Exalted, You Just Want Me Because Of My Essence...
The Villages of Strife
The Shards of Nightmare
In the southeast, nestled on the western foothills of the mountains, north west of the great lakes lies the Villages of Strife, or as some know them, the Shards of Nightmare. There is a long dark and full history of this place, a history few know of and that outsiders are only aware of in a dark sense. It is true that it is a place of shadows and monsters, that the many villages are built on the ruins of a dead cursed empire, but more then just darkness and evil lurks in those avoided lands.
A View from the Outside
Rumors abound of the people of the Villages of Strife. Rumors of their warlike ways, their ignorance of the immaculate faith, their dealings with spirits and bandits. A people of blood and war, cannibals some say, tricksters and blood thirsty killers of any trespassers. The dark things in the deeper ruins of the forgotten city there are said to make deals with the men of the villages, teaching them forbidden arts and providing them with dangerous pieces of the lost age witch they use like savages. There are also the things people say of the ruins themselves though, of the treasures to be found, of their vast scale over the land and even under it. What great monstrosity of the first age ruled here…what horrible anathema now roam it’s crumbling streets?
The people of the Villages of Strife are indeed warlike, but more in tradition then as the barbarians the rest of the world makes them out to be. Fractured and ruled by small chiefs and governors, each of the outposts is quite small in size and open hostility between them is rare…but does happen on occasion. Much of the rumors of brutality and constant war come from the “battle games” that are held twice yearly, where champions of each village come together and compete in sometimes (but not usually) deadly games. The other comes from their harsh treatment with the constant threat of bandits who raid the ruins and often spill their aggression the natives. There is however a heavy tradition in all of the villages to be ready to fight, to make foraeys into the ruins to drive out packs of beastmen and wild animals, this has kept their race hardy.
The Ruins of the first age city that used to be in the foothills here are vast. Over the centuries much of the land has been picked clean, reclaimed it’s place over the crumbling architecture & it is quite possible to walk for an entire day and not see a spec of masonry. Where the ruins do pop up are more likely to be dangers however, and the entrances to the underground remnants are black paths into a deadly realm that no one returns from. The scope of variety of threats is quite hard for most people to understand…but so is the treasures and secrets that still lie intact…waiting. Some of the more specific rumors and legends in The Ruins are of giant beastmen, swarms of black fleshed dead eyed corpses & of course ghosts spirits and crazed elementals.
The Legend of the Great General
Over the centuries there has been a reoccurring happening in the Villages of Strife. A great man with the strength & power to bind the villages and their chieftains together has rose and done great things involving conquest & battle. Sometimes it is a voyage into the Ruins that slays a great threat, sometimes it is as a conquering army that reaches out from the villages and plagues the towns around it. They call him the Great General, and it is widely believed that it is a single person, a reincarnation that visits them occasionally. He is as ingrained into the customs of the people as their warlike nature, and there are those who worship him as a god. A great golden reincarnating leader…
The Ruins, like most first age cities, was originally founded on a nexus of power. Lots of manses used to exist in the land and more then likely some still do. However anyone with much understanding of the matter can find all sorts of rumors in the debrie of a central area, the throne of the city. Something great was there, something powerful, something that propelled the ruler to greatness. It’s lost now…perhaps destroyed, perhaps buried, or perhaps it’s just a misinterpretation of pictographs.