Kingdom: The Meridian Empire
Members: To Be Announced!
Location: X: -131, Y: 65, Z: -3195
City News: Icemark is holding a moot for its next ruler!
Legends say that Castle Icemark was once the original seat of power for the first rulers of this land. Back in those days, the ancient kings often fought with the bordering country of Fae-Ruhn, warbands, and raiders. From conflict was a nation born, Dansylvania, a dynasty that stood for nearly a thousand years.
As time pressed on, the world began to grow cold, and the great northern ice wall crept slowly south until this castle, and the surrounding area was nigh covered by the glacier. It was in the face of such extreme conditions that the capital of Dansylvania was moved south to the kingdom’s largest city, Port Lyconia. A center of trade, the kingdom flourished as its northern origins slowly faded from memory.
That is until the dead began to rise.
The ruler of Dansylvania, King Dan the Wise, called a council with the great Mage’s Guild to address the growing threat. Through arcane arts now lost to time, the Thirteen Archmages discovered that the world was in peril of an incursion from the god of the undead, Morthar.
To fight the power of a god and save their land, the Archmages took up the olden treasures, the Nether Gems, great crystals of unimaginable power. These crystals allowed the mages to control the elemental essence of the world, from Fire, Water, Darkness, and even Light. Using the Thirteen Nether Gems, the Archmages were able to push back the undead hordes of Morthar, dispel the hell-rifts that were appearing across Dansylvania, and even seal Morthar himself within the deepest circle of hell.
But power easily corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
One of the Archmages, Apollinaris, grew greedy and sought to claim the power of the Nether Gems for himself. In cold blood, he slew his brothers until he alone was the last Archmage. Taking up the power of the gems, Apollinaris sought to reshape the world as its god-king, making it as he so desired.
But the world did not go silently into the night, for this was still the age of heroes.
The armies of the Followers of the Squid, the assassins of the Cult of Darkness, and the Pigriders of Rasher joined forces, becoming the Vanguard of Dansylvania and marking a ceasefire to a religious war an eternity in the making.
Led by King Dan the Wise, the united forces of Dansylvania marched on Apollinaris and were able to wrest control of the gems before he could bring doom to us all. However, the victory came too little, too late, for the hell forged chains holding Morthar had been broken. In the dark fires and smoke of hell, he waited for the heroes to grow old and in the nine hundredth and thirty-first year of the reign of the great kings of Dansylvania, Morthar opened hell-rifts across the land.
King Dan the Wise, in his old age, was too weak of a hero to rise again to the challenge. However, in his wisdom, he had hidden the Nether Gems across the world, knowing that Morthar was forever weakened by the original Archmages.
Morthar brought forth the general of his undead armies, the risen Apollinaris, and began his campaign to tear asunder the kingdom of Dansylvania while searching for the Nether Gems he so desperately needed to regain his power.
So began the Age of the Fall as there were no heroes in those days. And yet there were Legends.
A southern guild dedicated to knowledge and advancing the skills and arts of the land took up arms against the undead legions. This Legends Guild, led by one known as Hope the Dark alongside the Grand Duke Declan Tor and the First Blade Paradoctic began to fight tooth and nail against Morthar’s Forces.
When the guild received word that the commander of the Dansylvanian Vanguard had been captured in the south, the three rode as fast as their steeds would carry them. Their armies busy defending the people, these three alone fought through seven undead legions as they ascended the tallest peak of the tallest mountain of Northbend, the great southern glacier.
They arrived upon the summit to find the commander only too late, the Archmage Apollinaris having completed a summoning ritual to allow Morthar to possess the commander’s corporeal form. As the skies began to turn dark, the three legends did battle with the undead god himself.
And began to win.
Fearing the blades of these three simple mortals, Morthar retreated into hell through a hell-rift, Apollinaris behind him. And staring into the hell-rift and seeing the abyss of the sea of lost souls, fire, and smoke, the three became monsters themselves.
Into the hell-rift, the three did leap. Through the fires and smoke, the three did fall. Through the wails of the sea of souls did the three steel themselves. Through the upper levels of hell, the three Legends fought the god of the Undead within hell itself.
But only a fool tries to dry oneself when swimming in an ocean.
Within hell, the god was nigh invincible. He drove back the three through the upper levels and onto the Precipice of Hell where the Rubicon of Souls is said to be anchored.
The three were given up to be lost when they arrived at a cold rift-gate. The First Blade Paradoctic gripped tight the pedestal and activated the rift for his brothers to escape. The sight of his body being immolated was the last time the two ever saw him.
Cold, freezing, and lost to the world, Hope the Dark and Declan Tor found themselves in the ruins of a rift gate in the cold, cold, north. Warped by Hell, these two are now among those “Hell-touched”, those mortals that live forever and may never die.
But their story did not end there.
They made their way from the cold northern ruins and came across an olden castle. Its keep, church, armory, barracks, and towers were the only parts not buried by the thick and hard ice. Struggling, they were able to open its frozen gates and took shelter within the high keep.
As the armies of Morthar slowly pushed back the Dansylvanian Vanguard, Morthar saw his opportunity. His dark plan to open the Gate of Hell and march his armies south, straight to the capital of Port Lyconia.
By fate alone had the two legends arrived at Castle Icemark, the only fortress that stood between the Hell Gate and the capital.
They called their banners. They called for volunteers. They called for women and children, they called for every living body that could take up sword or bow. And as the last of the volunteers entered the frozen castle, Morthar’s armies surrounded it as he knew that he could not leave such a powerful host behind him.
And so he sieged the Castle.
Castle Icemark, once sieged by the Armies of Fae-Ruhn, bandits, raiders, orcish warbands, rival lords, an icy glacier, now once again found herself beset upon.
Would the god of the undead be the one to finally break her?
Nay, I tell you! For she is strong! Like a mother, she protected her children. By her towers, she lifted them up to rain firey arrows down below. With her keep she supported them, keeping them warm from the long and cold night.
As the defenders fought upon her walls, so too did she fight for them.
On the dawn of the fifth day, the sun was finally seen above the horizon. Morthar had sent a general, the first king of Dansylvania, to lead the siege, his deathly visage standing upon the western hills.
All as one, the defenders poured out of Icemark, the undead Mortharian horde falling before them. All as one they charged the undead commander, and all as one they took him down. Their trophy lies forever memorialized within the forge of Castle Icemark, proof that not even an undead god could take these olden stones.
If only the land would have been saved by their valorous action, but they were all of them deceived, for the risen Archmage Apollinaris rode from the south-west towards Port Lyconia, an army of undead dragons behind him and under him, the land burning as this dark cloud passed.
The people were evacuated and led to the far south-east where they set sail for the lands of Caldor, and hopefully salvation.
And as the land of Dansylvania fell, what then became of the survivors? As the country was overun with undead, were all living torn asunder?
No, for Icemark still stood.
Within the walls of Icemark did the survivors hold their own. Even as the years passed and the world began to warm, the castle remained stalwart and faithful. As the ice thawed, it bestowed them with gifts of additional courtyards, more walls, and more towers.
As the great northern ice wall withdrew once again to the north, Castle Icemark stood tall among a fertile plain that soon flourished into a forest.
Today, Icemark is ruled by no one king or queen. Nay, it is the fortress of its own free city. For all as one did its people survive.
Though, it is rumored that it has a castellan or two. Ghostly visages, firgures wrapped in black cloth and bands, eerie shapes that might be seen upon the battlements or corridors of the keep. Legends say that the immortal Hope the Dark and Declan Tor continue to watch over this castle from the shadows. Ever vigilant for any threat to its free people.
Perhaps they do. We may never know, as nobody since Morthar has ever attempted to capture this castle. Nobody has ever succeeded in tearing down the gates of this keep.
For history immemorial, Castle Icemark will be known as the fortress that brought even a god to its knees.