The Return of the Queen
The Great War, the hungry hordes of the Dark Lords – a nightmare that lasted for two decades and which left little to hearten the ones who finally woke up. Instead they had all the reasons to grieve: tens of thousands had died; the maimed and broken were beyond count; the land was ravaged by death magic; there was famine and infertility. And even though the young Queen had been rescued from the claws of the enemy, she had returned a shadow of her former self, with a lifeless mask covering her once radiant sunshine smile.
Twenty-one years have passed since the Dark Lords were vanquished and the Queen realized that her realm was dying. She was forced to lead her people to safer grounds, that much was evident. And before long she was able to identify where to start anew. North of the mountain range called the Titans lay the fertile soils which according to legend were the ancestral home of her people. The time had come for Korinthia to claim her birthright.
During the past couple of centuries the region up north had been controlled by warring, barbarian clans and before that by the prosperous city-state of Lindaros. According to legend, Lindaros suffered the wrath of celestial powers, causing a most infectious bleeder’s disease to wipe out its entire population. That occurred about two hundred years ago, after which it took more than a century before the nomadic clans of the region dared approach the contaminated ruins.
No more than a couple of months after the decisive battle against the Dark Lords, Korinthia’s troops reached the region in the north. At Lindaros they encountered a small barbarian settlement, established by the clan Kadiz that had been evicted from its territory in Davokar fifty years earlier. After a siege that only lasted for three days the barbarian chieftain bowed before the superior power and the work of rebuilding Lindaros could commence – a task that mainly was carried out by thousands of prisoners of war and as many so-called volunteers, men and women who were on the run from already dead regions in old Alberetor.
The Queen did not join the refugees until seven years after the war’s end. When she did, she declared that her new realm would be called Ambria, “the shining”, and the increasingly well-organized capital was to be named Yndaros in honor of Korinthia’s father, the hero king Ynedar. Three years later the Queen’s armies also managed to overwhelm the barbarian warlord Haloban and his clan warriors – a triumph giving Korinthia and her people the opportunity to start exploring and harvesting the ample riches of Davokar Forest.
Much has happened over a short period of time, so there has been no room for subtleties. Disobedient barbarians have been killed, banished or imprisoned by Korinthia’s experienced and well-equipped soldiers; the obedient ones have been used for labor under slave-like conditions. The latter also holds true for many of Korinthia’s own subjects, namely all those who came from the south without personal riches or sought-after skills. If anyone bothered to keep count of how many people have died in the process of building Ambria the final score would be by the thousands. But no one does. For those who are alive nothing counts but the remarkable result. Although the restoration of Yndaros is far from finished the city has grown to enormous proportions, and at the same time Korinthia’s knights have conquered all land between the mountains in the south and the woods in the north. Now the nobles of Ambria are starting to plan for new conquests, in the north and in the west.
Seven years ago the uncrowned king of Ambria’s treasure-hunters, Lasifor Nightpitch, established the town of Thistle Hold. The construction was to a large part financed by the reward Lasifor had received for an armful of dried Twilight-Thistle – a rare herb, allegedly powerful enough to aid the gravely ill Abesina, mother of Queen Korinthia. Ever since then, the walled settlement of Mayor Nightpitch has acted as a safe haven for Ambrians exploring Davokar, a forest full of natural resources and rich remnants of long lost civilizations; also a forest full of rampant abominations, dark-minded creatures of unworldly origins and a band of wardens most unwilling to welcome the damages done by human explorers.