The Lord with half the Ice at heel is marched from land of waste;
Their fighters drink the rivers dry, their Dancers blight the land.
He that stands will die for nought, so to sea with all our haste,
Let honour be to those that flee, not those left under sand.
A crash of drums starts the charge, the ground moves under foot,
Blackened shafts fly through the air, the East becomes the night.
An icy wind begins to blow, through soldiers it doth cut;
The Dancers with their masks of fear bring the wind through might.
Step forward robes with gouts of fire, that turned the sheer walls black.
All gone in ash, a sacrifice, intent to stall the horde.
The final stand of kings of men was here no turning back
A beacon lit, a lasting flare, a clash of arms foretold.
Ten score of friendly soldiers fall, with ice upon their lips,
No time to call and no farewells, the city left to rack.
From Dancers’ call a storm arrives with havoc on the ships,
Few escape the boiling bay, ne’er to venture back.
The few that skipped away from shore, on sea that waves did sprout,
Bore hope and light, and something more, to make the land complete.
A line of blood pricked from the stem protected by the stout,
To flower anon, when time is right, fact hidden by retreat.
- Skald Taruk
Year of the Pendulous Tongues (518)
The Islands are a small cluster of rocky isles far out to the west in The Great Sea. They are dominated by a large central island, often referred to as ‘Haven’ though no official name has ever been nominated. They were settled as part of the ‘Great Retreat’ after the ‘Downfall’ in the Year of the Unleashed Fears (452).
The main island is about 130 miles wide by 130 miles long and supports an abundant variety of life, the majority of which has been nurtured by the arrival of the remaining Free Peoples over four hundred years ago. The island was an isolated area before their arrival, with a wide variety of plant life and simple animals, but now teams with the influx of a great many people and their crops and animals.
There are five major settlements on the main island. The largest, Deepingwald, is at the southeastern tip of a chain of mountains that stretches from the northwestern reaches of the island, to the very southeast. Situated in the centre of the mountain range is a dwarven stronghold, kel-Morndin, built out of the mines that the dwarves carved when they settled.
To the west, in a large forest, is the elven settlement of Varnelonde. To the southwest the human settlement of Capel-Treath, and to the north Port Serena.
There are many smaller settlements dotted around the country supporting the many farming communities.