“The natural world is a world of war; the natural man is a warrior; the natural law is tooth and claw. All else is error. A condition of combat everywhere exists. We are born into perpetual conflict. It is our inheritance, even as it was the heritage of previous generations.”
– Quote attributed to the first Black King of Thane.
The Broken Kingdom of Thane has always been and continues to be a source of trouble and violence in Elatreus. Even it’s origins are stained red with blood, as the first golden age of man was shattered by its earliest ancestor, the first murderer, and it was his tribe who settled in these fertile lands before the war in heaven, and perpetuated a base culture of aggression and violence.
Made up of 12 Kingdoms engaged in centuries of perpetual warfare, they were forcefully united by the so called first “Black King of Thane” over 1,200 years ago, and turned their attention to the world outside.. -What followed was a reign of terror lasting 300 years that shook the world to its foundations, spawned numerous plagues and was the home to not one but two of the four known DeathKnights..
These days, the broken Kingdom as it is known is largely abandoned, the last threat to arise there was the Drake Riding Black Queen of Thane over 600 years ago – and in the years since it has been home only to disparate tribes of squabbling Orcs.
But 1000 years after the Cataclysmic Wars, it was said that the shadow over this land was finally lifted, and – tentatively at first – and then in much greater numbers when gold and iron deposits were rediscovered, both Silverleaf and the Aelutian Empire have begun unofficially colonizing the empty lands, though not without a great deal of hardship. And with rumors of a great Orcish King beginning to unite the various disparate Orc tribes in the region and mold them into his own army, with designs on eventually sacking Silverleaf and taking over the Badlands, the future of this region is uncertain to say the least.
THANE AT A GLANCE
The race of the Thanes themselves is considered extinct.
Military: 800 militia of varying levels of training and competency. 100 mercenaries stationed at Dawnfront and Farbarrow respectively. Approx 25,000-50,000 Orc warriors (true number yet unknown).
Racial Characteristics: The original people of the Kingdom of Thane tended towards heavy musculature and an extremely aggressive disposition due primarily to prehistorical interbreeding with Orcs. Skin tones vary from white to light brown, brown hair and brown, hazel or even yellow eyes with black instead of white scelera. In the current era, the original Thanish bloodline exists only in Half Orcs and the ancient refugees that fled to Silverleaf and settled in the now independent city state of Elnarnan – true Thanish characteristics are exceeding uncommon.
Historically, a small percentage of the Thanes were ‘gifted’ with tainted blood and expressed various demonic abilities. These Thanes were elite shock troops and often held positions of power within the military and the priesthood.
The Thanish language and script is an extinct language and exists today only as a few guttural words describing acts of violence and various vulgarities in the city state of Elnarnan. Colonists largely speak Imperial Aelutian.
MAJOR TOWNS, CITIES AND PLACES OF INTEREST
SILVERLEAF COLONIES: When the 1000 year anniversary of the end of the Thanish Empire under the terrible Deathknight passed, through old prophesies and new signs of change in the land itself, the people of Silverleaf believed that the curse and vile plagues that had haunted Thane had finally come to an end and bold explorers crossed the river south of their lands to establish several farming and mining colonies.
All was well for a time. But recently concerted attacks by Orcs from the South forced the Royal Army to conduct a series of counter raids, recently destroying a large Orcish settlement with several thousand Orc warriors just as they were poised to march North in earnest.. Because of this threat, many would be colonists are rethinking their decision, and with rumors of even more Orcs readying for an even larger attack, the colony, which is barely one generation old, looks to be on very shaky ground indeed.
NORTHERN COLONIES: Hardy and independent minded freemen of the Aeultian Empire staked their fortunes on these new (and unsanctioned) unofficial Colonies, trickling in at the same time as the Silverleaf settlements were founded. Due to rich mining deposits, the Northern Colonies have been growing in leaps and bounds over the last 30 years, attracting all manner of rough and ready new colonists. However, all is not well, as the Westernmost mining town was recently wiped off the map by a massive unprecedented Orcish incursion.
With no support guaranteed from either the Empire or Silverleaf (who, while they would not want to see the Colonists slaughtered, consider these new territories uncomfortably close to the Silverleaf border) the people of the Northern Colonies are hiring their own mercenaries, and are even rumored to be in negotiations with the Hobgoblins of the Badlands for assistance, such is their fear of being overrun..
FARBARROW: The lands around Farbarrow are some of the richest, most fertile on the continent. Colonists need only casually drop seed on the ground to see lush crops spring up, and there are rich deposits of gold and silver in the foothills. Due to recent, increased attacks by Orc raiders, Farbarrow, which sprang up only 25 years ago, is in the process of fortification. Whether it will be enough, however, remains to be seen..
NEW TERRITORIES: Unlike their fellow Aelutians to the north, the peoples of the New Territories are part of an officially sanctioned border expansion by the Aelutian Empire and stretch back to surround Windy Lake, but the actual settlements are all concentrated along its southern shores.
However, they have in common with their northern neighbors recent and extremely unsettling clashes with organized Orcish warbands – and have had their confidence shaken from recently losing a town of 300 families to the South to Orcish raiders. While the Empires resources stretched from recent losses in the ongoing war with Escia and the process of reinvigorating the armed forces is well underway, it will be at least another year before there are enough Legionnaires to spare to protect these settlements. As such, for the time being the Empire has contented itself with sending armed mercenaries in to hunt down and weaken the Orcs, but even this may be too little too late to save the territories from another concerted attack..
DAWNFRONT: Capital of the New Territories, Dawnfront is an incredibly eclectic town full of proud, headstrong colonists. But recent events have cast a dark shadow over its future, and in recent months, many of the less determined colonists have been leaving the town. Whether or not it will continue to prosper or be abandoned will depend very much on how successfully the mercenaries hired by the Empire and the Royal Army of Silverleaf are able to hunt down and control the unexpectedly large Orcish presence in the Southern lands.
WINDY LAKE: The Southern shores, beautiful. The north, desolate as it butts against the Badlands. The waters, while rough due to the Western Winds that whip in from across the sea and are funneled towards the Badlands, are brimming with fish, including several high in demand rare and delicious species exclusive to the area.
GRAY BASIN: Swampland. Miles and miles of it, bogging down the road to the South along the great inland sea. A place few, if any, enter. And fewer leave..
THE DARK HARBOR: Once the ancient Thanish capital of Acraedeggon, the dark harbor is all that remains after it was blasted to pieces during the war between the Paragon and the Deathknight. Here in the ruins and network of extensive catacombs beneath the old capital, the Orc King Gurak the Malevolent gathers his army, having defeated or absorbed all other tribes under his dark banner.
THE MONSTER OF THE INLAND SEA
Ever since anyone can remember, the Inland Sea that borders Thane, the Land of the Dead and the Empire has had desolate, lonely shores. Despite the sea having huge reserves of fish, no-one dares to approach the quiet lapping waters..
For this sea is the home of an unspeakably awful creature that inspires such fear that even though the inner seas circumference is hundreds of miles long, and the chances of actually encountering it should be extremely unlikely at best, no-one with an ounce of common sense would risk it. For it is said that to come within range of its mass of erupting, grasping grey tentacles is to court certain death.
What the creature actually is has never been determined. All that has been determined is that it is immune to and strengthened by magical attacks, too big to harm with conventional weapons, and the first and the last thing anyone foolish enough to come close to the shore has ever seen is bubbling and roiling of the waters before masses of tentacles erupt and pull the next unfortunate victim into the deep, never to resurface..
Some legends claim that the beast was caught when small by the Deathknight himself when he was fishing in the lake as a boy, and threw it back into the lake in disgust. But the stories of this monster date back to the War in Heaven, and the general consensus is that it was either a type of Golgoloth created by the Fallen or IS one of the Fallen who has taken on a permanent flesh form.
Actual sightings are rare – due in part to the sheer size of the inland sea and the tendency for the monster to spend its time in the darkest depths. But it can be and is sighted at any point along the coast of the inland sea, though usually from a distance and as bubbles, tentacles or something big and very nasty moving deep in the seas reddish waters.
Whatever the truth of its true form or its origin may be, one thing is certain. Only the suicidal or the mad would dare to approach its deserted, cursed shores..