|Races||Ailor, Dwarf, Isldar, Urlan|
|Cultures||Velheim and Ohrneti Ailor, Aldor, Ruin-Khuur, Dredger and Greborrin Dwarves|
|Flora and Fauna|
A storied, secretive, and war-torn land, Ellador is a remarkable source of Nelfin and Dwarven strongholds. The history of this land involves many peoples, from the primeval Seraph to the secluded Drovv to the enduring Dwarves to the mysterious Isldar. Ellador has also seen many conflicts, between the Dwarves and the Isldar, the Ailor and the Isldar, and the Dwarves against the now lost Dakkar. Scholars, adventurers, and mercenaries once flocked to Ellador to both uncover the secrets of the land and partake in the furious conflicts of the last few years. These efforts are now hindered by the Isldar, who have seized most regions for their own, making travel through the continent’s interior difficult. Despite this, Ellador is and likely will remain a land of tragedy, glory, and opportunity.
Ellador was a wild, untapped land for centuries, if not millenia. While the Seraph did have some impact here, and the Drovv existed in small populations at the fringes of what is now the vast northern continent, it was the Dwarves who first made Ellador their own. Prior to the Age of Beginnings, the era when the first Dwarven Hold was founded, the Stout Folk emerged in the caves and depths of Ellador’s many great mountains. They formed ties with one another, and many came to the surface, their early settlements around the mouth of caverns and later, often with many hidden entrances from the dark depths out into the rich wilderness of Ellador. Later, the Proto-Velheim reached Ellador, as did fleeing slaves of the Allorn Empire, and they settled the coastlines of the generally temperate-to-cold region. The Dwarves who encountered them welcomed them as friends, but another visitor reached Ellador only to cause chaos: the Altalar. These Altalar, breakaway cultists who worshiped Dragons, fled up into the mountains and were pursued by Allorn Altalar scouts who soon found the growing Dwarven Empire. These scouts schemed, and over time, ultimately convinced the Dwarven people to turn against these Dragon followers. What followed was the Age of Strife, and then the Age of Tragedy, over two centuries of war against what are now called the Isldar where many died, and Ellador faced its first major ecological damage. But this paled in comparison to what the Dwarves ultimately forced the Isldar to unleash.
In 114 BC, at the Battle of Udillin’s Foot, as the last of their defenses fell and when only one Violet Creation Dragon remained, a spell of immense magical power was unleashed. Thousands of Dwarves were killed instantly, as cold, unnatural and hostile, exploded across the continent and swept over the entire North Belt in a matter of days, if not hours. Thousands more died, while dozens of animals and plants went dormant, were frozen solid, or went extinct. Ellador was completely changed, its temperate fields turned into frozen wastes, and its mountains snow-white knives. The Isldar then retreated up these peaks, and the Dwarves fell into fighting with each other even more, while Ellador froze. The Cataclysm which came soon after further altered Ellador, but the Dwarves underground barely felt the shifts and tremors. Their Holds were built strong, and all the Cataclysm did was benefit them, as the deep earth shifted and new materials unearthed themselves. On the surface, the Ailor had been thriving. The Hedrylli Empire, a Velheim state unrivaled even by modern Nordskag, had control of much of Ellador’s southern coastline, and raided near and far in the final days of the Allorn Empire. But the Cataclysm shattered their stability, half of their land sinking into the sea while thousands died, and their naval strength was crippled as the turmoil of oceans cut them off from the far flung network of Velheim outposts and trading points. But then came more threats, to both parties.
Deep in the earth, the Dwarves encountered the flaming Dakkar, beasts of elemental power who now raged and surged up against those who had disturbed their deep, mysterious lands. Tens of thousands of warriors, miners, and more perished as the Holds tried to save themselves, but largely failed. Much of the Dwarves evacuated the depths of Ellador and scattered across Aloria, becoming the bevy of subraces known today while some remained in their native land. As for the Ailor, the Unspoken Wars fell upon them as a dark, evil and corrupted new power rose from the far north of Ellador: the Dorkarth Vampires. Ultimately overcome and assumed destroyed, the Hedrylli Empire still crumbled into a kingdom where it lies to this day. Eventually, the Dorkarth Vampires returned, and are now a threat for all. While all this happened, the Isldar remained aloof and afar. Well known, and feared, recent events have seen chaos on Ellador as the Isldar suddenly surge into action after over two centuries of near silence. They seized much of Ellador shortly following the new century, under the guise of protection, and actively fended off threats to their new “subjects.” But then, following draconic events where their grand, undead giant mistress, the Great Ice Dragon, or Frostweaver as some call her, vanished, the Isldar broke into civil war, divided between loyalties to unknown motives. Much of Ellador is now quieting, the Isldar slowly beginning to repair the harm of their civil war among their ranks while Ailor towns and states slip further from their control, if they were within it to begin with. But new threats are also rising, while Ellador’s mysteries remain unanswered. Hopefully, such mysteries are soon unraveled, and the dark forces that emerge on Ellador are quelled by either the Regalian Empire, or powers beyond their knowledge.
Ellador is located northeast of the Regalian Archipelago, northeast of Cain, and south of the Northern Expanse. Its southern coast borders the Windward Sea and the east sits at the edge of the Great Unexplored Expanse. Ellador is a vast icy landmass divided between five regions, easily distinguished due to a series of four mountain chains that roughly ring the center of the continent. The northern ridges are the Veggstor Mountains, vast, and filled with sheer mountain drops and few if any passages. This land holds the fewest Isldar Holds, the few that are present highly militaristic and look down to the stark, dark northern coastline. This land is filled with similarly jagged drops and honeycombed with dark, damp caverns, and is often known as the realm of Vampires and their dark castles. To the east of Ellador are the Moonlit Mountains, and these are considered the homeland of the Isldar. The Mountains here are vast and many, spread out and more easily navigated, and hold both the Crystal Spires as well as the Moon Vaults. The eastern coastline is dense with pine forests, as are the mountain slopes, though much of the terrain is clear past a certain point, and many consider it to be the start of Isldar watchfulness. To the south sits the long, narrow, and winding Stillen Mountains. These mountains are the oldest in Ellador and are laced with Dwarven ruins, but also the last thriving Hold in Aldruin. There are also many passages through them to the heartland of Ellador, be that over the mountains or under them through largely abandoned Dwarven cities. The southern coastline is the only area of Ellador to still experience a seasonal change, its great ice sheets melting in the summer before refreezing in winter, while the area also has the most surviving pine trees in Ellador, along with somewhat arable dirt. The south also holds the Hjemkysten Peninsula, home to most of Ellador’s significant nations, and a vast web of islands called the Flakes.
To the west sits the clumped up Sløvon Peaks, densely packed around the core of the thick Bredrekk Peninsula, which ends at Makat Island. This region is also filled with Dwarven ruins, but also is home to the remains of Grebor. This territory is flat and open, the mountains short from most being sheer flat by the force of the ancient winds that blasted out from the heartland of Ellador into the rest of The North Belt. Then, there is the heartland of Ellador. A mix of short mountain ridges, great frozen lakes, and short spurs of pine trees, the central lands of Ellador are home to Shiva's Cavern, a magnificent, vast cave located near Udillin’s Foot. The central lands of Ellador are also known for their Dwarven ruins, with the frozen, cold remnants of Ølovomm seen here. Other features across Ellador are strange ice formations, likely the result of the ancient spell that froze the region, as well as possible Isldar activity since that time. Additionally, the region is laced with rivers and caverns, but many of these waterways are frozen while these caverns are full of hostile wildlife. Ellador’s climate is hellish, with frequent blizzards and large stormfronts blown in from the nearby Great Northern Expanse, but there is warmth to be found. From the deep earth comes heat, and some areas feature geothermal vents and hot springs that are welcome respites from the cold. These are often heavily defended by civilized groups, who hold them in high regard as holy gifts.
Being a tundra in most areas, Ellador boasts little flora across the entirety of its barren surface aside from scattered patches of pine and evergreen forests. However, in the cold forests and near frozen waters of the south, one can find Ogrebait, a common tool in the kit of an Elladorian hunter seeking to topple a tall Ogre, and Modra Root, which is commonly used by both Velheim Ailor and Dwarves for tattooing and in some rare cases, cooking. Aside from these, one is most likely to come across mushrooms and other fungi in Ellador, which grow deep in the underground caverns hollowed out by the Dwarven people, Dakkar and nature itself. Flora found underground include plants such as Brightmoss, a glowing plant, and fungi like the Undercity Shroom, which grew in Dwarven cities and now populates many of their ruins.
The wildlife of Ellador have adapted to their inhospitable climate and its hazards, producing some of the most dangerous animals in the known world. There are beasts like the devilish Antelabbit, an alien monster hidden in the form of a leporid, the related but still different tall Ogres and subterranean Trolls, the fearsome Dire Wolf, the insidious necrophagic Knûrka-Vørak and the great Wyverns, tamed and ridden by the Isldar in combat. There are less fierce creatures, like the family-focused Elladorian Badger, the Blubber Seal of the coastlines, and finally, there are those animals domesticated by the Ailor and Dwarves, like the Whitebred Elladorian, a horse with splendid eyes and a coat the color of snow, and the Morrok, the vast high-mountain eagles tamed at the dawn of Dwarven civilization. But there are also the tragic remnants of animals, wiped out by the many drastic changes that Ellador has undergone. One such creature is the Stone Bee, rendered extinct by the arrival of the Dakkar and the collapse of the Dwarven civilization.
The Regalian Empire has long held a tenuous interest in Ellador, drawn there by the Ailor presence, and held there by a desire to get rid of Vampires, but also benefit from the regional resources and technologies to be gained through trade with the Dwarves. However, many believe that Regalia’s grip is slipping away. Their complete inability to do anything about the Isldar for half a decade has not been viewed favorably by the Dwarven community of Aloria, while the Velheim Ailor are also furious that the many small Velheim communities in Ellador, along with the culturally significant Hedryll Kingdom, were similarly abandoned. While affairs might recently be changing, many believe that positive sentiments toward Regalia will continue to drop in the coming years.
Regalian Aligned States
- Maarket Colonial Charter, a strip of colony land wholly loyal to the Regalian Empire. Settled in the 230s as a buffer along the Hedrylli border from raiders and Isldar “probes”, the Regalian Pessimism shortly after shot down any efforts Regalia had planned to reinforce the region. Largely serving as a point of resource extraction, the territory is primarily manned by Velheim from Drixagh and serves as a transit point.
- Hedryll Kingdom, decaying but not dead. The Hedryll Kingdom was once an empire, but the Cataclysm, the Unspoken Wars, and further political intrigue saw their influence crumble and then conquest by the Regalian Empire. Hedryll is best known for its mercenaries, but also for its skaldic bards and ancient records of the Velheim world. The territory is also a strange union of Velheim Old Gods watched over by zealous Unionist crusaders against the Vampires and all evil, the Ohrneti. Sadly, the region's constant attacks at the hands of Vampires has kept them in a decayed state.
- Grebor & Aldruin, the last of a great Empire. Grebor and Aldruin were once great Holds of the Dwarven Empire which stretched both above and below the ground of Ellador, at least until the Dwarves were lured to their doom by whisperers of the Allorn Empire. Retreating below ground, thousands died, and many more thousands would die when the Dakkar emerged. Grebor and Aldruin ultimately became the last two Holds standing, Grebor the home of the Greborrin, staunch traditionalist warriors and Aldruin, more open to the outside world and a mix of subtypes. They are both located in the southwest of Ellador, but their territory appears on no maps because it is wholly underground, beyond the eyes of Ailor mapmakers to mark out.
- Tryllejag Realm, strength from nothing. Tryllejag has risen as a warrior state influenced by Skagger refugees from the Skagger Wars, but also at seeing the political reality of Nordskag and Hedryll both serving Regalia. Tryllejag kings have often led wars against nearby Cain, seeking to carve out a larger kingdom than their territory of the huge Makat Island. Tryllejag also holds the fifth, final Julvin Gate. Femsis is located at the center of their island, close to the regional capital in the dense pine forests that coat the interior. The region is also known for its constant wars against the Ogres.
- Ostermanh Kingdom, rogue but respected. Founded in the wake of the Cataclysm, the Ostermanh Kingdom claims descent from a Hedrylli Sealord called The East See-er, who supposedly reached far into the east. The stories and tales told of these voyages make up a key part of Hedryll’s cultural identity, and the Ostermanh Kingdom is best known for its musicians who compliment their tales and poetic epics as told by the skalds of neighboring Hedryll.
- Dorkarthi Desprinces, dark horrors lurking on a shockingly large portion of Ellador. The Dorkarthi Desprinces are successors to the Dorkarth Kingdom of old and are a collection of squabbling Vampire covens lurking in grand castles while the local populace toil and shiver as blood slaves. Dorkarth is well known for raiding across The North Belt, even into Essalonia and, on rare occasions, Daen or Corontium in the search for fresh blood slaves to increase their depleted stocks. The Vampires here are arrogant, but with good reason, as their land is rich with Vampire history lost on the other Bloodlines.
Ølovomm was once the capital of the Dwarven Empire and the heart of their thriving civilization. Found beneath the soaring Mt. Vommon, Ølovomm had both a peak door at the tip of its mountain for connection with the grand Morrok flock, which once roosted there year round, and a grand, ground-level entryway with a thick door forged of many metals, surrounded by stunning habitations around a small pool fed by an underground spring. Through this grand entryway sat the Hold proper, a vast open cavern with huge walkways, vast mechanical contraptions, imposing statues, and many buildings centered around the octangular Central Platform. Here, a massive stalactite was carved into the center of Dwarven life, with the Central Hall for government affairs, and the passageway up to higher tunnels and the peak door matched only by its plunge down deep into the distant darkness of the mines. The great walkways and stairs that fed off from this base led to grand tunnels, leading to more urban, housing regions, or to other, distant Holds or extended Ølovomm facilities. But this was in the past as soon after Udillin’s Foot, the Isldar came for the Dwarven capital. Within mere hours, below freezing temperatures killed hundreds of thousands, and completely iced over the city. Three centuries later, and this ice remains, the corpses now horrifying mummies, while the city’s grand doors were long ago broken down, the pond out front frozen, and many of the walkways or other methods of transport crippled. Many explorers, plunderers, and more have plunged to their deaths here seeking the treasures of the Dwarven past, be they Dwarf, Ailor, or of other Races, the ruins of this great Hold treating them all equally in icy coldness.
Wolfswind Bay holds a deep religious significance for the Velheim Ailor of Ellador and other regions beyond these shores. During the Hedrylli Empire days, the Bay was a mere fjord and held a resupply base at its mouth. But when the Cataclysm came, the region around the fjord changed, and suddenly the small bay emerged in southern Ellador. For some unknown reason, perhaps its new geography sheltering them from the harsh winter winds, or perhaps those winds howled in a welcoming tone to all canines, Wolves and Direwolves practically flocked to Wolfswind Bay. The Velheim locals soon retreated, unable to maintain their presence, but they spoke of wolfmen walking through the pine forests at night. Soon, the bay became spoken of as the personal hunting ground or domain of the Maarda of Basjtur, and a new outpost of hunters was established in the bay. Reports have persisted over the years of the presence of the Maarda, though most Regalians believe the woods to actually hold a Trugg of Ogres, confused in the darkness for the giant Maarda of the Old Gods faith. Still, the outpost made a tidy profit to support itself through the hunting and killing of the wild canines so thick in the area, and the warriors of the Velheim tested themselves through these efforts. The outpost was abandoned when the Isldar took over, but the wolves remained, their ghostly howls carried on the powerful wind serving to remind those even miles away of their continued presence, and enforce the presence of the Maarda in these lands.
Emarkäss’majolidona is the great core of the Isldar world, found dominating the peak of Mt. Alämajiórdora nestled at the center of the Moonlit Mountains. The Hold is vaulted high, much of it built onto the western slope of the peak, but with the central spire reaching up into the clouds, looking like a glittering broadsword reaching into the air from afar on rare, clear sky days. Emarkäss is believed to hold all types of natural Isldar together in a grand, sprawling capital. The high peak is operated by the Lessay of the Spire, who runs a cabal of Crystal Spire Isldar that spies and keeps records of the Isldar people. The western slope caverns are said to hold the Wyvern pens with Voltalar housing and the Voltalar Lessay named Baroovin. This man is considered the great Wyvern rider of his time among the Isldar. The central caverns, a vast network of elegant natural caves carved and enhanced through the use of Magic, are run by Shiva Cavern Isldar, and their Lessay. This is also the artistic heart of the city, where ice silk is woven into clothing, and beautiful art is created from Soul Essence and ice. Finally, there are the Vast Vaults, which takes up the rest of the city and has broad avenues with much of the city’s housing. The Lessay here is in charge of military operations for the city, and it is also here that the city’s guards and warriors train. It has quick access up, through, and down to all other areas of the Hold because of this, and is also said to hold frozen waterfalls. The Hold is said to also hold the bodies of some of the greatest of Isldar kind, recovered over decades and carefully stored away in cocoons of ice and silk in beautiful catacombs. However, many outsiders believe the city to have a dark side, Dwarven slaves laboring deep in the mountain to produce the raw material used by the artisans and craftsmen far above, or forced to make tools and weapons for their keepers. Additionally, in contrast to the beautiful catacombs for their own kind, the foot of the mountain is said to show the corpses of one and a thousand Dwarves, Ailor, Vampires, Cahal, and more who found the Hold or sought to harm it. Their ghostly moans and screams of pain are said to echo in the surrounding valley. It is unknown if Emarkäss’majolidona was drawn into the recent Isldar civil war, though most suspect it may have remained neutral or uninvolved to prevent harm to its multi-facetted, unified way of life.
The Deep Dark
While not strictly a singular location, “The Deep Dark” is the loose name attributed to a long series of ruins and holds beneath the Stillen Mountain Chain, not far from the Dwarven Hold of Aldruin. In the fallout of their conflicts with the Dakkar, the Dwarven people were forced to abandon many of their in-progress holds and mine shafts. In that absence, the interconnected ruins and tunnels still attract the odd adventurer, keen on uncovering what the Stout Folk were forced to abandon in their conflicts with the Dakkar. Rumours have persisted that the Dwarves of Aldruin are attempting to retake those lost tunnels, while others insist an entirely new society has sprung up under the Stillen Mountain Chain. Only one rumour ever had any substance to it, when a small merchant caravan returned from Ellador with a sizable cart of Skysteel weapons and armor, supposedly taken from the Deep Dark. Whether anything living remains in those dark corridors is beyond public knowledge, but merely the chance of knowledge or reward is enough to draw curious adventurers, much to the annoyance of the Dwarves remaining in Aldruin.
Byenavenhet is the capital city of the Tryllejag Realm and an impressive example of Velheim inland settlements. The city is at least a century old, but many local tales set it as being as old as the Cataclysm. Several broad, well-traveled paths lead into the city past great oaken doors and thick stone walls interlaced with wood. Inside of the city, the homes are simple but effective, made of thatch, wood, and stone in sizes from only a few dozen square feet to the large and open halls of several hundred square feet. The northern area of the city is set on the local lake, Lake Byen, and while a portion of this shoreline is used as a harbor, the rest is a training ground set within sight of the largely wooden royal hall. From here, the Kings of Tryllejag have watched their greatest warriors train for combat in the water and on land. A sizable Urlan population also exists in the city, with some being guests from Jorrhildr but the majority are actually created through purposeful infestation in “transformation groves” found near the royal hall. The city is dotted with fine examples of Tryllejagger wood carving, from within homes on the walls or support columns, to public sculptures commemorating great victories of their nation. The final Julvin Gate also sits close to the city, and a broad path leads the way to its location at the edge of Lake Byen. The site is a place of religious pilgrimage, like all Julvin Gates, and the city has benefited greatly from the many yearly visitors from across the Velheim world, but so have the Tryllejag kings, who are always known to be quite interested in the Velheim opinions from distant lands.
- Many dark-hearted Dwarves speak of ways to destroy the many Isldar Holds that coat the mountains of Ellador, as many of these peaks hold peak doors which theoretically hold access to the heart of the Isldar cities built atop them. Others point out that the Isldar often destroyed these doors, but that does not stop the dreamers and schemers.
- The Isldar, at least before they fell into conflict amongst themselves, were true to their word about protecting their subjects. When the Anglian Mist Crisis caused grain shipments from Anglia to cease, the Isldar kept the Regalian-dependant regions fed and alive.
- Ellador’s Drovv ruins are believed to have fallen into the sea when the Cataclysm took place.