Ceardia was the murderous, bloody cradle of the Ailor for centuries. After its discovery by the Allorn Empire, the continent and its population endured centuries of raids and abductions back to Daen, which is one of the factors that spread the Ailor across Aloria. The continent of Ceardia itself was diverse, covered in a variety of terrains supporting a variety of different lifestyles. Unfortunately, the continent was lost to the world by the Destruction of Ceardia, a cataclysmic event that saw giant Tendrils erupt up from the earth and gradually engulf the entire continent. Today, the Regalian Empire operates from a series of offshore islands to support their efforts in cutting back the corruption that has plagued the region and the homeland of Ailorkind. They hope that if they do so, their advances in scholarship and the sciences will give them far more knowledge about the past than the war-torn Ceardians were ever able to make.
Ceardia has a history lost to time, but it is clear that the Seraph lived on Ceardia sometime in the ancient past, though their ruins are very minimal on the continent. Millennia later, by the time the Altalar arrived, they found a divided Ailor Race torn apart on lines of tribe and family. Some classic Ceardian stories tell of ancient and glorious kingdoms with just rulers who were slaughtered by the Nelfin invaders, reducing the Ceardian people to chaos. Today, most people view these stories as fairy tales or political revisionism from the Ceardian Warlord period. Regardless of this, the Nelfin took to enslaving the weaker Race, exploiting their factionalism as they did so. They also took a number of plants and animals with them for their menageries and for study. All of this criminally undercut the ability of the Ceardian culture to grow, and they remained unchanged for centuries as a result. By the time of the Cataclysm, Ceardia was at the mercy of the increasingly harsh demands for Ailor slaves to feed the Altalar political engine. Hundreds had also fled from their homeland in weak but seaworthy ships, eventually forming other populations of Ailor elsewhere in the world. But this all came to an end as hundreds of Altalar lost their Magic and Altalar ships retreated en masse to their homeland seeking an explanation. Finally free of their overlords, the Ceardian people might have had a chance for growth. Instead, their internal factionalism only grew worse.
A new era, that of the Warlords, dawned in Ceardian history. Ceardian Warlords were unique for their barbarism, with sons killing fathers for warband leadership and other sons fighting them over it. Additionally, for nearly 200 years, the Warlords remained just that: Warlords. To many of them, kings, princes, and nobility were things associated with their hated enemies in the west, long gone but never forgotten. Nelfin became demonized in Ceardian society, in some places being described as thin, twelve-foot-tall beasts, while in others they were bloodthirsty kidnappers. It took increased contact with the outside world and in particular the Regalian Empire to change their minds. From 190 to 230 AC, a series of brutal wars were fought on the continent as the Ceardian Warlords sought to make themselves kings of their own little petty kingdoms. The people who had been leaving even before this period of conflict began to leave in droves, but Ceardian society survived and the fighting continued. At the end of the Warlord Wars, a dozen or so petty kingdoms stretched out across Ceardia. Many clamored for Regalia’s assistance in their war-making, but the state was not interested in helping any party. In fact, some have speculated that the Empire had their own plans to invade Ceardia and unite it by force since that seemed to be the only way which could work, but politics on the continent began to change in 266 AC.
That year, strange happenings began to occur. Reports of horrific rituals in forests outside of towns and in the abandoned housing or slums of larger villages increased. The Ceardians blamed the Nelfin and a majority of the new immigrants left as quickly as they had arrived. In 267 AC, there were reports of strange beasts, mutations, and the famous Ceardian Silver Wolf found itself with two tails instead of just one. Regalian authorities, too involved in trying to fix the Pessimism to live up to Imperial Court expectations, did not help; thus, in 268 AC the Ceardian people - stricken with unease - moved into their year cautiously. All of the strange happenings stopped and some began to dismiss them from memory. Instead, small earthquakes took their place, and people took to praying to their gods, Old Gods, Oldt Fayth and Unionism all. But in some towns at the foot of the central mountain ranges which stretched across Ceardia’s middle, sightings persisted. Strange lights emanated from the mountains and the nearby ancient ruins, but nothing could be found when they were sent to check. Then, one summer day, an eerie silence filled the air. No wind blew, mammals stopped barking, mooing, bleating and became stiff while birds took off in silent droves. Then with a massive shaking of the ground, the earth tore open and massive Tendrils erupted from the earth. Thudding down onto the ground, the Tendrils then slowly began a crawl across the continent, splitting themselves and bringing their Void Taint with them. The initial panic killed hundreds, and many kingdoms collapsed almost immediately. Every ship and able-bodied sailor nearby soon found themselves on a mission to save the lives of fleeing, terrified Ceardians. Regalia quickly answered the call of their fellow Ailor by pulling a significant portion of the Imperial Fleet away from patrols in nearby regions to aid in the evacuation.
By autumn, the last people and animals had escaped and the Tendrils soon completed their covering of Ceardia. One area, the small, barren and lightly populated islands of Zemlith, avoided being consumed. The region briefly ballooned with refugees before the Regalian Empire moved in and formally annexed the territory, helping to drive along those refugees stuck on the islands. In the aftermath of the event, many claimed to have been taunted by a mad young woman, her eyes alight as she shrieked out in joy about the end of Ceardia and flew through the air like a bird. Some identified her as the Archdemon, and she soon faded into the legend that became the Destruction of Old Ceardia. Starting in 300 AC, a team landed on the continent’s northwest shore and began the hard work of peeling back the Tendrils and blazing new paths through the dark and wild continent. They have been joined by adventurous Velheim, who live in nearby Zemlith, while supplies and fresh troops are also supplied from the islands. Regalia also maintains a blockade around the landmass to stop any wayward Void worshipers from reaching the contaminated site. It will take a long time of consistent effort for Ceardia to be reclaimed.
Ceardia is part of Oldt Era, to the southeast of the Regalian Archipelago, the east of Hadaria and the southwest of Essalonia. The continent sits in the Ceardian Sea, a regular body of water with no specific features aside from an ancient history and plenty of wrecks lying on its bottom. Today it is drastically different than it once was a mere 50 years ago. In the past, Ceardia was a landscape of forests, rural plains and riverlands fanning out from a series of high, snow-capped mountains at the center of the continent. In more southern regions, there were even jungles, ultimately providing the Ceardian people a wide variety of climates and regions to develop in. Now though, the land is dark and gloomy. Fog, mist and thunderous clouds swirl across its surface while the massive Tendrils that caused the Destruction now rest silent across the continent, almost like dark and vile roots. None have yet been able to determine the exact site the Tendrils emerge from but it was near the center of the continent. There were also once a variety of petty kingdoms across the continent, as well as unaffiliated townships which made up a patchwork of local politics unique to the continent. All of the kingdoms collapsed within days of the Destruction’s start and most of the leadership died, though some families survived and fled to the New Ceardian Colonies. The only state that remains is Zemlith, newly united under the Regalian Empire as their main military center in the area and used to help support the efforts to retake the continent. The nation survives on three major and several dozen minor islands off Ceardia’s northwest coast known as Zenithia.
Ceardia’s flora was once diverse, encompassing many specimens similar to or exactly like those found in areas across Aloria, such as Daen, Corontium, and Essalonia. This was mainly due to the Allorn Empire and how they spread the Ceardian Ailor out to these areas, slowly altering the environment. One unchanged plant is Fletcher’s Wheat, a sturdy grain cultivated for generations by the Ceardian Ailor before the Destruction. It was spread across the world before the event by explorative Ceardians and by survivors. However, whatever flora remains on Ceardia has now been mutated or tainted like those of Drowda, according to some.
Much like the flora of Ceardia, the fauna has been spread across various continents by their strong migrant people. They mostly appear in the Regalian Archipelago, Essalonia, as well as wherever major Ceardian populations can be found. One of the region’s most recognizable animals was the Ceardian Silver Wolf, a large, powerful species with a fine grey-white coat of hair which gave it its name. Some managed to escape the destruction of their homeland and were released out into the wilds of Essalonia where they bred into the local wolf population. They can still be found there today, and some also survive in noble menageries. Another animal is the Ceardian Wooly, an animal spread by the Allorn Empire and normal Ceardians to the degree that it is now one of the most populous domesticated farm animals in Aloria. Other animals include a wide area of Ceardian breeds of canines, the Ceardian Long Talon (a predatory bird) and the Ceardian Bobcat, which similarly to the Ceardian Silver Wolf, also escaped to Essalonia. What wildlife exists today on Ceardia has been mutated and altered into savage versions of themselves. One of the more well known is a form of mutated cervid, an “Eld,” who is said to possess pointed and forward facing horns with four eyes and a fanged mouth.
Politics and Demographics
Ceardia’s politics are practically ancient history by this point as few Ceardians tie themselves to the various failed petty kingdoms of the old years. Technically, Regalia claims Ceardia as their own with Zemlith directly underneath their control and festooned with their military; naval bases loom large over the local peaceful fishing villages which stay out of the way and offer food as their contribution to the Regalian Empire.
Silveredge was once said to be the jewel of Ceardia and could be found in the northeast of the continent on the Hlys Penninsula. The settlement was founded by a clan ravaged by Allorn Empire slavers soon after the Empire turned away from the island. Venturing forth from their original forest dwelling, the clan discovered Silver River and so settled at its mouth. Silveredge grew to a key point of trade and, soon, a hotly contested region between the various nearby warlords. Despite this competition, many bridges and local statutes remained intact, providing a beautifully aged appearance to the city’s water infrastructure. When Regalia arrived, they practically took over the city from the clan with many of them immediately moving to the Regalian Archipelago. The city became the Empire’s main focus point on the continent as they worked to unsuccessful broken peace talks between several of the warring kingdoms. It eventually served as one of the main evacuation points as the Tendrils grew across the mainland and now lies abandoned like all population centers.
While Lukkerdam has unclear origins, it can easily be considered an enriched region. It was founded on the shores of the Abhainn Mór River, a large, strong body of water with a reliable current found near the center of the continent. Despite the wars fought in the region over the decades of the settlements existence, the only casualty was the fortress that once gave the region its name. Founded by a family who was said to vanish one night and never return, many other warlords eagerly took over the structure and ignored the ghost stories. It was ultimately destroyed in 189 AC by two warring parties, leaving the fortress in ruins. By 250 AC, the wider town had developed into a thriving market center, but it was also one of the first to be hit by the Tendrils. Rumors persist from survivors of the event that the first Tendrils to emerge came from Lukkerdam and that in the days leading up to the event, lights had been seen inside of the fortress.
The ancient plains of Rionnag saw many battles before being consumed by the Tendrils in 268 AC. Found in central Old Ceardia stretching from forests at the foot of the mountains to the western coastline, the Plains were initially seen as a wild, primordial expanse where native Fletcher’s Wheat grew and a region left to the animals. There were also a series of old, block or two high ruins near the center of the plains said to be home to one of Ceardia’s old Great Kingdoms before the arrival of the Allorn Empire. But as time passed and warfare between different parties expanded in scope, many found the fields of rolling grass and hills to be the perfect place to force a pitched battle. As a result, many children lost their fathers to the Rionnag Plains, and the armor, weapons, and skeletons of many warriors old and new could be found there up until the Tendrils consumed the continent.
- Ceardia’s Seraph ruins were located in the mountains, and some believe that the Tendrils have destroyed them. Regardless, their locations remain inaccessible to students of history and so any wanting to learn more about them must sadly turn to biased and Ailor-insult-riddled Altalar records to learn about the ruins.
- The Tendrils of Ceardia have been compared to the Anglian Mist, the event gripping the Anglian Heartland. Even though the Mist is said by some to be an Exist-related event, ethereal tendrils visible to some mages appear similar to those of Ceardia.
- The most famous of the supposed Ceardian Great Kingdoms was Cavallon, whose might was unrivaled. However, its leadership was too trusting of the Altalar when they arrived which allowed for the slavers and mages to easily defeat them unprepared before pulling the castle down. Its ruins were then said to have plunged into the sea as a warning to all of Ceardia. No one has yet found these supposed ruins.