On a chilly day in snow covered Valloryn two tall figures approached from the west, heading for the center of town. They moved cautiously and soundlessly, their feet leaving paw prints in the snow. As people noticed them and started gathering around, the two creatures revealed themselves as Tabaxi, a proud feline-like race. The male, midnight black with faint spots introduced himself as Night Of Eclipsed Moon, Night Moon for short. His companion, a female with spotted golden fur was introduced as Light Breaks Through Dark Shadows, or just Light.
Night Moon explained that they came from two tribes, his own Burning Sands, and Light’s Proud Falls. He further went on to explain that the two tribes were travelling from their homes to a meeting point when Proud Falls were waylaid by Malarite pelt hunters. Light, being the only one to escape the attack, came to Burning Sands for aid. Burning Sands scouted out the location of the ambush and tracked the Malarites enough to realise that the hunting party was larger than they had ever seen before and that they needed help. So they went to Valloryn, despite reservations to gain aid.
Once Night Moon was done explaining his predicament, the people of Rhoaven rallied to help the Tabaxi so he and Light took them back to the rest of the Burning Sands, who were gathered in a wooded area south of Rhoaven. Once there, the scouts gave an update on the current location of the Malarites and the captured Proud Falls people, in the south-east. The force moved in that direction, travelling for a time before Night Moon paused them, scenting them ahead. The force split into three to flank the Malarites while the people of Burning Sands slipped into the woods to approach the camp from behind and free Proud Falls.
Fighting ensued, the Malarites skilled with bows pelting the folk of Rhoaven with many arrows, while their shamans fought with destructive magics, jackal companions at their sides. Swords flashed and magic crackled through the air as the people of Rhoaven fought against the onslaught, more Malarites coming from the surrounding area to join the battle. Eventually the hunters were beaten back by the overwhelming offensive of the heroes. Night Moon and Light moved to free the Tabaxi of Proud Falls who were tied to the surrounding trees while the rest of the Burning Sands moved through the woods dispatching any straggling Malarites. After the battle was won the Tabaxi thanked the people of Rhoaven for their aid and promised to open up more relations between their tribes and Rhoaven. They gathered their injured and slipped off into the rainy distance.
:: Discovering Rhoaven ::
Era Two History
The ancient lands of Rhoaven are comprised primarily of the great peninsula jutting out from the northern coast of Anchorome; a land largely concealed from the gaze of civilization for millennia. Though the coastline of Anchorome, like all of Toril, has long been mapped in its entirety due to the efforts of Torilian sages and spelljammers alike, Anchorome has remained almost entirely unexplored since the death of the famed explorer Balduran and the disastrous expedition launched centuries later by the Flaming Fists. Even then, however, the peninsula now known as Rhoaven has remained a mystery due to a magical phenomena dubbed the "Undesirable Curse" by the unimaginative scholar who first documented the spell. The enchantment is relatively simple in its purpose and function, but is possessed of a power and strength beyond that of even the greatest mortal spellcasters. Simply put, the Curse ensures that the closer one comes to the shores of Rhoaven the less one actually desires to reach it. As a result, nothing whatsoever is today known of the peninsula save for some scant details of its coastline. Indeed, the entire landmass has largely been written off as a dead end by explorers. Until now. The onset of the magical cataclysm now known as the Spellplague brought about many changes to the partially reformed Abeir-Toril, one of which was the collapse of a portion of the protective wards encircling Rhoaven. It took little time for news of such a significant change to sweep across the Trackless Sea to inspire a new era of exploration. Within a scant few years an expedition to the unexplored peninsula was announced to the world by the adventurous and honorable Duke Keldroun Obarskyr; a distant cousin of King Azoun V Obarskyr of the Kingdom of Cormyr, and a well-respected Purple Dragon knight. Financed by the kindly Arnauld of Wheloon, an obscenely wealthy Waukeenar merchant lord, the expedition is to be the first of its kind for the Forest Country. While past members of the noble house of Obarskyr have been known to be hale and hardy adventurers no prince of the blood has ever announced an adventure of such a magnitude as this.. As the Year of the Shalarins Surfacing begins, the first fleet of ships having departed months before to establish a beachhead upon the far-away shores, Duke Keldroun sails forth with the remainder of his men to begin their glorious conquest. Only one stop is to be made, with the Blue Dragon fleet pausing at within the Black-Sailed Port of Westerwind in the northern Korrins for supplies and manpower in the form of prospective adventurers, merchants, nobles, and more alike. Though the history of Rhoaven is yet unknown, a new chapter of its story shall soon be written by the brave men and women looking for a new life within the exotic land.
Soon propelled by the massive wave of energy generated by the cleansing of the Gildorym Isles, the Duke’s fleet sailed north at a furious pace. The refugees aboard the Cormyrian flagship barely survived the flight from their former homeland, the great ship barely making it out of port without damage, but soon they were free of the Isles and seemingly without additional consequences. A month of travel followed their escape, and eventually land was in sight. Landing in a small harbor on the northern edge of the peninsula, the Duke and the refugees find the camp that supposedly awaited them was in ruins; its only inhabitant a confused and maddened old man. Slowly the surviving Gildorites piece together that much more time had passed than it seemed. Shortly thereafter the sound of firing cannons echoes inland from the sea, and with it even more refugees - though greatly changed. Soon thereafter the survivors realize that it roughly eleven years had passed since the cleansing of the Gildorym Isles. Although still struggling to comprehend what had happened, the new inhabitants of Rhoaven turn their attention to a far more urgent matter- survival in a new uncharted land.
Deep within the Korrin Archipelago, a collection of uncharted isles off of the Sword Coast, lies an isle shrouded in mystery, the soon to be Gildorym Isles. For a millennia the unfamiliar waters and perilous tides have kept these isles safe and secluded. While many have told of the supposed riches to be found within few dare venture into those waters, instead finding safer passage further south toward the Moonshae Isles. The wayward fisherman on the outskirts of the Karim, tell of the protection the sea goddess Umberlee over these isles. However, be it mere stories or true accounts, tales of those lost to the sea there have kept all but the most fearless, or desperate away..
In the year 1398 DR, Maer Dauldon Longstride, a lesser noble from Waterdeep, struggling to increase his standing in the city, he found the markets controlled by his competitors, the courts dictated by those with greater standing and the lords already bought. This brought him to the realization that his competitors were tightening their hold on his assets and estate. So he sought to find his power elsewhere, and so set forth his agents and servants to find for him tales of great treasure and rumors of expeditions to dangerous lands. It was there where they heard the stories of the treasures and unpopulated lands not far off the Sword Coast, north of the Moonshae Isles.
Scouts were dispatched across the sea, to investigate these claims, when they returned he was greatly pleased. They talked of an untouched isle, rich with resources and harboring only primitive inhabitants, ripe for the taking. So his mind was set, and he planned his expedition to the archipelago to find an isle that was worth colonizing. He raised notices throughout Waterdeep, an expedition of fortune and adventure, seeking hardy men and women looking for a new life. The answer was resounding, within a month he has raised enough men and women to fill two boats. Leaving with what little assets he had remaining to his family, he departed from the harbor in the summer of that year.
They sailed the hard seas of the Sword Coast, pushing into the the mysterious archipelago. Many islands were barren rockland, others had plains but the soil was poor and infertile, so they sailed on. Months passed and the voyage was becoming fruitless, food was running scarce and fever was spreading throughout the ship. Maer Dauldon reached an impasse, seeing many Isles on the horizon he was left to make a decision, for he could surely only make one more journey. So he offered forth a prayer to Umblerlee, ordering his men to pull a Goat from below, he sliced its neck, offering its blood and body as sacrifice to the Bitch Sea Goddess, so she might bless his voyage.
The crew grew dark, knowing their lord's plea could attract the territorial goddess's ire, they were not far wrong. Soon after the rain began, the wind tore at the sails, and the waves towered high, crashing down on the deck over and over, the ships were tossed astray. The sailors could not see further than 100 yards from the ship through the thick waves that tossed them about the tumultuous sea. Maer Dauldon, opened his looking glass and thought he caught a glimpse of a cliff, with a lone figure dancing on its edge.The figure was spinning in all manner of directions, and as he flourished again and again, the waves crashed down on the ships and the night fell silent.
The ships had been destroyed in the storm, but they were not without luck, they had struck land. The boat had run aground on the beach the beach of one of the isles. Collecting what resources he could salvage and carrying his sick and wounded, Maer Dauldon made his way from the ravaged vessel, pushing inland through dark woods until he found a peninsula of grassland. With no way of return home he elected to create shelter, and the people began to build homesteads and farms so they could survive the coming winter. Under his orders the exploration of the isle began, scouts were sent to the four corners of the isle. They returned with news of great mountains in the north, thick jungle in the west and barren arid land to the south. They also spoke of a Tribe, who called themselves the People of the Black Blood. They were reported to be simple folk with not much in the way of technology, seemingly more focused on a simple life.
How wrong they were. After the seventh day on the isle, reports began to surface of strange figures lurking in the dark of the nights, of howling in the distance, and then eventually one approached the settlement. The beast was covered head to toe in fur, armed with claws twice the length of a man's hand and masked by the face of a wolf. Its anger grew and it began to tear at the settlers, hacking indiscriminately at men, women and children. A dozen settlers were ripped apart before their swords struck down the beast. Maer Dauldon attempted to build a barricade around the settlement, but it was not enough. The attacks of these abominations continued, the monsters launched themselves against the cluster of poorly defended buildings. striking out with increasing ferocity. This second attack was fought off, but many more came, stronger,larger, more ferocious and even more devastating than the last. That night Maer Dauldon Longstride himself was struck down and dragged, screaming and flailing, off into the night. It wasn’t long before all hope was thought lost, and as the residents cowered behind their walls, a lone ship was spotted on the horizon. The ship contained his son, Richard Longstride, who after selling his father's estates and assets, hired a retinue of men to assist him in the search for his Father.
He marched inland as soon as they landed, and was greeted by the chaos and carnage that had befallen these people. However it was after hearing news of his father's disappearance, that he sent men searching every corner of the isle for the tribe. When they found them they slaughtered every man, woman and child of the Black Blood Tribe until not one remained. They called it The Cleansing and believed it would bring peace. Though they scoured the land, no evidence of Maer Dauldon was found. Richard was also told by the settlers that Maer Dauldon wished to name the isle after his late wife, Gildorym.
Seven years after The Cleansing, the settlement had grown strong and prosperous. The retinue of men returned home, paid well and sending word to Waterdeep that the isle had been claimed, the lands and riches ready for those willing to work for them. Richard erected huge battlements to defend the town should the Black Bloods or other beasts of their kind returned. As trade flourished and the town prospered. Richards decided to name the town after his father, in his memory, convinced he was long dead.
With the ship that sent the retinue back to Waterdeep, orders were sent for new notices to be posted throughout the city.
“The Isle of Gildorym seeks Settlers and Adventurers, for a new life, for Fame and Fortune.
Report to the docks and find the Salty Sealion on the first day of every month. Travel is free, the rewards fruitful.”
As more and more people answered the call, Maer Dauldon began to grow and new settlements appeared, dotting the isle, new isles nearby were discovered opening new opportunities for the settlers. So too were discovered ruins of a more sinister past. Some of these offered a home and refuge to the newcomers but in far more, only death awaited those foolish enough to venture in.
:: Drama Birthed From Peace ::
Through from these ruins rose a group of dwarves, empowered by the reclamation of an ancient dwarven hold in the far north of the isle, they dared to claim independence from the kingdom of Gildorym. In Agamar they made their home, and from there they launched their attacks on the city of Maer Dauldon. While bloody and vicious the war was not long. Sacrificed his life Grom, a Half-Orc and current Knight Commander, distracted the forces that invaded the capital, Maer Dauldon, and allowed the citizens to escape to various nearby towns. Thanks to the efforts of Grom and others who returned prepared the dwarven king found himself captured, and facing execution. However, the King of Gildorym, William Longstride decided to pursue what seemed to be a more peaceful solution. The resolution was decided that the dwarves would leave the Gildorym isle and travel to one of the other recently discovered isles in close proximity.
However William was not forthright, and betrayed his agreement, sending assassins to slaughter them once they arrived, and by morning they were no more. Within a few years, William Longstride was attacked by unknown creatures and was disposed of leaving the current Knight Commander, Jayius Whitestorm, to take the throne. From the rise of a new king excited builders and merchants appeared and the capital of Gildorym was reborn with a new layout and design that was the focus for many years. Slowly through turmoil of various degrees he kept the throne until another faction of renegades and lycans formed under the name of Deepwood, and in their attempt to secede from the Gildorym Kingdom declared war. The ensuing battles were as vicious and forced many of the inhabitants of the land to flee to other places, and so the city of Bray became the center of elves across the isles under the new leadership of Celahir and those that accompanied him known as “Nomads”. However Bray was not the only city formed, for several years later, the city of Astrium would be rebuilt on the eastern isle headed by the Stryker brothers.
Through the deepwood rebellion, Jayius Whitestorm betrayed his people and Aora, his wife, took the throne. All seemed to be in order and the future looked prosperous, and that was when Richard Longstride died at the height of festivities. If his death were not gruesome enough, from his body rose a figure, declaring himself as Shadow, before vanishing from the city.
Though they did not know it then, the most insidious threat ever to set foot on the isles had just been unleashed, Shadow. The creature fled from the scene, leaving behind only a small toy horse. That night the gates of Agamar opened and from it came creatures of unspeakable, horror, a terrible storm sprung up across the isles. As the skies were split with lightning and the ground shook, the isles trembled with fear. Things started slowly at first, small incidents, sightings, illnesses, attacks. When morning came, three towers had been erected across the isles. Holme, the beautiful city of nature, was burned to the ground lava, dark creatures and fire ate through the city until not a thing remained.