The Spring of Ardoc
Ardoc -Ardoc – Around the hearth in dim lit inn’s and from the pulpit of the Temples the tale is told;
“The dark god Tekenal’s powers had grown as the secrets of mortals and gods alike grew in the Age of Lies. His strength became so that even the brothers Honrar and Danar called truce to bring the Whispered One to heel with the aid of the other gods. The night sky was torn asunder and the moon Pashtor was cleaved in twain leaving only the silver moon, Calath intact. Dark clouds filled the skies with no rain or sun for a multitude of years. The known lands were frozen or made barren giving rise to the Fallow Lands. Thanks to the gods; Ardoc alone was spared the worst of the ‘Long Winter’ as the light of civilization was frozen in darkness everywhere else. Ten score and eighteen years passed. The clouds parted and the ice lost its grip on the land. The splintered remains of the moon Pashtor were revealed to lands. The larger piece named Kalean, the watcher set to ensure the power of secrets and shadows never grows to such heights again. The smaller known as Teken and is all that is left to the Burned God, always under the steady gaze of Kalean.”Many laws were enacted by the lords of Ardoc in the time of the Long Winter to keep the use of magic in check. Many still blame the secretive ways of all who use magic, rightfully so in some cases, for the onset of the cold. The followers of Saulen were particularly ruthless in their persecution and occasional execution of those who practiced. The rise of Kalean has helped to temper this showing that magic is not all secrets and darkness. It has been several hundred years since the Long Winter began to abate and the fervor has lessened but even so a great fear of those who practice the arts still lurks beneath the civilized veneer of Ardoc.
Healing, light and protective magic is allowed in all communities. Illusions are allowed for entertainment purposes if the performer applies for and receives a writ from city officials. Any other magic can lead to fines, imprisonment, corporal punishment or death. Priests of Saulen are the most outspoken and in Firefish, practitioners have been known to disappear into the temple of Saulen to be “healed”. Sandstun has no punishments but does restrict practitioners from holding any ruling position in the city.While Tekenal’s hold on the old city states and petty kingdoms of Silestic was broken by the combined might of the other gods and the ascendance of Kalean during the Season of Shattering, he was not destroyed. In the shadows that engulfed the world, Tekenal and his followers found new places to hoard their secrets and plan for revenge. The Covenant was formed as a means to watch and influence Ardoc and some of the other remaining city states. The pale brood, the Shriven Elves of Iss Taalomar, prospered in the time of the Long Winter and look to restore the cold to the lands. While the other gods turned their attention back to their own petty quarrels and power grabs, the threat grows with only the young goddess Kalean remaining vigilant and the dark God Nessolar looking forward to the feast. Ardoc may be the most civilized remaining outpost of the common races but it is not alone. Several smaller pockets remain to be discovered as knowledge and exploration continue within the continent of Tull while whole other lands lurk beyond the Mordervahl and Oveon Seas. All face similar challenges as the ice recedes and the lands recover. Underlying it all is a threat greater than all others. The moon Pashtor harbored more than the secrets of Tekenal. It was the prison and tomb of Attiphae, a forgotten God predating the ages of men and elves alike. Goddess of balance with the power to create with one hand and destroy with the other, the gods of her time imprisoned her to prevent the final path of destruction from being followed. The eternity spent trapped has left her mind fractured with her purpose to destroy the only memory left. As the ice has relented, she has begun to exert influence where possible. While originally neutral, her long trapped darkness in her own madness has left her with only chaotic evil intentions. Small shrines may be found in out of the way places while less intelligent creatures of a NE or CE bend might find themselves influenced to her bidding.
Kher-Karrell –As the rage of the God’s was unleashed, the moons themselves shook. With a final blow, the dark moon Pashtor was shattered bringing darkness and endless ice. The many peoples of the island continent of Inderok were forced out of their homes and villages seeking respite. As the ice from the north grew to cover the lands, the dwarven kingdom of Kher-Karrell, opened its gates one last time to allow in those who would willingly come. In the many long years the ice held sway, the dwarves were able to scatter the goblin tribes and force the Orc clans to the truce table under the mountains. The resulting peace has forged a new time of peace where humans, orcs, halflings, gnomes and dwarves have integrated to an unprecedented degree. While dwarves rule the kingdom, they are not the most common species. The human and orcs have intermingled for enough generations that it rare to find a whole blood left of either species. As the ice has retreated, the doors under the mountain have been reopened to the outside lands. A small town has been founded lakeside well within the shadow of the Kher-Karell gates. Many intrepid groups have begun to fan out across the lands to see what remains of the towns and cities that stood before the ice. Unlike in Ardoc, magic is not a forbidden art. It’s manifestations tend to be more utilitarian and is considered a useful tool. The full pantheon of the gods is represented with a lean towards those whose realms touch earth, metal and energy. Many of the crops grown to survive the cold were grown with the aid of magical light sources. While not much variety, the crops were plentiful. The greatest good that has come from the warming and opening of the gates is a growth in agricultural resource and a renewed interest in wood crafts.