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Long ago there was a realm called Aerilon....
It was said that years and years ago dragons roamed Aerilon. They ruled over the other races with burning flame. Turmoil was everywhere, but the gods frowned upon the inequality of the races and annihilated the dragons for the misuse of their powers. The gods then formed a city called Goldwell and claimed that the other races would have 3,000 years of prosperity and appointed the humans the guardians of Goldwell. It is now 3,000 years later and Aerilon has flourished and prospered with fair kings and a just government, but it is whispered throughout the streets that war is coming from the far south. Are these just tales made by the bards to entertain their crowds, or something more?
Sky Elves -- The sky elves live in the lush forest of the east that borders sea. Trees there grow well past the clouds and the age of most are unknown. The elves worship these trees as their gods, and very rarely leave their sanctuary of the forest. They gained their name from the massive birds that live in the region which they tame and ride like horses. They are very skilled at flying through and around the treetops at unbelievable speeds, and each has a very special bond with their own bird. Some of the talented elves can even telepathically talk to their bird if it is within a certain distance. Each sky elf is given a bird as a child and if it dies, it takes many years to reconnect with a new bird. As for weapons, they favor the bow, but also are known for their apt ability with knives. Sky elves have very long lives, living to be well over 400 years old. They are also the only race that has their own language, but most of them also know the common tongue. They are possibly the wisest of the races and are very adept in healing magic, but unable to use destructive magic at all. They also for some reason have an irrational fear of any large body of water. As for where they live, it is said that they live in one massive city in the middle of the forest, but no man or dwarf has ever laid eyes upon it.
Dwarves -- The dwarves live in the icy mountains to the north. Short and stout they don't own horses, and only use mules as a form of carrying things through the thick snow. They have adapted to the cold and have become almost immune to it. They, like elves, live well past 300. One can often outdrink 15 men or 30 elves showing that their constitution is outstanding, and they can go for days without sleep. Poison doesn't effect them and their eyes have grown accustom to the dark, letting them see perfectly in the dark. Though, their most remarkable feature is by far their inhuman strength. They are able to wield massive weapons and can move almost any object. They favor thick plate mail with a trusty two handed sword, mace, or axe to back it up. They can not, or rather do not, use magic. Unlike the elves they are said to live in separate clans, each in their own mountain, the powerful clan leaders always feuding. There is never a time of peace in the north.
Men -- The men. They are men, what else needs to be said? Some wish to eat, drink, and sleep their way to an early grave while others wish to achieve glory and honor. They definitely are the most diverse of the races, being anything from swordsmen and archers to assassins and wizards. The one thing to note about men in this realm is that they, for the most part, are tolerated by both elves and dwarves. Neither faction loves them, but they won't make rude remarks on sight like they will with each other. They are also able to use healing magic as well as destruction magic unlike the elves or dwarves. Though the very powerful wizards live usually in the southern deserts, away from people to have time to master their magic. Some however, live in the capital of the human country, Goldwell. The men control over half the continent and hold both the south and the west. They also outnumber both the dwarves and the sky elves.
The Raiders -- The raiders are just what they are called. They do not resemble humans in the slightest. They ride on camels and look much like orcs, with sharp teeth and grimy faces. They come from the far south every few years and make the long journey across the desert to pillage and plunder whatever or whoever they can. Some years Bullmar holds them off, but other years they make their way all the way to Goldwell, but they have never taken it. These savages have no sign of human emotions and only think of their next meal. They feast on human flesh, but prefer sky elves... (dwarves are a bit too stringy lol). They care not for money or wealth but only for violence and bloodshed. The raiders are viciously skilled warriors who use long curved blades in both hands as well as some carry long bows. They are never organized, but have massive numbers which overwhelm everything. In the last 10 years they have left Aerilon alone and have not even been seen south of Bullmar where they usually reside, but rumors say that there is a massive army of raiders gathering, and this time they are being led by someone. A wizard.
Vampires -- There is no real proof that these creatures exist, but the bodies that float up on the shore sure do make a convincing argument. Almost all people picture them to be evil bloodthirsty villains, but a few speculate that some of them are in fact misunderstood. Either way the only thing that is known for sure is that if they do exist, they have to drink human or animal blood regularly. ( What isn't known is that the Island of Gil does actually hold vampires. They can not use magic at all, but are able to control the minds of their victims to some extent. They can only control one person at a time and if they try to make a person do something completely against their will, like murder or suicide, the victims will can over power the vampires curse. In daylight the are unbelievably weak and are unable to run or put up any real fight. They can eat normal food but must have the blood of a human or animal every week to sustain themselves or they will starve. They can be turned by priests and burn from holy water. The only way to kill one is with a stake, but cutting off their arms, legs, head works as well, though they are still technically alive ( lol ). )
Giants -- Much like the vampires no one has ever actually had proof of their existence, but a number of dwarves swear that they have seen them, and that they are still alive. These dwarves claim that the giants are anywhere from 12 to 15 feet tall and eat everything from rocks to the stray mountain goat. They also say that they can barley speak the common tongue and that they have a language all to their own made up of grunts and hand gestures. ( What isn't known is that these giants much like the dwarves live in clans with anywhere from 3 or 4 to 9 or 10 giants in each clan, but there are actually only around a dozen clans still left in existence. )
Dragon Kin -- These, what might be called beasts, are by far the rarest race in Aerilon with there actually being less Dragon Kin than giants or vampires. There are tens of thousands of humans per Dragon Kin, most people have no idea that they exist. Those who do know they exist believe they somehow are ancestors of the ancient dragons that went extinct thousands of years ago. They look exactly like a normal person, but in dire circumstances when they are threatened grow a tail and wings. They gain immense strength and have the ability to move at insane speeds with higher coordination than normal. Though, they can not control the power they are almost unstoppable in this state, but can sometimes be a danger to their own allies. Once the rage or danger subsides they turn back to their normal self and collapse, worn out, and usually sleep for multiple days. They also have the strange ability to be immune to poison like the dwarves. They can't use any magic and are unable to learn how to ride a horse for some reason because horses will not go near them. As soon as one walks near a horse it is startled and does anything in its power to get away. They are just like humans in all other respects.
(Haha, laugh at my poor photoshop skills. Go ahead. I know you want to.)
The North -- The north is full of rugged mountains and little else. The occasional shrub may be clinging on for dear life to the side of a cliff, but other than that trees are unheard of. Rocks on the other hand are even more common than dirt. Boulders are everywhere, and avalanches are a common occurrence with hundreds of dwarves being killed each year by them. It is said that there are still some giants that live in the caves in the far northern mountains, but there is no real evidence to support this. It is also said that the caves of the north hold all manner of other beasts, and along with them hidden treasure that have been long forgotten by the ancient clans of the dwarves. Since it is so cold in the north the elves are not able to fly their birds past the border and thus avoid the north all together. In fact, no one wants to be in the north except the dwarves. Though it may have harsh conditions the mountains are full of precious gems and ore. The dwarves mine them, trade them down in Goldwell, and bring food back north to store for the unbearable winters.
The South -- The south is as barren as the north, and even lacks the redeeming qualities of the north, like lost treasure and mines full of solid gold. It is an unforgivable place where a sandstorm can wipe out an entire army within minutes. There are a few oasis that dot this forsaken land, but if one does not know where they are it is easy to die of dehydration. One thing is certain of the south though, it raises the roughest and toughest men and women alive. The saying goes that one southerner is equal to ten westerners. The south only has one city, Bullmar, but nomadic tribes and gypsies can often be found moving from oasis to oasis. The south breeds strong warriors, between the rough terrain and the raiders that attack every few years. No one lives long unless they play unfair. Full of thieves and vagabonds, many criminals of Goldwell escape south just because they know that guards won't chase them past Bullmar. Possibly the most interesting quality of the south is that its remoteness attracts wizards and witches both weak and strong. Some will take over an oasis and make it their own, requiring some sort of tribute if you disturb them to try and fill up on water. Needless to say there is almost always someone at the oasis, but a good solid map of the south does not exist, only a few brave guides that require a very pretty penny.
The East -- Little is known about the east compared to the rest of Aerilon. The sky elves do not allow anyone to enter their sacred forest without permission, unlike the dwarves who dare you to try and survive the unbearable winters in the north. What is known, is that the east has massive trees that reach far past the clouds, and the meadows beneath them grow some of the strangest and most beautiful plant life in all of the realm. Some say the plants are even "alive" and will attack you if you try to harm the forest. The east is the most mystical land for sure, with untold powers of healing and wisdom. It borders the other ocean which was never given a name since men could hardly get to it. It is common knowledge that sky elves are terribly afraid of water so most people speculate that they have no navy. They very rarely leave the east, and when they do it is only to trade in Goldwell, never to go to the south or north. The east also has many ponds and rivers that weave in and out of the dense forest that make for a very soothing atmosphere. Some people even say there are rare hot springs in the east that drastically slow down the aging process, and many a fool has gone into the forests praying to find such a thing only to never return.
The West -- The west is mostly full of farmers and hunters. It is the most suitable climate to live, and between Goldwell and Portsmith there are few bandits wandering the roads. There are massive fields and large forests full of game in the west. Well over half the humans live there, and even the rare dwarf or elf finds it more peaceful than their home country, but they rarely associate with anyone. Small villages scatter the west which all pay taxes and get protection from the city closest to them. There are also many horse breeders in the west, and the best stallions are found there. The west also borders The Great Sea which has abundant fish that attract little villages of fishermen. The west is the place to be if one wants to live a normal and peaceful life, and the only real action that happens in the west is the pirates that sometimes raid the villages on the shore or attack the stray merchant. Still, the west does have a few ship captains that could take a southerner and squish him like a grape.
The Island of Gil -- Much like the east, little is known about The Island of Gil. The only rumor that floats around is that it is completely controlled by a clan of vampires. Of course there is no proof of this. Though, it is a fact that every adventurer who has tried to land on The Island of Gil has never come back, only their lifeless bodies sometimes float back to the shore, pale as ghosts with puncture wounds in their neck. Many sailors have set sail from the north and claimed to have seen the island, which is the only reason it is on most current maps. They say that it is covered in a purple mist that is unexplainable.
Goldwell -- Aptly named, Goldwell is where all the money throughout the realm seems to go. The massive human empire ranges both the the desserts of the south and the plains and forests of the west, but Goldwell lays as far northeast in human territory as it can which sticks it in the dead center of Aerilon. It has trade from the nomads of the south, farmers of the west, dwarves of the north, and sky elves of the east. It was said to have been created by the gods themselves, and it dates back far past written records. It has five layers of walls each scaling up in size, along with a huge moat, which makes it practically impregnable. The armed city guards of Goldwell number well over 5,000. The city itself is massive, covering miles and miles of land. It, along with Bullmar and Portsmith, is ruled by whoever is the current human king at the time. The king sits at the throne, which is forged out of solid gold, and he lives in the center of Goldwell behind the fifth wall.
Sky Elves City -- This city is completely a mystery. Some say its in the air, and others the ground, but no one knows for sure except the sky elves themselves, who never talk about it to anyone.
Portsmith -- This city is in the far west. It is not near as large as Goldwell, but is built right upon The Great Sea of the west and thus also has much trade. It has a very massive navy but a rather small number of city guards. It controls the seas for many miles and is threatened by no other naval power. Many pirates live near Portsmith feasting upon the merchants who come and go, but the navy does its best to keep them under control. Even though Portsmith is full of drunken sailors and loose women, it was soundly planned out and built. It rests on a large peninsula surrounded by water on three sides. It also has one large wall with towers at each corner, attacking this city, much like Goldwell, would be suicidal without the proper army and siege equipment.
Bullmar -- By far the only livable place in the deserts of the south, it sits on the largest oasis of the entire desert. The only thing that connects it with the rest of the continent is a small string of water holes that you can follow up to plains of the west and eventually Goldwell. It is full of groups of nomads and gypsies along with the stray wizard and witch. It sees few visitors other than these, but the toughest of the tough live here. One of the main differences in Bullmar from the other cities is that it allows slavery. Along with slavery it also has a large colosseum in which gladiators compete and fight for both money and their own life. The gladiators are rougher than almost any living creature in all of Aerilon. They range from captured sky elves and dwarves to men who have no way of buying food for their families other than selling themselves into slavery. Either way all gladiators grow into amazing athletes and skilled warriors or they quickly die in the pit. Bullmar also has the greatest diversity in jobs, with people being everything from a wealthy merchant to a bloodthirsty assassin. Though it is a fact that if you live in Bullmar you most likely do not play by the rules. Low life scum and thieves abound and one must always watch his gold if he is wandering the streets at night.
The politics in Aerilon are very simple. The dwarven clans bicker constantly for no real reason, with the strongest dwarf being the leader of his or her clan. The sky elves are thought to be ruled by a monarch who is judged by age and wisdom. Since they live for so long these monarchs last for a good while. The human politics are a bit more complicated but not by much. Goldwell is the human capital. It's king is determined by birth line and nothing more. The king controls all of the south and the west, but it is split up into two major cities which govern their region. Bullmar controls the south and Portsmith controls the west. The king appoints a governor in each city to keep that region loyal to him. The people of that region are taxed by the governor and the governor sends a share to the king in Goldwell as well as keeps a share to further the development of his or her own city, pay the guards, ect... Each city has its own personal guard that keeps the city's inhabitants under control and if need be helps fend off attackers. The main army of the king consists of around 20,000 men that are pulled from all three cities in times of danger to fight for "the good of the realm".
Guilds - Guilds are a very important aspect of Aerilon. Guilds often have a main building in each major human city where its members can meet, talk, and pick up assignments. Most guilds take assignments from individuals and assign them to its members. Once the assignment is complete the individual pays a sum to the guild and the guild then pays a portion of that money to the member who completed the job, but some guilds work differently than others. The following is a list of the guilds in Aerilon.
Warriors Guild - The warriors guild is a simple guild in which the guild's house of each city take on tasks given to them that involve anything from protecting a caravan to making a person pay up his or her debt.
Wizards Guild - This guild is only a myth. No one knows if it is actually a guild, and "guild" is perhaps the wrong word for it. Some speculate that there is a large hidden oasis in the south that has a a substantial group of wizards there learning magic. They say it is hidden by the wizards allusions and spells, and that the wizards guild actual recruits its participants at the rather young age of 18, but these "recruiters" are never seen in public. It is said to be headed by one of the most powerful wizards in the entire realm.
Thieves Guild - The thieves guild is said to have its roots in Bullmar where they run their operation under the city in the sewers. The thieves guild like most other guilds takes on assignments but in secret. They generally try to avoid murder when possible but are not afraid to kill if need be. They steal anything if the price is right from their customer.
Adventurers Guild - This humble guild is not really a guild, but more a series of shops that are in each of the three human cities. They sell everything an adventurer could need, from armor and weapons, to the stray weak magical item, but only at a very hefty price of course.
Assassins Guild - This guild is much like the thieves guild, but much more hidden and discreet. It is said that they will kill anyone, for a price. Thier assassins move with the shadows and never are seen more than once. A mission may take a single day, or an entire year. Their whole purpose is to kill. Though the personalities and reasons behind each assassin is different.
"Hmm, that one looks like a sheep." Derk muttered to no one in particular as he watched one of the more puffy clouds float by slowly. He had just recently found this secluded hill only a few nights ago, and he already loved it to no end. He liked quite places where you could lie down and hear the crickets chirp away as the sun gently would sink below the horizon illuminating each and every cloud, making them more beautiful than any flower could ever dream of being. He laid his head back, closed his eyes, and then took a deep breath of air to smell the fresh grass. This was the life. Whenever he would lay on his back and stare at the clouds like this he would always remember back. Back to when things were good.
Derk was given birth into the world by parents who loved him very, very much. Or so he was told. He couldn't remember much of his childhood before the orphanage. He remembered his twin sister though. He remembered that they would play in the fields and sneak out at night to catch fire flies. Those were the good days, but unfortunately they didn't last very long. His parents were traveling merchants, and took him and his sister along with them wherever they went. He remembered that much. One day they were selling wheat and buying fish at a village by The Great Sea when it was attacked by pirates. He remembered the screams of his parents as they were butchered right in front of him and his sister. He remembered them hitting his sister over the head with a club knocking her unconscious. He remembered running as fast as he could, and the pirates shouting, "Let that one go, he isn't worth it!" He remembered coming back to that very spot to find his sisters old white bandanna there among the dirt and blood. He remembered all too well.
When he was found, he was taken to Goldwell and immediately put up for adoption in one of the larger orphanages. He was often a troublemaker, and showed little interest in the few families that wanted to adopt him. He was always mouthing off to the care takers, and he never would volunteer to help anyone out, and because of this attitude he never really made any friends. Derk didn't do chores like the other children, and was more often than not found on top of the roof, just staring at clouds to pass the time away. He loved the clouds, how they always moved and changed. Never ceasing. Never stopping.
At the age of 16 the orphanage said that enough was enough, and proceeded to kick Derk out on the streets. They told him, in a nutshell, that he would never amount to anything, and in a sad way Derk agreed. He had no talents and his education was far below par, as his mind would always drift off in the classes that the orphanage had provided. He lacked the motivation to find a job and because of that had less than a proper diet. Thats probably the reason he never grew very strong.
Derk snapped back to reality as his stomach gave a loud and angry growl. To go along with the growl came an unenthusiastic sigh. Derk got up and turned his pockets inside out, only to find out that he had no money. He had known that he was completely broke, but can't a man hope that gold will fall out of his pockets at least one day? He began to slowly make his way back to the city to try and find something to eat. He just relished the thought of what the bakers would tell him when he once again said that he was broke. He tightened the soft, white bandana as he walked through one of the large gates into Goldwell. It was busy and loud, as usual.