The land of Tyra lies at the mercy of the Dark Corruptor, but not all hope is lost.
The Chronicles of Tyra
‘Our lives, a winding path through dark woods and bright skies,
Through shadow and obscurity,
I found myself walking, without purpose, without cause,
For the right way was lost,
I speak before you now a man, who has walked that path,
And found its end,
Our paths all rally and entwine on this day,
We know our task, we have our duty,
Let this be the day all of Tyra stands united,
A shield of blood and bone,
Raise your banners high and your cry higher still,
As one, brothers in arms to the end of the road,
Fight, fight and don’t hold back!
King Hayden Cyrandil at the battle of Dalrad. 1.856
*Forward, to glorious battle
From the unknown, across the depths of the Ironwinds Seas and over the blizzard topped Windcrest mountains of the north, a shadow began to spread silently outwards. Origin nameless, motive unclear, the lands of Tyra would soon fall under a terrible sickness.
The Sultans of Anasson were the first to bear witness to its merciless rage. Long had they kept the Kargerak of the south at bay, for centuries they fought and died in the defence of the land of golden sands. A realm of deserts and parched plains, its people will well versed in hardship. The Haradin of Anasson prided themselves on their ability to survive in this harsh and unforgiving landscape. However this fortitude which had served them so dutifully in ages past would not be enough to save them from the coming peril.
The Haradin woke on that day, to a sun blazing a fiery red, the cloudless sky spiting crimson rain, blistering anything it touched be it skin or steel. The very ground on which they walked became a disease, an ailment to all beings with life or vigour. The already scarce crops failed, leading to starvation and famine. The bodies piled up in the streets, the death toll immeasurable. The cities of Anasson fell one by one. First the great trading city of Maarheth, crippled and maimed, it put up little resistance. Then the ancient city of Tiraz, known for its beautiful gardens and glittering palaces, it held out for three days before also falling under the nameless shadow. Standing alone, the last remaining Bastian of the Haradin was Dalrad, jewel of the silver sands.
In a desperate stand of defiance, the Sultans of Anasson rallied their troops, saw to their defences, formed a battle line in front of the city and waited for the approaching menace. They did not wait long. They were heard before they were seen; the armies of death brought forth from across the oceans. Creatures of unfathomable horror, talk of which made children far and wide fearful of the night and what may be hiding in depths of the dark.
The banners of the Haradin flapped eerily in the morning breeze as the pounding of thousands of feet shook the very sand beneath them. Dread rippled through the assembled lines as over the crest of the dunes, a sea of black descended upon them. An army, stretching as far as the eye could see marched in unison, a tidal wave of destruction. Drums boomed in the distance, great war cries roared so loud, the banners ripped from their poles. It was an army, built with the sole purpose of slaughtering all in its path, leaving nothing alive.
The battle was short and bloody. The dark legions broke upon the lines of the Haradin, which put up a brave, but futile fight. For every creature of darkness slain, three more replaced it. After an hour of ceaseless combat, the left flank, commanded by Sultan Qalawun Salihi, buckled and routed, leaving the rest of the defending forces helpless and fatally encircled. Then as the battle neared its end, a figure loomed from atop the great dunes. There is remained unmoving, observing the battle below. The only time the Dark Corruptor was seen by living eyes. The Haradin were beaten, the final army was defeated, its great leaders slain. Those who did not perish were enslaved and put to work. Within a week the lands of Anasson had been ripped apart and were no longer its peoples.
‘I have seen evil, but what stood before me was beyond evil, death incarnate. A vast spectral figure twice the size of any man, wreathed in smouldering flame. The very air suffocated you, the smell of a thousand corpses surrounded you, and all the while apparitions of your worst nightmares infected your mind, sending even the most valiant souls into desperate insanity.’
Sultan Salah Al-Malik describing the Dark Corruptor 1.841
They belonged to a new master, all powerful and all knowing, none could escape his grasp. The dark god Drekagoth spat out of Hel itself, or a man, evil and twisted, existing only to spread his misery and hate, no one lived to tell. Whatever its nature, it claimed the lands of Anasson and Maarheth for its own devices, and turned it greedy eyes upon the rest of Tyra.
The city of Dalrad was torn down and rebuilt into a citadel. Upon the Black throne it plotted and schemed, its desire to enslave all people unyielding. Tyra, a vast and diverse world, could not be conquered by force alone. And so agents of darkness moved out in secret across the lands, cast out like intricate spider web. They sowed dissent and fear; they turned kinsmen upon themselves, causing civil wars and bitter rivalries. Minds were poisoned, some driven into madness, every victim another chink in the amour. People disappeared into the night, or were found dead, branded with the mark of Dalrad. Soon Tyra fell into disarray and the time strike was near. The dominion over the lands which it most fervently desired would finally be realized.
Perhaps all was lost, and the fate of Tyra sealed. But perhaps sometimes there is more than one path, another route to follow which may lead from the dark, and with enough courage, may journey to greatness. And sometimes, journeys can begin in the most unlikeliest of places.
‘It matters not, the deeds of one when driven by selfish desires. But if guided by a cause far nobler than oneself, in legend you may prevail for eternity.’
Ardeth of Cycia 1.856