Drowda

From MassiveCraft Wiki
(Redirected from Derronva Hold)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Drowda
Noimg.png
Geography
Full Name Drowda
Pronunciation Drow-dah
Demonym Drowdan
Area 4,900,000 mi²
Population 500,000
Races Northern Taint-afflicted Races
Flora and Fauna

Drowda, also referred to as the Forbidden Continent, is one of the most dangerous lands in Aloria due to the excess of Planar Essences seeping into the continent. This land, which is situated in the Far North of Aloria, is filled with Essence that has escaped the broken tear between dimensions, known as the Veil, during the time of the Cataclysm. This has resulted in the continent being filled with various tainted Flora and Fauna which have battled against the region’s lone protectors, the Sihndar, for over three centuries. The Sihndar live the entirety of their lives dedicated to preventing these otherworldly forces from leaving their forsaken continent and wreaking havoc elsewhere. Drowda is a place of beginnings and ends, where the Drovv civilization collapsed; where the Cataclysm altered the world forever; and where the Sihndar developed into the powerful warriors they are today.

History

Drowda’s history is steeped in that of the Void Invasions. From this location, in an uneven but inevitably completed timetable, Void Invasions occurred when the civilizations of Aloria had grown too much in magical power, weakening the Veil to the point of no return. But after the Fourth Void Invasion ended, a new Race came to call the northern reaches home. Known as the Drovv, their people are only known in records for three things: their strange physique of long necks; their surprising physical strength and combat skills; and their existence spawned a cult. Known as the Cult of Dronnal, this group arose in the Allorn Empire’s province of Drowda, a region near Drovv territory of little consequence and considered a backward land by the majority of the Empire. Despite this, the Cult developed a strong following under the tutelage of the nearby Drovv. Unfortunately, it was not enough to hold back the darkness that came with the Fifth Void Invasion. Millions of Drovv died in the desperate defense of Aloria, but the Void was an otherworldly foe. Their vile armies and corrupted animals surged outward, causing the Drovv to go extinct while also massacring those of the Cult who stood in their way. When the Allorn Empire’s army was formed, much of the surviving Cult joined up and became major leaders in the battle that followed. The Cultists pushed on ahead, attempting to reach their old home territory and somehow found themselves in what is now called Drowda when the Cataclysm occurred.

Following the Cataclysm, the newly born Sihndar quickly organized into functional military units by using organizational tactics taught to them by the Drovv many centuries before, which in turn allowed them to soon stabilize Drowda. While the rest of the world suffered chaos, the Sihndar immediately went methodically to work to ensure they would survive and thrive on Drowda, though the latter would prove more challenging than they originally anticipated. The Wretching Tear had caused most of the Fauna and Flora to become hostile to the sentient beings of Drowda and much of the environment had been torn to pieces. Old maps were no longer relevant and fresh water springs had sometimes relocated to miles away because of underground fissures. It took the Sihndar about 30 years to formally develop their Banner Hold strategies, and the next 100 years or so were spent attempting to expand and stabilize their population. This century was spent with some degree of internal strife as when the Banner Holds did come into strategic development, they soon grew ideologically distant from one another in how to best survive Drowda. Many northern Holds remained fiercely untrusting of the outside world and believed that everything around them had to be tamed by the sword, falling back on traditionalist Drovv teachings and became the Banner Hold of Ellatrix. Several among the Elatrii leadership adopted the idea of becoming monsters to fight monsters, using the justification of their already tainted nature to imbue themselves with Exist and Void Mutations, while hunting after all other Void-tainted monsters on Drowda. The eastern Holds had contained the largest number of libraries and Drovv laboratories before the Tear, and the Sihndar there decided to put this vast wealth of knowledge to use for surviving Drowda, uniting as the Banner Hold of Gladrin. Still maintaining a somewhat militaristic outlook but looking down on the regressive brutality of the Ellatriix, the Gladrii acted as reformists and believed that technology had to make up for Drowda’s shortcomings. The ports of Drowda’s southern Holds had always provided the easiest access to the outside world, with the Sihndar there taking advantage of this fact and becoming the Banner Hold of Norras. Unlike either Ellatrix or Gladrin, Norras believed that Drowda couldn’t remain insular and needed outside goods to survive, sending their ships throughout the former Allorn Empire and Aloria at large to try re-establishing trade connections.

Disagreements between the Banner Holds eventually subsided as members of each one’s leadership slowly negotiated with one another before accepting that Drowda had to unite, as all the Holds still maintained a cultural mistrust of Magic and Abberants. This was accelerated by 150 AC when news came in from all across Aloria of major changes to the global order: The previously divided Altalar Princedoms had re-established contact with one another, raising the possibility of the return of the Allorn Empire that had indirectly caused the Fifth Void Invasion through abuse of the arcane. Even more terrifying, the Void-corrupted Kathar of the Dread Empire had been conducting “Void-Outs” against the Suvial since 40 AC, and the Sihndar feared that these Kathar might try using Void-Outs upon all of Aloria. New Afflictions in northern Ellador gave rise to the Cahal and Vampires, directly infecting mundane Alorians with dimensional essence.

A conference of all the Banner Holds was called to find answers to problems that were threatening the world at large, with the already thawing relations between Banner Hold leaders allowing a mutual formation of what became known as the College of Thennes. Acting as the Sihndar’s unified answer to the seeming rise of Abberant evil in Aloria, the College became where the elder representatives of all the Holds discussed their strategies and planning. Many of the Sihndar who mediated between the various Banner Holds during this time went on to form the Banner Hold of Mae’ella. This Banner Hold became located in central Drowda where the conference had been held, with the other Banner Holds begrudgingly allowing the Mae’elli to act as hosts to the College if they otherwise maintained neutrality and respect of all Banner Holds’ ideologies. The other greatest consequence of this conference would be the creation of both the Great Kroll and the Oath of Mortalkind. The Great Kroll became the societal system in which Sihndar contain the Void and go after Abberant monsters while the Oath of Mortalkind became an Oath spoken by all future Sihndar when they came of age, promising to uphold the Great Kroll and protect Aloria’s mortal Races from destruction at the hands of the Void.

Geography

Drowda is just outside The Far North of Aloria, instead resting in The North Belt, found to the north of the Regalian Archipelago, northwest of Ellador and north of Jorrhildr. The continent faces the freezing waters of Narrow Ice-Bræ Gap to its northwest, but Drowda’s own waters are positively tepid, if not warm. The likely reason for this is the continued existence of Essences and cracks in the Veil that leak exotic forms of energy into the world, all of this raw power keeping the continent humid in what should otherwise be a freezing landscape. There are also a series of exposed thermal vents on the far side of the continent which blow their heat over the rest of the terrain due to wind patterns, serving to only maintain the humidity. Drowa is a continent covered in hostility, from the rugged northern and central mountains to the inland and southern forests and plains, filled with creatures as diverse as carnivorous plants to fierce beasts. Additionally, rifts, fissures and cracks between this world and others dot the wild, leaking their energy into the surrounding areas, making them warped and violent places. The coastline and edges of the continent are jagged and varied with many boulder and rock beaches meeting jagged cliffs or dark forests. Dotted across all of these regions, though most sparsely in the north, are the Holds, the great fortresses of the Sihndar people based on the architecture of the Drovv who came before them.

Notable Flora

The flora of Drowda have all been twisted and mutated into horrifying renditions of themselves, changing in color and form. These mutated plants are generally more dangerous closer to the center of the island, as opposed to the mild and passive flora which live towards the coasts. The majority of what seems to be plant life on Drowda is actually fungi; mushrooms of many sizes (including those as tall as trees) dot Drowda’s surface. Unique plants, such as the Eluhwa or Honey Ball, make frequent appearances along the coasts, plains and forests of Drowda. Others, such as the man-eating Reapers, exist deeper inland and occasionally closer to the Holds.

Notable Fauna

The fauna seen on Drowda is likely the greatest threat to any adventurer exploring the region. The beasts here come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing they all share is their Void-induced mutations and madness. All creatures on Drowda are hyper-aggressive and will attack anything sentient they see due to the influence of the Void. A prime example of this is the Drow Giant Spider, an arachnid well-known for its devastating abilities, or the Vas Pirion, a vast carnivorous bat. Another lesser-known creature is the Shssisse, semi-intelligent reptilian hunters which wander Aloria and feed off of Void Essence. On the other side, there are a few animals which are not aggressive or even violent despite their mutations. The most prominent of these is the Drowdan Stag, a species of non-aggressive cervid the Sihndar keep as pets as well as mounts for small units of agile light cavalry or scouts. Another species with members kept by the Sihdar is the Qilkar, a large winged reptilian-mammalian creature capable of leaping great distances.

Politics

Sihndar Banner Holds

Forged from long standing alliances between the Holds on the Forsaken Continent, the Banner Holds represent a collective set of ideals, embodied by their citizens. Although the core ideology of the Sihndar rings throughout, each Banner Hold has their own interpretations and deviations of what is the norm. They are split between the militant traditionalist Ellatrii, the scholarly inventors of the Gladrin, the diplomatic and elegant Norras, the secretive spy masters of the Vel’unai and the middling Ma’elli, who serve as a melting pot between the Holds. While it is definitely possible to have mentalities that deviate from the norms of the Hold, these Sihndar typically find themselves at odds with those around them and eventually leave for somewhere more in line with their ideology, or the centralist Ma’ella Holds. At the center of it all sits the College of Thennes, who are the overarching authority and nexus point for the various Banner Holds.

Staunch traditionalists of the way of the Drovv, the Ellatrix Holds are found scattered across the most northern realms of Drowda. The Sihndar here survive and even thrive in the most inhospitable reaches of the Forsaken Continent, becoming some of the most battle hardened and ferocious warriors amongst their kin. It is rare to find an Ellatrii without some form of facial hair, viewing it as a symbol of their bestial strength, honed by their training in the harshest environments of Drowda. Similarly, you will rarely find an Ellatrii with hair shorter than shoulder length for much the same reason, usually bunching it up in various ponytails and braids so that it does not impede on their more barbaric combat styles. Body modification is rife amongst the Ellatrix tribe, decorating themselves in all sorts of Gold and Bronze pieces (but never Silver). The Ellatrii are notorious amongst their kin for being amongst the most blunt, crude, and short-tempered of the Sihndar, constantly speaking their pragmatic minds with little empathy. Whilst their brethren of the other Holds believe observation and containment to be the best solution to their plight, the Ellatrii instead believe extermination of the occult to be the swiftest route to success at their greatest extremes, with detainment as the least extreme and yet acceptable approach. If you have heard of a band of Sihndar burning an entire village of peasants to the ground to uncover a single Vampire, or slaughtering a child Mage in their crib, the odds are that it was under the orders of one of the Ellatrii. The Ellatrii radiate a certain aura of superiority over the other Sihndar, believing themselves above the more progressive tribes. They believe that they invite weakness through acting with any sense of mercy, however, this never goes beyond the odd snide comment and act of pettiness. Due to this, they are hyper-competitive, always seeking to prove their bark with bite. In particular, they believe that the Kathar are entirely unworthy of their protection, and while they are amongst the most valued in putting down threats from the Void, they are also the most boastful and ego-centric of the Sihndar.

From the harbor Holds of the East hail the Gladrii, a people of scholars, freethinkers, and inventors who are slowly losing touch with the militaristic ways of their ancestors. The Gladrin spend most of their time indulging in frivolous research to advance the Sihndar’s unified goals. This is not to say they are without military might, for this is untrue. Instead, their warriors venture out into the world at large, gathering knowledge wherever they can to send back home to the Gladrin Banner Holds for their more devoted scholars to make use of. To them, there are few greater weapons than knowledge, and the pursuit of such is equal to their role as protectors. Should any Sihndar be found with a new weapon to combat the demons that stalk this world or to further their effectiveness as protectors, it would be the Gladrii who would have invented it, and they take great pride in reminding others of this (whilst the more common failures are usually swept under the rug and never brought into the light). In many aspects, the Gladrii can be called the inverse of the Ellatrii: Keeping themselves clean shaven, their faces smooth, their clothing practical. Vanity matters little when compared to practicality, even less so when compared with the pursuit of knowledge. Personal belongings are usually restricted wholly to scrolls, books and tomes as they spend most of their days tinkering away in workshops or researching in libraries. By many incredibly stoic and emotionless, only ever showing the driest of wits, though this is often just an external shell that they use to prevent themselves from becoming attached to others, since reliance on such would only serve to halt research and progression. Few Gladrii make the time to leave the homelands, instead opening their doors and inviting foreign visitors to exchange knowledge to further their research. In recent years, they have taken a particular shine towards technological advances across Aloria, and have been known to eagerly offer their services in combat or in knowledge, in return for access to more advanced technologies. Much like the Ellatrii’s hatred for the Kathar, the Gladrii share a similar view towards the Isldar. They believe the soul rivers to be a resource to be used in technology, not to be protected or kept undisturbed. The Isldar’s stance on the Soul Rivers intentionally hinders the Sihndar goals of protection. As such, it is not uncommon for the Gladrii to send their warriors to the Greborrin Dwarven Holds to help fight back against Isldarrin invaders, in exchange for steamtech blueprints and schematics.

In the south of the Forsaken Continent sit the Banner Hold of Norras; shrewd diplomats, entertainers and merchants. Reviled by the Ellatrii of the North, the Norras are perhaps the furthest detached from the traditions of the Sihndar, believing in strong trade and relations with foreign nations rather than a strong militant arm. Much of the Norras’ time is spent intermingling with the other races, either abroad or accommodating those who arrive at their open ports encouraging trade to any region that seeks to venture through the treacherous waters surrounding the Forsaken Continent. This exposure to the outside world has allowed for the arts to flourish in their Banner Holds, importing commodities in exchange for their warrior’s services, and even some turning to crafting their own, both to sell on and keep at the homefront. Even music, where it barely exists elsewhere in Drowda, has managed to take hold of the Norras, leading to a new generation of Sihndar bards who travel the world, singing songs and praises of their kin and their goals. There is a great emphasis on freedom of expression amongst the Norras, rarely judging an individual for their appearance. Despite this, there still exists a notion that one may look presentable, so as to paint a good picture of their kinsfolk, with those choosing to look uncouth as the Ellatrii do seen as embarrassments. Bodycare is especially important amongst the Norras, as they strive to always appear in peak vanity, sharing many similarities and methods to the Altalar. From looks alone, one might think arrogance to be a key personality trait amongst the Norras, but this is far from the case. Their personalities are as free as they come, often being boisterous and bubbly, always being alert and attentive to the situation at hand. They can be very sympathetic, but have a firm understanding of personal boundaries. Whilst an Ellatrii may get carried away and almost entirely ignore the concept of personal space due to their predisposition to express their feelings and thoughts through personal touch gestures, the Norras instead keep very much to themselves and in many cases seek to avoid personal contact wherever possible. The reasons for this are unclear to many, but many Sihndar from the other Banner Holds mock and tease that it is an effort to preserve their carefully crafted vanity. The Norras are in many ways both the most liked and hated of all the Banner Holds within the internal framework of Drowda. The value of their diplomatic capacity and contributions contributions to the Sihndar’s fight cannot be understated, however their freer way of life and continual drift away from the traditions of the Drovv has made the others weary at times of their devotion to The Great Kroll, with a small verbal minority thinking of them as nothing more than one step above the traitors. Although it may be true that most defectors spawn from gluttonous Gladrii, this is usually overlooked, and they are welcomed into any Sihn-Fallar’s retinue with open arms, as their expertise is invaluable.

Despite being the newest of the Banner Holds, the influence and respect garnered by the Vel’unai is great. Whilst military might is the arm of the Sihndar, intel is the sword. It is the Vel’unai who promoted reform amongst the College of Thennes, and introduced the Informational Academy as a central part of Sihndar’s foreign affairs. The Vel’unai prefer the gathering and application of practical information, whilst the Gladrin hunger for theoretical knowledge. Whilst the Ellatrii would prefer to brute force their way through a scenario after limited research, the Vel’unai place far greater emphasis on first going on the defensive to read their opponent, uncover a weakness and then exploit it to its greatest extent. In combat, Shields are a rarity amongst them, instead leaning towards dextrous dodges. Agility is core to the Vel’unai, usually being the most acrobatic of the Sihndar. Some may even say they go perhaps too far in their drive for speed, looking to streamline themselves as much as possible. Whilst hair is acceptable (so long as longer lengths are tied up outside of social calls), body hair is shunned. The Vel’unai always keep themselves clean shaven, with roughly half of all Vel’unai opting to keep their heads shaved. The act of shaving is a very ceremonial one for these Sihndar, as it is seen as a bonding experience with one’s blade and interrupting one carrying out this morning ritual is only ever met with animosity. Vel’unai are rarely found without a mutation of some sort, however this is not something of choice. In fact, the Vel’unai usually shy away from willing body modifications, preferring to keep themselves clean of piercings, tattoos and such. Instead, they opt for temporary ear cuffs and other easily detachable accessories for more formal conventions if the need for them ever arises. The Vel’unai are often seen as incredibly stoic and emotionless to outsiders, only ever showing the driest of wits, though this is often just an external shell that they use to prevent themselves from becoming attached to others, since reliance on anything but one’s self and their kin is to bring danger to the mission at hand. Amongst kin, Vel’unai are slow to trust, but when they do eventually warm up to a group or individual, they are loyal beyond comparison despite their reputation as spymasters. It is this loyalty that has made them excellent members of any Sihn-Fallar’s retinue, often asking as an intelligence gatherer and scout for their foreign operations.

Littered across the central belt of Drowda, although never as deep as the inhospitable true center, the Mae’elli Holds are characterised as a sort of middle ground between all of the Banner Holds. Initially not too different from the Ellatrii, the Mae’ella Banner Holds were chosen by the Sihndar to host the College of Thennes when meetings were required, provoking large numbers from every Banner to intermingle. This has led to a peculiar mixing pot of traditions, ideologies and conventions leading to a surprising level of tolerance within the Holds. Pragmatism is key to the Mae’elli, keeping themselves malleable to adapt to whatever situation may lie ahead. As such, it is usually the Mae’elli tasked with the role of Sihn-Fallar, however they also make up a great number of the Venorik-Sargat (or Silent Wardens in Common). Having a deeper insight into the differences between the Banner Holds, the Mae’elli are seen as more vigilant as to what is the norm for each Holds, and what is instead traitorous in behaviour.

College of Thennes

The College of Thennes, also known as the College of Sins, has adapted and evolved over the years to fit the needs of Sihndar society. The College Elders that mostly made up the old guard Sihndar upheld the idea that the Sihndar were a lone tainted people that had to make amends for the sins of their ancestors, and as such had to take on the burden of holding back the Void alone so that the rest of Aloria could prosper in peace. These elder Sihndar used College resources to begin preparing the Sihndar people to fight demons, pooling in ideas from all Banner Holds to do so. Over time, Sihndar traveling into Aloria fought Void Cults, Exist Cults, Vampire and Cahal infestations, corrupted Dragon worshipers, Kathar, corrupted Altalar, and sometimes even their own kind when they had gone too far. Their reputation spread quickly, and before long, some of them were hired by foreign courts to keep their lands clean of other worldly taint. These days, the College congregates in the Mae’elli Holds when the need for discussion and decision making arises, mostly from convenience (as it is the easiest of the Banner Holds for all others to reach), but also due to the Hold’s nature; representing all other Holds on an equal field.

Notable Locations

The Veil

The Veil is not necessarily a tangible location, but its influence in Aloria’s long history is noteworthy enough to warrant mention. The Veil is a non-physical window into the realms of the Exist and Void whose location in Aloria is closest to Drowda. As a result, at this weak point between the worlds, piercing the Veil is easiest, which is why it was the constant location of the different Void Invasions. Unfortunately for the world, the Veil was damaged due to the Cataclysm. Rather than properly close itself, it reabsorbed all Void matter only to be forced to spew out power of both the Void and the Exist into the surrounding environment, which resulted in the mutated plants, animals and inhabitants. Currently, the Veil remains damaged but not in the extreme way it once was, as the effect brought by the damage has resulted in an almost continuous stream of tainting to the region. Additionally, the damage means that any Mage who reaches Drowda might find their powers at incredible strength but also extremely susceptible to possession by otherworldly energies. Such an occurrence is rare, but those who did get possessed, have always been found and killed by the Sihndar. The Veil itself is said to be occasionally seen in Drowda, a warping, shifting effect in a single point like a curtain being blown by wind, despite neither being present. Most of these Veil sightings are known to occur near the center of the continent, and can be on the tree-covered ground or high in the open air.

Grave of the Drovv

The Grave of the Drovv is not a structure or a ruin but instead a vast forest at the foot of Drowda’s towering central mountain range called the Ancient Steps. It is said to have been the site of the Drovv’s main city, a grand and powerful fortress against the Void which the vile energy seized as soon as the Fifth Void Invasion began. The battle was fierce, but ultimately the Drovv leadership fell in defense of the world alongside countless warriors and everyday citizenry. Still, this myth remains unsupported. The region is certainly tainted by the Void, with many vile animals and plants making it their home in the forest, but ruins and remains are yet to be recovered. Some Sihndar claim their ancient maps clearly show the region as the Drovv capital, but these maps have not aged well at all as while some were kept, their usefulness to the early Sihndar meant they were worn ragged with use. Despite this, the region is home to a series of shrines along the edges of the great forest, built by the Sihndar in reverence to the Drovv. One of these shrines is said to hold the fragmented remains of a Drovv which were not dug up but merely built over, thus keeping them intact and respecting their resting place. The Grave is also the setting of several Sihndar myths about their greatest warriors, who plunged into the forest and fought many battles with dark creatures lurking in the shadows.

Ella'taniss Hold

The Ella'taniss Hold is a vast complex off the northern coastline of Drowda, and a center often considered the capital of the Ellatrix Banner Holds. Ella'taniss was built from the remains of an ancient Drovv fortress, devastated by the Cataclysm, but not lost completely. The Hold abuts the sea, with ragged cliffs pocketmarked by holes and gaps where regional caves end at sheer drops into frothing surf. The region itself is colder than the rest of Drowda, with the Hold's proximity to the Ice Gap and the cold forces from the nearby Northern Expanse bathing it in frequent cold winds, and light snowfalls. To combat this climate, Ella'taniss is sometimes also known as the Hold of Fires, as great ornate braziers of distinctly Sihndar design provide warmth to the settlement's populace, being dotted throughout the streets and at every major gate. The Hold itself is a grand place, Drovv design remaining in the fortress walls of the central citadel which made up of great curves towers, and a massive central gate, both of which have been added onto by modern Sihndar architecture. The Hold as a whole is filled with rounded , interconnected walls, forming narrow, winding streets as the almost swirl-patterned external house walls form both a natural appearance, but also unavoidably alien given the materials used by the locals. Most Drowda stone is in the dark color spectrum, but mineral deposits around Ella'taniss line the dark grey stones with sparkling line of black and purple, which to many locals, is a fitting representation of the Sihndar and their impact on Drowda. The city is also known for it's great beast pens, holding scores of Sihndar cavalry units for the frequent sorties out into the wilds and reinforcements this grand capital offers other local Holds.

Trivia

  • The Sihndar Affliction's transformative effect on its subjects is sometimes believed to be the living memory of the Drovv returning to the world and entering a host body, at least among some fringe Sihndar systems of belief.
  • Drowda today is much smaller than it was before the Cataclysm, as it was once fused to a large, lost northern continent with a wide range of climates and regional ecologies.

Accreditation
Writers HydraLana, Mollymock
Processors FireFan96, WaterDruppel
Last Editor HydraLana on 12/21/2021.

» Read more