The 2000 Year Epic Campaign
United Pride - Captain's Log
Esbjorn Broske, Lord of Brind-Amor, first pushed forward the idea of exploration, and shipwrights and carpenters descended upon Elon to build the first galleon Brind-Amor had ever seen, called the United Pride.
The winners of the Tests of Reshk from the 16th Year of the Red Comet, would be assigned command positions on board the United Pride. Other contestants from that field would be offered secondary positions and the rest of the deckhands would be appointed by the senior officers.
The 25-man crew of the United Pride was led by Captain Ravenclaw with his First Mate, Quartermaster Yi. They trained arduously along with the rest of the crew for three years before they bid farewell and set sail north into the Great Sea in the 19th year of the Red Comet. The mission was one of exploration and they were due back in five years.
Land was first spotted in an area that came to be known as the Styrc Isles; a chain of minor islands about two weeks due north of Brind-Amor. Their first contact with other people were the gnomes of Geargrind Island, where they met their leader, the Master Tinker. The United Pride was amazed at the gnomes and their inventions, most notably was the nearly completed canopy that encloses the bay off, but can be opened to allow ships in to the capital city of Filbiklink.
The gnomes were friendly and a strong relationship quickly formed between the two sides. Engineer Glinwhiz asked Captain Ravenclaw if he would be willing to gather samples from various trees from around the Styrc Isles for an experiment he was working on. Ravenclaw agreed but asked for help navigating the unknown waters. The Master Tinker appointed one of her top researchers, Elza Crinkletoes, to accompany the United Pride.
While the United Pride sailed around to the various islands, mapping as they went, Elza was able to help determine what types of plant-life Glinwhiz was looking for. While Quartermaster Yi felt this job was too menial for the crew, Captain Ravenclaw saw it as an opportunity to bolster relations with the gnomes, while getting first hand knowledge of these islands.
The United Pride made stops on unnamed islands (Including Ao’s Well before it was named), as well as the inhabited island of Prewth and retrieved a few of the cottonwood trees and also a stop in Ston Cay.
It was on Ston Cay that one of the junior officers, Glynxidor, asked Captain Ravenclaw to stay behind for a week, to better understand the human settlement on this small island. Ravenclaw admired his dedication to the job and allowed it.
After the United Pride acquired the samples needed, they returned to Geargrind Island and delivered them to a delighted Engineer Glinwhiz. The Master Tinker informed the United Pride that a known pirate ship, The Soaring Waves, is known to sail these waters and to be on the lookout for it. Ravenclaw asked if she would like them to deal with it but she declined, saying that the one pirate ship poised no threat to them when the canopy would be closed.
Captain Ravenclaw felt it was time to continue exploring and the plan was to sail northeast towards Decius. The crew worked well together and had become a tight-nit bunch. The United Pride returned to Ston Cay and allowed for one last day of shore leave for the entire crew. Many of them took to the pubs and taverns and Quartermaster Yi was known to be up all night gambling. The following morning, trouble started.
Glynxidor, the junior officer who stayed behind in Ston Cay refused to leave. In the short time he was there he fell in love with a local woman named Ellenthel Berric. The issue divided the ship. Some, led by an suddenly angry Quartermaster Yi, argued that Glynxidor’s duty was to his job and the United Pride. Captain Ravenclaw argued that the love was real and feared taking the young elven wizard away from it. How would he react? Would he become a distraction on the ship?
In the end, Captain Ravenclaw put his foot down and made a decision. Glynxidor would be allowed to stay. The United Pride sailed off to distant lands, It was the most silent and awkward time aboard the United Pride.
During the week-long voyage to Decius, the crew gradually came together again. Even the normally dour Quartermaster Yi’s spirits improved after everyone had a laugh about her losing her pistol in a bet to a kenku named Chaza during their night out on Ston Cay.
While the people of the Styrc Isles were pleasant and hospitable, the Decius Isles were anything but.
Decius is formed of two continents, both much larger than Brind-Amor. The southern one is usually just referred to simply as Decius, while the other is called Northern Decius. Decius is dotted with many towns and are ruled by a military organization called the Galerius Brotherhood, who take their orders directly from Emperor Gavenius.
The emblem of the brotherhood could be seen everywhere, and Decius boasted a very large military presence in the land. This was also the first time anyone from Brind-Amor had ever seen a dragonborn. Several of them served in the army, but as Captain Ravenclaw would later learn, they only serve in the army. None of them are tavern owners, or sailors, or cobblers. They are only soldiers.
Captain Ravenclaw felt that the best way to learn about the area was to put the United Pride to work. They began as a transport ship, taking cargo and people back and forth from the outer cities on southwestern Decius ( Savarius, Nursia, Scalaycium, Basti, and Zela). The work was easy and slightly profitable, but it allowed the United Pride an opportunity to see the workings of the Galerius Brotherhood and the Empire up close.
They are an enormous, well-trained, and well funded organization. Not only are they the standing army of Decius, but also take on the roll of policing the populace and are the true power of the empire. But why? Why were they so large? The United Pride so no evidence that Decius was at war or that they had ever been at war on a large scale.
They do clash with the Arethrion Elves or “snow elves” of Northern Decius. They have been referred to as separatists and terrorists who refuse to accept the rule of the emperor. Captain Ravenclaw has seen the Brotherhood react to them by both attacking them and also trying to coerce them into the mainstream populace. Ravenclaw has steered the United Pride away from these conflicts, remaining neutral on the subject.
Overall, Decius seems like a huge, well-run, country. People seem to have freedoms and rights, the military is well organized, and there are no obvious threats to the empire.
That was the observations from the outer rim cities, things are a little different in the capital city of Centum Treyopolis
Here the Brotherhood is a little more brash. Members have free reign to do whatever they want and the populace is powerless to do anything about it. Upon the crew’s first visit to the capital, they witnessed a group of soldiers confiscate all of the belongings of a farmer in the market square, and then beat him senseless when he protested. Worst of all the Brotherhood had no purpose for the stolen food, they did it without reason. Granted, the Brotherhood can’t get away with anything, but the hierarchy of the organization only puts a stop to the most heinous of crimes.
The capital is a large, sprawling city with distinct districts that lies at the heart of the Emperor Bay. The population of Centum Treyopolis is far greater than all of Brind-Amor combined. The crew experienced the wonders of the city, the Dwarven District, the Mels Ortheiad District that appears as a deep elven forest within the city, the Tower of the Elements, and the impressive Gren Martius Shipyards, where all the Brotherhood warships are built.
One day, the city was abuzz about the monthly King of the Hill Tournament at the Gladiator Coliseum. Everyone was excited about it and Captain Ravenclaw and Quartermaster Yi bought tickets for the event. Gladiator Coliseum was huge, seating over 30,000 people, and excitement was high in the crowd. A small hill sits in the center of the arena and trumpets blared as a tall and lanky warrior from the far off lands of Uquish took his place atop the hill. Near the sides of the hill are two Brotherhood warriors dressed in all black, presumably to officiate the fights and declare winners.
The horn sounds and the first contestant enters, a short stocky fighter with long black hair. He bolts from the gate and bounds up the hill, longsword in hand. The Uquish warrior hefts a spear and heaves it at the oncoming attacker. The spear pierces his throat and blood spurts into the air. The crowd goes wild while Ravenclaw and Yi gasp in horror. These are fights to the death.
Later it was learned that the two Brotherhood judges are actually just there to pull dead bodies off the hill. Whoever wins each match takes the hill and attempts to defend it as long as he can. Eventually he is killed, and a new champion takes the hill. Very few of the contestants are actually volunteers, most fight as a form of punishment for them, and delight for the crowds.
Then a most disturbing sight. The farmer that was powerless to stop the brotherhood from stealing his wares, nervously enters the arena, armed only with a quarterstaff. It’s obvious he doesn’t want to fight. Eventually the brotherhood guards kill him for not engaging the king of the hill, and the crowd boos.
Disgusted by what he saw, Captain Ravenclaw ordered the Untied Pride out of the capital city and eventually made its way to the town of Anavio located in the interior of the country nestled up against the Styth Mountains.
This is what Captain Ravenclaw liked about this land; a small town on the edge of humanity, trying to carve out a living in difficult conditions, bringing the community together. It reminded him of home a little.
Central to the town was a mining operation within the Styth Mountains. Workers would get up each day and enter the mines, and then were followed by members of the Galerius Brotherhood, and then a handful of Aqium Wizards. At the end of the day, not a lot of ore was brought out. Quartermaster Yi was the first to suspect something was amiss. Ravenclaw organized a mission to investigate the mines late one night.
In the deep recesses of the mines, deep into the mountains, was a dragonegg hatchery. They were incubated in large vats so that they rise as dragonborn solders for the Galerius Brotherhood. Ravenclaw and Yi spent nearly a year to discover what was going on here in Anavio.
Across Decius dragons are captured by a joint force of Brotherhood soldiers and Aqium Wizards. These dragons, both metallic and chromatic, and thrown in chains where they are forced to produce eggs. These eggs are taken to hatcheries, most of them along the Styth Mountain Range, and are transfored and molded to grow into Dragonborn soldiers for the empire, instead of becoming dragons.
Essentially they were born into slavery, and Captain Ravenclaw knew this was wrong. Ravenclaw and Yi planned an attack to disrupt this operation. They infiltrated the mines at Anavio, killed the guards of both the Brotherhood and Aqium, and recovered five dragon eggs. Deeper into those same mines was where the black dragon, Vinarthamath was imprisoned. They freed her and reunited her with her eggs, where she could raise them to be free-minded dragonborn. Vinarthamath carefully secured her eggs, and thanked the heroes and ordered them to leave. Revenge was on her mind.
Feeling good about what they did, they returned to the United Pride and now had a new purpose to their mission. They were late for their return to Brind-Amor, but Captain Ravenclaw and Quartermaster Yi felt a higher power calling to them. They could not sit idly by while others had this done to them. The United Pride continued to do a few runs in shipping goods out of Basti, mostly to keep up the premise that they were a cargo ship, but their main focus was freeing the dragonborn.
Over the next 10 months the United Pride hit two more hatcheries and was enroute to a third when the day of reckoning came. The United Pride found itself surrounded by three Brotherhood warships. The United Pride was boarded and investigators found a handful of dragoneggs. The senior officers were taken into custody while the United Pride was set on fire near the town of Selymbria, and the crew was left to die.
The senior officers were brought to the capital and stood before Emperor Gavenius, and while they only had them on the hook for the eggs, the Emperor was furious. Captain Ravenclaw, knowing the law of the land, demanded Trial at the King of the Hill Tournament. The Emperor granted it, as he must, but he set the bar at an unprecedented 15 rounds to gain their freedom, citing that each of the three eggs must equal a complete day (five rounds), totaling 15 rounds.
The officers did well the first day, making it through the five rounds but only four of them were still alive. After the second day, they were down to just Captain Ravenclaw and Quartermaster Yi.
The day before the third and final day of the King of the Hill Tournament, an unknown benefactor know only as Dark Phoenix, slipped supplies into their cell that included two healing potions and a note that read:
Ravenclaw and Yi had no idea they were reffered to as The Righteous, nor did they know who The Arisen were. But, for the first time, Ravenclaw and Yi had a flicker of hope. If they could just somehow survive five more rounds.