Ashes of Time
Five will be the number. Five will be the power.
(verses from a children's game, believed to be part of the Kara'Din Prophecies)
Welcome, traveler, to Lerindor. Here. Sit by the fire and rest your feet. We have many things to talk about and I daresay you would like warm mead to take the fatigue off you? Excellent! I do have some fantastic mead from the Four Wolves inn. Ah, here it is.
Now, I suppose you want to know all about this city. Where do I begin? At the beginning? Why not?
The Three Kingdoms
The story begins, I suppose, at the time of the Three Kingdoms. It may have actually begun much before that, much before Time in fact. But I am just a humble chronicler. Not a philosopher. I am afraid I base my history on actual facts.
The Three Kingdoms - Kara, Calemdor and Eban - ruled over much of what we now call the Middle Lands. How long ago was this? I do not know precisely, but I can safely guess that it was about 700 years ago. Sadly, we do not have many records intact to inform us of that period, seeing as how most of the Middle Lands is now a smoky ruin. Still, we'll have to work with what we have.
It was a time when warfare was not the logical extension of diplomacy. The three kingdoms proved that you could coexist peacefully. It was clearly a more civilized time, when the pursuit of free men and women was towards advancing our knowledge of the world around us.
Legend has it that long before the time of the Three Kingdoms, men and women could bend the forces of nature to their will, and create objects of wonder and power. It was this legend that the knowledge-seekers of the Three Kingdoms sought. They delved far and deep into the mysteries of the nature, to unlock her secrets. But what they found instead was much more deadly, though they didn't realize it at that time.
Sha and the Prophecies of Kara'Din
It was at the summit of our tallest peak, Mount Kara'Din, that our explorers struck gold, as it were. There, a band led by Jarin al'Sendoro, a very wise scholar, stumbled upon an emanation of energy that was too intense for them to comprehend. Like a tidal wave, the flow swept over them, immersing them in its power. The men were transformed - from humble mortals to something much more. They had the very power of the world running through them. Or so they thought.
When the band returned to their lands to announce the discovery, the people and kings rejoiced. Further study was commissioned, and large number of scholars and warriors flocked to the summit of Kara'Din, to bask in the glory of the power.
They named the power Sha and celebrated it like a god. Their veneration should have alarmed the people of the addiction, but it didn't. It was around this time that the Prophecies of Kara'Din were written.
Incidentally, it was Jarin al'Sendoro who first realized the threatening pull of the power. He could feel himself losing his touch with humanity and he could feel the same in his faithful followers of Sha. He was becoming emotionless, heartless, bending to some unseen master, doing things without thinking. It scared him. It was he who meditated deep into the workings of Time and wrote the Kara'Din Prophecies.
The Prophecies talked of dark times to come, of strife and destruction. They talked of twisted souls walking the land, putting it to waste. The prophecies also talked of a saviour, with the power of the Five. The prophecies were largely ignored at the time of their writing, for Sha was transforming the lives of men and women. Mountains were moved, rivers were diverted and towers erected with the power of Sha. But with every passing year, it became ever so terrible. The towers rose like monstrous peaks, threatening to pull down the sky. The rivers seethed with a vengeance, and the earth shook in fury.
Lord Shakun and the Army of the Night
Soon after writing the prophecies, Jarin al'Sendoro lost his mind, transformed his physical appearance, and resurfaced as Lord Shakun, leading a terrible army of twisted warriors. They were the men and women who have given themselves completely over to Sha. They charged out of Kara'Din like a plague of locusts, swallowing entire cities and populations, leaving behind half-eaten corpses and twisted two-legged creatures. These creatures joined the army, swelling its ranks, and fought alongside the warriors wielding Sha. They were called Kruls by the hunted populace. Krul - the twisted one.
The Prophecies suddenly became salvation for the survivors. They held on to its words like drowning men holding straws. They prayed for their promised savior to come with the power of the Five. Years passed running from one wasted place to another, rallying to one leader and then another, their numbers forever dwindling.
Lord Shakun had taken control of much of the Middle Lands, and the Three Kingdoms were a distant memory. But fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony. The men of Sha drew too much too soon. The torrential flow of the energy exploded with a power that rent apart what was left of the land, changing the face of the earth. Lord Shakun himself was the first victim of this deadly backlash. He was firmly and fully claimed by the Sha, and became no more than a part of that energy, losing body and soul. His army of terrible men followed suit, drowning in the backlash, blindly striking as they went. Finally, all that was left behind of the Army of the Night were the legions of Kruls who lived off human flesh.
The creation of Lerindor
The island of Lerindor was created because of this world-changing Backlash of Sha. It was not just an island in the geographical sense. It was also an island in an ocean of Sha - strangely untouched by that terrible power. It became a world within a larger world, a bubble of life untainted by Sha. The surviving humans flocked to this bubble, to try and recreate a semblance of existence.
As is the case with any grouping of people, a leader soon emerged. He crowned himself the first king of Lerindor, and struggled to make it work for his people. He erected walls around the city, raised an army to battle the never-ending Krul raids and instilled a sense of purpose in his people.
The Krul Wars and the Book of Ancients
Long after the Army of the Night and its dreaded commanders vanished into the depths of Sha, the Kruls continued to exist. But without commanders to lead them, the Kruls satisfied themselves with raids on human settlements and livestock. However, a hundred years ago, something strange happened. The mindless Kruls united.
They came over the countryside with fury and vengeance, trying to obiliterate the last citadel - Lerindor. Thus, the Krul Wars began. While not nearly as devastating as the previous war, the Kruls nevertheless wreaked havoc. But the Lerindoran army was not like the soldiers of the Three Kingdoms. They have evolved in an environment forever threatened and were better able to meet the beastly beings on the battlefields. The war raged on for ten years, but was, in the end, won by the Lerindoran army.
It was during this war that an ancient legend was dredged up once again from the memories of people and held as a standard. Many whispered that a lost book - the Book of the Ancients - has been found. The book was rumoured to contain the secrets of unlocking the true essence of the universe.
The Book was never found during the war, and after it, interest in it waned.
Lerindor - The Last Citadel
Now that you know the history, it is time for you to know the present. Lerindor now is home to about 100,000 humans, ruled by King Lothar and his able group of ministers. Almost every able-bodied man in Lerindor is required to enroll in the army for a year at the least, and some families even train their daughters to wield a dagger should the Kruls come once again. Some brave but stupid adventurers, from time to time, leave Lerindor to fight the Kruls, tap the Sha or find the book of Ancients, or any number of improbable things, but hardly any of them return. While it is easy to fight even three Kruls at the same time within the magical barriers of Lerindor, once outside the city, the latent power of Sha infuses the Kruls with more of their inhuman strength.
The Four Wolves Inn is the largest inn in Lerindor, frequented by soldiers and merchants.
The Lerindoran countryside, lying as it does outside the walls, is often heavily patrolled by the army and is protected fiercely. They feed the hungry mouths of Lerindor and food wagons going towards the city are often heavily protected by hired swords.
The Founding Day is the single largest celebration that happens in Lerindor. During this day, the King makes a public appearance, wine flows freely and the merriment lasts for at least a couple of nights.
The Library at Lerindor is probably not well-stocked with books, but it is home to the scholars, inventors and other students of the arcane arts. Here, many bearded men still pour over the mysteries of the Book of Ancients, and still continue to translate and reinterpret the Prophecies of Kara'Din.
There are two entrances to Lerindor - the East Bridge and the West Bridge. No one is allowed inside or outside after sunset. The two bridges connect the island of Lerindor across the churning Alacra to the Middle Lands and its countryside.
Ashes of Time - IC
Characters needed for this RP
Eamon, a hot-blooded prince (played by Vanquished) - He is the heir-apparent to the throne of Lerindor, and he is irritated with his father's reluctance to mount an offensive inside Krul lands. The prince has been trained by the very best generals of the land, and is considered a master-swordsman. He believes that strength and not knowledge is the key to defeating the Kruls.
Traits: indulgent, arrogant, skilled, passionate
Geran, a young blacksmith (played by Paragon) - Too young to live in mourning. He lost his wife to the Kruls in their last raid, and lives with the pain of that loss. He has sworn in his heart to die fighting the Kruls and has stopped making anything but weapons in his forge. He is a big man, with strong arms and wide shoulders. Though he hasn't received any formal military training apart from the mandatory one year, his anger and grief makes up for the lack of tactics.
Traits: grieving, vengeful, focused, strong, inflexible
Dominik, a captain of the Guard (played by Blondini) - He is young, unmarried, inexperienced and quite zealous. He is ambitious and wants to move up the ladder of command, to become a general one day. He is an ardent student of warfare and history, and knows all there is to know about the Krul Wars and the beasts' tactics. He hasn't yet had a Krull kill to his name, but as a captain of the East bridge guard, it is only a matter of time.
Traits: zealous, curious, romantic, loyal, intelligent
Rollo Loghain, a middle-aged veteran (played by SyntaxError) - He used to be in the army, and one of its shining beacons, before he was wounded by a Krul sword. Now, he walks with a pronounced limp and was discharged from the army with a lot of honours. He lives his life drinking at the taverns when he is not with his mistress, cursing his inability to fight the Kruls.
Traits: alcoholic, skilled, nostalgic, brave, handicapped
Adanna, a fiesty barmaid (played by Nuada) - She works at the Four Wolves inn. She is the young lover/mistress/protege of the war veteran and adores him. She has learnt the basics of fighting from him and is filled with a sense of adventure that the veteran forever tries hopelessly to curb.
Traits: adventurous, passionate, ambitious, quick
Glen, an immoral thief (played by TheIronRuler) - In a land torn apart by constant grief and pain, it takes an extremely indifferent heart to steal. But that's exactly what the thief has. He has no remorse and no regrets. In the daytime, he can be found playing dice or cards or thinking up some gold-making scheme. At nights, he prowls the dark alleys of the city, skillfully evading the guards, and breaking into rich houses for their treasures. He is mischievous, filled with an apathetic sense of humour and an I-don't-care attitude, quick and nimble on his feet - a smooth talker.
Traits: charming, devious, immoral, opportunistic, quick
Thom, a crazy old man (played by Vasishta) - Nobody knows his name, but many know him by sight. He is considered largely harmless by the guards and he goes about muttering to himself in the streets or being buried in books in the Library. He hasn't been known to have had a sensible conversation with anyone, though there are some yokels in the countryside who seem to revere him.
Traits: scholar, erudite, crazy, scheming
Eldwina, a beautiful daughter of a noble (played by LadyAdanae) - She has been betrothed to the prince and nearly everyone considers it a perfect match. She is beautiful, born in a respected family, intelligent and caring. She has probably met the prince, her future husband, once in her life and the prince hasn't come courting since their betrothal. Still, she tries to live her life with the dignity and pride that is required of the future queen of Lerindor.
Traits: chaste, intelligent, beautiful, weak-willed
Crale, a feral ex-mercenary (played by Fantasyfan28) - He was once a soldier of fortune, renting his loyalty out to the richest merchantmen of the land. But one fateful expedition changed his life. Waylaid by vicious Kruls, he was the only one of his party to survive, but he was lost deep in the lands of the Krul. Living of the cursed land, he too has been put under the spell of Sha, courtesy of a curious sword he picked up on his wanderings through the wasted plains.
Traits: feral, irrational, addict, strong, quick
So, pick a character that you would like to audition for, and write a sample opening post. I want to see your writing style and your ability to get under the skin of a character. Understand the character, read the history, form a picture of your character in your mind and play out accordingly.
The name Krul has no real etymology, originating from the guttural sound that they make as they fight. The Kruls are reanimated corpses of dead humans and animals - they are nothing more than puppets on a string, having no more thoughts than the basic ones needed for survival, if it can be called that. It is Sha that animates them and it is Sha that twists their non-existent souls.
There is no single physical description that would fit all Kruls. It can be safely said that they have human legs and hands, that they have basic internal organs that allow them to eat, defecate, and communicate after a fashion, but the other parts of their body can have belonged to any animal. They are often a mishmash of many animals - an eye from here, a tongue from there. They are usually of a large build and their hides are thick enough to stop the occasional arrow. The Kruls are usually armed with scythes, axes or swords though they have been known to forage among dead victims for weapons.
The Kruls are not the undead, meaning they have a life to lose. So if you did manage to run your sword through one, it will die like all things under the sun. Only it might take a bit longer for it to realize that it's dead.
The Kruls survive on dead meat. They prefer human flesh to most other delicacies their warring ways provide.
WARNING: You can use Kruls as NPCs in your post but be warned. I, as the Game Master, will determine the outcome of the meeting based on the number of Kruls you have introduced, your character's ability to fight them and the availability of weapons. So if you are playing a nimble fighter carrying just a couple of daggers and you introduce, say, three Kruls in your vicinity for your own reasons, chances are that you will play as a limp or a one-eyed person for the rest of your RP. There are times when, without your instigation, Kruls will pounce on you in the story. These Krul attacks will always be in green, to distinguish them from my other characters.
Technology & Culture in Lerindor
To give a real-world example, Lerindoran technology is a lot like the technology of Eastern Europe around the medieval ages (1100-1400). In a nutshell, without any offense to the culturally superior czechs and hungarians, this means backward. They don't have much in the way of siege weapons and they do not know about explosives. (So yes, they don't have firecrackers on Founding Day)
Civil administration in Lerindor is largely done through magistrates (bureaucrats) who report to the various ministers of the King. All nobles are exempt from taxes but have to provide troops. Peasants are expected to fight and pay taxes.
Life in Lerindor proper can actually get quite wild, for the Lerindorans love music and dancing. The nobles look down upon the peasant dancing festivals and have their own entertainment in the way of theatre and philosophy.
Religion in Lerindor
Lerindorans are highly philosophical when it comes to religion and are monotheistic. They believe in an abstract deity called the Logos and refer to it variously as "God" and "Light". While they do not have any mythologies, they do have a lot of folklore. Much of the Lerindoran festivals, such as the Spring Dance and Winter Watch, stem from more ancient pagan rituals that were never completely eradicated by the kings of Lerindor or by the kruls of Sha. Much of modern Lerindoran myths come from these pagan stories about forest warriors and books of power.
1. Your posts will have to have a heading in this format: Character name. Location. Time of day.
2. One character. One color. That's how it goes. Stick to one color for all your posts as one character. Try not to pick colors that hurt the eye, and try not to have the same color as another player. DO NOT USE GREEN. It has been reserved for Krul attacks. Use default font and size.
3. Italicize your character's thoughts, and double-quote spoken words.
4. You can only use a maximum of three NPCs in your posts.
5. There is no constraint on number of words. The posts need be long enough. Don't be curt, and don't be long-winded either. Be concise, precise and imaginative.
6. Try and not have big JPEG-heavy signatures as it makes pages loading a pain.