How the Great War Started
Agreements and arrangements between Aqium and Decius had run their course, and they came to a head when Emperor Gavenius turned his attentions away from The Scourge and attacked the Lich known as Astriminar (formerly the Arch Mage) in Holy Sanctuary of Ao.
It was an uneasy alliance to begin with. The Arch Mage provided Decius with arcane magics and agreed to help with the Emperor’s obsession with stopping the Scourge. As time went on Aqium wormed and wiggled its way into Decius politics. From advisor positions to the Emperor, to control of the dragon egg hatcheries, to the building of the Tower of the Elements in Centrum Treyopolis. Aqium was intertwined into Decius.
The opposite was not true. Aqium remained separate from Decius influence and while they initially provided Decius with assistance in the Emperor’s efforts to eradicate the Scourge, it gradually slipped away. The final straw was the Crown of Shadows.
Secretly, the Emperor assembled a task force to find the fabled artifact and Commander Graves was sent off to the Island of Minos to find it. It was brought back to The Citadel, where wizards loyal to the Emperor uncovered its secrets. The Emperor hoped that possessing this powerful item could tip their relationship with Aqium back in his favor.
The Crown was stolen and later ended up in the hands of the Arch Mage. What the Emperor hoped to turn into an advantage, now turned into a disadvantage. The Arch Mage had already absconded with the Snow Queen and absorbed her life force and elevated himself to a higher power as the Ur Mage for a brief period of time. The Arch Mage had become too powerful and he boldly proclaimed to the Emperor that he would open the gate to hell and welcome the Scourge into the world, a world that he would control.
Emperor Gavenius learned that the Arch Mage would need to get to the Sanctuary of Ao in Decius to begin the ritual to open a permanent portal for the Scourge to enter. The Emperor gathered his forces and laid in wait to ambush the Arch Mage.
Unknown to the Emperor the Arch Mage was now Astriminar the Undying, a lich of enormous power. He had foreseen the ambush because he caused it to happen, allowing the Emperor to learn about his actions, knowing that he would have no choice but to respond to the Scourge incursion threat.
His plan went off without a hitch, although he was forced to summon Scourge reinforcements as the Righteous joined the battle for the Emperor. But the Lich got what he came for; Last Rites and the Emperor is now dead. Astriminar returned to Aqium while Decius awaited the invasion.
It didn’t come. Not right away at least. Some sages speculate that the Lich was preoccupied with other matters, perhaps communications with Asmodeus himself. Other think that the Lich simply waited to Decius to crumble to the ground on its own.
With no imminent invasion on the way, Decius was free to reassess its situation. The continent was being pulled in several different directions. Decius became known as the Fractured States of Decius as the continent broke up into five separate states.
The Fractured States of Decius
General Ilthor fought beside the Emperor and managed to survive the encounter with Astriminar. The Ilthor kingdom is the western most lands of Decius and still adhere to the traditions set forth by the late Emperor; strength, might, and strong traditions. Mostly human, the Kingdom is now ruled by King Venantius II.
A state of freed people that include the dragonborn, elves, and humans, Alimlar is squeezed in the middle of the continent, feeling pressure from all sides. The domain is still very chaotic and a great deal of turmoil exists in the land. Queen Seera, a dragonborn, recently came to power as she overthrew King Vicrik because of his corruption and incompetence.
If ever a realm was to be overlooked it would be this one. Nosiriath keeps a low profile when it comes to politics and enjoys a stable rulership that is run jointly by two individuals: King Karrig Thror is dwarven and leader of his people, the Dhirnamor Dwarves. Justicar Aneasar is the highest ranking person of the Faith of Ao. While the two leaders occasionally differ, neither does anything without being in complete agreement. While this is great for a united front, it also means that not a lot gets done around here. Geographically the realm is split up between Decius and Ramicus (formerly known as Northern Decius) with the dwarves predominantly in Ramicus and the humans in what was once northeast Decius.
With the fall of the Decius Empire, Northern Decius returned to its original name, Ramicus. Although that name is still in the tradition of the Empire, seasons veterans of the cold northern lands only knew it by the original name. It came with a sense of liberty, from a time when they were free from Empire control. When the Kingdom of Dolaneg fell, the remaining kingdoms quickly agreed to recognize Ramicus if they promised to help in the war with Aqium, but they still have their hands full with the Goliaths known as the Mountain Kinsmen, who have joined Aqium in the war.
As the invasion never came, some thought Dolaneg was on the cusp of greatness. King Parados was a progressive leader and utilized the great mineral resources of his land to engage in trade routes throughout the world, including Aqium. Merchants became rich here, and over time people flocked to the eastern portions of Decius for a better life. Then after years of profitable trade and growth, the invasion did happen. Those who thought Dolaneg would be spared because of their relationship with Aqium were dead wrong. The invasion was swift and ruthless and in less than three weeks, the entire Kingdom was under Aqium control.
The Current Situation
It has been 35 years since Astriminar slayed Emperor Gavenius and triggered the events that began the Great War. The invasion and conquering of Dolaneg was just nine years ago, but it gave Aqium a firm foothold on the continent. The remaining Kingdoms quickly united, as best they could, to defend their lands against the invaders but they are slowly losing. Aqium swept through the southern islands and are utilizing the rich resources of Dolaneg to further their efforts. Aqium forces are beginning to press into all of the remaining kingdoms and are gaining ground and resources by the day. Aqium grows stronger by the day as the Fractured States of Decius grow weaker.
Chancellor Gavin, a middle-aged high-ranking officer from Ilthor was a noted historian who combed the archives for anything that could help in the war. He found what he believes they are missing.
Each era had them. Whether it was The Righteous or the Soldiers of the Bull of the Third Age, the Champions of Elon or the Crescent Order of the Second Era or even as far back as the Three Feathers of the First Era. Each era had their champions, and this era certainly needs them now.
King Venantius II gave Chancellor Gavin permission to pursue this endeavor and he scoured the lands to find the best and the brightest that he could in the amount of time and formed Corvus Septum, an elite strike team that would operate in conjunction with the armies of the fractured states in hopes of turning the tides of the Great War.
Chancellor Gavin saw a spark in you, a glimmer of strength, a flicker of hope that you might be the type of hero he is looking for in Corvus Septum. You were in one of the Fracture States of Decius Kingdoms, as a rank-and-file solider in the war when Gavin selected you for this prestigious assignment. You have agreed and are traveling to the Ilthor Kindom capital of Centum Treyopolis to meet the others and get your first assignment.
The story enters the Fourth Era in Operation Dunbar Island.