The Lost Relics
War torn. Ruined. Rebuilt. These are the words that most would describe this land, and it’s history…
welcome to the land of Irathor.
Not much is known of the early days of this world however, and most old scholars would do well to even remember the teachings of their ancestors. But the beginnings of Irathor are not what makes this land what it is today. Rather, it is the events of the last 4000 years, and those involved that have really left their mark.
Timeline 259 – 704: Some would say that the true start of this age began with the rise of the “cave folk” or as they are more commonly known as today, the dwarves. Best known for their stout hearts and proud heritage, the dwarves were also known for their love of delving deep into the bowels of the earth. The dwarves lived in peace for hundreds of years until one day, deep in the Hammerforge Mountains amongst the black rock, a strange stone was found during an excavation by the dwarves of the Ironhold clan. Surprised at their find and casting it off as a simple rarity of the earth, the dwarves soon began to realize that this was no ordinary ore. It glowed with a mysterious arua of a red and purple hue, and every so often, would give off an uneasy “pulse” that would shake the floor. Although curious, the Ironhold dwarves thought nothing more of the strangeness of the stone, and chose to keep it in the middle of the great hall as just another treasure for others to envy.
The leader of the Ironhold clan, Benwen Steelhammer, took a special interest in the stone and soon found that it contained strange powers. He noticed that he and the rest of his clan became stronger and faster when in close proximity of the stone’s aura. Benwen kept this bit of knowledge to himself, and when his people questioned him, he told them that it was merely a sign of his leadership quality and that they should not question him again about it. Although slightly perturbed of this, the Ironhold clan ignored their curiosity for the time being and focused on the results of Benwen’s “leadership”. They were stronger, more agile, and faster. So when Benwen ordered that the mysterious stone be carried with them into battle against an army of trolls known as the “Dark Horns”, no one questioned him. A fierce battle raged on for many days, but the dwarves eventually took the upper hand with their new found strength from the stone’s aura. Defeated, the Dark Horn trolls retreated back into the cover of their home in the Prybush Hills taking note of the stones’ power and seemingly “unbeatable” Ironhold dwarves. Beaming with pride after his clans’ victory, Benwen Steelhammer began welcoming all comers to attempt to take the Hammerforge Mountain stronghold from him. For years, all manner of enemy be it man or beast, attempted to answer the proud dwarf’s call. Each time, the Ironhold dwarves pushed them back and celebrated victory time after time.
The Ironhold clan took their new found power to great heights as they began to head to northwest Irathor, seeking riches and overtaking towns and villages in the process. Once respected and revered as simply a noble and proud people, the Ironhold clan began to be known for it’s ruthlessness and hunger for power. This violence filled journey to the northwest became known as “The March of Iron”. The March of Iron did indeed yield great wealth for Benwen Steelhammer and his clansmen, but all the while the Dark Horn trolls were rebuilding and beginning to grow stronger with each passing year. Although any counter to the power of the stone still alluded the Dark Horns, they did not lose hope that one day, they may indeed find the answer. One ambitious troll in particular known by the name “Gohmin”, set out to find a way to defeat the Ironhold clan and their aptly named “Bloodstone”. Gohmin began seeking answers from his tribes’ scholars, to which he was told that the tribe possessed no knowledge of the arcane, but that answers may lie eastward where rumors of strange beings and creatures made their berth. Gohmin, bidding farewell to his tribe and family, began his journey eastward seeking answers to the riddle of the Bloodstone. Gohmin’s journey was filled with fierce battles against all manner of magical beasts and it was at this time that Gohmin began to lose all hope of ever finding anything worth while. One day however, he came to a large lake with a single island in the middle harboring a lone stone tower that rose high above the ground. Curious, Gohmin crossed the lake, approached the large tower, and eventually climbed the long staircase to the top where it opened into a circular room. Looking around the room Gohmin notice strange arcane symbols etched into the stone walls, but in the middle of the room was a large stone altar. There lying on top of the altar, was a large warhammer. The warhammers’ wooden handle was wrapped in twisted at twisted iron dragon tail, laced with red jewels. The handle supported a giant stone on top that was also wrapped in a twisted iron dragon tail, with the top of the stone holding a fierce looking dragon head with green jewels in it’s eyes. Gohmin approached the altar and noticed the same arcane symbols from the walls etched in the stone altar as well as the hammer itself. “This is it!” he thought to himself, as he picked up the hammer. Gazing at the large weapon, Gohmin then noticed the symbols on the warhammer begin to glow followed by the symbols on the wall. Fearful of what might happen if he stayed in the tower, Gohmin fled the tower with the warhammer in his hands. He crossed the lake once more, and after another long journey, he returned to the Prybush Hills and to his kin. Gohmin showed his prize to the tribes’ scholars who were bewildered at such a weapon. Although none in the Dark Horn tribe knew exactly what the warhammer was capable of, Gohmin was so sure of his discoveries powers that he led the charge of the newly reformed Dark Horn tribe to northwest Irathor to meet the Ironhold clan in battle.
Even though the Dark Horns had been reported to be marching towards his location with significant numbers, Benwen Steelhammer dismissed all caution given by his council. The council would plead with him to begin preparations for war, but Benwen would only remind his councilmen of the Ironhold clans’ recent victories. It was during this time, that Benwen’s arrogance reached it’s height as he declared a new name for the most recent kingdom they had besieged. This kingdom in northwestern Irathor was his wealthiest capture yet, and thus he had decided to rename the city “Ironvale”. A giant celebration and feast was planned for the newly named city even as his adversaries marched ever closer. On the night of the celebration, Benwen became extremely drunk and retreated to his chambers for the evening. The party carried on late into the night, but at dawn a loud BOOM was heard throughout the city as the large wooden door at the entrance of the city gate bulged from the battering rams of the Dark Horn trolls. Flames rose from the city walls as the Dark Horns began to enter into Ironvale. Benwen was awoken from his slumber by one of his councilmen, and was alerted to the invasion. Surprised, he immediately ordered all of his men to the front gate of the city. This action ultimately spelled his doom as he had fallen into the elaborate trap Gohmin had created for him, for by sending his troops to the front of the city…the mighty Bloodstone was left in the gated keep at the back of the city. The stones’ aura would not be of any aid this day, as a fierce battle raged on with both armies finally on equal footing. During the melee, Gohmin charged into the city wielding the mysterious warhammer. The arcane symbols on the warhammers’ handle glowed with blue light, as the rage of Gohmin was seen with his first mighty strike. The warhammer connected to his first foe with a thunderous sound as bolts of lightning shot from the weapon. At the sight of this, the Ironhold clansmen cried out in fear and began pleading for their lives. The Dark Horns gave a victorious shout and charged deeper into the city with a new found vigor after Gohmin’s heroic act. Gohmin lead the charge, disposing of the dwarves with each thundering wave of his warhammer. Finally, Gohmin made his way to the back of the city, and the great keep of Ironvale in which the fabled Bloodstone was kept. Benwen, the once great and powerful dwarf, was helpless to watch from his tower chambers as his hated enemy entered the keep. Upon entering, Gohmin saw the large stone standing upright in the middle of the room. Tightening his grip on the magical warhammer, Gohmin stepped forward and swung into the stone with all his might. Upon connecting with the stone, a large explosion of lightning and strange blue light erupted from the keep followed with a thunderous noise that shook all of Ironvale. The ground began to quake and rumble, and the walls of Ironvale began to shake. Both the Dark Horns and the remaining Ironhold clansmen cried out in terror as a large crack appeared below their feet that stretched the length of the city. Screaming and running for their lives, everyone within the city attempted to the escape, but it was too late. The earth below the city gave way as all of Ironvale crumbled, and sank into a giant crevice never to be seen again. This tremor was felt throughout Irathor, and much of the land suffered as a result.
Timeline 1301: Many years have passed since that day and the land has begun to rebuild itself. Peace has returned to Irathor as well, and neither the Dark Horn trolls nor the Ironhold dwarves have been seen since the destruction of the Bloodstone. Although the ancient tomes in the human city of Middenhiem tell of the complete destruction of the magical Bloodstone, some say that the shards of the stone may still exist deep within the bowels of the earth. Most scholars dismiss this notion as merely a story to frighten children, but recent events within the dark caves of Stonewyn in northeastern Irathor have kept the rumors alive. Not much is known of these strange events other than reports of a few miners discovering some strange ancient symbols on the cave walls…and sounds of thunder near the entrance…