The End of the V Age
In the beginning, the great god Meholah, looked upon an empty and formless universe. He slept, and dreamed of what was to be, and it was.The kingdom of Manöel was founded over two thousand years ago by Artur I, of the House of Perros. Since his death, there have been one hundred fifty nine kings of his line who have ruled over the kingdom. From its early and uncivilized beginnings, the kingdom grew wealthy, and became the leading human kingdom on the Western Sea. The people of Manöel were strengthened by their friendship with the Dwarven kingdom of Ugarit, which rules the mountains to the north of the kingdom, from the Spine of the World to the east, beyond the borders of Manöel. Ugarit’s history surpasses even Manöel, and it is widely believed that the Dwarven kingdom is over ten thousand years old. Perhaps the wealth of Ugarit attracted jealous eyes, or maybe their warrior-folk grew tired, but several hundred years ago, the dark-dwarven kingdom of Artik first pushed south of the Spine of the World, and immediately began raiding the northern cities and halls of the two kingdoms. The dwarfish folk of Ugarit were sore pressed, until the king of Manöel, Colman I, led a force of Manöe north, and at the Battle of the Three Kings, side by side with King Hatab, won the greatest victory of this age. The respite won however, proved to be short-lived. Within two centuries, a line of weak kings in both kingdoms allowed the duergar to recover, and drive the dwarves out of the Hall of Ingharra, and the humans from the city of Azerac, reputed to be the two finest cities in the world. The region between the two cities was rich in mineral and natural resources, and their loss plunged the kingdoms into economic depression, from which they have yet to recover. With the loss of so much tax revenue, the kingdom of Manöel could not support the armed forces necessary to defend her extensive territories. Tribes of bandits swept into the western marches, and have driven back the effective control of the king hundreds of miles. The great inland island, the Ir-Fadha, home to the most fertile farmland in the region, was almost lost in a single campaign, until the king Erwan VII personally led a relief force to a great victory over the orcish armies underneath the very walls of Madryn. The victory barely stopped the bleeding, and today, the men of Manöel control only a narrow strip along the Ran Gilde, centered on that city of Madryn, the last barrier before the main kingdom to the south. The last dozen years have been full of feverish activity, as war has again broken out with the kingdom of Omdina, to the east. Also, a prophet has appeared in the south, spreading the gospel of a new god, Cummanna, a Paladin who was raised to god-hood by the council of lesser gods. No matter the magnanimity of his creed, religious turmoil is always a destabilizing force. The reigning king, Salaun VII, is young, and is widely perceived as weak. Many within the kingdom prefer his cousin, Corentin, who is stationed in the east, fighting the forces of Omdina. In his early life, success has seemed to crown every one of Corentin’s efforts, while the reign of young Salaun has already seen the kingdom falling further into disarray. Into this realm, tired and decaying, arrive our heroes. Will their efforts restore the kingdoms of Manöel and Ugarit to their former glory, or will they be swept aside by the relentless tide of history?