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17th of Prothalis, 1172 PC

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“Welcome to Akhiilor. The year is 1172 PC or Post-Convection. This continent in which our story is set is divided not only by towering mountains, grand forests, and thunderous rivers but also by grand political powers. To the south and south-west, there is the Golden Concord; a flourishing union of city-states that have monopolised the trade with the other continents, under the guidance of four prominent families in mercantile cooperation in the Aurix Coast. To the north, on the tropical shores of the Shimmering Sea and cut off from the rest of the continent by the Western Ridge, is the Dual Union of Ar'Qualesh, a secretive nation of Elves that, while still interacting with the outside world, mostly keep to their own designs. Centrally to the continent is the massive region of Palo, bisected by the towering Spine of the World and several smaller mountain ranges. Western Palo plays host to the thriving Darethian Empire, a thriving autocratic state commanding the central plains. In the east remains the only magocracy on Akhiilor: the Iressar Conclave on the glittering shores of the Jewelled Strand. Great magics rule there, and the land itself is suffused with its essence. Dwarven realms stand to the south in the lonely Reanmore Mountains astride the strait of the Dragon’s Gullet. And in the centre of it all is the The Dreaming Weald. A mystical forest of massive proportions, equal in size to the entire Darethian Empire.

“This tale, however, begins in the territory of Central Palo, in the outermost territories of the Darethian Empire. Beginning its climb some four hundred years ago, the Darethian Empire first absorbed the neighbouring kingdoms of Eastern Palo before finding itself in an alliance with the dwarves of the Spine of the World. The dwarves were secure in their mountains, but the growing armies of the Empire looked beyond them, and so little changed for those already within its borders. You follow its laws, obey its customs, and kneel before its appointed administrators. And in return, the Darethian Crown extends its generous protection over its subjects. And while all appears prosperous on the surface, tensions brew beneath its glittering appearance. The current king, Robert Dareth, has only recently come into the throne, and some speculate that the policies from Stredisko will shift soon and markedly. Rumours of growing lawlessness to the north, and of conflict with the elusive Dual Union make the folk of the Empire uneasy.

“Yet, our story begins smaller still. Here, in the central regions of the Cyren Basin, beyond the tilted and twisted edges of the Dreaming Weald, lies the small town of Ostford. On the banks of the Norië, this pastoral town came to prominence some seventy years ago, when a particular type of fish was discovered to thrive in the waters of the Norië. This attracted an influx of fishermen, who set up profitable businesses for the most part—but when the influx subsided, only three prominent families remained standing among the fishermen on the Norië. Now, Ostford thrives on the exports they provide to the Empire and the Guard Cities around the Wall, and the products made from it. Now, in this sleepy town on the Iron Road, a handful of fates begin to intersect.

“We begin in the late afternoon on Aldauya, the second day of the week, in one of the guest rooms on the ground floor of the Wandering Satyr Inn…”