Asurus is a land on the verge of dramatic change, on many, many fronts. The source of this turmoil may be divine, or perhaps cosmic coincidence, but, no matter the source, nothing previously thought of as stable can be relied on anymore. Listen, and I shall tell thee of the plights that cast themselves upon this world.
Humans, relative newcomers to the World's stage, are aggressive innovators. In their brief existence they have managed to politically and culturally overpower the once proud Halflings (the last noble house of which died out 200 years ago), and their rapid technological progress has begun to outstrip the dwarves, let alone the other races. In doing so, they upset a delicate balance far older than themselves in the views of some of the more perennial races, and even their closest allies worry what the humans might do with some of their latest discoveries.
There are more who find themselves new to this corner of Auream, more recent than the Humans are the mighty Dragonborn; While humans were always found is Asurus, and simply settled down recently to found cities, and build a civilization, the Dragonborn are quite different. They come from across the sea, where, supposedly, there are cities full of the creatures. Their purpose in coming to Asurus is not clear, though they seem friendly enough, and for the past 50 years, they have been content to simply construct their strange monasteries, and serve the various governments in which they might be wanted.
There are stirrings in the camps of the Orcs. Rumors abound, but the once proud warrior race, content to be might for hire ever since the age of blood, seem... restless. While many orcs are clearly content with the current situation, it seems clear that others are preparing for something. Their settlements are filled with the ringing of ironwork, and the foul smells of industry.
In the northern wastes, the Ice elves have made themselves scarce. Always reclusive, they have, in recent years, withdrawn their forces and emissaries from other lands. Their reasons for doing so are unknown, and few are willing to make the journey to their distant cities to discover why; such travels are preilous for the unprepared, and there is no guarentee of being welcomed with open arms.
The Gnomes are wary as ever. They fear that the humans will drag the world away from Melora's light, and that the path humanity is traveling down will lead to naught but disaster in the long term. Relations have been deterioriating even more of late, as humans encroach upon their lands, bringing with them the unnatural clean rows of farms, and stentch of the synthetic.
Below, the creatures of the earth have been oddly quiet of late. The goblins and drow populating the vast cave networks beneath the continent have been inactive. Whether this is due to internal conflict, or something more sinister, none dare venture into the shadows to find out; the slaving Dark Elves are, perhaps, best left to their own devices, should they not choose to conduct forays onto the surface.
Cultural change runs rampant in the halls of the Halflings. Since the beginning of the decline of the great Halfling empire just over 1000 years ago, more and more of their cultural identity has been lost to the sands of time. The Halflings found today are the first generation to know NO Halfling royalty; the last noble house of the race fell just over 200 years ago, the heirs of its line killed in the last great Orcish aggression.
The Wood Elves are concerned; meetings of the high council have been called more and more in past years, doubtless due to the turmoil present in every corner of Asurus. It has been made clear that the wood elves do not approve of the expansionist ideologies and artificial creations of the humans. They see a future of irrelevance, much like the once great Halflings, and will not go down that path. Tensions are rising all around, and a great schism between some of the largest tribes is rumored to be on the horizon.
Not to be outdone by the Humans, The Dwarves are accelerating their rate of research to rates previously thought untenable by their society. Certainly, much advancement can come of this, but so too can errors. Recent breakthroughs in mining and chemistry by Clan StoneBreaker, and in magic and technology by Clan ThunderForge promise to secure a future for the dwarven empire, but all is not well in the tunnels. The authority of the clans are being undermined by the substance known as "Blue Mirror," a banned narcotic that, somehow, keeps finding its way into export channels, and onto the streets of their cities, and the humans seem to take any advancement made by the dwarven empire, and find new and innovative uses for it, dominating in fields that the dwarves invested resources into developing.
Amongst the golden towers of the high elves, there are rumors brewing. The authority of the high prince has come into question, as a young wizard upstart seems to handily defeat even the highest of noble sorcerers in contests of the arcane. As high elven society is structured around one's mastery of the arcane, a spellcaster from outside the royal houses has not been seen to compare with the potency of ANY of the nobility in many thousands of years. What's more, the prince, whilst being groomed for leadership, is rarely seen to cast his own majicks, relying on his attendant spellcasters; whether this is due to mere laziness, or an alleged magical impotance, is yet to be seen.
So, what say you, fair adventurer? How will you make your mark upon this troubled world? Shall you brave the icy northern wind to convene with ice elves? Muster an expedition into the dark caverns to investigate the strange absence of the Drow? Challenge the rough seas to find the mysterious homeland of the Dragonborn? Or perhaps you expect adventure to come to you, in the fast moving cities of humans or dwarves? Will you try to mend bonds between the various races, or do you find yourself wanting to spread word of what YOU find to be the right path of many around the land? The future is to those who claim it, and the future is now. Choose carefully, heroes, in such a tumultuous climate as this, even small changes WILL have significant influence. A stray word in the wrong ears could tip the balance of power, for better or for worse. As for me, my hand grows weary, and I still have to write to sir Kuradeel regarding our training exercise on the 'morrow, As such, I bid thee a fair night!
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