|Full Name||Old Ceardia|
|Flora and Fauna|
Old Ceardia was the 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 Old 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. The Regalian Empire attempted to operate from offshore islands in support of recolonization when the corruption faded, but the Dragon Crisis and subsequent political fumblings saw that effort tank with the regional military bases ruined, while the Ceardian locals watched on incredulously. While some now see the recolonization effort as hopeless, many more of Ceardian ancestry from the exodus that followed the Destruction hope that one day, their homeland will be restored.
Old Ceardia has a history lost to time, but it is clear that the Seraph lived on the continent sometime in the ancient past, though their ruins are very minimal. 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 study and for the initial curiosity in the new. 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, Old Ceardia was at the mercy of the increasingly harsh demands for Ailor slaves to feed the Altalar political engine. Thousands had also fled from their homeland in seaworthy ships, eventually forming other populations and Cultures of Ailor elsewhere in the world. But this all came to an end as the Altalar lost their Magic and those Altalar ships that survived the rocking of the world retreated en masse to their homeland. While Old Ceardia suffered terribly, portions of its terrain sinking or rising up higher, it was finally free of their overlords, and 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, and a hundred rulers were now just a brutal few. 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 Old 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 or 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 deities: pagan, Old Gods, and Unionism alike. 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, and bleating, becoming 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 a 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. The small, barren and lightly populated islands of Zemlith avoided being consumed, while Yervonth, further out to sea, could only watch in horror at the stretching, expanding threat they could almost see from their homeland. These island regions briefly ballooned with refugees before the Regalian Empire moved in and helped to transport 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 Old 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 (now dead and covered in plantlife) and blazing new paths through the dark and wild continent. They were joined by adventurous Velheim, who lived in nearby Zemlith, while supplies and fresh troops were also supplied from the islands. But when the Dragon Crisis paralyzed the agricultural heartland of the Regalian Empire, and thousands starved to death, the military outposts in Zemlith withered and died. Hundreds of aspiring colonists perished, and scholarly efforts on the mainland were left in tatters. The Velheim moved on, back to Carrhen where they had come from, and it took until 308 AC for the Empire to even properly investigate this failure. Today, Old Ceardia is a lush yet silent place. The homeland of the Ailor lays dead in the minds of most, though many more dream of returning. It is likely that unless the Regalian Empire acts soon, this open territory, outside of their control, will fall into the hands of some other power.
Old Ceardia is part of Oldt Era, to the southeast of the Regalian Archipelago, east of Hadaria and southwest of Essalonia. The continent sits at the crossroads of the Essalonian Sea to its north, the South Passage Way Sea to its south, and the Warmyn Sea to its east. The continent’s geography has undergone a wild series of changes in the last few hundred years, but traces of what originally existed still remain in the modern landscape. Prior to the Cataclysm, Old Ceardia had a well documented geography, as the Altalar used this to find slaves of particular interest given that the Ailor local to these areas had adapted to best suit such climates. In the center of the continent were the Bolven Mountains, tall peaks of stone and minerals with a number of swamps located at their feet. North of these mountains sat the Vennen Areas, dense lands of lush greenery with flowers and plants aplenty. In this same region also lay the riverlands of the Carnvaal Valley, whose waterways crisscrossed the ancient continent. To the west sat a great spur of cliffs which covered the coastline, while to the northwest there existed vast pine forests known to some today as the Caer Walds. To the southwest meanwhile, the windswept lands of the cliffs turned into flat, grubby terrain with little cover. The rest of the continent was relatively uniform, with less-dense forests than the Caer Wald, and fertile plains dotting over the terrain. But then the Cataclysm arrived, and these features were thrown completely off kilter.
The devastation brought to Old Ceardia literally tore the land apart. Vast channels of saltwater poured into rivers, or formed new bodies entirely, creating a huge number of brackish, swamp-water areas. At the same time, the Bolven Mountains fragmented, and new ridges emerged alongside the reduced-in-size Bolven peaks. Finally, Ceardia gained more cliffs and internal geography changes as the Caer Wald was broken up, other forests grew wilder, and the flatlands of the southwest were largely sunken into the ocean, with new plains emerging from the upturned earth. This chaotic climate was then the site of the Tendrils, which while Void-based in their time and spread across the region, corrupting plants and animals as they went, are now “dead.” They long-ago ceased their spread, and their dark Void colorations have faded as they appear to essentially decompose, covered in greenery while their effects on surrounding nature also rapidly fade away. The two regions to entirely escape this cataclysmic series of changes though, were the Yervonthi Isles and Zemlith. Separate from Ceardia, Zemlith is a rocky outcropping of little economic value, but enormous strategic value. Yervonth, meanwhile, is a temperate region much closer to Carrhen in appearance than Ceardia’s mess of features following the Cataclysm. The area is also fertile, and has supported subsistence Ailor survival for centuries. Ceardia as a whole features a variety of weather patterns. For much of its history, storms have battered its southern coastline, blown across the South Passage Way Sea from Sendras, but often losing the worst of their typhoon-level strength and instead transitioning to a cold, slow rain. Seasons on Old Ceardia have also often been messy, as while pre-Cataclysm the territory experienced a measured seasonal cycle, post-Cataclysm this was thrown out in favor of wildly varying seasons which only heightened regional political instability.
Old 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. Ceardia also has many strange plants tied into folklore as ancient as the Ailor themselves. Some of these include Witch’s Fingers and Wizard’s Melancholy.
Much like the flora of Old 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 several continents where they bred into the local wolf population. They can still be found in these lands 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 other lands. Some of the wildlife that 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. However, such creatures appear to be dying out in the face of the similar death of the Tendrils.
The Regalian Empire’s involvement with Old Ceardia was often detached, even before the Destruction. Seeing much of the region as a place of barbarity, and one that would take an enormous amount of effort to bring to heel, the Regalians were slow to form ties on the mainland, though still signed Navigation Acts with certain “city-states” separate from the petty kingdoms in order to avoid favoritism. This distance from the affairs of Ceardia ultimately proved devastating, as hundreds of thousands died in the chaos of the Destruction, and Regalia only able to save so many. Currently, Regalia has trade-focused Navigation Acts signed with the sole nations remaining on the continent, being Zemlith and those groups on the Yervonthi Isles, with Regalian-led colonization efforts back on the mainland of Ceardia failing miserably.
Regalian Aligned States
- Zemlith, a rock in the ocean formed by ancient volcanic activity. Barren and filled with cliffs, the scant few thousand people who live on the island have been fisherpeople since the first Proto-Velheim reached the area centuries ago. The region was home to strategically important military bases of the Regalian Empire, but their cataclysmic end through starvation and a breakdown in social order has resulted in the Zemli, a term for the locals, to keep far away from what they consider cursed land. Instead, the Regalian forts are now manned by Mannadh Tribedom Ailor, allowing the territory to fall back into the Regalian sphere.
- Yervonth Tribedom, was similarly settled by Proto-Velheim centuries ago, though it is currently settled by Ceardian tribal groups united in their worship of the Old Gods. Their land, while once at frequent war with the Mannadh Tribedom, has been at peace for three decades, the Destruction prompting cooperation and a turn toward peace. The nation is best known for holding the first of the Julvin Gates, massive and ancient stone architecture which once supposedly linked the Velheim world together. Førston rests overlooking the sea on a broad hill ringed by large, mostly toppled, stones covered in carvings.
- Mannadh Tribedom, is the sister nation to the Yervonth Tribedom. While it is unclear how the ancient rivalry began, it is believed that Ceardian Warlords, or at least proto-Warlords, managed to invade the Yervonthi Isles in a period of time around the Cataclysm, resulting in frequent clashes by the freed Slaves of the Velheim who they had left behind, which became the Yervonth tribedom. Since the Destruction though, the two groups have been at peace, and Mannadh has since turned its efforts to exploration of the Ceardian coastline, separate of the Regalian efforts which so cataclysmically failed.
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 originally founded by an Ailor clan ravaged by Allorn Empire slavers sometime in 100 BC, and so traveled far from their original home. They then found the Silver River, and settled at its mouth, making use of sea caves to hide their settlements and keeping watch for Allorn ships from nearby clifftops. Following the Cataclysm, the Silver Clan as they now called themselves survived, and then went on to begin building in the open. Their settlement flourished, and soon, became a prosperous center of trade which continued for a further two centuries. Neutral in the conflicts surrounding them, the region soon found the patronage of the Regalian Empire, who came to use the port as a primary landing and travel point for their merchants, further adding to the region’s wealth. The region, because of this Regalian favoritism and it’s large populace, was generally stable, and the city itself retained much in the way of Ceardian design and architecture. Grand bridges crossed the waterways of the river, and ancient statues depicting notable Ceardian heroes filled the city streets. It’s port was large, and catered to not just Regalian but even some Songaskian and Altalar ships, while the region’s river could be panned to find remnants of the ancient Silver wealth that made the region decades ago. The only buildings of other note were a large town hall, with thick walls and the build of a keep (as it had once been one) and the towering Unionist Grand Temple that sat nearby. 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 is often held on par with ancient centers of the Ceardian Ailor like Manvonth, the First City, and Olmanth, the ancient sites dedicated to the Old Gods. Lukkerdam was a highly enriched region found in the southeast of Old Ceardia, and was founded on the shores of the Abhainn Mór River, a large, strong body of water with a reliable current found just off the center of the continent. Despite the wars fought in the region over decades, the dam of legend remained, an ancient building of unknown structure that straddled a great waterfall and supported a significant dwelling equal to a small city in scope. However, from the very beginning, the structure was laced with mystery, as it’s founders were said to be a family of master builders who all vanished one night, with no clue as to their fate, causing the local populace to flee in fear. The city, hewn of stone, would trade hands for decades following this mysterious vanishing, and gain a considerable wooden extensive up either sides of the river bank. The dam, while worn smooth through centuries of water spray, did still show faint figures and imagery which many believed to be pagan figures. There were also many architectural carvings over the city showing a vaguely female face, but age wore the details flat. However, the city finally fell to the chaos around it when it was destroyed in 189 AC by two warring parties. But, by 250 AC, a town which took the name of the fortress had developed into a thriving market center located on the bank of the river just north of the ruins. However, the town was one of the first to be hit by the Tendrils, which are said to have erupted from the mountain just next to Lukkerdam. Rumors persist from survivors of the event that in the days leading up to the event, lights had been seen inside of the fortress, and when the Destruction began, a shrieking, gleeful woman of dark visage with the power of flight tormented those fleeing from the fall of their humble town.
The ancient plains of Rionnag saw many battles before being consumed by the Tendrils in 268 AC. Found in eastern Old Ceardia stretching from forests at the foot of the mountains to the coastline, these Plains were initially seen as a wild, primordial expanse where native Fletcher’s Wheat grew and animals roamed free to do as they wished. There were also a series of old, two or three brick-high ruins near the center of the plains said to be home to one of Ceardia’s old 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. Many say the final battle of the Warlord Wars were fought here, when Glædwine the Hammer and Royston of Redcliff finally clashed. 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 Crisis, the event that gripped Anglia. Even though the Mist is said by some to be an Exist-related event, ethereal tendrils visible to some mages appeared similar to those of Ceardia.
- The most famous of the supposed ancient Ceardian 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.