The Kalarian Precipice - Chapter One
Game information: dawnindustry.com/TKP
“Remote,” would be an understatement when describing the township of Kalair.
Nestled atop the plummeting cliffs of Marix Isle, those who reside here hail from generations of isolated freedom. Abundant in natural beauty, clear waters froth and fight against raw basalt shores, if you are brave enough to peer down upon them. The lands at their summit are fueled by the greenery of life, a place that through the eons has evolved its own, truly unique, variety of animals and plants. To the north horizon lies The Equath Four, a rolling expanse of peaks whose moisture laden air not only supports life, but also cycles the very seasons that turn through the years. Beyond this veritable wilderness lies Alath in all its stark glory, an extinct volanco whose tip thrusts high above the endlessly rolling clouds. Do not ask what lies behind Alath, as rumors tell of a sand-swept land. A sea of white, stretching out like a great bone finger, devoid of life and cursed to touch.
The Kalairians are as varied as the land itself. Theories abound as to the great spectrum of races who walk this earth, but one thing is certain, somewhere in the deepest passages of time Marix was an epicenter. Perhaps the Isle was once connected to some far distant mainland? Did the ancestors arrive here by other means as yet unknown? Or did Marix itself, in all her beauty evolve such a broad range of creatures to wander her lands?
Marix the provider. Fertile fields drive advanced agriculture, outcrops rich in iron are quarried for ripe malleable ore, whilst great boulders supply the foundations for architecture. Everything mankind has needed has been here for as long as history has been scribed. Strange then that it is things nonessential which have diverted these people’s path.
Gemstones and precious metals. Pockets of blazing purples and reds, caught within slopes that claim brave lives for their prize. Shafts of the clearest quartz, point to the skies within forests once unpassed. Riverbeds tumble with balls of blue and the glint of yellow.
But the earth’s most aged of treasures came at a cost.
As life bloomed and civilization expanded, Marix’s bounty began to change culture and the means of trade. Simple bartering and the exchange of services for little more than goodwill, shifted to an age where gems and precious metals became a means to an end. Currency, and with currency’s hand came greed, poverty, inequality, and the first taint to mankind’s purity.
Simple lives were faced with dark challenges. The land was no longer shared, and those nestled near the sites of glittering resource were evicted from their homes by those corrupt and violent, those who saw an opportunity pivoting on power and control. The era of exploitation had begun. But the earth fought back.
With each treasure uncovered, something grew to lurk among the citizens of Marix. Strange happenings and supernatural gifts arose almost at random. A child might be born and cast a ray of light from a pointed fingertip. A healer might find a simple touch could cure a victim’s most horrid and open wounds.
It led to revolution, violent and bloody.
Soaked in magic, those once weak and victimized found courage and strength in nature’s new tools. Years of rebellion followed and the boundaries of cemeteries expanded to accommodate loss. Rich, poor, man, woman, child, Elf, Dwarf… The soils of Marix wept with life’s blood. It had to end, and it took just one soul to commence a new dawn.
It is written that Frinak Dolstice was born a farmer, but his true potential surely lay elsewhere. The theories as to how he rose to power are as varied the very waves upon Marix’s shores, but one thing is certain. This charismatic soul found a way to make his people look upon each other with kindness and compassion. Beginning as a small guild he assembled intellectuals, historians and citizens to represent all walks of life, with one aim, the return of peace.
It was in his dying days that what is now known as the Dolstian Sacrifice came to pass. A united people, under the leadership of his civilian council, banned not only the use of currency but also the very extraction of gems and wealth from this magical earth. Piles of gold, silver, rubies, sapphires and zircons were carted to the isle’s clifftops, and on the first day of the year of Dolst, tossed like rockfall into the jaws of the sea.
Mining was outlawed. Land and ownership was divided equally. Theft, extortion, manipulation and the use of magic were to be met with trial and one simple punishment. Death.
For many generations to follow, peace returned. Life became simple again under the Dolstian vision of equality.
It would take a new threat to undo such sacrifice. A slow unraveling of man’s fear of magic and the empowering intoxication of prospector’s ancient finds. It began with rumors. The mountain dwarves of The Equath Four reported sightings of unfamiliar beasts. Packs of horned serpents slithering through nearby forest groves. Fleshless hyenas of firey eye attacking travelers upon the mountain’s pass. “From the sands,” the dwarven hillspeople said. But nobody knew for sure.
The council showed little interest for many a week. “Just the stories of short folk,” they said, or “the overactive imaginations of our fringe dwellers”.
They were wrong.
It wasn’t long before word had spread of farmers mauled by unimaginable wild beasts, stone silos being battered to rubble, and packs of creatures making their way to the south. The council had few answers. A score of war parties were sent out, never to return.
Soon, society became fractured. There were those who believed they must once again unearth the magic of gems once more. Reignite the powers of the past and rebirth the work of arcane and divine. These few souls worked in secrecy, fearing their lives in neglect of Dolstian law. Through efforts to uncover power and find a way to end the scavengers from beyond Alath, so too did they kindle new greed, from those who for power we’re ready to clutch.
The others, the overwhelming majority, went on in complacency. “Such animals will never travel this far,” or “let us move southward. No wild pack would be so bold as to breach the boundaries of Kalair.”
An auspicious day. An unnamed day to wave in a new cycle of seasons. A new year. And as is tradition, the council will address their peoples from atop an isolated tower. A single shaft of light above the dark stone of treacherous crags, where they will wait for a symbol and mark this year by its name.
One thing is certain. This is not to be the year of peace.