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The Chronicle of Aldencia

A struggle for peace in a kingdom in turmoil...

The Chronicle of Aldencia: Saving the Kingdom
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The Scenario

The World of Aldencia:

Aldencia is a continent unto itself, united under a single hereditary monarchy. The land is bountiful, rich in human and natural resources, but still largely wild. Though there are a few large cities, Adzoral and Cath, for example, most of the kingdom’s population is spread across the countryside in farming towns and villages. The patriarchal society is determined by birth-rank, and the nobility is highly protective of their status and due, whereas the commoners, those who are not under the lordship of a fief specifically, are more socially mobile, mistrustful of the well-born but genial towards each other. Politically, the established monarchy has complete discretion over all matters within the kingdom and may delegate at will, but is not required to do so. The first-born son of the king is the heir to the throne, and the unbroken line of Aldencian kings of the blood runs back to ancient times, most of whom have been benevolent, wise, and largely beloved by their people. The king was long considered to be the anchor amidst the infighting and squabbling of the various noble houses, keeping the civil peace amongst those powerful and influential of Adzoral’s elite, but he also serves as the head of state in all formal and practical capacities as well. Aldencia’s major economy remains based in its farming and trade, but being largely isolated to their own continent, thereby limiting trade with outside markets, neither supply nor demand dictates growth nearly so strongly as royal decree and the weather of a given planting season.

The people of Aldencia are mainly ethnically homogenous, with most of the population displaying fair skin, eyes of brown, blue, or green, and hair color ranging from brown to blonde to red. The one exception to this are the individuals born of gypsy legacy, with a darker skin, black hair, and most often brown eyes. This distinction sets apart all those born of gypsy blood, often making them targets for discrimination and negative stereotyping by the vast majority. Similarly, most people of gypsy descent, rather than living in townships with their fair neighbors, live together in blood-clans, traveling the southern part of the Aldencian continent and acting as traders, bards, bringers of news and entertainment, and horse trainers, handlers, and breeders. The clans are secretive, each with their own variation on a common language, and with secret rites and beliefs kept from outsiders with care.

The nearest neighbor to this domain is the island of Irenia, a sometimes-independent territory that is often the cause of much strife. The cultures of Aldencia and Irenia are vastly different, the former operating under an agrarian, feudal system, the latter without a central government where the people live in allied nomadic bands or self-contained city-states. A few outposts and one small Aldencian city lie on the isle of Irenia, but these settlements are precarious at best due to the isolation from the kingdom and the infrequent assaults by the Irenians for what they see as an invasion of their territory. Although parallels are commonly drawn between the gypsies of Aldencia and the nomadic groups of Irenia, they are distinctly different societies and bear little in common in either culture or temperament. However, Irenia is rich in resources and this makes it desirable to the rulership of Aldencia, spurning multiple campaigns to overtake the island as a whole, the last of which, taking place ten years before the current era, ended bloodily and without a clear victor. Of other lands than this, there are indeed continents across the ocean, but they are little known, much feared, and rarely visited by the xenophobic Aldencians.

Technologically, the land of Aldencia remains in the infancy of development; little beyond the plow has been invented. While architecture flourishes in a medieval style, medicine remains at the level of an herbalist or village simpler. The inventiveness of the population lulls due to the preponderance and wide-spread knowledge of magic. With the ability to heal a wound or create water with a few years’ training and effort, mechanical means of achieving these feats are slow in coming. However, as magical study is generally limited to those in the clergy or those who are literate and have the time to study, the common people continue to rely on themselves and their own techniques when no mage is about.

Religiously, Aldencia looks to a triumvirate of gods, their dedicated priesthood well-established and dispersed throughout the land. Within the pantheon are the mother goddess: bringer of life, compassion, and wisdom, and her two sons, the warrior: mentor of battle, mercy, and justice, and the teacher: instructor of music, healing, writing, and magic. The priesthood, open to both men and women, study the arts of the gods as they wish, resulting in a clergy both varied and ever-expanding its knowledge and study. Every village and town, and most small hamlets, can boast at least one priest to look after their spiritual needs, taking confessions, officiating at weddings and funerals, and offering wisdom and comfort to the masses in times of trouble. The exception here, again, lies with the gypsy clans, which practice their own religion. Unlike the common faith, the gypsy clans worship a single mother goddess, revering her sons as enlightened but not divine figures. Isolated theologically as well as culturally, it is rare that any connections between the established ecclesiastical order and the clans are forged.

Aldencia’s Recent History:

Although a relatively peaceful nation, the standing army of Aldencia remained a welcome berth for those seeking to better their stations in life or to win glory for fading family lines. This army was called back to active duty upon the beginnings of the conflict in Irenia. A leader known only as Red Wolf united many of the tribes on Irenia, attempting to force the small Aldencian population to return to their native shores. The king ordered his army, under the command of General Matthias Vane, to invade Irenia and put down the uprising, taking control of the island in the process. The war was long and cunningly fought, Red Wolf’s small bands of skirmishers picking away at General Vane’s vast military forces, but the general’s brilliant tactical decisions were slowly turning the tide in the Aldencian’s favor, especially when Red Wolf appeared to fall in battle against the kingdom’s soldiers. Then, a disastrous miscalculation by General Vane led a part of his army into a trap, during which most of his troops were routed and the general and his son both died on the battlefield in combat. With the loss of his best military mind, the king turned the war over to another general, one Vardek Crom, who used brutality rather than intelligence in his engagements. After another several months of stalemates, the Aldencian army held their position and stopped all forward actions, effectively calling a draw and dividing the island into Irenian and Aldencian territories. This battle and its aftermath significantly impacted the kingdom of Aldencia, not only in lives lost and families destroyed, but in a sense that the honor of the kingdom had somehow been compromised by failing to defeat their enemies.

The Player Characters

Matthias (Steven Henry):

Formerly General Matthias Vane, the nobleman had known the life of any good man of rank as a military man with many commendations to his name, as well as a proper wife and family on the homefront. Following ancient customs of honor and behavior with a rigid attention to propriety, his life progressed much the way it was expected to until the war-hawk was severely injured in an ambush on Irenia during the war; Matthias caught a broadsword to the face, destroying his eyes and thus blinding him completely for the rest of his life. After recovering in the medical tents for a few days, his insignia was somehow lost as he was handed off to the clergy for healing and thus Matthias passed into relative obscurity, official records listing him as killed in action. Fighting bouts of depression at the loss of his son, killed in the same attack that had robbed him of his sight, the forcibly-retired general received word that his wife had died shortly after hearing of his and his son’s deaths. Guilt-ridden, Matthias dropped his title and his name and entered the clergy as a monk in Adzoral, hiding himself away from the world in a half-death in the prime of his life. Ten years passed quietly, the largely unknown monk living a solitary existence where his memories plagued him at night and the meaninglessness of his hours pricked his days. Matthias developed a strong affinity for pacifism and peace, his experiences having shown him the folly of war. But on the night the city of Adzoral began to burn, an old spirit rose up in the ex-soldier and once astoundingly clever general, and he found himself, however unwilling, once again at the center of a war. This time, however, he was haunted by the demons of his past, his own misdeeds, his losses, and his fears. Relying on none but his own strength and quietly wishing he had died ten years prior, Matthias forged bravely on, building a new life from the rags of his spirit.

Elara N’Daren/Menderskin (Kelly Reich):

Elara Menderskin to the world, Elara was orphaned within the first year of life, found in the ruins of a wagon by the N’Daren gypsy clan. They raised her as their own, giving her every love and attention. As Elara grew older, she showed a great talent for both defending others and studying the complexities of religion; therefore, the clan acceded to her request to be the first gypsy to enter seminary. Though she suffered discrimination from all sides, Elara fought back to protect herself, though the taunts of others wounded her. As a trained novice, Elara joined the healing corps that were sent to the war in Irenia, serving in the same healing tent where General Matthias Vane was brought for his traumatic injury, though she paid little attention to his particular case. Later assigned to help escort some civilians through secured territory, Elara found herself using her unique combination of magical and practical fighting abilities to defend the group when they were ambushed. Thus, gaining the respect of the elders in the Council, she was promoted and quickly rose through the ranks. Ten years later, Elara had reached Third Member status, soon to be elected Second Member, and was the overseer for the instruction of all young acolytes and priests-in-training. Elara was also the hand-picked liaison between the priesthood and the gypsy clans, giving her a more isolated status but the ability to return to her people frequently as she “attempted” to convert their beliefs to those more in line with the Order’s. She had also, by way of a casual affair, given birth a son she named Oertan, and he often accompanied her back to their people where they both felt more at home than they ever did in the cathedral in Adzoral. When the cathedral was invaded during the coup, Elara led her children away from the danger, losing Oertan in the chaos, but unable to abandon her charges for the child of her heart.

Nahla Benslarenskin (Marina Krinsky):

NOTE: Recently married to Bendigar Benlarenskin

Born the younger daughter of a sheepherder, Perenahl was raised alongside her younger brother tending the sheep and helping with the family’s chores. However, her family was cold to her, seeing Nahla as an asset to be traded in marriage after working the sheep farm for years, a mentality that both insulted her intelligence and her sense of self-worth. The feeling of futility in attempting to prove herself only increased after her brother got married, as the family then looked to her to make an equally profitable match. At a relatively young age therefore, the frustrated girl, fed up with sheep and with being treated as if she were little more than a commodity to her kin, left the family homestead seeking better fortunes. Nahla ended up in Adzoral, entering the services of the army as a spy. She was trained and drilled on camouflage, shadowing, and a host of other skills absolutely necessary for covert operations. Although she was often quite close to the social life of the Aldencian capital, Nahla took little interest in the nobility or their petty games, rather devoting herself to her work. Bound by a strict conscience, Perenahl found herself serving in only the positions she deemed ethical enough to warrant her involvement. In spite of her efforts, she was never really advanced through the ranks, however, as poor luck seemed to dog her every misadventure. A strong and opinionated woman, outspoken about her distaste for sheep and gypsies, both of which she viewed as not worth the effort and, in the case of the latter, barely human, Nahla was often isolated by commanders though comfortable with comrades in arms, which suited her more solitary nature well. However, when forces moved against the rightful king and began consolidating control of the city of Adzoral, Perenahl felt that she could not side with the usurpers in good conscience and instead fled the city looking for allies.

Bendigar Benlarenskin (Sarah Ravely):

The second son of a minor noble, Bendigar Benlarenskin’s options for life were few; he would not inherit his father’s title or land, so he must either join the army or the clergy. As the life of a noble priest did not suit his open, energetic demeanor, the young and enthusiastic Bendigar opted for the former, throwing himself fully into military training. Serving under General Vane in Irenia, Bendigar’s unmatched bravery and devotion to his men won him the position of captain, a minor rank in an intense situation, but fulfilling enough to the young man’s bravado and ego. When the war ended, shortly after the death of the general who had masterminded the Aldencian offense, Bendigar found himself at loose ends. Though he served for a time as part of a peacekeeping unit, he found the monotony and lack of meaningful duties unbearable, even though it did satisfy his deep and abiding sense of duty to the king. Thus, resigning his commission, the lesser noble took up the work of a bard, his singing and instrument-playing having always been better than passable. Wandering from town to town, Bendigar discovered that an honest bard, as he was incurably honest, did not do terribly well financially, but the continuous travel fed a need in his boyish heart for adventure and purpose. Keeping his hand in with his training on various weapons, he lived a nomadic, simple, and cheerfully interesting life for ten years. Then, like many ex-soldiers from the Irenian war, he was recalled to action by a former commander. Finding, however, that the forces which had overthrown the rightful king were now in charge of his unit, Bendigar deserted his post rather than serve those who had acted so unjustly. Using his bard’s skills as cover, he sought to make his way to a group that might resist these dishonorable overthrowers and restore the proper kingship to Aldencia.

Dora N’Daren/Menderskin (Ingrid Henry):

Dora Menderskin was born part of the N’Daren gypsy clan. From a very young age, the gentle Dora showed promise as both an animal-handler and a healer, eventually investing time in both pursuits. Unlike most of her gypsy family, however, Dora had no love for travel, and when she was old enough, elected to stay at a manor-house owned by one of the clan near a small town in the idyllic south of Aldencia. There, Dora spent most of her years learning midwifery, herbalism, and acquiring the ability to speak to any animal in its own language. Living as she did in the southern part of the kingdom where gypsies were commonplace, Dora did not face much in the way of discrimination and lived a comfortable, sheltered life, tending to the townsfolk within easy traveling distance and visiting her blood-clan for yearly festivals and celebrations. Young and naïve, she was therefore completely taken in by a man with neither pure nor honorable intentions. Her infatuation overriding her judgment, Dora gave herself over to him utterly, When he inevitably betrayed her trust and left her with only rags of her self-esteem, the previously-strong pillar of grace and care became a wounded and broken child once more. With the support and love of her clan, Dora eventually overcame her initial despondency, but scars remained. She felt she would never again know love, nor trust herself with a man, and accordingly resigned herself to her work as a midwife and healer, distancing herself from the world. However, with news that violence and chaos was erupting in Adzoral, Dora feared for Elara, one of her younger clan-sisters. Without even entirely knowing why, she left the farmstead she had lived in for most of her adult life, undertaking a perilous journey northwards ostensibly to find and protect her sister, as well as discover what had transpired. Unsure of herself still, deeply lonely though she did not realize it, Dora threw herself into the world, looking for more than Elara; she was seeking renewal for herself.

Theodor (Sarah Ravely):

A quiet, unassuming individual, Theordor was born and raised in a small town north of Adzoral. Raised alongside several younger sisters, Theodor found himself a natural protector and confidant for his siblings. His father, a skilled woodcutter and carpenter, trained him in the family trade, a pursuit Theodor enjoyed from the very first. Eventually taking over his father’s work, he became a fine woodsman and hunter, able to move very softly through the forest that was his general habitat. Solid and reliable, Theodor was a pillar of the community; although not perhaps the most insightful or outspoken of individuals, he was trustworthy to a fault, and had a deep and abiding sense of honor and decorum. Helping his sisters to find comfortable matches, Theodor could find no one to whom his heart inclined, so he instead spent his days supplying his village with firewood, repairing houses and barns as needed, and sculpting the occasional piece of decorative furniture as a gift or commissioned piece. He never thought much beyond this quiet life within the town he loved so well, and he anticipated that his life would continue as expected, unnoticed by the world at large. Then, one peaceful spring day, a squadron of soldiers appeared in the village. Theodor’s impressive size and musculature, built over years of felling trees, was sufficient to discourage ill-treatment of the townfolk for a time. When the troops turned violent upon discovering the poverty of the town they had invaded, however, the woodcutter turned his axe to a weapon, wielding it as skillfully against men as he did against trees. Thus, defending his neighbors and family, Theodor led his people away from their beloved hamlet, seeking security once more. Although he intended to restore his life to the comfortable predictability he had known, Theodor found himself wishing to do more, to stretch himself, and perhaps, make a difference by his life and effort on behalf of those who yearned for peace.

Keleroth Flamewright (David Greenfield):

A minor noble in his own right, Keleroth grew up in Cath, away from the infighting of the ranked houses in Adzoral. Discovering at an early age a passion for study and learning, a young Keleroth was more interested in books and scrolls than society, although he did make room for swordplay and other active pursuits at the behest of his father. Growing up as a nobleman, Keleroth had few demands on his time and could commit himself to his studies, becoming increasingly fascinated by social justice and magic. Although magic-use outside of the clergy was uncommon, especially so far from Adzoral and the nobility’s love of a house-mage, he began to study fire magic in earnest, the ever-changing nature and control of the flame a more engaging pursuit than any other spectrum of magic. Earning the adopted surname “Flamewright,” Keleroth became well-known in the prime of his life throughout Aldencia for his sometimes radical and inflammatory ideas about society and fairness to all people. It was not long before his writings made him either beloved or hated, depending upon the audience, and Keleroth reveled in the controversy, nicely removed as he was from its heat. Aspiring to continue his studies and branch further into the realm of fire magic even into advanced age, he was caught off-guard when the city of Cath was plunged into anarchy. Upon learning that anti-royal forces were taking hold of the city, Keleroth initially considered ignoring the affair, as he reasoned it would have little impact on his direct dealings. However, it was not long before these same forces decided that his writings were too dangerous for their liking, spurring the fire-mage to flee the city and live to write another day. He hoped to find a group of like-minded individuals whom he could aid to restore order across the kingdom. Although not truly a pacifist, Keleroth was faced with the possibility of using his magic against others, a concept with which he was most uncomfortable.

Krissy (David Greenfield):

NOTE: Not currently active in campaign

Going by the name of “Krissy,” from a young age, the street-wise woman had been orphaned quite young, left to fend for herself in the underworld of Adzoral. Shrewdly, the young Krissy recognized that her options for life as a woman alone on the streets were few, unless she could find a way work outside the established system. Accordingly, Krissy worked to learn any and all abilities that might be unusual enough to bring in patrons, including reading and writing, forgery, infiltration, and other such pursuits. Along with these, she discovered the value of mastering more pointed skills, such as the short-sword and dagger, for both protection and occasional intimidation. She quickly discovered that the nobility of Adzoral had many secrets and means of leverage against each other: things to hide, things to find, things to acquire, things to destroy, and things to keep until the perfect time. Slipping easily into the upper underworld of noble life, Krissy’s attractive face, frank and business-like demeanor, and record of success won her patronage from the richest and most influential homes in the city, lining her pockets with hard-earned money and gaining both respect and fear among the well-bred. Instinctively a loner, she did nothing without an obvious profit for herself, nor did she take kindly to competition from any source. Therefore, when a coup rocked the city, at first life was business as usual, although it soon became apparent that the new power in town was not going to take lightly to entrepreneurs such as herself. The streets began to fill with soldiers and the taverns with stories of what happened to criminals. Deciding that she liked the previous monarch’s regime far better, Krissy left Adzoral, armed with rumors of resistance groups that were looking to undo what had been done. Though not motivated by patriotic sentiments, her desire to see the rightful king restored was entirely genuine, and entirely crafted by her own needs.

Tera (Ingrid Henry):

NOTE: Feeling Dead

Born and raised alongside the animals she loved, Tera was the daughter of a small town’s hostler and innkeeper. Taking charge of her younger sister from the time she was born, Tera was known for a fiery temper and a protective streak that drove her to look out for anyone in trouble, especially other little girls in the village. Strong and determined, Tera showed an early talent for handling animals, and before long she was working at her father’s side to care for the horses and other creatures that moved in and out of the town on a fairly-regular basis. Located to the northwest of Adzoral, the village saw a small amount of city traffic, mostly limited to merchants and trappers bringing their wares to the capital for sale. Tera took advantage of the knowledge these travelers carried, learning anything they would teach, from swordwork to tracking. On her own initiative, she found a hawk’s nest and claimed one of the chicks for her own, training it as soon as it was old enough to fly. Named Estel, the hawk became her constant companion, an extended set of eyes and ears. As she grew older, Tera acquired a panther as well, training it to respond to her signals in the woods. Though Rana, as she called her, tended to make the villagers nervous, they were grateful for the security promised by the large creature roaming at night. Her love of animals only growing, Tera was steadily developing into a passionate and able woman. Then, one infamous day, a patrol of soldiers entered the village. Though Tera never knew why, they attacked, killing any in their path and doing unspeakable things to the helpless women and girls of the town. Driven by rage and a hot-blooded desire for revenge, Tera attempted to save her sister, only to find it was too late – she had been killed. Fleeing the ruins of her home, she wandered the forest, seeking a way to avenge the destruction and horror she had survived.

And thus, the adventure begins...