Gweria

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Ben
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Gweria

Postby Ben » Thu Jun 04, 2009 5:11 am

Gweria

In the 5th year, Serke Kemi was formed and Larweyella, goddess of War born. Lenamo took physical form to fight against Velnashar’s creation and lover. This all took place many hundreds of miles away from Gweria but would have far-reaching consequences.

The Origins of the Tribes of Gweria

Humanity was born across the lands that would become known as Sinya Palurin and Gweria and after Eremine departed her creation, sinking into the jewel in the centre of the world, many humans (along with members of each of the other races) felt the call to journey to The Heartlands. However, many humans did not feel, or simply ignored, the call and remained where they were.

While thousands of humans made their way to the future site of Dvarni where they would form such tribes as the Everni, Larkant, Telerfet and Jehovern, in Gweria the humans began to form tribes of their own. Two such tribes were the mountain men of the Gruithiel and the Osgar of the northern plains. Between them, these two groups rapidly expanded their numbers and territory to become the dominant powers in Gweria. Most of the other tribes were either conquered and forced to join one of the great tribes or be destroyed. However, a few escaped the purge, instead being pushed back into Sinya Palurin or Arnad Guarhoth. It is important to note that the Osgar and Gruithiel were not evil, guilty of nothing more than an ambitious desire to gain power in this new world, however all that would change.

The Rise of Quarin

While Lenamo was involved in his decade-long battle with Larweyella, Velnashar used the distraction to sow the seeds of chaos in his church. During this time many members of Lenamo’s clergy turned away from the worship of life and began worshipping death and when they were discovered many fled east from Lenamo’s Sanctuary into Gweria. Since the creation of the world, Gweria had been a land dominated by death and Lenamo’s Lost as they became known were welcomed by Osgar and Gruithiel alike.

With death being such a prominent force in their lives, “survival above all else” became the mantra of the people of Gweria and they soon developed a rudimentary belief system taught by the wise men of the tribe known as shamans. These holy-men and women were responsible for ushering the dead into the next life and were well aware of the Hope Wastes and the horrors that awaited them there. By preaching about the horrors that awaited them to the warriors of the tribes, it inspired fear into them to fight for their very existences rather than merely their lives for in their minds, oblivion was preferable to such a fate.

With this belief already instilled in the people of Gweria, it didn’t take much for the new arrivals to indoctrinate the tribes into the newly formed church of Quarin, creation of Larweyella and Velnashar. It was this common religion that caused the Osgar and Gruithiel to join together to become one all-powerful tribe in Gweria, a tribe which would later crush the Larkant and drive them back into Sinya Palurin.

Along with this new religion came a desire to hold on to existence for as long as possible and the belief that becoming undead upon death was a blessing, saviour from the horrors of the Hope Wastes. In this way necromancy and its inherent costs became a fully accepted part of Gwerian culture with the mindless undead respected as tools of the living and the sentient undead venerated as the truly blessed.

Gweria Today

Over the years, with the aid of legions of their dead, the people of Gweria slowly built a nation from the ashes of war, feeding their living with the toil of their dead. For this reason, today’s Gweria is just as dark and brooding as ever.

Huge necropolis cities have arisen across the country, each ruled by a powerful undead Lord known as a Lich (a degradation of the word Liege). Beneath him are a number of Celebrants of Quarin, known as Hopeslayers for it is their duty to end the false hope some eternal paradise clung to by so many of the living. Beneath the Hopeslayers, the population of Gweria are born, live short lives, have many children and die without making any lasting impression on the world (in a very similar way to peasants everywhere). Blind to the politics and struggles for power, they are seen by the Hopeslayers as not as resilient or reliable as the undead they will one day become and so they are, for the most part, left alone to live as comfortable lives as possible in the certain knowledge that one day they will die and enter properly into the servitude of the Hopeslayers for each necropolis is maintained by armies of the walking dead and with disease rife in throughout Gweria, it is a rare year that any of the great cities are short of bodies and souls for their armies. The living accept this in return for the knowledge that they will eventually be released into blissful oblivion rather than have to face the horrors of the Hope Wastes.

The Armies of Gweria

In theory, the most powerful lich rules the most powerful city and commands the respect and loyalty of all lesser cities (and their liches). However, in practice, Gwerian culture and politics is a constantly shifting field of feud and rivalry.

The majority of these feuds are carried out by the armies of Gweria, armies comprised almost exclusively of the dead with some Hopeslayers serving as ‘medics’ or commanders depending on their power. However, most of the military leaders of Gweria are sentient undead, tightly controlled by the liches because the living are seen as far too unreliable to be used for anything important. For the mindless undead, destruction is seen as the release they were created to attain and so war between the cities of Gweria is almost a game with the forces of undead being treated with as much respect as chess pieces. For the past century at least three low-key wars between various cities have been ongoing at any one time, a fact that has spared the people of Sinya Palurin a great deal of suffering for while they fight between themselves, the liches do not turn their attention outwards.

It is said that the nations of Gweria hold a deep-seated hatred towards Sinya Palurin and the Heartlands and that this hatred is born of envy. When not fighting against each other, the liches seek to expand their lands, to gain control of the lush forests and plains that the weak mortals of the western lands have never had to fight, suffer or struggle for. If they realise that their efforts to expand their territory only seem to extend the death-lands they seem to desire to escape, they do not show it.

The Hopeslayers

The Hopeslayers are seen as an integral part of existence to the living of Gweria, ever present, ever ready to shepherd the souls of the dead. Though they are neither loved nor hated, they are sometimes treated with fear and mistrust for the power and influence they wield. The lesser Hopeslayers maintain the guise that what they are doing is for the best of the living, preaching that by turning them into undead they avoid the Hope Wastes. Though this belief may be clung to even by those in high office, the majority have long seen this mask for what it is, a way of controlling the population in life and using them as slaves in death. Those of any power are now motivated by acquiring more, becoming masters of great Machiavellian schemes, using the forces of undead to further their aims and pitting their enemies against one another to further their own ends.

Hoopa

The only part of Gweria that remains free from the rule of the lich lords and their hopeslayers can be found far to the far northeast of the country. Hoopa (literally “Isle of Hope”) is in fact a peninsula some forty miles long by twenty miles wide, surrounded on all sides by sea but connected to the rest of Gweria by a narrow causeway. This ‘island’ was first settled by a tribe of humans who were pushed back by the spread of the Osgar until they made were able to rally and make their stand due to the island’s highly defensible position.

To guard the entrance into Hoopa and protect the inhabitants from attack, a fort was founded on the island side of the causeway. Over the years this fort grew into the fortress town of Varya, named after a mighty warrior who protected the island of Hoopa from the invading undead forces during the 6th decade.

Varya was one of the first people created at the beginning of time and though he was human, many thought he was something else as he stood over 7 feet tall. He did not make the journey to the Heartlands following Eremine’s departure, instead choosing to travel around Gweria. Due to his size and strength, many people joined him on his travels until he had formed a small tribe of his own. Over the next few years they travelled the length and breadth of Gweria before a chance meeting with the High Priestess of Eremine in the 8th year granted him the title of “The Warden” and filled him with the power of life magic. It was shortly after this that Varya felt the call east where he and his tribe came across a much larger group of Gwerians who told them how they had been repeatedly assaulted by a tribe called the Osgar. Varya had come across the Osgar in his travels and knew they were powerful but that he did not have the men to deal with them. Instead he helped the tribe find a new home on an island he had visited some years previously. They named the island Hoopa and Varya and his men settled there to make sure their new allies were not attacked, building a fort where the causeway reached the island.

Over the next few years, several attacks came but Varya and his men were hardly challenged. It was not until a decade later that Varya’s would even be challenged. In the closing days of the 21st year, buoyed on by their defeat of the Larkant, the combined forces of the Osgar and Gruithiel bolstered by undead Gwerian and Larkant warriors attacked Hoopa. Though Varya held them off, the attackers’ superior numbers turned the attack into a siege. Over the next few years the living in the army were replaced with undead for they didn’t need to eat or sleep and so were perfect for this time of warfare. Then nearly fifteen years after it had begun, the siege ended just as when one night, the undead simply turned away from Hoopa and marched west. Confused, Varya took a few of his best men and rode out, following the army nearly two hundred miles to Gweria’s border with Sinya Palurin.

There they found a force of elite warriors had taken back their original home, Fort Tira. Though the majority of these warriors were Larkant, there were a number of other races including Orcs and Avians, races Varya had never encountered before. They called themselves ‘knights’ and they were led by a man named Mektar and his second in command Yinze. Varya and his men joined them in the fight to hold the fort against the waves of undead that assaulted it and over the next few years they joined the knights of Mektar in taking back Fort Broniant and Duliel.

Mektar and Varya became firm friends as well as comrades in arms and over the next two decades they fought alongside each other, pushing back the forces of undead. During this time the blessing of life magic bestowed on Varya made itself apparent for as those around him grew steadily older, he remained young and virile. It was in the 49th year that Mektar fell in battle against overwhelming odds and the tide of battle was turned against the knights. Over the next few years they were pushed back further and further all the way to the three original Larkant forts.

Their numbers bolstered once more, the undead were able to fight on two fronts and sent some of their number back towards Hoopa to complete the task they had started years previous. Varya left Yinze and the majority of the knights to guard the border between Sinya Palurin and Gweria while he returned to Hoopa where he spent the next thirty years helping defend the island against the forces of undeath.

To thank him for his assistance and aid him in their defence, the mage who led the Hoopans (as they had become known) granted him a bracelet, a string of red beads that would assist him. So large a man was Varya that on any other man this bracelet would have been a necklace. No one knows what magic this bracelet held but perhaps its power finally failed for in the year 81, fighting single handed against a particularly aggressive attack, Varya fell in battle. His body was believed plundered by the attackers for it was never seen again.

That was over 75 years ago and today Hoopa exists in a permanent state of readiness. The causeway is constantly guarded and attacks are frequently repelled. The Hoopan people are ruled by Varya's son, General Xanus, who maintains the hope in defence of his land. Some peace exists behind the front line but all are raised willing to do their time in Varya in order to keep their families safe.

A rough system of trade has developed: a central store has a stock of weapons, food, drink and potions which people donate in return for Marks of Recognition (or more often just marks) which are noted and kept track of at the central stronghold. These marks can then be traded for supplies in the same manner.

In this way Hoopa became almost entirely cut off from the rest of the world. However, in the year 158, with pressure from the Undead at an all time low and without suffering a serious attack in over a year, Xanus sent his own son, a young ranger, west in search of information or others in this world.
"And unconscious people always count as willing"

Tome of Magic 6.0

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