The spirit of ArboreaThe dormant volcano Infrinnika towers over the plains in south-eastern Arborea, a colossal landmark seen for leagues around. Until recently, Infrinnika was regarded by many sentient Arborean species as one of the life-forces of the realm, from which the vibrancy of Arborea was both conceived and fulfils. Until The Upheaval, a race of lizardfolk called the Infrinniki tended to the volcano and its surrounds, residing in several towns of substantial size and sophistication. The Infrinniki regard the volcano, of whom they are named after, as the manifestation of their sacred duty to maintain balance and cohesion within their part of the larger realm. Whereas once they believed in appeasing the ancient life-force through sacrifice and blood-led rituals, in the past centuries their duty has coalesced around tending to the surrounds of the volcano, maintaining peaceful relations with all who pass through, and preparing the nearby denizens in the event of an eruption. The Infrinniki believe their existence is a sacred blessing; that they are constructed from the same mighty essence that once animated the volcano, a spirit they call the Heart of the Mountain.
Not an easy foe to overcomeDuring the latter years of the Upheaval, the Infrinniki came under intense pressure from the Shadowfell forces who sought access to the volcano. The Infrinniki Front was an informal boundary of constant skirmishes between the Infrinniki and their allies, and The Court of Eyes forces active in the area. For over two years, the Infrinniki and their allies maintained a successful guerilla campaign against the superior forces of the Court of Eyes, using the various caverns and lava-tubes rife in the area to evade capture and strike at vital supply routes. Eventually however, the persistent of the Court of Eyes, coupled with the dwindling numbers of Infrinniki, led the defenders to cede the territory to the invaders. The bulk of the Infrinniki and their allies fled across the southern plains and settled two days walk from the infamous village of Wamper's Feast.
Lose spiritSages and scholars have established that the Infrinniki were unaware of the true nature of the Court's designs. Even though the Infrinniki maintained resistance fighters with an effective intelligence network in the surrounds of the volcano, none could have predicted the barbarous intentions of the Court of Eyes towards the volcano, just as few predicted the lengths Lolastre would go to opening up the realm to the Shadowfell. At first, the Infrinniki remaining witnessed the birth and explosive growth of a race of hostile elementals called Magmin, pulled from the essence of the volcano itself. Had the War continued, it's likely the Magmin might have formed another combatant in the Court's arsenal. Instead, as the combined forces of the Yhagrex Horde and Owena Resistance started to overcome the Court of Eyes, the captors of Infrinnika moved to a more terrifying solution - extinguishing the Heart of the Mountain. Debate still surrounds the actual means used by the Court to extinguish the Heart of the Mountain, though the reasoning appears to have been settled. With the Heart of the Mountain extinguished, the life-force of Arborea was diminished, likely weakening the realm's natural resistance to lowering the veil between planes. The death of Infrinnika is regarded as essential to the Shadowfell's entrance into Arborea, as likely explains why the Realm of Despair cracked the veil in eastern Arborea, as opposed to further north near the sight of Lolastre's rituals.
Gain spiritSince relocating to the south, the Infrinniki have long debated about what afflicts their sacred mountain. Some believe the Heart of the Mountain was frozen, others magically suppressed. Some believe the Shadowfae Shifted a dark remnant of the Shadowfell realm to crush the spirit of the mountain. Those handful of Infrinniki resistors who evaded the Court and Magmin forces in the dying hours of the volcano report the internal caverns of the mountain had grown cold and devoid of light, air and life, even as the volcano's eruption spewed lava and molten rock for leagues around. Infrinnika's last fight. As the molten rocks and lava careened into the earth around the, setting the forested hills ablaze, a heroic shaman circle, the Teniti (or Stalward Tail), entered the lava tubes and fought their way to the centre of the mountain. Against all odds, they extracted a sliver of the volcano's spirit and escaped the cold silence that spread throughout the mountain. Of that drudic circle, only one survived, Eford Grule, and settled in the lizardfolk's new town, Frinnika. Here Eford has tended the spirit, while the lizard Infrinniki re-built their lives. The spirit formed the Heart of the Village but resisted any attempts to grow or expand, remaining little more than a rock, barely warm to the touch. Ever diligent, Eford has presented the Heart of the Village to each new member of the Infrinniki tribe, convinced the spirit but seeks a new warden, one capable of tending the tiny flame within into a colossal inferno to re-start the cold Heart of the Mountain.
"The Heart was a grounded place. I could point to its heat and fire and say 'here lies the Heart'. But the Heart needed the same from us, to point to the Infrinniki and say 'there is my Heart, walking and breathing the fire within.' We were both Heart and limbs, breath and Heart. When we fled, the Heart spat fire and rage, weeping and celebrating, fighting and urging us to fight. I can cradle the Heart to the warmth of a hatchling and ask 'are you the Heart, for this is the Heart.' The realm speaks through the Heart but needs a strong Infrinnki voice."
- Eford Grule, Infrinniki Druid and Hero of the Upheaval, on Arborean sentience, oral recollection
Ferd (or Fard), Guf, Sred, Kla
Ferd (or Fard), Guf, Sred, Kla