Chronicles of Neverael
The Izhendarc Empire stretches across a vast region in the north of Antegaea called the Frostblight. Founded around 500 years ago, the Izhendarc Empire has grown faster than any other Empire in the history of the continent – now occupying more than ten times the territory it initially claimed. As the lands of this Empire have expanded so too has the all-consuming cold of the Frostblight – creeping ever southward as the years have passed. While some try to explain this change in climate with “science” and other forms of conjecture, everyone knows in their heart of hearts the true cause of this ominous tide of winter – the Cryomancer-Emperors of House Izhendarc and their hoary servants.
The Izhendarc Empire began with one man – as Empires so often do. Ravel Izhendarc I – a man born to uncertain parents on an uncertain day and in uncertain circumstances. That he was probably originally a southerner is conjecture only supported by the raven black hair that fell in waves across his shoulders and back. His name is reminiscent of Bachraeni or Domremese naming conventions but don’t really fit either – there is a strange touch of the barbarian tongues of the north in the name. The legends of Ravel state that, while traveling the Frostblight for unknown purposes, he became lost and began to, slowly, die of exposure. In his meandering, just prior to death, he witnessed a star flash from the sky and strike the ground not far from where he walked. Overtaken by a desire to see this wondrous object and, secretly, hoping that the fallen star might provide some kind of warmth – Izhendarc used the last of his strength to make it to where the star had fallen and gazed down into the small crater it had made. The legends state that, in his weakened state, he pitched forward over the edge of the crater and slid down to where a lump of strange, translucent metal seemed to blaze with a cold blue-black flame. We now know that Izhendarc was Witchborn and that he was probably traveling the northlands in an attempt to escape from the calamities that tend to occur around untrained or unidentified Witchborn. When Izhendarc touched the blazing star of cold fire a voice spoke to him.
What the voice told Izhendarc is something that no one knows – not even his descendants – but it seems to have offered the dying man a deal. It would save him if he would just give it his “warmth” – give it a nice, warm home in which to grow. It might have promised him power, an end to his wanderings, any number of things – but it really all came down to survival in the end. Izhendarc, dying and alone, agreed to the being’s terms. The transformation which took place banished the cold from Izhendarc’s limbs and gave him a power over the elements of the Frostblight and that of the cold itself which bordered on that of a God’s. The being merged with Izhendarc so completely that what stepped forth from that crater wasn’t really Izhendarc anymore – nor, for that matter, was it the Voice of Blue Fire. And thus began the line of Cryomancers and the beginning of the Empire.
The Empire grew in leaps and bounds by assimilating the unorganized tribes of the Northlands and turning them into tools for the spread of the Empire. Where Izhendarc’s Empire went, the Frostblight soon took hold…and Izhendarc’s incredible powers seemed to grow ever stronger.
The Izhendarc Empire, as it stands today, includes some of the following locales of interest. These are, by no means, all that the Empire has to offer – the place is vast and home to many different regions which claim distinct tribal heritages. The Empire has made great efforts, however, in establishing a common language to unify the people of the Empire (this language is known as Zhirilyc). Rebels meet quick and certain death in these lands.
Candorjan Glacier: This vast Glacier is situated in what is now the heart of the Frostblight – it is over six miles thick and thousands of miles across. It is here that some of the stranger creatures of the Frostblight make their homes – such as the fearsome Frost Drakes (which are able to swim through solid ice just as easily as through water). The scions of the noble houses of Izhendarc (including the Imperial Heir) are tested against this glacier’s unforgiving environment when they turn 19 years of age. Those that survive are worthy to take on the reins of authority, those that do not are not spoken of again.
Fraelingh Mountains: These mountains run across the northern spine of Antegaea – the so called “Roof of the World”, also called the “Spine of the World.” These mountains are very harsh and home to many different kinds of horrible creatures – Yeti, certain types of Undead, savage Druidic cults, and others. They are also exceptionally beautiful – a grayish blue stone that sparkles in the rare ray of sunlight.
Kremirin City: The largest city of the Empire – save the Imperial capitol at Mount Izhendarc – this city is situated in the western portion of the Empire and is a favorite winter haunt of the nobles of the Empire. The climate here becomes somewhat tolerable to Southerners during the spring and summer months and, as such, this is one of the few trade centers of the Empire where foreign goods can be purchased.
Mount Izhendarc: Mount Izhendarc is a single, isolated spar of jagged stone which seems to rake at the sky. This spire was singled out by Ravel Izhendarc to become the seat of his Empire and is located in a rather central locale. The inside of the spire is said to have been carved out with maze-like tunnels and passages – the palace of House Izhendarc. Those nobles who visit the capitol are required to stay in one portion or another of this vast palatial complex. This ensures that none of the nobles are able to plot against the Emperor with ease. The city which gew up at the base of the spire is just as elegant, cold, and brutal as one would expect.
Skraelesh Wall: This wall once marked the edge of the “known world” as set forth by the ancient Atlaneians – beyond it lay a frozen wasteland full of raiders, monsters, and savages of all sorts. The Frostblight once lay beyond this wall – now this wall sits firmly within the Frostblight and has become something of a curiosity – the backbone of a whole swathe of villages and small towns and cities which have formed up along the wall at different intervals. They use the wall as a form of natural protection against the terrible winter storms that howl across the Frostblight. And ample protection it is – the wall stands over 700 feet tall and is nearly 200 feet thick – it appears to be made out of some sort of crystalline metallic growth of Atlaneian origins. The substance from which the wall was constructed doesn’t seem to mar, crack, or break under any circumstances.
The White Wood: The White Wood is a large forested area which stretches across the eastern and southern regions of the Empire – a haunted place said to be stalked by massive sabertoothed cats, monstrous wendigo, and other creatures of the ice. Travelers in the White Wood often get lost and are never found again – specially trained White Wardens patrol the wood near it’s roadways. The White Wardens keep the roads safe and provide aid to lost or stranded travelers – one of the few humanitarian organizations in the north. Trade is vital to the Empire and the route through the wood is a lifeline that connects one part of the Empire to another.