The Banthakh Fortresses and the Oatraedin Sea

 
 

Introduction

  During the long period known to the Graces as Toru Dae or The Age of Perfection, when the two realms of Celestium and Damnation existed under the ordering gaze of the Athevannir and the supposed control of the Keeper worrying signs emerged that the one god was not quite as dominant in the ordering of his twin realities as he had hoped. Long before even the emergence of the Tralanvannir, the Keeper began to observe that the borders of Damnation continued to grow and to reach up with black fiery tendrils through the void that seperated them towards the Celestial Realm. In a bid to keep his kingdom safe from contamination by the Legion of Damnation the Keeper created a vast ring shaped ocean call the Oatraedin Sea and submerged with it was a vast metal and stone torc called Nemaesus, which filled the waters with the power to repel the Legion. The Lotharvannir built vast fortresses in the waves which were garrisoned at first by the sentinel warriors of the Athervannir Damophereon, and later the Tralanvannir. These fortresses were known as the Banthakh and their defenders stood with the Light of the Keeper at their back, staring out across vast oceans towards the great dark clouds of Damnation on the horizon, where a fearsome red lighting storm crackled as the two realities briefly met. The Athervannir were responsible for holding Damnation back, but the Sentinels and the Tralanvannir fought any beings that broke through. The great oceans were crossed by the Oatraedinothe, a mighty fleet of vessels that ferried the Tralanvannir and the sentinels to each fortress. At the edge of the Oatreadin, vast burning braziers lit by the Lotharvannir marked the edges of the Keeper's realm and illuminated the seas far beyond the reach of the light of the Keeper.  

The Oatraedin Sea and the Devourer War

  Chaos engulfed the Oatraedin Sea during the Devourer War. Once the great beast attacked both Celestium and Damnation, many of the forts were abandoned and the Tralanvannir and Sentinels garrisoning them were ordered by the Keeper to pull back and defend Celestium itself. The Lotharvannir saw the folly in this edict, understanding the importance of the forts as a barrier between Celestium and Damnation. Despite the danger of the Devourer, the Legion of Damnation was still capable of taking advantage of the Keeper's weakness and invading the Celestial Realm. The Lotharvannir called upon one of the many people they had secretly created in worlds hidden from the Keeper, the Ungai-To, to sail the great oceans and fight the battles that the Tralanvannir no longer could. Instead of being rewarded for their initiative and loyalty, the Keeper sent the Shuravai to find the many worlds that the Lotharvannir had secretly created and then contrived to destroy them under the shadow of the Devourer War. As reality fragmented under the onlsaught of the Devourer, some of the fortresses were ripped from their foundations in the Oatraedin Sea and flung into Damnation itself, where they provided a useful refuge for the Graces who survived The Keeper's Great Betrayal. Tears in the fabric of reality saw the waters of the Oatraedin pour into the black seas of Damnation, creating great pillars of white fire in the darkness of the Legion's realm where the two met, giving life to creatures far beyond the imagining of the Keeper or his servants.  

The Banthakh Fortresses after the Devourer War

  After the Devourer War and the betrayal of the Graces by the Keeper and the Keeper's own wounding by the Devourer, his interest in the great ocean and its fortresses vanished and he effectively abandoned that part of his realm. Some Sentinels and Phalanx Graces returned to their posts and the now vanished Lotharvannir left behind some of their Ungai-To warriors who had developed a deep affinty for the seas that they traversed. The Graces, exhausted by the horrors of the Devourer War found that their only choice was to compromise with the armies and the beasts of the Legion, many of whom entered the Oatraedin Sea with impunity as the Athervannir, who had the only real power to hurl them back, descended into madness and disorder as a result of the Keeper's lies. Some of the Iskravannir and the Graces who had sided with Damnation following the Keeper's betrayal began to combine the craft of Celestium and Damnation, creating weapons of incomparable power and terror. Some of the abominations that were created by the Devourer, which swam through the Oatraedin Sea were captured by the Tralanvannir and the Ungai-To and used as beasts of burden or war. Others were kept in the strongest towers ever created by the Lotharvannir, their essence studied by the Graces. A handful of Sentinels, known as the Fyrdan, freed themselves from the control of the Athervannir Damophereon and absorbed some of the chaos energy of the Devourer which allowed them to rip holes between dimensions, discovering long hidden worlds supressed by the Keeper at the dawn of the Age of Perfection. The nine known Fyrdan placed themselves in the service of Damnation and are among their most feared mercenaries.    

The Freezing of the Seas

The fading of the Light of the Keeper after the Sundering saw Celestium begin to grow colder and more disordered, gradually falling into chaos and ruination. As Losivaa islands began to freeze into great floating ice blocks, so too did the Oatraedin Sea. However, on the outer periphery of the seas the powers of the great braziers of the Lotharvannir kept the ice at bay, meaning that waters around the very edge of the sea are still navigable between great icebergs and ice sheets. Many of the Banthakh fortresses have been connected to one another by their defenders through the creation of ice roads and frost runners (sail boats on ice blades). Crossing the ice is a perilous business, as ancient, half mad sentinels, raiding parties from Damnation and hideous creatures in the waters below prey on unwary travellers.

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