Brothers In Arms

Khorikan is a large country on the other side of the world from the mainland. Its lands are divided by a large, treacherous mountain range that few dare to cross. The land north of the mountains was known simply as Northern Khorikan and was sparsely populated, only recently in Khorikan’s history was the land settled.

Khorikan went through a major catastrophe near a hundred years ago called the Horde Wars. Humanoids from a group of islands off the west coast invaded and began to conquer the land north of the mountains for themselves. In response the King of Khorikan led an assault against the creatures in defense of his people and his country. The Horde was successfully turned away but at the cost of the kingdom’s leader. The King himself fell in the war. This broke the lands of North Khorikan into small provinces, small states that were no more than a cluster of settlements. The provinces considered themselves severed from the kingdom after their liege had died, now governed by their own laws.

This writing is a testament to North Khorikan’s involvement in the changes around Awlidan. This is a land once forgotten and wild, now playing a pivotal role in the world’s unwritten history. This chapter of Awlidan’s story sees an end to some key prophecies and truth brought to new ones. More importantly, it is a story about a group of heroes, while bettering the future of their home and country, playing a key role in the future of Awlidan itself.

The Gathering

Deep in the Wandering Forest of Khorikan, hidden from the majority of the land, was a settlement too small to be called a village. In fact this place only barely fell in the category of a hamlet. The small settlement known as Mykos was viewed more as a training ground than anything else. This very special place was seen only by a select few, and only by invitation. The inhabitants of Mykos were experts in their field; be it combat, magic, engineering, or espionage, the people of this compound were about honing skills to perfection.

It was the season for new recruits and they were starting to arrive. They came from all over Khorikan and some even from beyond the borders. They were just getting settled in when it happened. A large group of orcs began an assault on the compound. Most recruits come at a young age to hone their skills, few were a match for 1 orc, none could contend with an entire warband. The orcs were fierce in their attack, slaughtering anything that moved. They were also well organized and focused on their task, two traits not seen in an orc.

Confusion ran through the entire compound. Teachers were trying their best to give their students time to escape, but even they could not stand against the brutal assault from the powerful orc band. Screams echoed through the trees, “Escape while you can, don’t stop, don’t turn around; just run as fast as you can!” Some young pupils tried to fight, tried to defend Mykos but they fell like weeds in the sweep of a scythe. The smart ones ran, found the road and followed it as far as it would take them and never looked back. Of course, the orcs chased after every escapee, running them down like animals.

One group found a carriage with horses and decided to try their luck. Like the others they had orcs right behind them, wanting to cut them open or bash in their skulls. They pushed the horses as hard as they could; turning on to a small trail to lose their hunters. This did not deter the orcs. The small band of refugees raced along the trail to its end and found a mansion hidden under the canopy of the trees, nearly buried by years of neglect. They took cover in the structure and found it protected by creatures made of stone. They were safe; they escaped the onslaught of the orc assault. This begins a series of events that will change the future of Khorikan and guarantee its spot in history.

The group found that the guardians outside the mansion were not much protection. The creatures attacked the first one of them that stepped outside; he never made it back to the safety of the mansions walls. They decided to stick together and find another way out. Through a secret passage and a deep cavern, they exited the strange abode far out into the forest. The small group that survived the mansion decided it would be an adventure they did not talk about, they survived and that was all that was important.

A Bad Start

The new band of adventurers came to a large town known as Langleth, the Capitol of Fel’Sune. It was a relatively large settlement on the edge of the forest and was the center of commerce for the entire area. The band of travelers decided to continue to travel together, but the laws of this country were clear, those traveling in a band must purchase affiliation papers or be seen as bandits and be dealt with harshly.

Langleth was a common ground for a group called the Mordinen, a large band dedicated to the safety of the roads around Khorikan. The group decided to do some work for the leader of the Mordinen of this area to earn enough gold to pay for their papers. This proved to be more trouble than they thought. The Mordinen here were imposters looking to use the freedom of the guild to expand their banditry. The group learned of this and eliminated the bandits, unfortunately the leader escaped and the Mordinen’s good name was sullied.

The group of refugees from Mykos helped the leaders of the Mordinen weed out the bad crew working in Fel’Sune. They earned a fair amount of credit with the group as well as some respect from the locals. With the gold they salvaged from the bandit camp and what they received from the locals for ending the bandit threat, the newly formed band of friends were able to gain their affiliation papers. The small group found they worked well together, accentuating each others abilities. The name of their new family was obvious; on that fateful day the Brotherhood was formed.

The newly found adventuring group set off to find riches and fame through heroic deeds in Khorikan. During their travels the group unearthed a powerful artifact, though only a fragment of its full power. Tucked away in a pack, the group continues on their way until they can research the piece closer. Unfortunately for the one holding it, time proves to be an obstacle. Even stored in a backpack the powerful item spread its influence to the one holding it. Dreams began to invade the mind causing sleepless nights and a weary body in the morning.

Dreams and Artifacts

After a time the artifact began to effect the keeper even in the waking hours. At first it started as a simple nudge, so slight that it was ignored at first. Later the feeling grew stronger and the nudge turned into a push, that later became a need. The keeper of the item continued to be plagued by dreams of a mysterious past. They were taking their toll on the body as well as the mind. The keeper grew weaker by the day. Refusing to relinquish the item, the party trudged on, now following the lead of the piece they held.

Following the directions of the artifact fragment the party found themselves in a great deal of adventure. The piece led them to a fort inhabited by ogres where the chieftain was using a fragment to keep control of his underlings. After gaining this piece the halfling rogue’s shadowy cunning gained the title of Ogre Slayer. Another piece was found deep beneath the earth under a forgotten dwarven mine where they met a lone dwarf, the last of his clan, in a struggle with goblins for the control of his own home. They came to the aid of the dwarf and were given access to the deeper tunnels where they found the artifact piece in the hands of an insane wizard. The stout dwarf cleric of the party found a kindred spirit in this old dwarf. The cleric also gained a new found trust in his companions as they helped him. Yet another fragment nearly fell into their lap when they were stalked by a human wizard following the directions of another piece. The group defeated the powerful wizard and confiscated the artifact.

The other pieces could be seen as simple accomplishments in comparison to what awaited them with the last piece. The party was led to the Frosted Hills in the far northern region of Khorikan. The terrain looked normal to all eyes looking in, but once the party crossed the borders of the land it quickly turned hostile. Within the hills territory the land was covered in several feet of snow and blizzards were common. Where once only hills prevailed now stood a forest of evergreen trees. It was like stepping through a portal into a different place and time.

The relentless Brotherhood pressed on, for at this point their comrade was running out of time and was imperative they find the remaining piece, and soon. They weathered the storm and faced every hazard the hills could throw at them, including a massive white dragon. Finally they reached their destination, the Ice Castle. The castle, only visible when the sun caught its frozen walls just right, sits atop the single towering mountain peak in the center of the Hills. The mountain was the final obstacle to overcome, or so they thought.

Inside the keep more guardians stood in their way. Large groups of powerful orcs with blue skin fought to protect their own from invaders. Each group was put down and destroyed by the Brotherhood. Strange rooms and hidden traps also stood in the way of the group but they fought through and defeated the castle at every turn. Finally they reached the top, where strange statues of other adventurers stood made of pure ice. Large pools of unknown black liquid decorated the upper halls. That was where they met with the owner of the keep; the Ice Queen, the Queen of Orcs.

The Ice Queen was rumored to be destroyed with the Cataclysm, forever leaving her mark in the world with the powerfully enhanced orcs that roam the lands of Khorikan. The orcs were bred to be her elite army against the forces of the South. Even today the blood of the orcs remains strong and the sight of just one can chill the strongest of souls. The rumors of the Ice Queens demise was close to being true, a pact with the Lord of Chaos preserved her in unlife. She has roamed the Ages as a powerful lich, and eventually evolved into a powerful demilich with her full wizard and mind powers at her disposal.

The Queen of Orcs appeared before the party as a beautiful maiden in a flowing black dress. Her stride was silent as she moved across the floor.
Unbeknownst to the party this was her projected image. She was actually nothing more than a skull floating through the air, with crystals for teeth and large gems for eyes. With the blessing of the Lord of Chaos she could not die and she would never lose her powerful mind or her equally powerful magic. She granted the Brotherhood an audience.

The Brotherhood presented their case to the witch and she was patient in the listening. She had the final piece of the ancient relic and the party was desperate in their bargaining. The Ice Queen agreed to trade the piece but for nothing less than a useful magical item from each member of the group. The items fed her Chaos pool with their magic, the very pool that created many of Khorikan’s problems.

Once the deal was set and the trade was made, a simple gesture from the witch sent the party sailing from her domicile. The group had flung from the castle, out of the mountains, past the evergreen forest and finally earthbound near the border of the hills, just inside the Queen’s territory. They landed hard and wound up buried in several feet of snow. The prize was theirs and their friend was saved.

The Edge of Justice

The Brotherhood was destined to find the tools necessary to free their homelands. As they continued their travels they were able to balance their need for adventure with the needs of the people. They continued to help the citizens of Khorikan with their problems and even found themselves in places beyond Khorikan’s borders. Their search for wealth, power, and fame did not cloud their judgment nor leave them blind to all the good they could do. This Heart of the Hero led them to the Ankhs of Virtue.

It was time for the Brotherhood to go in search of Justice itself, a task put upon the holy knight in the party. The eight Ankhs of Virtue had to be collected before the Seven Scarabs of Sin were brought together. Either set could be used to gain the Sword of Paladine, but the relic could be swayed to either good or evil. Whichever set was used to gain the item determined its allegiance.

This quest took the party all over Khorikan and back again. The importance of the mission pushed them to even greater feats of heroism. One of the ankhs was found in a den of fire creatures to the south, in the Dried Sea. They were able to obtain the artifact and close the portal leading to a fire realm in the Elemental Chaos. Another ankh was found in a principality that banished the worship of any gods. It was found in the possession of an evil cult based under the capital city. The cult turned out to be the secret rulers of the realm. The group was able to eliminate the evil cabal, freeing the people from their tyranny. They walked away with the item in tow.

Their search for the Ankhs took the Brotherhood to some very special places around Khorikan, but none of the members thought it would take them to the very creation of life. Somewhere in the Divine Hills was a single tall mountain. This peak was said to have been touched by the One Above All. In the mountain the group found a society of strange humans. The people inside the mountain were guardians of something, a secret kept for thousands of years. These very special people combined martial abilities with one type of magical ability, whether it was Divine or Arcane. They mixed the two crafts together in perfect harmony and proved to be a worthy adversary for the Brotherhood.

The people of the mountain were not evil, but they were an obstacle that had to be passed. The Brotherhood fought for their lives to pass the community of guardians and at that point in time they had not come against a tougher opponent. Coming close to death on more than one occasion, the group finally busted through the mountains guardians and entered the maze of tests. The maze was a series of rooms and obstacles that guarded a specific key. A series of keys had to be recovered in order to open the door that led to the mountain’s peak. After a strenuous battle for the right of passage to the inner sanctum of the mountain, the Brotherhood stood before the greatest wonder of Awlidan. Before them was a mountainous statue of three humanoids standing back-to-back and facing outward forming a triad. The first was a stunningly beautiful human female in flowing robes with a sunburst symbol upon the center of her breasts. The second was another female more handsome than beautiful. She had stringy hair decorated with flowers that seemed to grow from her very scalp. She was adorned in a thin gown that showed all of the woman’s nature. The last humanoid appeared to be more beastly than human. The broad shouldered creature had features of many different animals melded together to create his form. The statues were colossal in size and lay open to the night sky, the tip of the mountain being broken to reveal its occupants. The Brotherhood’s crowning achievement to date, they stood before the keepers of life, and the Eye of Heaven.

During their quest for the Ankhs of Virtue, the Brotherhood did some great deeds and helped many people. Though this is true, a few of their adventures will surely go down in history. One such adventure took them into the northern forest. It was the very forest where the Horde War ended with the barbarians coming down from the frozen lands and destroying both the human army and the horde itself. It had been written the ever-present fog speaks to weary travelers, luring them into its depths. Once one was lost in the fog they were never heard from again. This did not deter the Brotherhood. Their quest lied ahead and nothing was going to stay their course.

After many days of fighting off the curse of the Blood Forest, the band of heroes finally reached their destination. Somewhere deep in the forest, lost among the fog, a great oval fortress sits silent and foreboding. The fortress was made of solid wrought iron with no windows or other entrances, or so it seemed. A lengthy search revealed a secret entrance and once again the party was on the trail of another Ankh. Winding through the maze-like corridors and chambers throughout this massive structure, the heroes faced off against all manner of beasts and even a few fiends. They stood against each new challenge with brave hearts and a goal in their minds. Fighting to the bottom of the structure, they found one of the five lords of death and disaster. The Ash Lord was the master of fire and destruction, a strange coiled beast like a gargantuan snake-like creature made of pure ash. The heroes used its weakness of water against it and were finally able to kill the monster. They retrieved the Ankh and were heading for the next one in the set when they noticed something strange. The fog of the Blood Forest was not quite as thick as it was when they entered. The strange mist had thinned out, just a little. With plans of returning one day to finally cleanse the forest of its evil, the Brotherhood headed to the location of the next Ankh.

Traveling far and wide across the various principalities of Khorikan and its neighboring lands, the heroes finally collect all the Ankhs. After such an endeavor the group had seen places no sane person dared to tread. They had seen beauty and horrors that would fill their dreams and nightmares till their dying day. Though the collection was complete, the quest was not over. What transpired after the Ankhs were brought together has been a closely guarded secret. Some believe even the other members of the Brotherhood do not know exactly what the paladin went through to win his prize. Some rumors speculate that the holy knight delved into his deepest and darkest recesses and battled his inner demons. Other rumors have him face to face with the creator of the Ankhs himself, proving himself worthy of the holy weapon. And even those few rumors have the hero battling his arch nemesis, the possessor of the Seven Scarabs of Sin, fighting for his life and his very soul. After all was said, one thing everyone agrees on, the holy knight earned his prize. The Brotherhood paladin was now the keeper of Justice.

Story Book Heroes

At this time the Brotherhood had made a pretty good name for them. They had gained quite a reputation as heroes and adventurers. They had braved the deepest and darkest place of all Khorikan and came back to tell the tale. The group had traveled to the Sea of Sand and into the cold depths of a queen’s soul in search of wisdom. They had battled through the land of the dead in search of justice and laid eyes upon the very spot where life began on Awlidan and where life was nurtured by the gods. All this was a prelude, an epilogue for trials to come.

While Khorikan’s heroes were dealing with personal business, some that threatened one of their friend’s very lives and others that tested their faith, plans were being pushed forward. These plans had been set in motion years before the Brotherhood had even existed, but they will play a crucial role in their outcome. The Drek’Pivar was scouring Khorikan for tribes of humanoids to enlist in their army, working under the blind eye of the citizens to resurrect the Horde. The Drek were calm and calculating in their execution of their plans. Something the Horde, or any humanoid tribe for that matter, had ever been capable of. They showed great patience in the pursuit of their goals and the melting pot of various humanoid races worked together to form a dangerous and deadly military force. It was time for the Drek to cross paths with the Brotherhood.

During their travels the Brotherhood had happened upon the Drek on a number of occasions. Early on in their career they were barely able to escape with their lives. Now they were older, wiser, more skilled and knowledgeable. They had honed their abilities to that of a razor. Their wisdom and experience allowed them to see what the citizens of Khorikan could not see, or were too afraid to see. The Drek were more than a simple gang of humanoids and they were planning something big, something that would change the face of Khorikan forever. The Brotherhood decided to put their skills to a true test, they were going to oppose the most powerful military force in the country, and they were going to win.

This period of the Brotherhood’s lives was some of the most important achievements of their careers. They had stood against the power of the Drek deep within the mysterious caves of the Underhalls. They thwarted their plans to recruit the strange manimals, a race of varied humanoid animals from the Wandering Forest. At the same time they saved the Spirit of the Forest, the Great Druid of the Wall of Trees, from the hands of the hired mercenary manimals the Drek tried to recruit. Unfortunately, everything they had done only marked the beginning of their battle with this monumental threat against Khorikan.

The Drek'Pivar

Ever since the Horde War the principality of New Gaelin was in conflict with the gray elves of Shadow Down. The elves refused to allow the humans to expand any farther into the forest, nor were they allowed to harvest goods from the forest. This sparked a feud that lasted almost a hundred years. The Drek’Pivar saw this conflict as an opportunity to further their plans. The Drek allied themselves with the humans of New Gaelin against the elves. With the power of the Drek the humans should have overthrown the elves in short order, but that was not the case. When the Brotherhood heard of this atrocity they lent their expertise to the elves, being as one of the Brotherhood was a gray elf.

The Brotherhood added their strength to that of the gray elves from Shadow Down. With a strong assault against the two flanking camps set up on either side of the city, they prevailed in defeating the allied forces of Drek and humans. This seemed a bit too easy and raised too many questions. If the Drek wanted the gray elves to fall, they could have mustered an assault that would have raised the city in a matter of days. With the humans from New Gaelin as an ally, their victory would have been assured. This was not the case. Instead the Brotherhood found the Drek camp dragging their feet, holding their attack. This was confusing but nonetheless the gray elves were victorious and the city was saved. To the Brotherhood this was one more Drek threat thwarted and their campaign against them continued. The bad news came later.

The Brotherhood went west for a time, possibly to the coast of Khorikan. Some believe there was more Drek activity in the Serpent Peaks that drew their attention there. Their reasons for going west remains a mystery and when they returned they got some startling news that shattered their spirits and nearly brought all their hard work against the Drek crashing down around them.

Once again the Brotherhood traveled the Wandering Forest and once again they came upon the elves of Elthenoor, the only elves remaining that held good relations with the humans of Khorikan. The third elven settlement far to the north, Everest, had been lost. It turned out the Drek used the war between New Gaelin and Shadow Down as a decoy to keep prying eyes away from their true agenda. The Drek had used the gateways they had found in the Underhalls to get surprisingly close to the tree city of Everest. The Wild Elves of the Crimson Wood never stood a chance. They learned first hand why the Drek was so feared throughout the land. The city was raised and the elves were scattered to the four winds. The monsters proceeded to send out hunting parties to track down the surviving elves and eradicate them. The process was quick, calculating, and very brutal. It was done in a manner never before seen in the minds of the humanoids that make up the Drek population. Before the Brotherhood could investigate the devastation, the tree city was completely destroyed and the area was turned into a massive clearing. The Drek had started excavation of a grand fort that would be their military compound in the north.

The Brotherhood had to know the truth; they headed north to see with their own eyes what had truly happened in the north. When they arrived it was just as they feared, just as it was told to them. The elven city of Everest was no more, there was absolutely no sign there ever was a city of elves here. Every tree that held a magnificent structure, construction that both utilized and upheld the nature of the forest, had been cut down and was now being used for the construction of the new Drek’Pivar Fort. A massive clearing now marred the forest landscape, a scar upon the face of nature and a major blow to the future of Khorikan.

With a fury only known to those crazed with fever, the Brotherhood scouted the territory, learning everything they could of the enemy that lain only yards away. With the throat of their enemy held out ripe for the cutting, the Brotherhood had their own plans of eradication. The scouting party’s information was dead-on accurate and the assault plans commenced. With the precision of a master marksman, the cunning of an elder thief, and the stealth of a deadly cat their plan was put into motion. This band of heroes was determined to avenge the elves of this lost city and protect the elves that yet live. They moved upon the Drek like a specialized military unit. Their skills were used to compliment each other as they systematically assassinated the Drek that were unfortunate enough to be posted at this bloodbath. It was only fitting the killers of the elves were cut down and buried in the very spot of their own atrocities. With this one act of vindication, the Brotherhood poll vaulted themselves into the lead position as protectors of all Khorikan. They had accomplished the impossible. They pitted their own skills against the military might of the Drek, a small band of heroes against an entire unit, and came out victorious.

When the heroes finally returned to the midlands they found strife and conflict once again. The elves of Elthenoor were fighting a battle against the fort that now stood where Mykos used to be. Unfortunately, the Drek inside the fort seemed to have the numbers, the firepower, and even the skill to keep the elves at bay. This was baffling since the elder race of elves was obviously the superior combatants in this melee. It did not take Khorikan’s heroes long to offer their assistance, especially since one of the Brotherhood was a kin. The skirmishes went on for days against the fort but finally the Brotherhood was able to help the elven generals formulate a plan. The next assault would be a two front push, with the rear unit being a diversion for the front lines. This seemed to be successful and the assault actually gained them access into the fort proper. A big surprise awaited them inside.

The forces inside the fort were actually a skeleton crew compared to what the fort held in the days prior. The assault was swift and deadly to the Drek that remained inside to guard the fort but where were the massive numbers that were there just days ago. The Brotherhood pressed on the attack until they reached the main compound and the church erected in Kurse’s name. Upon reaching the church they found a small band of Drek guarding a lone female figure, a hideous example for even an orc. It appeared she was a follower of Kurse and wielded great powers on his behalf. She fended off the brotherhood with powers of poison, disease, famine and pestilence. Her boiled flesh and sick yellowish skin was like a testament to the End War where the four horsemen will ride and bring destruction to the land. This was not the first time the Brotherhood had confronted one of these highly skilled orcs. They were obviously generals of some kind in the Drek army and they had killed one before. In an epic struggle they finally defeated the witch. Upon her death, a powerful explosion erupted from her, destroying her body and nearly killing our heroes. It wasn’t the first time they had encountered this either.

What was thought to be a great victory had turned sour and hollow. The elven army had found a tunnel leading beneath the fort. The tunnel led directly to their home city, Elthenoor. In a rush the cry of panic spread through the elves and the defenders headed off to protect their home. Their rash behavior had devastating results. With the help of a traitor living in Elthenoor, the Drek army was able to sneak into the city from the tunnel. They brought the full force of their strength against the small number of elves that remained in the magnificent city. It was a massacre. When the elven army returned to the city; the Drek were waiting for them, hiding among the now empty houses and streets. They allowed the elves to move through the city until they were nicely spread out before launching their attack. Once again the elves did not know what was happening. In mere moments they were annihilated and the city was raised to the ground. It turned out the traitor was a human merchant living among the elves. The gray elves heard about this atrocity and closed their city gates to all outsiders, allowing none but elves to enter. The wedge between the humans and elves was complete.

Adventurer's Games

The Brotherhood received a strange invitation from the family living on the Gemini Island. Once every few years the twins, brother and sister, living on the island in the center of the Twins Lake, host a set of games. These games bring together some of the most powerful contestants from around Awlidan itself. The twins being adventurers themselves, they have amassed a great deal of wealth and an allotment of artifacts and relics. The games are setup to give others a chance to win a small portion of their collection. Groups are pitted against each other until only two remain. The winners are then released into a network of catacombs beneath the island. By whatever means necessary, they are to find their way through the maze and bring out their prize. To this day it is unknown what exactly happened on the island. What is known is the Brotherhood was one of the winning groups and was the only group to exit the catacombs. Each surviving member came out with a prize, but feeling unsatisfied. The strangest thing about the ordeal was the sponsor for the Brotherhood, the nomadic band known as the Mordinen. Rumors say the twins invited the Brotherhood as a personal favor to that very group.

Finally the Brotherhood had gained the full trust of the Highwaymen called Mordinen. Their friendship has finally grown into a full blown alliance with the realization of the full potential that lied within the rising group of adventurers. The Brotherhood was brought before the leaders of the Mordinen organization. The leaders turned out to be a dwarf of advanced age and a weary female elf. Both of whom stood side-by-side with the king of Khorikan against the Horde. They recognized one of the members of the Brotherhood, a purple knight of some renown. This knight supposedly had some of the king’s facial features. He was definitely a descendant of the Royal bloodline.

A King to Lead Us?

Having Royal blood a king does not make. Khorikan was split into many small principalities and the citizens enjoyed their freedom to live under the government of their choice. They would not give this way of life up easily. The leader of these small states wouldn’t take kindly to a demotion either. One such principality was controlled by a magocrocy and the ruling council called the Triad. The Triad learned of the knight’s search for answers about his past and this put his family in direct danger. The young knight had to hone his diplomatic skills and win the heart of the people if he hoped to gain what was rightfully his by the blood in his veins.

Now that the Brotherhood had the entire Mordinen network of spies at their disposal, they also had all the knowledge they had collected over the years since the Horde War. The Drek’Pivar was actually a relatively new threat to Khorikan. They had been causing problems for quite a few years, but the band was actually quite young. It was not believed that the humanoids could work together, especially when they were for the most part behaving themselves. It was speculated that some-one or some-thing was in the background pulling the strings of the Drek. After years of searching while under the guise of the protectors of the trade routes and roads, the Mordinen learned exactly what they had feared. A small group, a council of orcs, was actually the leaders of this massive humanoid army. What was most surprising was that these orcs were of equal rank and working together as an intelligent elite force rather than bickering and squabbling amongst themselves.

The Brotherhood knew they couldn’t stop the Order and the Drek with just their numbers. Even though they had the support of the Mordinen they were still gravely outnumbered. In addition, the Royal Heir to Khorikan had very little patience for politics and was finding it difficult for the people to get behind him and support him. The elves were nearly decimated by the assault by the Drek, leaving all three of those once great cities little more than burned out husks. The dwarves of Khorikan were pinned down, fighting for their own survival against the superior numbers of the Drek. The end of the Horde War left the gnomes and halflings in such a sorry state with their numbers that they scattered throughout the land, no real community of either being formed. This left simply the humans, which was exactly what the Order wanted. It was the races that helped the humans defeat the Horde before, and now the races were no longer of any threat. They could barely help themselves.

Between the small band of heroes and the Mordinen, Khorikan’s defenders equaled slightly more than a military battalion. The Principalities needed to be brought together and fight this threat as a single force, like what history showed King Khorikan doing against the Horde. The Brotherhood attempted to unite the lands but it proved more difficult than they first thought, and their brave Heir to the throne was not helping much. New Gaelin had the largest military force and were known for their strength. They would not join until the Heir proved himself and enlisted others to his cause first. Languin had a reputation for having one of the strongest military forces in Khorikan albeit small. The Heir insulted the leaders of the state and was instructed never to return. Baragod was swayed into believing the Order of the Sun could protect them thus joining the forces of the All Father and his crusade across Awlidan. Fel’Sune had a history of being neutral in all things and contested the Heir to the throne on those grounds. The other principalities either had too small an army or had no army at all. It was looking grim for the future of Khorikan and the Brotherhood. They did the only thing they could do; they went outside of Khorikan looking for allies.

Desperate Alliances

The stalwart heroes traveled south beyond Khorikan’s borders and into the Dried Sea. Their plan was to free the people from the tyranny of the Prince and hope to add their numbers to the defenders of Khorikan. When they arrived, the Dried Sea was already under siege, slowing deteriorating from the awesome power of the Mage Kings from another world. They were called Defilers and their magic fed off the land itself, killing everything around them when they used it. The Brotherhood got another surprise; the age old advisor to the Prince was a Mage King in disguise and was manipulating the mind of the Prince. The Dried Sea was home to one of the Brotherhood, it was their duty to extend their defense of the lands to the desert.

The Prince marshaled his forces against the threat from beyond while the Brotherhood used their skills to infiltrate the stronghold of the Mage Kings. The plan was for the Brotherhood to close the gateway bridging the two worlds so the Prince’s army can finish off what remains here on this world. Once again the Brotherhood found they were pitted against unimaginable odds as well as the power of the Mage Kings. Defying the odds, they succeeded in infiltrating the complex and after an intense battle they were able to finally close the portal to the other world.

Finally the Prince was able to move in and finish off the forces of the Mage Kings and make the desert safe again; as safe as the desert ever was anyway. The Brotherhood thought this would be enough to gain the support of the Prince and his forces, they were wrong. The Prince wanted the desert united once more, under his name as supreme ruler. The Prince promised his support to the Brotherhood and Khorikan if the holy knight would gain him his kingdom. He knew the holy knight held a great deal of respect being the chosen defender of justice by the Aspect of Justice himself. In one final speech to all the nomad clans of the Dried Sea, the holy knight sponsored the Prince for a united land. The Brotherhood headed home with a new ally and troops to support their cause.

Even with the generous amount of troops from the Prince of the desert, Khorikan was still outnumbered and definitely outmatched. The forces of the Drek had been working unchecked to become the most powerful military force in all the lands. There was very little argument about their success. There wasn’t a single soldier in Khorikan that would dare stand against a single Drek, not by choice anyway. Even the wide spread Grim Knights, the supposed enforces of Khorikan law, would not rally against the Drek army. The work of the Brotherhood was not done.

The Brotherhood learned of the Order of Seven from the leaders of the Mordinen, but what they didn’t know was that there was an eighth orc to take the plunge into the Chaos Pool. The Ice Queen of the Frosted Hills was the one that gave the orcs their immense power, all eight of them. The Brotherhood decided to take another trip to the hills to find out more. Again they fought through her defenses and gained an audience with the immortal Snow Witch. By her own choice she decided to grant them their wish and tell them the tale of the eight orc chieftains looking for power to regain their homelands on the islands to the west of Khorikan. The Queen was moved by their determination and their intelligence to even get this far. She told the orcs if they were true followers of Chaos and descendants of her children, the Pool would grant them amazing powers. All eight bathed in the black pool. One even disappeared and never emerged, while another had a surprising change of heart. The Chaos power changed one of the orcs very nature; turning him good and making him a force for justice and law. They now had a new goal; the Brotherhood would go north to find this eighth member of the Order.

Each of the seven orc chieftains brought their own strengths and unique abilities to the Order. Talmiskal was the planner and builder of many of the Drek devices. He was found at the Drek Underhall Outpost and those deep halls became is eternal resting place. Yzgar was found in the north where the wood elf city used to be. With maddened rage the Brotherhood cleaved through the Drek and through Yzgar as well. When the Brotherhood returned from the north, nothing remained of that dreadful place. Ikalee was responsible for the destruction of Mykos and the construction of the new Drek compound that now took its place. The Brotherhood stormed the fort and found her waiting in the temple she had erected. Her final battle was intense, vicious, and she didn't go down without a fight. Nonetheless, she went down. Merkurser was well known among the Drek for his rebellious nature. He was little more than an animal and he had very little aptitude for working with the others of the Order. Zimmridrel set him loose to hunt down the Brotherhood. Unfortunately it was the Brotherhood that walked away from the encounter and Merkurser was no more, but not before he claimed the life of one of theirs. He died somewhere in the wilds of Khorikan, on the trail of the ones who killed him.

Not much is known about the Brotherhood’s search for the eighth member of the Order known as Imahale the Righteous. What is known is they returned to Khorikan with an orc ally riding a strange golden beast. With much reluctance the Mordinen accepted the heroes’ explanation and he became an ally fighting against his former comrades. The strange chaos power that made Imahale what he was added a great deal of strength to the defenders of Khorikan.

The different members of the Brotherhood came from all over the lands, from different backgrounds and different origins entirely. One in particular had an origin he was not expecting. He grew up thinking his size and strength marked him as a barbarian, little did he know it was much more than that. Wyndoran was a principality in constant conflict with the forces of the barbarian clans. The defenders of Wyndoran considered themselves the frontline defenders of all Khorikan from the barbaric tribes of the north. The outposts along the border sent regular hunting parties into the frozen north and they had regular skirmishes with the tribes there. A female barbarian became a refugee from a nearby nomadic camp and crossed the border into Wyndoran. She met a young border guard and the rest is history. The couple had several children but one in particular will play a very important role in Khorikan’s future.

Blood of the Enemy

After learning of his true heritage, the barbarian in the party felt a kinship with both the people of Khorikan and the tribes of the north. Learning that a new barbarian king was turning the northmen into slaves while uniting the tribes, it was evident that something needed to be done. Even though the brotherhood had much to do before they could directly threaten the Drek, they couldn’t leave the people of the north to their own doom. Something strange was happening up there and they were going to find out what.

The Brotherhood went north to solve the mystery of the Barbarian King and hopefully a bit more. The self proclaimed Lord of the North turned out to be a scourge on the northmen. He was a form of undead never before seen. His exact origin is still a mystery. Rumors are spreading that he might have been one of the 12 Lords of Death that escaped from an ancient undead prison in Tharphatia far to the East. The Barbarian King created minions of the northmen, making them into something between a walking dead and a living being. These minions had the ability to absorb the heat from their victims and deliver it back to their master. The Brotherhood thought to prove themselves to the clans by dealing with this abomination, by doing something the clans could not do or were afraid to do.

The Brotherhood assaulted the Barbarian King’s stronghold with the full fury of their growing power and experience. They fought their way through the King’s minions. They tried desperately to spare the lives of these barely living zombies but many of them fell under their attack. This only infuriated the adventurers more and they pressed on with renewed vigor. Finally they reached the King in his lair deep in the mountains of the north. Without a doubt, he had more of his lackeys around him to defend this retched creature. Fired up by the atrocities this undead abomination had done, the Brotherhood met the King’s defenders in the final hall of the stronghold. In a furious bout with death the Brotherhood prevailed and the Barbarian King was no more. The roguish halfling in the party gained a new name; he came out of the north known as Slayer from Behind. Everyone knew he brought doom to the targets he chose.

The Heroes of Khorikan spared the barbarian tribes of the north, a land beyond the borders of their own home, of a fate worth than death. They did something the tribes were afraid to do themselves due to their deep superstitions and the disease of the Frozen Dead. The Brotherhood was now honorary members of the northmen and family to the clans. Now they could do what they needed to do, unite the tribes and gain their aid against the Drek. They brought the clans together at the Bowl of Divinity, a gigantic frozen crater that every clan deemed a religious site and would not draw blood.

The Brotherhood gained an audience with all the chiefs of the clans and pitched their proposal. The outcome was better than they thought. They wanted to make the barbarian hero in the party the new King of the north. It came at a bit of a surprise but a new trade agreement was bargained and a new alliance was created. Speaking with the leaders of Wyndoran and the chiefs of the clan, with the Brotherhood barbarian as a mediator, it had proven to be in everyone’s best interest and hostilities turned into trade. Even though they could not unite Khorikan, the Brotherhood now had allies from the Dried Sea as well as a united force from the Barbarian tribes.

The Order of Seven

It was no longer a secret; the Drek’Pivar was a front for the true threat to Khorikan, the Order of Seven. This group of highly skilled and powerful orcs was commanding the new humanoid horde. All seven worked together using their skills and intellect to further their goal, to conquer Khorikan and its neighboring lands for themselves. The Order had gathered and united all the humanoid tribes into a brand new Horde under the Drek banner. Seeing that the Brotherhood becoming a real threat, and they had already been successful in slaying several of the Order council members, it was time to show their hand. The Horde had started to move, they began their new campaign against Khorikan. Time was running out for the Brotherhood and the people of these great lands.

Not all was lost just yet. The Brotherhood had succeeded in gathering a substantial force to defend Khorikan. A full battalion of men, horsemen from the Dried Sea, were heading north to meet their new commander, the Holy Knight of the Brotherhood. Every available clan member from the young, unblooded to the seasoned veterans was marching south to the command of their new sovereign. Seeing this, several principalities joined forces with the Brotherhood and their new army. New Gaelin was the center and the strongest military force in Khorikan, now it would be the location of the largest battle in history. Unfortunately, the united defenders of Khorikan were still sorely outnumbered.

The forces at Atla Hool waited for the Drek army with worry on their brow and fear in their hearts. The Order of Seven had spent years conditioning the people of Khorikan, making them believe they could not withstand their might and their power. The Brotherhood could only hope they could change that before it was too late. The heroes had a great deal of pull and idolization among the people and they had to use that to change fear into hope.

The Drek fell upon Atla Hool like a wave of living flesh, changing the fields of New Gaelin into a sea of screaming death. The people of Khorikan met the Drek army side by side with the northmen they once hated. The skilled horsemen of the desert came up behind the Drek to attack from the rear. The battle seemed to last forever in the minds of the combatants. Blood ran like rivers on the field as the dead washed away. Even with the help of the powerful adventurers, the Drek were still pushing forward. They crushed the defenses of the city of Atla Hool and found a whole new surprise. Waiting inside the walls of the city was the nomadic band of mysterious warriors known as the Battlehorns. Still waiting for some disaster they predicted will come to Khorikan; they decided to help defend against this threat. Each and every Battlehorn was a skilled warrior and master of his trade; finally, the tide had changed. The Drek were on the losing side. Baeluuk was pure muscle for the Order and only slightly smarty than a typical orc. He was easily manipulated into an attack against the forces of New Gaelin. The Brotherhood lent their support to the defense of Atla Hool and the Scaled Beast fell on the battlefield of the Whispering Hills.

Though the battle was over, the war was far from finished. Something the Brotherhood had put together during their adventuring, there was something more to this scheme of the Drek and the Order of Seven than was immediately evident. The only way this will be finished was when the Order was completely destroyed. The Brotherhood had to take the fight to the real enemy, meeting them in their own lair.

Secrets and Legends

During their search for information on the Order of Seven something was revealed to them that not even the others members of the Order knew. This secret was paramount to the Brotherhood's success against their enemy. The truth about Zimmridrel was revealed to them and it was dire news indeed. The arcane orc had learned the secrets of a legendary power during his absence from the pool all the orc chiefs bathed in. This legendary power was ancient and it was the stuff of creation itself. Zimmridrel gained the knowledge of one of the Runes of Power, ancients markings that gave the user the ability to tap into the very energy of creation itself.

The wizard in the party had shown an interest in these ancient markings and had the abilities to wield them effectively. With the help of the twin sister residing on the Gemini Island, through a mutual friend, the arcane master was able to delve into this untamed knowledge of power. The sister was a chronomancer of amazing power and was able to send the wizard back in time, to a time lost to even the oldest of history books. In this age magic had no denomination of Arcane or Divine, magic was magic and was only defined by the way it was used.

After decades of research in this other time and place, the master wizard returned with knowledge no one thought existed. His abilities with magic had evolved to a level only those from the Age of Legends to even begin to comprehend. Even with all this magical power at his disposal, he was still considered a novice with the Rune of Power. He was an archmage in his own right, but a simple child in the scheme of the Runes. Hopefully this would be enough to combat Zimmridrel and his own Runic might.

The adventurers learned the secret location of the Order’s stronghold and began their assault. On the edge of the south border, in the mountains on the outskirts of the desert, was the entrance to the stronghold of the greatest threat the Khorikan people had ever known. The Brotherhood had met every defense the Order had and defeated it in short order. Nothing could stand in their way. They found the great forge deep in the lair where the master craftsman Karza still slaved over his creations. They found the origin of the strange arms and armor of the Drek. Karza had imprisoned a huge blue dragon within the confines of the forge, using the peaces of the beast as ingredients for his magical creations. Karza too fell under the might of the Brotherhood. In their benign mercy the blue dragon was sent to its final resting place. They pressed on.

Finally the Brotherhood reached the inner sanctum of the last and most powerful of the Order, Zimmridrel of the Black Gate. The plans of this powerful Chaos Orc finally came to light. The heroes chased Zimmridrel to his secret sanctum on some far away Plane, a very dark place, a place mimicking the orc’s very heart. There they found strange looking shards, each as tall as a giant, hovering over a circle of power. Only one spot remained empty, a crystal had not been placed yet. What crystal was the scheming orc looking for? What was he planning when he attained the final crystal? The power gathered in this otherworldly place was enough to shake the world, but these questions will forever go unanswered. Power flowed from both sides. The Brotherhood threw everything they had at him and the orc master mage replied in kind. It was unknown how much time passed in this epic confrontation. All that is certain and what will be written in the history books; is that the Brotherhood returned from this strange and distant place and the Order never threatened Khorikan again. The Drek had scattered and disappeared, forever disbanded but never forgotten.

Normally, this epic confrontation between two legendary forces would be the end of the story. That is not the case with Khorikan and the Brotherhood. To finish the story we must turn back time, ever so slightly but necessary to tell the whole story. In one of the hero’s untold stories they did another amazing feet, some would describe as being beyond even their conflict with the Order of Seven. They succeeded in slaying he who was immortal and immune to death. The Brotherhood found a way to slay the father of a nation and the defender of the world.

World Events

The land of Baragod was invaded by an outside force known as the Order of the Sun. They did not conquer with force and bloodshed, but instead they gave the broken and confused people of this land something to believe in. The All Father, defender of Awlidan and Guardian of the Child Goddess, stretched his fingers and his influence and finally reached Khorikan. The Brotherhood had met with the followers of the All Father and a fight ensued, but they could not convince Baragod the errors of their decision. Word got to the Brotherhood that the All Father himself was coming to Khorikan, deciding it was time to give this land the ultimatum all lands are given; conform and unite or fall under the might of the Order of the Sun and the All Father.

The Brotherhood went on a quest to find a way to stop this new invader from coming to Khorikan. Knowing that all other lands he visited fell to his word or his forces, they needed to persuade him not to come or stop him from coming at all. They found the answer in a simple sword, the sword of power known as Farslayer. Reciting the ritual of this unique sword would allow any who wields it to slay anyone, anywhere. Their quest proved fruitful and they found the sword. Without delay, the ritual was conducted and the sword was flung into thin air. Immediately after leaving the grip of the wielder, the sword disappeared, leaving the adventurers only hoping the job was done.

Revealing this quest, this spot in history, the story returns to the short lived victory the Brotherhood was celebrating. The All Father known as King Brandor was dead and he left a dynasty that spanned the globe. He had a great number of followers, many friends, and most of all… family. This family was old even by the oldest elven family standards. It was also dedicated to the cause of the All Father and they did not take the loss of their loved one lightly. A small band of family and followers bent on vengeance came to Khorikan. They wielded power not seen on Awlidan in centuries. This power originated from the Age of Legend itself and it was brought to bear against the heroes of Khorikan.

The exact details of this worldly confrontation are lost to any but those closest to the Brotherhood and the heroes themselves. It was said the battle was felt throughout the land, the waves of magic being used was so strong. What was written was that the Brotherhood came home alive and the Order of the Sun left Khorikan for good. The ordeal was over and no one would talk about it. It was a hole in the history of the Brotherhood and it will always be filled with nothing more than rumor.

It is uncertain where the Bortherhood will go from here. Part of Khorikan has finally become a kingdom under the rule of the Blood Heir. New Gaelin was the first to join this new kingdom and was deemed the center of the land, with the king’s castle being in Atla Hool. Much still needs to be done, there are many principalities that have not joined the kingdom of Khorikan and negotiations are underway. But this is not the end of the story.

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