great, but with every victory their ranks swelled, their understanding of the fiends grew, and they harvested more lyrium from around the rifts.
When humans finally started to harness the arcane arts and establish divine connections to an extent that they began to understand where the fiends were coming from and the nature of their home planes, they started to understand the war they were involved in.
The wisest and most talented of these human came together to exchange information, spells and research. Initially they supported the Silver Crusade and its knights with the knowledge they had gathered, but soon they were actively fighting alongside them, banishing demons and closing rifts. They also aided the knights with enchantments, spiritual guidance as well as their rods and staves. Closing and sealing rifts became essential. Not only did it restore peace to the surrounding area, it also allowed for the priests to purify the corruption that had crept forth from the rifts and into the lands and surroundings, and the subsequent mining of lyrium.
Eventually, these men and women became known as the Senhadrim and they were an essential part of the Silver Crusade.
At the height of the Age of Fear, when the battle against the rift fiends was at its peak and the Silver Crusade was at its strongest, the populace cried out for a leader. The tale of Sir William Garamond, first of his name, was known along all of the gulf. The direct descendant of the fabled Sir Marcus Garamond, the mythical founder and leader of the first generation of Knights of the Silver Crusade, Sir William stood at the helm of the Silver Crusade. He was well respected by all knights, had earned the respect of the Senhadrim, was the founder of the Order of the Gryphon and famously wrestled, broke, saddled and flew the first of the griffons the order became known for.
With the support of the knights, the Senhadrim and the rest of the Silver Crusade, Sir William Garamond was proclaimed king of the gulf. King of Lyria, named after the strange ore they had fashioned their tide-turning weapons from.
Eventually, after generations of struggling against the fiendish onslaught under the leadership of the Garamond dynasty, the frequency of the opening rifts plummeted. When the Senhadrim declared the conjunction of planes to be over, the Silver Crusade came to an end and the knights renamed themselves the Knights of Lyria.
The elder races started to reappear from their sanctuaries and found that the world they had turned their back on had changed. They humans they found were more adversarial than the ones they had left behind. The land had changed as well. It now bore the scars of the Age of Fear. The elder races had changed, too. They might have protected themselves by turning away, and perhaps they weren’t as defenceless as the humans were when the conjunction began, but they were by no means spared.
The time of high magic was over and slowly the potency of magic started waning. All but the most dedicated scholars and arcanists lost their grip on the most powerful magic. Even the Senhadrim. Like a muscle, it needed to be exercised lest it wither away. Artifacts were retired, grimoires were stored in great libraries and nobility hung their magical swords over the seats in their great halls.
Just like with the arcanists, people of faith found that they lost their grip on their connection with the divine as well. While fervent prayers were still being answered, the extent to which the priests had been able to perform miracles had been greatly diminished. Church attendance dropped off over generations and the clergy lost much of their influence.
Eventually, the Knights of Lyria became an institution, the Senhadrim lost their prominence and appeared to be dissolved, magic became rare and divine miracles even rarer. People spread across the lands and new kingdoms sprang up. The memory of the conjunction, the rifts and the demons began to fade. But before everyone had completely forgotten, all of the twelve kingdoms that had sprang up during the waning decided to commemorate the new age of peace by agreeing upon a common, shared calendar. They declared it year zero.
While there was peace, it was a relative peace. For generations Lyria only saw some border wars and some escalating internal conflicts. There were wars in the north, between Helmark and Daerlan, to the east, between Silesia and Mazuria, and to the west, between Cypria and Arroya, which got so bloody that Beauclair ended up stepping in to stabilise the conflict, taking large chunks of territory from each of the nations.
Lyria always remained relatively conflict free. It was seen by the other nations as the birthplace of human civilisation in the Verdant Kingdoms and a good ally to trade with. It was only when Càrceres started to become a powerful trading nation in its own right when things started to change.
Due to its sunnier and more arid climate, as well as due to some breakthroughs in irrigation techniques in the early part of the eight century, Càrceres was able to produce fresh fruits which quickly became delicacies across the kingdoms. While apples, pears and berries of all kinds could be found in many of the kingdoms, Càrceres quickly cornered the market on citrus fruits, which they quickly began exporting to Cypria, Arroya and Beauclair.
Cyprian merchants made deals with Càrcerian producers to become their primary trading partner. It was an unexpected decision that surprised Lyrian merchants. Cypria started trading fruits to the more northern kingdoms in exchange for furs, ore, gems and other goods. It was a mutually beneficial agreement that made both Cypria and Càrceres quite wealthy.
Lyrian merchants felt snubbed and started to try and find ways to outmanoeuvre Cyprian merchants. Their purchasing power was significantly larger than that of the Cyprians, and so the Cyprians quickly found their trade routes drying up. The only thing they could trade their citrus fruits for was coin, which would not have been bad, if the goods they wanted to trade their fruit for had not been bought up by Lyrian traders who started charging extra for goods to Cyprian merchants.
Eventually, Cyprian merchants, with the full weight of the Càrceres monarchy behind them, started to consolidate their power; their fruits were of great value in the northern kingdoms, where winters were long and the health benefits of the citrus fruits were undeniable. Lyrian merchants found that northern merchants would no longer sell their goods to Lyria due to the deals they had made with Cypria.
It did not take long for Lyria to start making threats toward Cypria and in particular towards the Càrceres court. The Lyrians knew full well that Càrceres was the real power behind the southern alliance. Cypria made payments to pirates and freebooters to harass Lyrian merchant vessels and eventually Lyria had to respond by sending out their fleet to secure the southern sea.
Càrceres had anticipated the Lyrian response to the pirate threat and had started to build an armada of war galleys in secret. Fortunately for Lyria, Arroyan spies had discovered the Càrceres production. Arroya, ever the bitter enemy of Cypria, decided to inform the Lyrian court about the Càrceres plan to use their armada to attack the Lyrian fleet.
The surprise that Càrceres had planned did not unfold as they had anticipated. On the second day of the first ride of Spring Storm, in the year 872, they fought a vicious naval battle along the Darkshore against an ever retreating Lyrian fleet. When the Càrcerian armada neared the Lyrian Tooth, they were set upon by fresh Lyrian ships, aided by the Order of the Gryphon, and the armada was destroyed.
After the remaining Lyrian ships blocked the Càrcerian harbours for two years, Càrceres was economically weakened enough for them to sue for peace. Càrceres agreed to break their exclusivity agreement with Cypria and also start dealing with Lyrian merchants. In no time Càrceres was back on their feet, but it took Cypria much longer to recover, and even longer to forget who caused them such hardship.
To this day the second day of the first ride of Spring Storm is remembered by Lyrians and Càrcerians alike. The Lyrians celebrate their victory and the Càrcerians their hubris.
In the month of Autumn Twilight, in the year 941, when King Phillip d’Aragon, third of his name, became gravely ill, he decreed that from that day onward, until the end of Lyria’s days, men and women would be equal in the eyes of the gods and under the law, in all matter of inheritance.
King Phillip loved his daughter, princess Síle d’Aragon, first of her name, very dearly and saw in her a better leader than in his younger son, prince Estienne d’Aragon, third of his name. Princess Síle had already married to the popular Beauclairois marquess, Tristan of house Valois, and had begotten her father a grandson, prince Tristan, of house Valois, second of his name.
The law instantly became highly disputed, but King Phillip lived long enough to see to it that it was implemented in all of the regions of Lyria. When he finally passed away and the princess took the throne as queen, and with her the Valois name.
There were a great many rumours that the Valois family had ensorcelled the dying king. Many of the nobility disobeyed the new laws of succession, especially in those areas furthest removed from the capital. There was talk of a great rebellion against the new ruler, but it never came. It turned out that the old King Phillip had chosen his successor wisely, for the Queen was an excellent diplomat and monarch and knew how to demand loyalty and keep her subjects happy.
Within two generations most people had gotten used to the Valois name, but there were a few places where cups were raised in honour of the d’Aragon name.
On the day of the Greengrass celebration in the year 1064, after months of diplomatic friction between the Lyrian and Beauclairois courts, the king of Beauclair, Palmerin le Septième, sent his younger brother, prince Guillaume de Launfal, marching down the Beauclair Boulevard to invade Lyria.
The host was forty thousand footmen, fifteen thousand lancers, eight thousand knight-errant and two hundred eagle riders. The prince sat astride a mighty Gorgon and his personal guard consisted of seven paladins and four wizards, all riding specially trained unicorns. At the same time, the Elder Foothills and Westershire were invaded by smaller hosts, less impressively outfitted, but still formidable.
The speed with which the host moved from Sanségal to the border was unprecedented, and before the Lyrian court could mobilise the nobility the host had invaded Ashenvale and were marching on Blue Harbour while keeping the Westershire men busy while simultaneously holding the Tiverton Glades at sword point.
From the moment prince Guillaume de Launfal crossed the border, it took less than two rides for Kingsport to be in control of the Beauclairois. King Phillip, of house Valois, second of his name, had fled the capital and had retreated to the east. Prince Guillaume was declared regent of Lyria in name of King Palmerin le Septième de Beauclair.
The reason for this act of aggression was “a long history of arrogance, rudeness, cowardice and a lack of honour.” Lyrians were considered direct, brash, arrogant and too concerned with mercantilism. If the Lyrians were surprised at the invasions, so reasoned the Beauclairois, then that was simply evidence of their complete lack of social graces.
Meanwhile, the exiled King Phillip was rallying support in order to drive the occupiers from Lyria. The Lyrian Knights had pledged their support from the moment the Beauclairois had invaded. They, too, had been surprised by the attack, but had thick walls to hide behind and were not routed from their fortresses easily. The king found sanctuary in Gryphon’s Roost and the Silverpines became the centre of the resistance.
On the first day of the third ride in the month of Winter Eve, 1068, on Midinváerne when scholars say that the Darkmoon was at its fullest the fortress of Gryphon’s Roost was shook by the violent intrusion of a group of five szygani assassins, out for King Phillip’s blood. A dozen crownsguard and a veteran court wizard paid with their lives to bring the five assassins down. While the king got away with only minor wounds, it appeared that the szygani had coated their blades with poison, and several priests of Pholtus were called in to bring the king back to health.
Although there was no evidence that the prince Guillaume de Launfal was behind the attack the resistance eagerly spread that rumour. This hypocrisy by the Beauclairois was exactly the thing that was needed to truly galvanise the Lyrian nobility into action. Feelings of patriotism were further deepened and hatred for the szygani rose to an all-time high.
Though the Beauclairois distanced themselves from what they proclaimed a cowardly attack, and there was no proof of the complicity, they couldn’t shake the implications that they were somehow involved in the assassination attempt.
Eventually the situation became too costly for the Beauclairois to continue their occupation and they called for King Phillip to enter negotiations, arbitrated by the Daerlanian court. In the end it was agreed that reparations would have to be made by Lyria to the Beauclairois court to “mend the damage Lyrian lack had respect had caused the people of Beauclair over time” and in return there would be a full and unequivocal retreat by the Beauclairois and they would return sovereignty to the rightful monarch of Lyria; King Phillip, of house Valois, second of his name.
In 1262, Queen Isabella, of house Valois, second of her name, sits the throne at the tender age of sixteen. She has sat the throne for the past four years, after surviving an attempt to usurp the throne by house Courtenay in what has since been called the Courtenay Rebellion.
Isabella’s father, King Augustine, of house Valois, first of his name, was assassinated by a group of foreigners and House Courtenay tried to take advantage of the political unrest to lay claim to the throne. Lord Charles Courtenay could never be proven to have sent the assassins for King Augustine, and while house Valois was vulnerable an attempt at retribution would have been unwise.
Lord Charles Courtenay’s claim to the throne dated back hundreds of years. The Valois dynasty started from the ashes of house d’Aragon, the previous dynastic rulers of Lyria. When king Phillip d’Aragon had decreed that the next in line to the throne would follow the eldest female line, the throne ended up Queen Isabella’s. Had the throne passed the eldest male line, it would have ended up Lord Charles’.
While chaos was spreading across the capitol of Kingsport, it was the Lyrian Knights who kept the young princess Isabella safe. She was crowned at the age of twelve. Her uncle-by-marriage, Lord Gabriel Valois-Antille is the current Steward of Kingsport and councils Queen Isabella on all matters.
There is a natural ebb and flow to magic. When the tide of magic is high, its potency goes up, dormant magic comes back alive, the amount of people who can channel it goes up, and the fabric between the planes grows thin. At low tide, magic is weak, certain magic goes dormant, only the most sensitive people are able to channel it, and the fabric between the planes becomes almost impenetrable.
For aeons Gaea has been experiencing a low magic tide, resulting in far fewer arcanists (e.g. mages, sorcerers and warlocks), far fewer demons and supernatural creatures, and an overall loss in the understanding of powerful spells, enchantments, dweomers and artifacts. Some magical artifacts went fully or partially dormant, the power infused within unable to be sustained by the levels of magic. Tomes, grimoires, heirlooms and artifacts that no longer functioned were stored away for future generations, to be revealed when Gaea saw a high magic tide once again. Over time, some of these vaults and caches were forgotten or lost.
People’s memory of powerful magic have faded and made place for superstition and fear. Hermits, mystics, druids, pellars, witches and crones are often shunned in polite society, mostly because they are considered frauds. They find their homes on the edge of small villages, secluded rural areas or deep in the woods. The local peasantry, superstitious and trying to make their way in life with few means, often turn to these people for help. They fear them, but at the same time revered them for the help they can offer. But their help doesn’t always work, and many a mystic has been burned alive in angry retribution to a failed ointment, powder or salve.
The szygani, travelling families from the contested isles in the south-east of the Verdant Kingdoms who follow the old gods and seemed to have a closer connection to the magics of the past, are mostly feared. With their strange ways, their unusual customs, their different tongue and appearance, they are known to curse anyone who crosses them. More often than not their curses come true, and so the fear for them grows, but also their reputation. Only the fearless and desperate approach them for their help.
So now, arcanists, already rare, have a far harder time achieving the same results as their predecessors. It means that accomplished arcanists are even more rare, since most do not have the ability, ambition, dedication or lifespan to reach those legendary heights.
But slowly the tide of magic is starting to turn, and Gaea is slowly changing. Soon, magic will be more common place, and with the coming of magic, so will come the creatures and demons. People who had started to believe that the legends were just stories to frighten each other with while sitting around the hearth fire will have to quickly come to terms with a world that’s rapidly becoming more dangerous.
The ebb and flow of magic also effects the people of faith (e.g. clerics, paladins, druids, rangers). The intuitive connection they share with their patron is weakened as significantly as an arcanist’s connection to magic. As a result, when the tide of magic is high, and people of faith are at the height of their abilities, churches and temples are full with believers. The reverse is true at low tide. People shy away from churches and choose to congregate at home, with family. Belief doesn’t wane with the waning of magic, just trust in the institutions and its representatives.
Three moons appear in the night’s sky, a bright silver one, a blood red one, and a barely visible blue moon. There are many stories and superstitions about the moons, most of them wildly inaccurate. One thing that few people are aware of that is actually true is that the phases of the moons affect the efficacy of magic.
The largest and clearest of the three moons is called the Silvermoon. It appears as a great, silver orb in the night’s sky which sheds a brilliant, crystal clear light when it is prominent in the heavens. The szygani refer to it as Lačhi, one of the old gods. It is the patron of all good-aligned spellcasters. The silvermoon’s cycle is the longest of the three moons, lasting for 36 days from full moon to full moon. Its high and low sanctions last for five days, while its waxing and waning phases last for 13 days.
The second largest moon is the Bloodmoon and it appears in the night’s sky as a startlingly deep red orb. The szygani call this moon Maškar and it is the matron of neutrally-aligned spellcasters. The bloodmoon cycle takes 28 days to complete, with a high and low sanction that last three days each, while its waxing and waning phases take 11 days to complete.
The smallest and faintest of the three moons is the Darkmoon. It gets its name from it’s midnight blue colour, which makes it hard to distinguish from the night’s sky. The szygani call this moon Nasul and they believe that it’s the matron of all evil-aligned spellcasters. The darkmoon is on the fastest cycle, lasting only eight days. It only remains in high and low sanction for a day, and it’s waxing and waning phases last for three days each.
Moon Phases, Alignment and the Night of Three Eyes
There are four phases each moon occurs in, as illustrated above; waxing, waning, high sanction and low sanction. Depending on the length of a moon’s cycle, the length of each phase varies. Each phase has several effects on a caster’s spell or prayer as described below.
|Moon Phase Effects Table|
|Moon Phase||Saving Throw||Additional Spell Slot**||Effective Caster Level|
|*Only available to spellcasters of 6th level or higher, with a primary ability score of 15 or higher.|
|**An extra spell slot for every level you can cast, up to a maximum of your primary ability score modifier. If your modifier is +2, then only level 1 and 2, e.g.|
When two moons are in alignment, meaning that two moons are both full, they strengthen each other’s effect. When all three moons are in alignment, they call it the Night of Three Eyes, and the three moons boost each other’s effect on magic even further.
|Moon Alignment Effects Table
|Moon Alignment||Saving Throw||Additional Spells||Effective Caster Level||Name|
|Silvermoon and Bloodmoon||+1||+1||+1||The Night of Honey Eyes|
|Bloodmoon with Darkmoon||+1||+1||+1||The Night of Violet Eyes|
|Silvermoon with Darkmoon||+1||0||Normal||The Night of Cerulean Eyes|
|All three moons||+2||+2||+1||The Night of Three Eyes|
Note that the moon bonuses from phase and alignment are cumulative.
Similar to the phases and alignment of the moons, the winter and summer solstice as well as the spring and autumn equinox has a profound effect on the power of both arcane and divine magic. Both the equinoxes affect neutrally-aligned spellcasters, while the summer solstice affects good-aligned spellcasters and the winter solstice affects evil-aligned spellcasters.
|Solstice and Equinox Effects Table|
|Saving Throw||Additional Spells||Effective Caster Level|
|Spring Equinox (20th day of Spring Dawn, 10th day, 2nd ride)||+1||+1||Normal|
|Summer Solstice (21st day of Summer Light, 1st day, 3rd ride)||+1||+1||+1|
|Autumn Equinox (20th day of Autumn Harvest, 10th day, 2nd ride)||+1||+1||Normal|
|Winter Solstice (21st day of Winter Eve, 1st day, 3rd ride)||+1||+1||+1|
Note that the solstice and equinox bonuses are cumulative with the moon phase and alignment bonuses.
There is a common trade language which is spoken across almost all of the Verdant Kingdoms. It’s a formal version of Lyrian, highly adapted and streamlined in order to be learned and picked up quickly, while still providing enough flexibility and nuance in order to make due in most situations. One can go anywhere in the Verdant Kingdoms and have a reasonable expectation to be understood while speaking common Lyrian.
Only small pockets of wildermen on the independent and contested south-eastern islands off the coast of Mazuria have refused to adopt the language. Also there are some hard-line Daerlanian expansionists who have refused to speak it, preferring to push for High Daerlan to become the dominant language across the kingdoms, and certainly across the empire.
The same calendar is used across the Verdant Kingdoms. There are twelve months, each of thirty days, divided up equally in three rides of ten days. After every two or three months, a special day of celebration would occur that would stand outside any rides or months.
|Midwinter (celebrate friendships, renew vows and alliances)|
|3||Spring Dawn (10th day, 2nd ride, spring equinox)|
|Greengrass (celebrate the coming of spring, gifting of flowers)|
|6||Summer Light (1st day, 3rd ride, summer solstice)|
|Midsummer (celebrate love and music)|
|9||Autumn Harvest (10th day, 2nd ride, autumn equinox)|
|Highharvestide (celebrate the harvest, abundance of food, last time to travel before winter)|
|Moonfest (celebrate the start of winter, honor ancestors, remembering the dead)|
|12||Winter Eve (1st day, 3rd ride, winter solstice)|
The year is 1262. It has been a little over fifty generations ago that all the twelve Verdant Kingdoms agreed upon and adopted year zero as the start of the verdant calendar. It was during a time of relative peace and stoic reconstruction after the last conjunction when the long waning set in.
Before the Great Waning, there was a different calendar which was adopted by the Silver Crusade. It marked the start of the crusade as year zero, had 36 days in a mōnaþ (month), following the cycle of the Silvermoon, four wikōn (weeks) per mōnaþ, and 9 days per wik (week). These were the months:
|1||Æftera Gēola (After Yule), The Tanning|
|2||Sol-mōnaþ, The Gathering|
|4||Æster-mōnaþ, The Grasses|
|5||Þrimilce-mōnaþ, The Flowering|
|6||Ærra Līþa (Before Midsummer), Summer|
|7||Æftera Līþa (After Midsummer), Pasture|
|8||Weod-mōnaþ, The Harvest|
|10||Winterfylleth, The Vintage|
|11||Blōt-mōnaþ, The Sacrificing|
|12||Ærra Gēola (Before Yule), Winter|