Ulthuan

Ulthuan, Home of the Asur
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 6:04 am 
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I keep forgetting to check these forums regularly. My heart sank when I saw the entire month of January passed and I missed a fluff competition. I’m going to leave some stuff here, but I simply have too much content to determine what would best go here in what order. I’m trying to go for a Dark Souls feel mixed with the optimism and bright colors of my Chinese flavored elves.

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Contemplation of the future is difficult during a time of loss. Elves are by nature prone to melancholy. Each has surely lived a long time by the time they first experience true despair or loss, and thus linger sweetly on the past. Be it eulogizing a great hero, or committing to memory the last ashes of an empire that once spanned the world, all of these fey would rather return to what once was rather than press onward blindly into the dark. But all creatures born of the earth seek a path forward insatiably, and to what end?

All life is brilliant and beautiful to the Elves. It is merely worshipped differently by the three aspects of one mind. One seeks to learn and teach, and set examples for all others to obey and acknowledge. One believes all life must remain subservient to nature, and that kindness paid to the earth is given in return. One only lives for hedonism and pleasure of the flesh, but such a shortsighted goal is also so easy to achieve. What was once one state, one people, now exists as three. The earliest scholars once wrote that an empire that stands united, must divide; and an empire that stands divided, must eventually unite.

All life on the face of the world is fleeting. Like a garden, life may grow and flourish, but never be preserved except in memory. Yet Elves almost exist outside time. Age does not hold as much of a grip on them as the other fleeting mortals of the world. Humans, Dwarves, Orcs, Lizards, rat-men, all may clad themselves in iron, brass, adamant steel, or even stone, and still fall to the touch of time. And so the eternal foeof the elves is not the mortal, but the ethereal. Daemons of Chaos have threatened their realm since before the first Phoenix King was crowned, they forever seek to unseat fleshy creatures bound by reason and logic, and dominate all dimensions and domains.

This story is not about the Elves as a whole, but of one Elven Princess who seeks to gather power and restore what was once believed as timeless. In the shadows and murk of Athel Loren, all Elves struggle with the fickle unity that binds them under one roof. The forest strains to hold so many, and yet so few elves remain to ponder the future, or weep for the past. Andriel Kethruil, a knight and lord from the northeastern shores of Cothique, traveled the world like her King Finubar to learn the ways and thoughts of mortal creatures. She returned home seeing the world burning around her, and strove to bring aid to a beleaguered humanity during the Storm of Chaos.

Andriel created the Warden Host, a contingent of worldly Asur who brought the fight to the enemies of man so that they could enjoy respite where possible, giving no thought to the wider plight of their homeland, and Malekith’s single-minded machinations. Now he is King, and all of their race must follow him. But in this eve before the final conflicts of the End Times, nothing is certain. Andriel doesn’t know it yet, but ambition grows within her heart, ambition which combined with her noble temperament shall unite many thousands to her cause, to a new Elven state. Should the High Elves survive the End Times, there is no doubt many will follow her; this is her story.

(Will be updated regularly based on popularity)
I: The Princess and her Inner Circle
II: The History of the Warden Host, and its current state in the End Times
III: The Factions within the Warden Host
IV: The Future (TBD after the release of Book 5 End Times)


Last edited by Red Geist on Sun Mar 08, 2015 7:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:03 pm 
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Prologue: Accepting the Will of “Heaven”

Deep within the southwestern reaches of Athel Loren, an old Bretonnian castle forgotten and ruined by the ages stood vacant until recently. At its core was an insignificant campfire, where flame ate away at kindling slower than the passing of the sun and moon across the sky. Upon a plinth of stone an Asur sorcerer clad in deep green silks contemplated the future in silence. His back was sore and tired, for it normally carried several massive tomes and important scrolls. This was all he could save from the libraries of Saphery; during the crisis he was given an hour to select tomes he would find the most useful and let perish all others. Back in Ulthuan, with the earth shattering and sinking around him, the sage remembered tears bathing his face as he shrewdly chose that which could be spared. It was like choosing a single household to live while condemning millions of others to die. No person so attached to their art such as he could ever make such a choice swiftly. And yet, here they were. Five books, seven scrolls, and one artifact in a decorative case were all that he could collect from the Library-City of Hoeth.

The fire burned in slow motion, as to let it provide heat longer and with less maintenance. He stared into it intently, he was waiting. Perhaps the first to understand a possible way forward, all he had to do was hope for the right pieces to fall into place.

“Kongming?” A voice called out, the soothing sound of a woman’s call. Stepping into the light from a crumbling passage, she approached the fire. Above the firelit chamber a hole in the stone allowed moonlight to flood the room. The cold blue of the moon and the red warmth of the fire played with the light in a fantastical way. The woman was an elven princess, armored like the greatest warriors of the age. Silver plate covered her abdomen, arms, and legs. She wore over that a long skirt of steel scales. Her doublet was a sky blue, and all other cloth a ruby red, like her hair. She wore her hair in a long braid that wrapped around the left side of her head and almost reached her waist. This was Andriel Kethruil, Princess of Cothique, and founder of the Warden Host. She was the key to the Archmage’s plans.

“Andriel, come, sit by the fire.” The sage gestured for her to sit with him. She placed her trusted weapon, a long emerald greatsword, against the stone beside her, “How are things at the court of the Eternity King?” He scoffed at the new name Malekith was given.

“A rightful mess, to be blunt.” She replied as she rolled her eyes, “The forest cannot contain all of us. We are running out of fresh water to bathe in. At the great pools, Asur and Asrai squabble. Meanwhile Asur fight Druchii over the use of human peasants to fuel literal blood baths for the last followers of Hellebron.”

“I heard about that. And the beast meat is going over alright amongst the scholars and statesmen?”

“Yes, with the beastmen herds culled in such numbers, and other sources of food scarce outside of feeding on what the forest can provide, their meat is at least sustaining what remains of our ranks.”

“Do you have any idea where the Asur can go when this is all over? We lived in towers and cities, many cannot cope with living amongst so much nature.” The sage was not alone in this opinion. He could even see it in his friend’s eyes. A hammock of leaf and vine could not compare to a royal plush bed in a palace of vermillion wood and gilded stone.

Kongming sighed greatly, and stroked his short wiry beard that jutted out of his chin, “These are truly the End Times. Our civilization has gone from a world power to almost nothing, and to think I lived through the reign of two Phoenix Kings, nay three now! I truly cannot tell you where our future lies!”

Andriel leaned forward and gripped her friend’s arm tightly with an armored hand, calming him, “I believe it is our place to make a new future, at least for our people.”

“Oh Lady Kethruil, ever a champion of a brighter tomorrow. Woe indeed that you could not persuade those who took their own lives. So many died in vain for Ulthuan, and many more took blades to themselves!” He referred to the mass suicide pacts that occurred almost exclusively amongst the surviving High Elves upon entering Athel Loren. The number of Asur were few enough before, and painfully fewer still as many hundreds perished by their own hands that day. “I have traveled with you for almost forty years. I remember you founding the Warden Host. You alone foresaw the resurrection of Nagash and correctly predicted the rise of Archaon the Everchosen. Truly your wisdom is only eclipsed by your kindness and bravery.”

“You shower me in compliments friend.”

“It does not make them anything less than fact! If you were in Malekith’s place, all elves would be prospering and content right now. There would not have been any mass suicides, and elves would stand united and ready to confront all evils that await us!”

“But are we not united by his will, or at least the marriage of Malekith and Alarielle?”

“Perhaps, but Malekith has only issued three decrees since becoming our ruler. First, no elf may harm another. Second, all Dark Elves may do as they choose, including pillage other lands, but they must above all other things obey the first decree. Third, all elves are mandated to slay anything that threatens the security of Athel Loren’s borders, which explains the mass culling of the Beastmen herds. Not a word since has been uttered from his Eternal Throne, and while his power is unassailable his reputation and character are at best laughable. He is no king to many of us, they are merely too gripped by melancholy to renounce him as ruler.”

“What are you saying?” Andriel was taken aback.

Kongming’s words were working, he only now had to sell it with a bit of kowtowing, he rose and placed himself before her on the stone, on his knees he pleaded his case, “Many of our gods are gone, but their will remains. The Elves need a ruler gifted with intelligence, compassion, and experience to guide us through these troubles. The Elves do not need a twisted son, the spawn of the first Dark Elf. The Elves need a true Asur to guide them. Please Lady Kethruil, accept the will of the people and ascend your own throne, declare a new dynasty!”

And so began the tales of the Red Queen. In these Times of Ending, Andriel Kethruil who was once revered a hero was now seen as potential monarch. As the final battles for all the world commenced, when Archaon marched down from the north, many High Elves looked to her first above Malekith to lead them. Only time will tell if such a hero survives the End Times. But if she does, her story is only just beginning.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 2:42 pm 
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The History of Lady Andriel and her cause, the Warden Host

Before the End Times, the nation of Cothique was the northeastern state within Ulthuan. Bordered by Chrace, Yvresse, and Avelorn, it is sometimes forgotten as very few princes or sages of legend hail from its windblown moors and pale beaches. During periodic invasions, Dark Elf fleets sailed directly south towards Nagarythe and Chrace to gain entrance to the land within the Inner Kingdoms, or occasionally laid claim to the Shrine of Khaine on the Blighted Isle, which is due north of Chrace. If anyone wanted to lay siege to Lothern, they would have to travel all the way around to the mouth of the Emerald Gate. This places Cothique in an interesting place. The sea before their land is the most treacherous in the world. All ships great and small must worry about the tremendous leviathans, the shifting islands, and terrible maelstroms. These circumstances breed the greatest sailors that can be found in the world, much to the envy of the Sea Guard of Lothern. It can be assumed that no shipmaster of the Sea Guard did not at some point train or serve in Cothique, for there can be no better training than on those seas.

The condition of the ocean there also poses a problem for humans.

Ulthuan is to the south and far to the west of the Old World. Since the Storm of Chaos, the High Elves have retreated much from the realm of men to combat the renewed efforts of the Druchii. But humanity is in no less danger. Regularly are ships sent, just like the efforts of Magnus the Pious brought him to the feet of the Phoenix King, which summoned the legions of the Asur to the east and to a great victory over Chaos. After human vessels pass across the great expanse of ocean, they are met by great magical fogs and other obstacles. These are tough opponents to their quest to be sure, but could be easily avoided if they were to sail to the gates of Lothern. But imagine, the humans have been at sail for weeks, leaving their suffering kin behind. The first sight of land is paradise to them. They pierce the fog, and are met by the terrors of the Cothiquean Sea.

Nearby sailors are sure to notice the sudden entrance and possible destruction of any human vessel. Coming to the aid of those they can, the seafaring elves rescue the human messengers and bring them to shore. Of course each message is the same. Humanity is in trouble, and they need the help of the Asur. The anguish of those altruistic Cothiquean Princes and Princesses is without limit; year after year more humans wash up on their shores. The pleas for aid that can no longer be sent were seemingly without end. The High Elves were once perceived as a magnanimous people, but in their twilight years they were seen as unable to live up to their past reputation.

The House of Kethruil, translating literally into “Tamer of Winds”, was known for its pedigree of Loremasters. Infamous captains of the Swordmasters of Hoeth, and the eyes and fists of the great Teclis, and Belannar before him, these warrior monks were without peer in terms of magics and swordplay. Andriel was the first in several generations to not exhibit magical talent, but instead show a combat and strategic prowess unseen in several ages. She was considered not far from the might of Tyrion, and far more capable as a tactician. Still, her station kept her anchored to her homeland, and her manor entertained all sorts of desperate shipwrecked guests. After three years of almost constant cries for aid Andriel had enough. It was time to take action, but how?


Last edited by Red Geist on Tue Mar 10, 2015 12:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 11:31 pm 
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Better late than never. Welcome to the fun.
You have not the least ambitious Princess here. :) But I do not think you wanted to mention Bel Shannar as Swordmasters were long after him. Bel Korhadris or Bel Hathor perhaps?

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 12:42 am 
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Aicanor wrote:
Better late than never. Welcome to the fun.
You have not the least ambitious Princess here. :) But I do not think you wanted to mention Bel Shannar as Swordmasters were long after him. Bel Korhadris or Bel Hathor perhaps?


I'm misremembering a name them. Who was the High Loremaster before Teclis?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 12:45 am 
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@Aicanor, it was Bel Korhadris who formed the Swordmaster Order after work was completed on the White Tower.

@Red Geist, I believe it was Belanner who was High Loremaster before Teclis, though I'm remembering that on old fluff; he was the one who taught the blind Eltharion, though that's been retconned, and stepped down in favor of Teclis. He died in the attempt to save the Everchild from Arkhan and Mannfred.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 12:50 am 
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Yes it was Belannar, I confused him with a phoenix king for a moment, will go back and edit.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:51 pm 
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When Andriel set about her crusade to bring Asur aid to the Old World, she found her voice at court swallowed up by the looming threats of Malekith’s near constant invasion fleets. Even Finubar, whose face was bathed in tears, had to declare that no aid would officially be sent whilst Malekith and the Black Arks were a threat to the continent.

And so the Lady Kethruil turned to far flung outposts for aid. She sailed to all foreign lands; the Citadel of Dusk at the edge of the world, stations in Cathay and Nippon, where local cultures had constructed their entire civilization in a sort of mimicry of the Asur, to Ind and the Border Princes. Perhaps a dozen or less volunteered from each post, moved by the words of the Princess. By the time one year had passed, roughly two hundred high elves from across the world were flying her banner. Setting sail for the Empire, Andriel’s “Warden Host” vowed to do what it could to stem the tide of evil and corruption where men could not, and started in the Merchant City of Marienburg.

It was a rather uneventful morning leading up to the seven High Elf ships sailing into port. There were plenty of reports from imbedded spies and Asur traders to make anyone understand how laughably corrupt the city was. Kethruil may have despised such wanton lawlessness, but in the end it was how these humans chose to live; there were greater and more sinister evils beyond those walls. She decided to effectively take over the city, persuading and sometimes twisting arms to allow her elves to move about its streets without difficulty. Gangs and pirate crews tried to retaliate, but their attempts only served to entertain the once oppressed populace as all manner of High Elf warriors cut down gangers in broad daylight if they were dumb enough to brandish weapons against them.

Using Marienburg as a central base, envoys were sent to the courts of Louen Leoncouer of Bretonnia and Karl Franz of the Empire. Having now made both nations aware of their presence, Andriel had to devise a grand opening move to set up the reputation of her Host. It was then the sage Kongming made his grand entrance. Originally an Archmage of the snowy peaks of Tiranoc, he was often labelled haughty even for an elf for so often claiming he could destroy half the Vampire houses of Sylvania with but words. He had heard of Andriel’s plans to aid humanity, and joined in her cause. It was after the landing at Marienburg that he proposed his scheme.

Kongming was born with a peculiar fascination and phobia for Vampirism, a trait not many know of, and even fewer understand. He began to study human family histories from that region of the Empire, and created a general understanding of each bloodline, and what possible methods could exist to turn them on one another. He was always keen on winning the most battles without actually having to engage the enemy with troops. Using disguises, false information, and cultivating deep enmities that already existed between several families, most of Vlad von Carstein’s trusted agents went to war with each other. The Sylvanian region knew not what to think of vampires slaying one another in the roads and fields of their realm.

The Warden Host gathered much acclaim in the wake of this vampire culling. Kongming’s strategems and Andriel’s fiery zeal became known across all human lands, and smaller deeds here and there brought much prosperity to humanity as well as the once questionable reputation of High Elves in general, that is until that incident with the Dwarves.


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