Ashes of the Empire
The fall of the Morsetan Empire is one of the darkest chapters in the history of Morset and the lands are still recovering from this series of tragic events today though over 1000 years have passed thence.
The Curse of Pendar
Many Veln believe The Fall was brought upon the empire due to the folly and vanity of Pendar Steelscale, the final emperor of Morset. At the time of Pendar’s rule, the empire had been in existence for over 9 centuries and had grown mighty and wealthy, the power and lands of Errodrell had been pushed further and further north by imperial forces until only that dark peninsula in the northwest still lay under his power. Pendar reveled in the power and glory of his position and began to think himself as being something more than the people that he ruled.
In 916 AE, his 32rd year of age, and the 10th year of his ruling, he and his wife Almetta desired to raise a son as prince and heir. It has always been the way of the Veln to raise their youth as a community. Once an egg is laid, it is taken and hatched with other eggs and the youths are raised together and neither child nor parents know who their blood relative is, nor is that of value to the Veln, for their strength lies in absolute community. Once the young Veln have undergone their first molting, around the age of 13, they then go to live and train with a couple or a craftsman. This is the way it is and has always been with the Veln and it was the tradition at the time that when the Emperor desired a heir, he would get first choice among the molted youths, in this way was Pendar himself chosen by the former emperor his adoptive father Talmere Redearth.
So it came to pass in that year that Empress Almetta became burdened with child, but when the time came near for the egg to be laid, Emperor Pendar declared that he would not give his child to be raised amongst the common people and that instead he would keep the child and raise it as his heir from birth. At this declaration his advisor Feldrea the Wise, who had been advisor to two emperors before him, came to him and told him not to take this path, for it is the path of vanity and pride, and she warned that if he did so his future from there on would be dark and mired in loss and tragedy, and his empire along with it. But Pendar was a proud man and headstrong and unwilling to take such advice, even from one so old and so wise as Feldrea. His delusions of grandeur blinded him and he pledged to carry out his plan, and so it was.
In the year 917 AE Almetta bore to Pendar not one son, but two (as is not uncommon among the Veln), but she refused to raise the children as her own and bear such dishonor. She left Pendar and renounced the position of Empress. At this Pendar was full of wrath, though it is common for Veln couplings to end without grief after reproducing. He exiled Almetta from the city of Adamantia and forbid her to ever return, and as she left many other Veln went with her who were disgusted with the acts of Pendar and fearful of the curse foretold by Feldrea. This group of exiles traveled to the southeast and settled the city of New Adamant, which still exists to this day.
Of Kyran and Taldar
Though outwardly confident and unwavering, at first Pendar feared the curse foretold by Feldrea and he was ever on the lookout for ill news, however it did not take him long to dismiss the curse entirely. Indeed, at the 5th year of his sons’ birth all things seemed better than they were before in Pendar’s eyes. The empire had not waned except for the loss of those Veln leaving for New Adamant, who he believed to be fools and cowards and he accounted their loss a gain for the city of Adamantia. In this time the greatest pride and joy for Pendar was his son Kyran.
Kyran was the eldest of the brothers and heir, though he was in truth only a few minutes older than Taldar. Even in his youth there was something special about Prince Kyran, his eyes were bright and his arm was strong and unlike his father, his heart was noble and pure. His brother Taldar was shorter than Kyran and appeared unremarkable next to the shining glory of his brother, but he was fiercely loyal and brave and he went with Kyran everywhere. The brothers were inseparable as the greatest of friends. The people of Adamantia and of the Empire as a whole were glad to see their strength and purity.
Both of the brothers became great generals in the army of the empire, especially Taldar who seemed to have a special connection with his men, he was a soldier’s soldier. Prince Kyran was a brave and valiant man who was looked up to by his men, but his true passion was not for the management and command of armies, but for the personal pursuit of honor and glory in the name of the Empire and his deity Brak’nal, the god of truth and justice. Eventually he left the army and became a Paladin of Brak’nal. He began adventuring in the name of his God, rooting out pockets of Errodrell’s strength which still lay in the lands of the Empire, and clearing out foul beasts from many an ancient ruin. He quested from the year 937 AE at the age of 20, until 944 at the age of 27, and in that time he became the Champion of Brak’nal and proudly wore his god’s divine champion gear into battle.
In the spring of 944 Kyran returned to Adamantia to regain his strength and to visit his father. As Pendar looked upon his son pride and ambition grew in his heart. The Empire was stronger than ever, his son was as mighty as a warrior from legend, and the power of the returned lay quiet in complete containment. Now, he thought, now was the time to achieve his full destiny, to become the greatest Emperor in the history of Morset, to do what no ruler had done before him, to at last wipe the stain of Errodrell off the face of the continent and destroy the black shard of Saviour resting in that haunted peninsula. The scrolls of history in the great Library of Adamantia would record his rule as the height of the empire’s glory, perhaps he would even go on to remove Saviour from the skies forever, or so he thought. He told Kyran that the time for action had come at last, Kyran would lead the armies of the Empire into battle against the stronghold of evil and in doing so perform the ultimate service for his Empire and his god.
As soon as Feldrea the Wise heard of this plan she immediately warned Pendar against it saying “It is a deadly path for those so cursed as you to tempt fate by poking a hornet’s nest.” To which Pendar replied “There is no place in warfare for the fears of old women! If you will not help your lord and empire then return to your mouldering and practice your cowardice there.” In response Feldrea simply laid down her staff at Pendars feet, signifying her resignation from the position of imperial advisor, and left Adamantia, eventually settling in New Adamant.
Pendar and Kyran turned to preparations of war. They began sending out messengers to all corners of the Empire to gather troops. In the spring of 945 one year had passed and four massive armies were gathered to Adamantia. The pavilions and camps of war were visible as far as the eye could see in all directions surrounding the capital.
There was the core of the Imperial army, the proud Veln warriors, with Taldar Steelscale at their head. The Veln army was organized perfectly and each company worked together flawlessly as all the different parts of a body.
The army of the dwarves was gathered as well, stout grim warriors with heavy hammers and axes, hardened veterans of many a battle in the depths with the Drow and Orcs of the mountains. Their deep-throated songs of battle filled the dusty air and they were headed by their leader King Harath Highbeard.
Camped to the west of the city was the army of the elves, graceful and ageless their warriors stood honing their fine weapons as the crackle of magic from elven wizards surrounded them. There was even a company of reclusive elven druids who stood silent with great bears and proud antlered stags among them, ready to wipe out the unnatural walking dead. Here and there among the elven soldiers could be seen the small and rare halfling warriors, and the elf king Gilras oversaw them all.
Last but not least was the army of the humans, which was the largest part of the army for they were a numerous people. Their strength was in numbers, fluidity, and savagery, for they had not the organization of the Veln, the grim tenacity of the dwarves, or the wisdom and experience of the elves. Most of their combat experience had come from fighting amongst themselves for power and territory. Though lately they had become more organized under a new leader, King Mark, who had rallied most of the humans under his banner. Pendar did not trust this new king, he was a radical leader who blamed many of the local human problems on Empire oversight and who caused a stir in meetings of the regional lords by demanding more support for the human lands and accusing the Empire of favoritism for the non human regions.