Monday, 8 August 2016

Age of Towers

AGE OF TOWERS (Low fantasy/Swords and sandals) The world is now dominated by human culture, with Dwarves, Elves and other races fighting a losing battle to retain their own traditions. Magic still exists but is less powerful; wars are now won by armies, not competing wizards. The fortress of Calesh is now part of the largest city in the known world; other cities of the more magical races are wiped off the map, left to become ruins. The Age officially ends when the Dwarven Kingdoms are defeated, wiping out the last of the magical societies. From the defeated Kingdoms, however, the Empire learns the secrets of technology, ushering in a renaissance.

1)      Territory of Shemeld: A sovereign state of the Calshani Empire, Shemeld is still culturally unique, but now under Imperial rule. While some lords stage independent rebellions, without a single banner to unify under, the Empire crushes them easily. From Shemeld the Empire continues its war against ‘superstition and fear’; namely the Dwarven mines, Elfin forests, and the waning Dragon shrines in the mountains. Because of its place in the forefront of war, Shemeld is home to Imperial smithies; swords and armour for the legions are produced, usually to oppress the townsfolk who made them.

2)      The Last of the Dream: To say the alliance of elves, dwarves, goblins and other races is tenuous is a gross understatement. Centuries of grudges and feuding mean no race can adequately oppose the unified forces of the Empire. Charismatic warlords and sorcerers are hailed as ‘the Last Dragonblood’, but are just as quickly usurped or assassinated; sometimes by the Empire, sometimes by other races who’d sooner be leaderless than support an ancient enemy. While some humans still look to the old powers for guidance, more become disillusioned with fading magic, and turn to the ever-growing Empire instead.

3)      The Calshani Empire: Dating back to the Age of Dreams (Which they claim to have ended when they awoke Unelma), the Calshan family are powerful nobles, and every Kingdom in the Age of Towers has some Calshani blood in their leaders. Some are benevolent leaders, far more are tyrants, and family feuds often turn into wars of succession. The dwarves and elves, both enemies against the Calshani Empire, claim that Unelma will return once all the descendants of Calsharon are dead. Of course, dwarves and elves will believe anything if it gets them their Dragon God back.

4)      War of the Bastard: The most brutal war in the Age of Towers. When an exiled king returned to his throne, he did so with an illegitimate son. Jonah the Bastard was given lordship over a remote territory; his father married into nobility. When the king died, Jonah made a claim for the throne, despite being unpopular in his father’s homeland. Nobility backed the young Prince Erolph, and regents ruled till he was of age. While Jonah was unpopular at court, he had several allies elsewhere, and thus began a long, brutal war that saw the Kingdom ultimately dissolved.

5)      A temple sits in the heart of a thick jungle. The locals speak of an ancient terror within. Traps fill the corridors, and within the inner sanctum is a large treasure chest. Surrounding the chest are several skeletons of various races, all with their hands severed at the wrist. On the chest’s lid is written ‘Hands off’.

6)      An elf, a dwarf and a human walk into a bar…

7)      “You can tell a lot about your enemy by their arrows.” said Imp, “Copper headed ones, that’s bandits, or Dreamer save you the elves. Iron headed ones, that’s town guards, and they only fire them if they can get them back; they have to pay for ammunition.” He snatched an arrow from the air as we ran, “Steel heads!” he said triumphantly, “with a smith’s mark and everything! Be proud, master; someone rich wants us dead for a change.”

8)      She got into the bath, wincing at the cold water. How anyone could stay clean this far north was a miracle to her. Still, she couldn’t attend a grand ball covered in the blood of its host.

9)       It’s tradition among the Salthiri clan that lordship is earned, not inherited. Their symbols of office must be pried from the cold, dead hands of their former leader; this makes their crown and sceptre scarred with chisel marks and blade strikes, and no amount of rich cloth and fur can patch the dagger holes in their royal cloak. Salthiri nobles look to raise strong, dauntless children; the kind fearless enough to commit familicide, but strong enough to resist it in turn.

10)   The messenger stammered, knowing who he was addressing. The Kilmourne family had a long history of vengeance, starting with the poor fool who gave them bad news. Lord Tobias was already stroking the handle of his axe.
“Your brother’s forces…” he said, not taking his eyes from the axe, “…met with the Emperor’s. They are now at peace.”
Lord Tobias laughed, forgetting his axe and raising his arms in celebration. The messenger breathed a sigh of relief. Hopefully he could buy a fast horse before Tobias worked out the metaphor.

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