Dunland

Contents

Description

Northern Human realm on Siirist

Local Knowledge

Coinage
Platinum - Njords Head (God of Trade) - AKA a Njord. "give you 2 Njords for that"
Gold - Ravens Head (After Yric the Ravenking) - AKA a Raven, "Its 4 Ravens a night for a bed"
Silver - Queens Head (After Queen Godelins) - AKA a Queen, "3 Queens for a mug of good wine"
Copper - Senalis Head (God of Metalwork) - AKA a penny, "I gave the beggar 4 pennies"
Languages
Dunish - Root Language Ternai - See Languages

Recent History

The following information is taken from "The Raventale", by Godfrid High Priest of Alden.

The Fall of Dunland

Dunland was overrun 25 years ago by an invasion of Giant-Kin from the east and six months later by the undead armies of the Witch-King of Shadowmire in the west. Between them they almost conquered Dunland. However two significant towns, Gleynafon and Lingmell, held out against the invaders long enough for support from the Dwarven citadels in the north to arrive. Unfortunately, King Ethermund fell during the last great battle of Afonbury against the Witch-King. All of the royal family were hunted and killed by the Witch-King, apart from his 14 year old daughter Godelind who was just about to take her vows as a 'Sister of Nelda' at their abbey near Lingmell.

In the west, the city Afonbury was destroyed by the Witch King, with half of its populace becoming lost to his foul armies. The refugees fled to bolster the castle at Gleynafon, where the foul horde was halted and a terrible siege begun.

In the east, the Giant-Kin overran Nanton Abbey and poured down into the Midford Valley to take the city of Nortwyke. Raping and pillaging began across the countryside as the Giant-Kin enslaved the population and prepared to occupy Dunland.

The Occupation

For the next six years the people of Dunland lived under the yoke of these two conquerors, with the terrible siege of Gleynafon only kept alive by the brave river captains on the Midford bringing supplies and reinforcements. In the east, the horse tribes of the Orston cleft allied with the Count of Lingmell and proceeded to raid against the Giant-Kin in the Midford Valley. Being too large for almost all breeds of horse, the Giant-kin were unable to respond effectively against this mobile warfare. The bravest of these horse raiders was a daring young knight from Lingmell by the name of Yric. Leading raid after successful raid into the north, Yric rose to eventually become a hero to the oppressed people of the north. He was known to the common folk by his banner of a black bird on a white background, earning him the nickname of the Raven. Everywhere the people most needed help, the raven banner was seen, bringing help and killing their oppressors.

The Rebellion

The gods often take a hand in the affairs of man, as can be seen in the tale of Yric the Raven. Two years into the rebellion, he was wounded grievously but rescued by his bannermen and taken back to Lingmell to heal. The young woman cleaning his wounds was a demure Sister of Nelda named Godelind. The poison on the blades of the Giant-kin proved resistant to the healing magics of the good sisters and it took weeks for a priest of sufficient expertise to reach the Abbey to cure Yric. During that time Yric and Godelind, as young people who capture the attentions of Arawn often do, fell in love. Interestingly, Yric knew nothing of Godelind's past and, for her safety, all around her in the Abbey were sworn to silence on the matter. Princess Godelind was thought to be dead in the sacking of Afonbury. Given her solemn vows, Yric and Godelind thought little would come of their feelings and, eventually swearing to return and visit her, Yric returned to the rebellion.

With the help of the Dwarves, the rebels eventually entered Nortwyke secretly via newly dug tunnels into the sewers. On an almost moonless night, the rebels swept through the city slaughtering the sleeping Giant-Kin, till the streets literally ran red with their blood in what became known as the "Ravens feast". Yric stormed the castle with his loyal band and fought victoriously in single combat with Jarl Gulbrand, leader of the Giant-kin. The victory in the north was far from over, however, as the rebels pushed fast into the hills to get to the Runegate the Giant-kin were using to bring troops from their lands. With dwarven troops sweeping down from the north and the rebels from the south, the Runegate defenders were crushed and strong magics used to destroy the gate. Realising their cause was lost, many of the Giant-kin fled north into the hills, hoping to slip past the Dwarves and reach the relative safety of Ornskoldvik or Gunnolfsvik. History tells us few made it home.

Liberation

Hailed as a hero, Yric led his now unified force of Rebels, Dwarves and Horse tribesmen down into the Midford Valley to begin the long march west to break the siege of Gleynafon. Here the dark gods again took a hand, as shadow assasins from the Witch-King almost killed Yric at the small village of Geddsby near the Geddog Hills. The rebellion sputtered like the flame of a candle in the wind. With their leader on his deathbed, the army came to a halt, bewildered at their loss. Loyal Antithon, an Acernai druid and compatriot of Yric, desperately travelled in the shape of a Peregrine Falcon through the night to reach Lingmell and the Abbey of Nelda, where, although exhausted, he summoned the clouds and wind to carry a small group of sisters of Nelda back with him to Yric's side. With Yric almost at the crossing to Wuldur's realm, the sisters called him back to finish what he had started. Godelind was there with Yric that night, weeping silently as she pleaded with her goddess for Yric to return. In the end, it is said, his sense of duty made him turn his back on Wuldur's realm and return to his people that night, although those who were there suspect that the hand of Arawn, the goddess of love, pulled him back. After that night, the sisterhood of Nelda remained at Yric's camp for the remainder of the war, often healing the Raven and his band when he needed it.

It was around this time, while Yric recovered, that politics reared its ugly head, as the lords of Lingmell wanted to consolidate the restored lands to the east, rather than push on to free Gleynafon. Arguments and oathbreaking seemed to be rife amongst the rebels as they moved west, with their force slowly shrinking. When they arrived at the siege of Gleynafon, a full quarter of the lords and men had withdrawn to the east; those who remained were sworn to Yric's banner and his cause. This breaking of oaths would not be forgotten in the days to come and even today enmity exists between the lords of the west and east.

The White Brotherhood

Delayed by the loss of troops and his own slow recovery, Yric ordered his loyal horsemen forward to harrass the undead horde surrounding Gleynafon. Unfortunately they found their match in the White brotherhood, the Witch-Kings elite force of necromancers, brave men died discovering the power of this evil cadre. Everywhere the horsemen rode, they faced Shadows, Wights and Wraiths, their normal night time raids saw them change from being hunters to hunted. Within weeks less than half the horsemen remained limping back to the rebel base in the Geddog hills. Yric is said to have wept for his men when he was told of their losses. That evening leaving his sickbed wearing only his kecks and a red blanket wrapped around him, he entered the Geddog hills followed by a few of his men. Slowly gathering stones he started to make a cairn to his fallen horsemen, more and more of his host joined him as he wearied due to his wounds. As the sun rose in the morning, a 30ft cairn of Geddog hill stone stood testimony to the bravery of those lost men. Everyone in the camp had placed a stone and sworn an oath that night, to see the rebellion through to the end, to fight to the last breath. Dunai Horse tribesmen pilgrims can still be seen travelling to the Geddog cairn to pay their respects.

With the coming of winter, the camp stayed in the Geddog hills with local men returning to their homes, swearing to return in the spring. During the winter, Gedolind slowly nursed Yric back to health, constantly at his side, becoming one of his constant companions. With spring upon them, Yric frustrated that he would never be able to be with the young woman he had fallen so deeply in love with, spent more and more time away from camp taking more and more risks while scouting the enemy positions. His strength at last returning with the spring, the Raven flew once more as he swept along the river valley, slaughtering the undead wherever he found them.

Time and time again, the Raven clashed with the White Brotherhood, but more often than not they escaped his claws. One of their number, the vampire Håkon the Red, a cursed Giant-Kin taunted Yric constantly. Loyal men would never be seen again, night after night, just their spilled blood would be found on the ground. The war see-sawed back and forth, with the Dunlanders claiming victory during the day, only to be harrased and fleeing at night. This served the Witch Kings purpose as he tightened his grasp on the siege at Gleynafon, especially after the long winter. Yric and his host seemed unable to get close enough to relieve the defenders and casualties were mounting daily.

The Dawn Cometh

Realising something drastic was needed, Yric sought the wisdom of his councillors, looking for a weapon to use against the undead. It was Godelind who after minutes of silence suggested the Sword of the Dawn, a long lost Elenite relic, said to be a bane to the undead. Godelind had seen a vision of the sword with its flame ruby pommel rising from a pool of blood. She believed this vision to be divinely inspired. She explained to those gathered Nelda wished her to lead them to the resting place of the sword, but that the pool of blood meant self sacrifice would be necessary to gain Elenes favour.

The gaining of the Sword is rumoured to be a painful story few know, but within the month Godelind, Yric and most of the companions returned with the Sword and Elene's blessing. Perhaps the price that was paid took its toll on Yric, from that day forth, his countenance was darker, more befitting his Raven appelation. The only person who could lighten his mood was Godelind, who now travelled with him as one of his companions. Once more Yric pressed forward, this time weilding the Sword of the Dawn with lethal effect. With Yric's immediate environment illuminated by the glory of the dawn at all times, the night time attacks by the White brotherhood faded and the war tipped against the Witch King.

The Massacre at Tane

Finally Yric and his Host of the Dawn reached the Tane hills just to the north of Gleynafon. That night whilst making plans to relieve the siege the camp was attacked, by human followers of the Witch King. Immune to the daylight from the sword, they stole into the camp seeking to hurt those closest to Yric. Godelind, Antithon the druid and Den-Darin the dwarf were taken that dark night, the red sign of Håkon was found in their tents. When the hue and cry went up, Yric vanished alone into the night in pursuit with the Sword of the dawn on his hip, little realising the grave mistake he was making.

In the cold light of morning, Yric and his rescued companions returned to find the slaughter wrought upon their camp by the Witch Kings undead. Without the Sword of the Dawn to protect them, the camp was almost over run by undead. With a full third of his force dead, most likely to be pawns of the Witch King, Yric descended into Tiw's red mist. Even Godelind could not calm him, as he ranged back and forth in his broken encampment screaming and shouting. Finally barely pausing to gather his companions, he dispersed the army north west into the Cadon hills with orders to avoid contact with the enemy and await his return. He then headed south travelling quickly along the banks of the Midford River towards Gleynafon, seeking Håkon's resting place. It was late evening when he found the abandoned desecrated temple of Heim where Håkon was hidden. Fighting his way into the temple with his companions, Yric finally found Håkon the red, deep underground in that cursed and defiled crypt.

Håkon soul was laid to rest that night, his heart impaled upon the Sword of Dawn and his head removed from his shoulders and buried in a treasure chest full of silver. From that day onward knowing he could not protect his men from the Witch King, Yric and his companions took the fight to the enemy alone. Travelling quickly and quietly, they decimated the White Brotherhood, even reaching the distant breached walls of Afonbury hunting for the servants of the Witch King.

Three months passed, with Antithon keeping in touch with the army in the Cadon hills on his nightly travels, to bring supplies back to Yric's band. Many believe that is was in this period that Godelind prayed to Nelda for release from her vows as a Sister and she became a priestess instead. Yric and Godelind were married in the late autumn when they returned to the camp in the Cadon hills. The companions of the Dawn had achieved what the army could not, they had scattered the White Brotherhood and broken the Witch Kings control over much of his army. Gathering his army together, Yric led them through the Tarn hills heading down to the siege of Gleynafon.

The Siege of Gleynafon Breaks

When Yric's vanguard reached the siege works, a great cry went up from the castle walls. Holding the Sword of the dawn high for all to see, Yric and his men charged down upon the undead horde. It was a long day of bloody work, Tiw smiled upon the heroes that day as they all survived to see the gates open and the Knights of Gleynafon sally forth to help. Finally after four long years the siege had been lifted and Gleynafon was freed. The forces of the Witch-King reeled back through the Mirfields to the walls of Afonbury itself, where they finally held strong. Some say the Witchking himself was in Afonbury and his dark influence alone stopped the route.

Yric wintered around Gleynafon, spending time with his wife and friends, Godelind soon was blessed by Nelda and became pregnant with twins. As is the way in the lands of men, politics again reared its despicable visage. Sensing an end to the war, the lords of Dunland took to jostling for power and their claims on the Kingship of Dunland. The counts of Gleynafon and Lingmell had valid claims by blood, as did many more less noble families. The common folk simply saw Yric as the only true King of their land, a hero blessed by the gods, but as is often the case, the common folk's wishes were not of import. Truth be told Yric did not seek the crown, he was a great warrior and leader, but not a politician.

The Moot at Gleynafon

A great moot was called, with all remaining nobles of the land called to attend. Count Lingmell proposed his own claim to the throne, which was immediately rejected by Count Gleynafon and the surviving refugee nobles of Afonbury. The bitter divide of the war finally came home to roost in the council chambers. Yric sat impassively with Godelind and his companions at his side, neither supporting nor condeming either side. For days the demands of every petty noble in the realm echoed back and forth in the chamber, but no progress was made. Numerous times it was proposed that Yric become King, but his blood line was not that of Ethermund and the Counts Lingmell and Gleynafon dismissed it. It seemed no one had an unchallenged claim to the throne and the threat of civil war loomed as the insults and threats continued unabated.

Finally as a trick to establish his claim, Count Lingmell called the mages of Caer Cadon tower to the council and explained they could use magic, to establish who amongst the nobles had the most claim to the blood line of Ethermund. knowing he was King Ethermunds first cousin he knew they would choose him. He was sadly mistaken, as the blue robed mages turned as one and pointed to Godelind. At first Godelind merely shook her head, Yric, standing, angrily accused the Count and the mages of some trickery with his hand resting on the Sword of Dawn. The Count accused the magi of some trick, voices were raised, Yric drew the Sword and stepped forward, in no mood for this.

The Hand of Nelda

It was then the council chamber was bathed in golden light, most took to shielding their eyes. A young woman of radiant beauty stood before them, with her hand raised. Godelind moving to Yrics side sank to her knees before her the messenger of her Goddess. One of the Handmaidens of Nelda stood amongst them, Yric sank slowly to one knee before her. Her soft voice clearly heard by all there, stated that Princess Godelind was the rightful heir to Ethermunds throne, none other. She then went on to explain that the Princess was now the Queen and rightfully married to Yric, who would become the lawful King. As she said this, her hand came to rest upon Yrics bowed head and her blessing was seen to surround him and his wife. With a final challenge to all that no man should put asunder what the gods wished, the Handmaiden of Nelda faded from view.

A New King

A long silence continued in that chamber, few can feel the presence of a Gods will and not take pause. Finally Yric looked to Godelind with a question obviously written on his face. Godelind finally stood spoke to the gathered lords and admitted she was Ethermunds youngest daughter, that she had been hidden in the Abbey at Lingmell and had not personally wanted to claim the throne, but at the instruction of her Goddess she had little choice but to take it for her husband and children. Almost all of the minor lords rallied and immediately shouted their support of Yric and Godelind. The senior nobility in the main also supported them, apart from those who had the most to lose.

Yric took the throne with his wife the next day at an impromptu coronation, much to the pleasure of his band of men and the common folk. The Companions of the Dawn remain by his side as his advisors and even today the older generation of Dunlanders call him the Raven King.