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The Codex


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The Codex

 

Lynaeus

Lynaeus is the name given to all of the known lands, surrounded by endless sea. The history of Lynaeus is the history of all living things. Nothing lies past the shore but ocean.

Well, actually, there are legends of lands beyond the sea. Centuries ago, supposedly, some brave mariners departed and returned, bearing proof of other lands far beyond. But that was long ago, and any such 'evidence' is lost. If it ever existed. Which it almost assuredly didn't.

There are other tales of mad mariners who tried to discover lands across the sea. They have never returned.

The dominant power in Lynaeus is the Midlands Pact, more commonly known as The Pact. These five nations are located in the center of the continent. They stand united against the Farlands, the many small, squabbling powers that occupy the outer peninsulas of Lynaeus.

 

The Pact

The Pact is an alliance of five nations, occupying the central lands of Lynaeus. Though these countries have wildly different cultures, governments and histories, one thing brought them together: mutual resolve to end centuries of raiding and devastation wreaked by the Farlands, the small powers that surround the Pact.

The lands of the Pact are rich and pleasant. They are also flat and difficult to defend. Barbarians, wretches, and titans from the small states at the edge of Lynaeus wreaked devastation for countless years. Then came the rise of Overlord Hanvar of Holklanda, the warrior and diplomat who united the five Pact states in their uneasy peace.

There are three distinct periods in the history of the Pact: the First Age, the Black Age, when the Pact was torn apart in Civil War, and the Third Age, when the Pact was reformed under the supervision and enforcement of the fortress of Avadon.

 

The First Age

The treaty that formed the Pact was signed by representatives of the five member states in Cycle 6000, three-hundred and twelve years before the current date. Overlord Hanvar of Holklanda, architect of the Pact, was present at the signing. He even had several years to appreciate the triumph before his assassination.

There were several years of predictable tumult after the signing. Each member state had its own little civil war, as proud citizens who refused to surrender any sovereignty to outsiders emerged and were crushed.

Of course, Hanvar was so associated with the creation of the alliance that assorted bounty hunters, assassins, and shadowwalkers were falling over themselves to be the one to kill him first. Eventually, of course, someone succeeded.

Once those who objected to this new order were safely dead, a new and unprecedented period of peace and prosperity came to the Pact's members. The Pact members no longer spent valuable resources fighting each other. Instead, they were free to defend themselves from the Farlands.

These states, in turn, were never united, and their raids and barbarian incursions were met by powerful defenders. Within decades, these scattered and demoralized states did little without the permission of the Pact.

Alas, the five Pact states remained proud. On the surface, they were united and strong. Underneath, national pride and ancient grudges conspired to break the alliance apart. Resentment turned to violence in Cycle 6203, and the Black Age began.

 

The Black Age

The Black Age, which began in Cycle 6203, was a long series of wars between Pact states. For over thirty years, while Hanvar's Council met and pretended things were well, the states they represented fought each other constantly and viciously.

The Black Age had many causes. Trade disputes. Old grudges. Patches of miserable land whose ownership had been disputed for centuries. The belief of all parties involved that their culture and beliefs were superior to those of everyone else.

The result was chaos. First, raids, waylaid caravans, punishing tariffs, and minor incursions of troops over the borders of others. But things escalated. The Black Age's official beginning was marked by Holklanda sending over a thousand warriors into Beraza Woods, land long claimed by neighboring Kellemderiel. Many soldiers on both sides died. This triggered a variety of treaties and informal agreements, some centuries old.

Soon, the western half of the Pact (Holklanda and the Wyldrylm) were in an informal war with the eastern half (The Kva and Kellemderiel). Dharam, on the east coast, tried not to pick sides. In turn, they found themselves unsupported when the raiders of Svorgald came calling.

And, of course, the Farlands wasted no time in taking advantage of the chaos. For the first time in over a century, raiding wretches and barbarians took a bloody toll on the lands of the Pact.

 

End of the Black Age

In the years before Cycle 6237, the members of the Pact realized the extent of their mistake. The Black Age, over three decades of civil war, had erased all gains of the First Age. The Farlands ran wild. Hanvar's Council still met regularly, but it had no power or influence. And then, as before, a lone hero rose to save them.

A woman named Telera, one of the representatives of Dharam in Hanvar's Council, left the council and became a neutral diplomat. A neutral, bloodthirsty diplomat, who worked to negotiate a peace and used her massive private fortune to hire a host of assassins. Those who opposed her work in the name of peace tended to die mysteriously.

Telera's work was actually fairly easy in some ways. All members of the Pact wanted a face-saving way to end their conflict. They were eager to stop fighting, but how would peace, once attained, be maintained?

Telera's stroke of genius was the creation of Avadon. A fortress and enforcer, independent and impartial, staffed with her own assassins, who would stand apart and crush all who acted against the stability of the Pact.

The Treaty of the Five Powers was signed in Cycle 6237. It ended the war and compelled the five states of the pact to provide money and resources to form Avadon. Now an independent force would watch them and reign them in, for their own good.

 

The Third Age

Once The Treaty of the Five Powers was signed in Cycle 6237, ending the Black Age and decades of civil war, the Pact powers returned to their favorite activity: crushing the Farlands. Within a few years, the barbarians and outsiders had been beaten back.

This was the beginning of the Third Age, a new time of peace and prosperity. This time, the Pact had Avadon to watch over it. Telera, the first master of Avadon, was impartial, cunning, and ruthless. None who would disrupt the Pact escaped her wrath.

But, of course, a war of the size and scale of the Black Age invariably left a variety of grudges, unpunished crimes, and blood debts. Many resented the Pact for denying them the lost lands or bloody revenge they felt was their due. But these aggrieved parties soon learned to stay quiet, or attract the attention of Avadon.

The current year is Cycle 6312. All who fought in the Black Age are safely dead, sometimes even of old age. The old days of prosperity and security have returned. It is hoped that many of the old grudges are forgotten.

The five powers of the Pact are unlikely allies, each disliking and fearing the others, each united by a common need to band together for strength. They are united by fear and necessity. It is hoped that this terror, combined with the power of Avadon, will keep the Pact together for many years to come.

 

The Farlands

The Farlands are the small states and regions on the outer peninsulas and islands of Lynaeus. They are the old foes of, and now dominated by, the Midlands Pact.

They are spread out around the edges of the known world and not generally allied in any way. The main thing they have in common is many merry years raiding, invading, and just generally harassing the nations of the Pact.

Some of these states are actual, recognizable political entities, like the loose aggregation of tribes that forms Svorgald, or the pitiful shreds of the Tawon Empire.

Other Farlands are true barbarian territories, like the Titan Peaks or the Wretch Lands: harsh, wild territory, occupied by monsters and savages, that are not worth the effort to tame them.

And then there is the Corruption, that is simply too bizarre for description.

One of the primary reasons for the Pact to exist at all is to provide a united front against the Farlands. And to control them as much as possible, using diplomacy and harsher methods. The Pact rules Lynaeus based on two principles: Open Arms Within and The Stone Wall Beyond.

 

Hanvar's Council

The five states of the Midlands Pact are fiercely independent. They have their own cultures, beliefs, and goals. And, to be frank, they don't generally like each other. The alliance is highly productive, but it does not come from love.

The Pact states mostly see to their own affairs. They have their own laws, taxes, and so on. The business of the Pact itself is run by Hanvar's Council. This body has sixteen members. Each nation of the Pact chooses and sends three, and these fifteen, in turn, select a leader, called the Imperator. The Council ,and in particular, the Imperator, speak for the Pact as a whole.

Hanvar's Council decides what the five states will contribute to the Pact in wealth and warriors. It commands the Legion and the Mariners, the army and navy of the Pact as a whole. It resolves the many, many disputes between the five member states. It decides how to deal with the Farlands and when one of them should be crushed (again).

And Hanvar's Council selects the Master of Avadon. Though, once the Master is chosen, the council is subject to Avadon's rulings. Of course, a wise Master will not anger the council overmuch.

Hanvar's Council has met continuously during the entire existence of the Pact. Of course, during the civil war of the Black Age, the council was powerless. Its words were ignored. Now the council is strong, and those who mock it or ignore its words risk attracting the attention of Avadon.

 

Holklanda

Holklanda, one of the five nations of the pact, is the _Land of the Folk._ Centuries of warfare left Holklanda with an understandably paranoid outlook. To them, there are _The Folk,_ good, loyal Holklandans who can be trusted and valued, and _The Outsiders,_ who are to be regarded with mistrust, at best. Outsiders are, of course, anyone who is not of the Folk.

Holklandan society is highly stratified. Every member of the Folk undergoes a rigorous period of testing, mental and physical. The results of this trial determine that citizen's unalterable life path. The talented child of a peasant farmer might become a lord, but he will stay a lord for life.

Families in Holklanda are tightly-knit clans, and ties of blood demand unquestionable support in any conflict. But, at the same time, members of the same army, wing of the bureaucracy, or other social unit are also supposed to stand together against outsiders.

These two obligations can frequently come into conflict. To manage divided loyalties, Holklandans have a dizzying web of customs, etiquette, and rules of warfare. The countless laws that govern Holklandan life, many unwritten, some even unspoken, are frequently impenetrable to Outsiders (and sometimes to the Folk as well).

Holklanda's membership in the Pact is not without difficulties. For example, in the Black Age, Holklanda took the Beraza Woods from Kellemderiel. It is now a disputed territory. Some Holklandans would rather destroy the Pact than lose this land.

 

Kellemderiel

The people of Kellemderiel have the most advanced, sophisticated culture in all of Lynaeus. And they take great pains to make sure that nobody ever forgets it.

Their food, their music, their literature, all have a complexity and quality unknown outside any state but, perhaps, Dharam. Kellemderiel's culture is a subtle melding of the customs of all of the peoples who have invaded it over the centuries.

Because of the breadth of its lands and difficulty defending them, Kellemderiel has rarely been able to hold off an invader. Instead, it takes the hordes in, seduces them with their way of life, and, in the end, assimilates them.

But this has long been a painful and trying process, with much death and devastation. And thus, the current rulers of Kellemderiel had no difficulty deciding to join the Pact when membership was offered.

In the centuries since, some things changed in Kellemderiel. Like their military, which has grown far stronger. And their ruling nobles, who have, in their new safety, engaged in baroque political struggles, court intrigues, and campaigns of quiet assassination. The culture, on the other hand, remains. A bit stagnant and codified, perhaps, but still the envy of the known world.

Few are as pleased with the security of the Midlands Pact as the people of Kellemderiel. Their constant attitude of superiority frequently causes anger, but rarely violence. Only their lasting argument with Holklanda over the ownership of the contested Beraza Woods threatens to erupt into violence.

 

Dharam

Dharam is the easternmost member of the Midlands Pact. It crawls up most of the eastern coast of Lynaeus. It is a sea power. Its merchant fleets can be found in all four seas, North, South, East, and West. Dharam, despite its awkward location, is a hub for goods (and ideas) of all the lands of Lynaeus.

Dharamites are a pleasant, tolerant, philosophical people, loving long conversations, leisurely meals, and an absence of warfare. They were the first to fully subscribe to the idea of forming the Midlands Pact, especially since it gave them, at last, protection from the constant flow of vicious raiders from Svorgald.

The people of Dharam have a very unusual way of selecting leaders, one that makes the other lands of Lynaeus see them as quite eccentric. All of Dharam is split up into Bands, groups of people between 500 and 1000 strong, divided up by village or neighborhood.

Every five years, the Bands gather for a Speaking, where they choose a Speaker. The Speaker is the one who has the support of the largest number of members of the Band. Then the Speakers gather in groups, and each of these groups chooses a single member to represent it. This process continues upwards until a Council, of about ten or fifteen honored Dharamites, is assembled to lead the nation for the rest of the five year period.

Thus, in a very real sense, even the poorest and lowliest has a voice in selecting the highest powers in Dharam. It is a very strange practice. Fortunately, it has shown few signs of infecting the other states of Lynaeus.

 

The Kva

The Kva is a member of the Midlands Pact, a nation of harsh people in a harsh landscape. Maintaining life on its wide expanses of scrubland and rocky plains was difficult enough even before dealing with constant raids from wretches and the barbarians of Svorgald, so the emperor of The Kva leaped at the chance to join Hanvar's Alliance.

Those outside The Kva often joke that this land has two kings: their emperor, and a bunch of rocks. This is pretty close to the truth. It is true that The Kva is primarily a hereditary monarchy. Each dynasty leads absolutely until it is deposed by some violent civil war or other.

But The Kva is also ruled by the Stone Code. This is a code of laws, first written a millennium ago and greatly expanded since. These laws provide the structure of life in The Kva. Even the emperor must obey them. A leader who ignores the Stone Code is seen as power-mad and faces destruction.

The core of the Stone Code can be found in the middle of every city and village in The Kva, carved into four pillars of rock, there for all to see. Actually, there is a lot of the code that is written on papyrus. The Stone Code grew too large to be practically carved onto stone about five centuries back. However, the core principles of the code are always visible, and that is what is important.

The Stone Code is a harsh set of laws. There are a lot of punishments, many gruesome, and few outlets for pardon. But it applies to all, rich or poor, mighty or humble, and it has given structure to life in The Kva for centuries.

 

The Wyldrylm

In terms of land, the Wyldrylm is the largest of the five states in the Midlands Pact. In population, it is, by a narrow margin, the smallest. Of course, that is only counting human population. If you count the drakes, war wolves, and other lethal pets of the Wyldrylm's tribes, the number goes way up.

Ignoring the tamed beasts of the western tribes is a lethal mistake.

The Wyldrylm is not so much a nation as a loose (very loose) confederation of barbarian tribes. They are not insulted by the word _barbarian_. In fact, they claim it with great pride. As the rest of Lynaeus moved into stone cities with thick walls, the tribesfolk of the Wyldrylm continued to roam their vast plains and woods.

Normally, in any conflict between cities and tribes, the cities win. But the shamans of the Wyldrylm, with their powerful chants and lethal reptilian servants, have done well maintaining their independence. Though the tribes love to fight each other (for land, for supplies, for artifacts), they will unite in an instant to deal with invaders.

The Wyldrylm's time in the Pact has not been without strife. The individual tribes fiercely claim absolute control over their lands. They tend to demand tolls from soldiers and merchants from the rest of the Pact who wish to cross, a violation of the terms of the Pact. This has led to bloodshed, and it will doubtless continue to.

 

Avadon

The mighty fortress of Avadon is both place and symbol. It represents the Pact and everything it is willing to do to survive. Everyone in Lynaeus fears Avadon, its warriors and assassins. The attention of Avadon can be lethal. There is nothing its agents will not do to maintain the stability of the Pact.

The Black Age, a brutal civil war that lasted over thirty years, showed that the five nations of the Pact had little in common beyond their desire for safety. They could hang together, allied and strong, but there had to be a force counteracting those who would pull it apart.

Thus, the Keep of Avadon. It has one Master, selected by Hanvar's Council, who rules for life. Though, considering how many enemies that master makes and how many assassins he or she attracts, that life can be shortened dramatically.

Avadon stands independent from the Council. It is its own law. The Council and individuals can petition it for aid, but it primarily watches on its own for threats to the stability of the Pact, inside and out.

A leader rises in the Farlands who might rise to true power? He disappears. A brigand in The Kva who is angering Holklanda by raiding over the border? She is stopped. Even members of Hanvar's Council itself can be removed, jailed, or even killed, if they attempt to do serious harm to the stability of the Pact.

Many fear and hate Avadon, not trusting it with the power it holds. Many grudges remain from the Black Age, but few are acted upon. A wise Master of Avadon knows that humility is absolutely necessary. After all, assassins are always waiting to be sent.

 

Open Arms Within

There are two principles the Pact relies upon to guide it in its laws and actions. The first of these is, _Open Arms Within._

This means that all members of the Pact are supposed to greet each other with open arms, acting, at least on the surface, like they are all brothers and sisters.

Of course, the reality is more complicated. Kellemderiel thinks that Holklanda is a hopelessly repressed land. Holklanda thinks that The Kva is a wild, savage place. The people of The Kva regard the folk of the Wyldrylm as mere barbarians. And so on.

But, in any public dealings, such matters are ignored. The members of the Pact are supposed to act like all other members, no matter how distasteful, are valued, worthy allies in the difficult quest for survival. And this is, of course, the case.

 

The Stone Wall Beyond

There are two principles the Pact relies upon to guide it in its laws and actions. The second of these is, _The Stone Wall Beyond._

This means that all members of the Pact, when dealing with outsiders, should be cold, emotionless, and unbreakable. Like a stone wall. When dealing with the barbarians and creatures that inhabit the Farlands, a true member of the Midlands Pact acts only for the good of the Pact, untouched by sentimentality.

When in the presence of a human from, say, the Tawon Empire, it is easy to be tempted by sentimentality. Pity. Undue emotional attachment.

The Stone Wall Beyond ever reminds the Pact that these outsiders are, at the heart of it, the enemy. They have raided the Pact before. They will again. Empathy has its place in many parts of life. But, when dealing with an outsider, be like stone.

 

The Keepers of Avadon

The leader of Avadon is its Keeper. Chosen by Hanvar's Council, he or she serves for life. How long that life actually is can be a matter of some unpredictability.

The first Keeper of Avadon was Telera, who ascended to its throne when the fortress itself was completed in Cycle 6240. She served for five tumultuous years, rooting out and destroying many who could not accept the treaty that ended the Black Age. Of course, in this process, she attracted many enemies. One of them finally got poison in her wine in 6245.

Avadon was leaderless for two years, while the Council debated whether it was still necessary. In the end, they answered in the affirmative. They selected Herom of the Kva to be Keeper. He rooted out the foes of the Pact for eight years before he started showing an undue interest in the members of Hanvar's Council itself. He disappeared in 6257 and no trace of him was never found.

The next four Keepers proved unable to master the power of Avadon. Confused and without allies, they fell to ambitious underlings, who tended to become Keeper and die not long after.

Disturbed by all of this chaos, in 6265, the council chose Redbeard to be Keeper. He seemed, at first, to be affable and easily controlled. As long as he did all the Council required, he would be protected. Redbeard turned out, however, to be far more cunning than expected. Almost fifty years later, he still holds his post.

 

Redbeard

Redbeard is the current Master of Avadon, a post he has held for an unthinkable term of almost fifty years.

He was originally selected by Hanvar's Council as a compromise candidate, weak and dependent on them, who would preside over the slow decline of Avadon. His servile exterior turned out to be a ruse. Once he was Keeper, he proved to be a master at trading favors and accumulating influence and power.

Instead of weakening Avadon, he made it stronger than ever. Redbeard was a true believer in its purpose: To be an impartial, lethal foe of anyone who would weaken the Pact.

As a result, Redbeard is responsible for countless deaths during the years of his term, all caused (or so he would claim) in the name of peace and stability. He has shown an uncanny ability to recognize the limits of his power, only arresting or destroying a powerful figure when he senses that it is safe to do so.

Despite his dread purpose, Redbeard is a jolly figure, eager to drink, joke, and sing. To some, this pleasant exterior only makes him more terrifying.

Nobody knows Redbeard's age, or what strange techniques he uses to extend his life. He doesn't seem to have aged in decades. All wonder who or what will fill the vacuum of power left when he dies. Others wonder if he can, in fact, die at all.

 

Eyes, Hands, and Hearts

The power of Avadon looms over all of Lynaeus. Its word is law. Its attention brings judgment. And, of course, such force needs control and organization to be properly deployed.

For that reason, the warriors and agents of Avadon are divided into four factions.

The Eyes are spies. They wander silently through the lands of Lynaeus, looking for signs of chaos. When the Eyes discover someone who would disrupt the peace of the Pact, they call the wrath of Avadon. The identity of the Master's spies is a guarded secret. Only Redbeard knows the names of the most effective Eyes.

The Hands are the largest faction. They are warriors, shadowwalkers, and mages. They are the ones who openly investigate signs of chaos and who inflict the judgment of Avadon. Unlike the Eyes, the identities of the most effective Hands are known far and wide.

The Hearts are the researchers and advisors. They are the sages who monitor the libraries of Avadon, answer the Master's questions, and provide advice. Only the Hearts can say their minds to Redbeard without fear. In fact, that is their most important purpose.

And, finally, there is the Master. Redbeard, the one who decides who is spared and who is destroyed.

 

Khemeria

Khemeria is one of the Farlands, occupying much of the northwest corner of Lynaeus. A land of fierce barbarian tribes, an outsider might at first consider it identical to the Wyldrylm, to the south. This would be a mistake.

Once, centuries past, Khemeria was the northern expanse of the Wyldrylm, to the extent that this huge swath of fiercely independent people could be considered one entity. Then the northern tribes looked east, saw the huge stone cities, and became envious.

The southern tribes stuck to the old ways, and the northern tribes began to build stone towers and halls. These tribes began to unite into larger alliances called Steads, each with a city at its corner. By the standards, of, say, Kellemderiel, these settlements are miserably provincial and humble. And, if you spent a few years searching, you might find someone in Khemeria who cares what Kellemderiel thinks.

Then Khemeria learned other tricks from the east. Like the building of Empires. The ways of constant war. The occasional utility of the massacre. The tribes of the west always had their skirmishes, but then the Steads of Khemeria banded together and brought a new way of war to the tribal lands. One that caused great suffering and loss in the Wyldrylm.

But now the Wyldrylm is part of the Pact. Khemeria pays yearly tribute to them. The traders of the Pact roam Khemeria freely, untroubled by tolls or bandits. And the Steads of Khemeria count up the insults and dream of a gruesome vengeance.

 

The Tawon Empire

There is little sadder than a crumbling empire, a shadow of its former self, unable to embrace new ways or engage in any effort beyond futile and desultory efforts to regain old glories.

Three centuries previous, the Tawon Empire controlled all of eastern Lynaeus. Even the wild raiders of Svorgald paid tribute, which is pretty amazing considering how crazy they are.

Holklanda was forced to yield to those not of the Folk. Kellemderiel finally found a culture it could not absorb and overwhelm. The people of Dharam continued to gather for the Speaking, but their words were meaningless.

But with age and wealth came complacency. The Tawon Empire grew fat, bloated, and consumed with the viciousness of its own internal politics. And then, one by one, their client states began to rebel and throw off its control.

By the time the Tawon Empire realized what their lassitude had cost them, it was too late. The Midlands Pact was formed. The Tawon were forced to pay tribute to the Pact. Hanvar's Council provided edicts to the Empire, and failure to obey them meant bloody retribution.

Now the Tawon Empire is an empire in name only. A collection of crumbling cities, full of old art and reminders of past glory. But, after centuries of trial, the Empire is growing hungry again. Some of its people have sharp eyes and big dreams. But first, they must shake off the hand that holds them down. They must rid themselves of the Pact.

 

Svorgald

Svorgald is one of the Farlands, a rocky and cold island off the southeast corner of Lynaeus. The known lands have seen many proud warrior cultures throughout written history. But few have been as fervent and single-minded as that bred by the remote crags of Svorgald.

The people of Svorgald are pirates and raiders. Only the ships of Dharam can sail farther or faster. And when the sails of Svorgald are visible on the horizon, only suffering can follow them. Their custom, for over a thousand years, has been that a youngling of Svorgald cannot truly be a man until the blood of an outsider is on his blade.

Thus, it is unfortunate for them that the Midlands Pact has brought their raiding days to an end. Their attacks invited retribution from the warriors of Dharam and The Kva harsh enough to give pause to the Vik. Now the only thing the mainland receives from Svorgald is tribute. Fine ships, mainly.

No raids meant no victories. And no victories meant no slain enemies and no full men. And thus the culture of Svorgald suffered a dreadful shock, which it has not dealt with well. Their violent natures turned within. Young warriors attained their manhood using the blood of their own people. This state of affairs, of course, suited the Pact very well.

But all of the Vik are told, almost from birth, the tales of the old days. And they all dream, even in the midst of their self-made nightmare, of the day that they can raid the soft peoples of the Pact once again.

 

The Corruption

The Corruption is one of the Farlands, the outer regions that the Pact was formed to hold at bay. Of the Farlands, however, the Corruption is the one that is least like a nation or territory. It is better described as a mad swirl of uncontrolled magic, hideous monsters, and burned, dead land.

Actually, the Corruption serves best as a cautionary tale of what happens when magic is not properly controlled. Nobody knows what the wizards up in those mountains were trying to do roughly five centuries ago. All that we know is the result: A wave of raw, devastating chaos that engulfed all of the peninsula before it faded.

There were cities and settlements out there once. Some tribes from the Wyldrylm and the Kva were expanding into those barren hills. When the disaster occurred, however, only those who fled immediately made it to the border alive. The survivors were taken by spectral nightmares and the walking dead.

Since then, the dread magic that holds the Corruption has showed no signs of fading. Nothing grows, and only those unpleasant entities who don't actually need food to survive dwell there. And reproduce there. And send the occasional horde of zombies or whatnot north to cause trouble.

Fortunately, fending off the random incursions from the Corruption is not difficult. And, since the dark power there stays within its border, few efforts have been taken to reclaim the area.

But nobody knows the source of the Corruption. Or what infernal master might secretly rule it. And thus, that dark place remains a constant threat.

 

The Titan Peaks

Titans are, in many ways, similar to humans, but very stocky, powerfully muscled, and much taller. Some specimens are as much as twelve feet tall. Perhaps titans are a race of humans who grew much taller and stronger. Or maybe the opposite is true.

All that is known is that the Titan Peaks is the last land controlled by these proud, powerful creatures. These mountains are one of the Farlands, a rocky peninsula on the southern coast of Lynaeus. The titans are penned in there by the Pact. Ending the raids of these powerful warriors was one of the main reasons The Kva joined the alliance.

Titans are very strong and fearsome in battle. They wield war clubs and huge iron swords, and they fling rocks at their foes with deadly speed and accuracy. They are not long-lived creatures. Their bulk weighs them down and wears them out at an early age. And they are not stupid. Some see their tribal lifestyle and fur garments and think that they are simple creatures. A dangerous mistake.

The titans of the peaks belong to tribes, lead by elders and shamans. In a way, it is not that different from the Wyldrylm. But most titans are warriors, ever ready to fend off potential assaults by humans greedy for land. The peaks themselves are jagged and painfully difficult terrain for invaders.

In a fair fight, one titan is a match for ten human warriors. But the Pact is organized, and there are many humans. Thus, the titans stay in their mountains, staring jealously at the fertile plains to the north. And they hope for the day when the Pact will be gone and they can emerge.

 

Wretch Lands

There are two sorts of humanoids residing in the remote areas of Lynaeus. There are the titans: tall, strong, proud, and cunning. And the wretches, who are in all ways the opposite.

Wretches are small humanoids, five foot tall at the most, and all of it wiry muscle. They are usually simple, dirty creatures, content to breed (rapidly), eat, and spread into any unoccupied space they can reach. And, when anyone tries to dislodge them, they can grow very violent.

Of course, wretches are not evil. When you think about it, they are not that different from humans, except for stature and frequency of bathing. The Pact has never tried to eradicate them, only drive them out of its territory.

Thus, the Wretch Lands exist. A rocky, unpleasant southern peninsula which has been set aside as the refuge for these creatures. There they form tribes, grow scraggly crops, and form a much wilder version of the Wyldrylm. They have a mind-boggling array of alliances and grudges, and they spend much of their time avoiding hungry dragons and wandering titans.

But no force in the world can keep the wretches in the Wretch Lands. Small tribes of them are always slipping out, looking for fertile lands or spacious sewers to settle into.

Wretches are too small and disorganized to ever pose a threat to the Pact. Or, at least, that is what is generally believed. But, should the Midlands Pact ever weaken, a flood of small, savage immigrants will be soon to follow.

 

Dragons

Nobody knows how many dragons there are. At least fifty. Maybe hundreds. They live mostly on the southern peninsulas: The Wretch Lands, the Titan Peaks, and even (for the most solitary specimens) The Corruption.

Dragons are the oldest, largest, most powerful of the intelligent races of Lynaeus. All of the rumors of legend are true. They live for centuries. They are passionate about collecting large quantities of wealth (as if humans aren't). They have powerful, natural magical abilities. They are deadly if angered.

But they can also be patient. They have knowledge that stretches back centuries. And they are not suicidal. Thus, when the Midlands Pact formed, the dragons did not fight it. They made themselves useful.

Since the Pact formed, many dragons have worked for it, finding an easy route to a far richer hoard. They work as mercenaries, sages, and magical consultants. Not to mention a bustling business in shed scales. This arrangement works very well. The dragons grow old and rich, and the Pact neutralizes a potentially deadly foe.

But all dragons are proud. Some so much so that such accommodations are seen as a betrayal of their kind. These dragons keep such views quiet. They know that they are not outside the reach of Avadon.

However, dragons have long memories. They remember all the slights, and they know what dragons have sold their birthright to the humans. And, should the Pact ever weaken, there will be a bloody reckoning.

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I completed the main storyline and I just realized I am missing only one codex, the Black Age

Do you remember where you got it ?

It's one of the four in the Library on the main floor of Avadon.

 

Welcome to Spiderweb Software. Please leave your sanity at the door. Redbeard uses it to keep young. :)

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Im sorry to necro this thread but i cant seem to find the Eyes, Hands, and Hearts codex anywhere, its the only one from the list i havent located. ive run all over the avadon fortress and havent been able to spot it 

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