Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Redlands

Take ancient Rome, Ireland, and Scotland, throw them together in a martini shaker and plunk the whole mess down with the Dark Domain to the west and Duleander to the east. Sprinkle liberally with ironwood forests, rich farmland, and copper mines. Add a human population that is for the most part fat and happy, and you have the Redlands as it is today.

As it is now, it was before, but it was not always so. Nearly 300 years ago, King Davan IV took the throne after his elder brother Buin was assassinated. Even then Davan was a powerful wizard, but with the resources of a prosperous nation at his command, he grew into something monstrous.

During the early years of his immortal reign, the Redlands came to be called such because of the blood spilt there, not the copper exported or the color of its citizens hair. Davan would suffer no other wizard to live in his kingdom, so they quietly vanished. Then the temples of light were deemed traitorous, and while he could not exterminate the good faiths, they were forced underground.

Next, the elves and dwarves fell under the baleful eye of the Defiler (as the Red King came to be known), and those that were not butchered in their homes or on the field of battle fled the land. Curiously, haflings and gnomes were left unmolested, but most nonhuman folk fled the land after the elf/dwarf slaughter. Regardless, to this day there is a small gnomish community on an island not 20 miles from Duirport (the capital of the Redlands) that completely escaped the Defiler's wrath.

After the Redlands was brought completely under his domination, the Defiler turned his attention to the Free Islands to the west. He made an unholy pact with the Dogwa across the sea, and they crushed the feeble opposition offered by the once-free island nations and divided their riches up.

It looked as if the Whitelands would fall to darkness then, since they were weakened by a civil war and would be easy pickings for the combined might of the Redlands and Dark Domain. But suddenly, inexplicably, the Red King renounced evil and turned on the Dogwa. In an epic saga that became known as the Red King's Turning, he mustered what allies that were desperate enough to take his hand and swept across the Archipelago to the very shores of the Dark Domain, where his army crushed the forces of the Dogwa, who fled from the battle after being defeated by the Red King and a group of warriors specially trained in demon-slaying.

Since then the Red King has worked tirelessly to erase the evil stain of his previous works, and invites all manner of wizards, bards, and free thinkers to his land. Many go, and many do not. For if he Turned once, what would prevent him from Turning again?

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