Introduction to Elania

Elania is one of the larger city-states in Hanoria. For centuries Elania was a rather sleepy rural town with minor trade of agricultural, lumber and some mining goods which mostly traveled through the main road to Three Oaks to the southeast. The main claim to fame for Elania during that period was that it was the closest reasonably sized town to the mysterious geological formation known as “Flattop” which is situated to the east of Elania. Flattop has long had a reputation for strange phenomena, unusual local flora and fauna and freakish storms. Elvish wizards, in particular, seem to be drawn to Flattop for study. The land around Flattop is arid, tortured and rumored to be haunted so there is little actually known about the area, even within Elania.

Elania itself was populated originally by humans, with some halflings, half-elves and a smattering of gnomes. During the generations of the dwarvenwyrd, before the resurrection of the dwarves, Elania also held the distinction of being the closest inhabited city to the dwarven ghost-city “Gryggsdral”. The lands around Elania have mostly been owned by remnants of feudal lords from the ancient Hanorian Empire. Lands have been handed down from father to son for generations. Of the remaining “royal” blood families, two have maintained significant power, each attempting to gain full control of the area for generations. This has led to many skirmishes and bloodshed over the years as the two families’ fortunes waxed and waned.

Roughly a century before the present time a group of great heroes discovered a secret of the Dwarvenwyrd. Led by the great elf wizard Ceorl and the monk Void, the party fought a great battle against demons and evil sorcerers to recover the last ancient burial ground of the dwarven royalty, whose bodies had been preserved by powerful magic which also hid them from the world. Ceorl raised the dwarf “Forkovr” who joined the party and struck the final blow which defeated the demon led forces. Once the demons had been banished from Hudbyd and the evil wizards killed or driven into hiding, the remaining dwarves were raised and the race of dwarves was restored.

After a few generations, a wizened Forkovr led his people back to their ancestral home, re-opening the gates of Gryggsdral. Thus Elania became the gateway to the dwarven city, and the focal point of trade between the newly revitalized dwarves and the rest of Agnara. As the dwarven race multiplied and dwarven goods and services became highly desired by the wealthy and powerful of the world, a steadily growing flood of gold and goods poured through Elania.

This precipitated a bloody civil war between the two families. This war raged for a generation, ending just a few years prior to the present day, with the Rovell forces winning a bloody and decisive victory in the very shadow of Flattop. In the few years since that decisive battle Lord Rovell quickly moved to consolidate his power and take control of the trade routes and fill his coffers with gold.

Lord Rovell publicly claimed this to be a great victory for the people of Elania. And indeed his rule seems to have begun with a generous and compassionate heart. Taking advantage of the nearby dwarven workforce, Lord Rovell has been rapidly building roads, bridges, aqueducts, public buildings, dams, etc. The resulting boom has transformed Elania from a sleepy rural town to a bustling minor metropolis. The latest public works effort Lord Rovell has funded is a large theater suitable for the presentation of the most sophisticated plays by the best actors in Agnara.

While Lord Rovell has consolidated his power effectively and is the acknowledged ruler of Elania, his enemies persist around the city. Determined to police his own city, as well as to effect peace in the surrounding lands, Lord Rovelle has chosen not to pay for Hanorian army protection as most city-states in Ariador have done for generations. Instead he has maintained and even expanded his own army which has become both the military and the local police, all under the iron hand of the man known only as “Captain Kane.” Kane is thought to have once been a high-ranking member of the Hanorian palace guard, but is now the leader of all military and police forces in and around Elania. There have even been minor skirmishes between the Rovell forces and Hanorian forces. Lord Rovell has demanded that all Hanorian forces remove themselves from Elanian land. This has resulted in Hanorian ambassadors attempting to negotiate a treaty with Lord Rovell.

This sudden militarization of the town of Elania has not escaped the notice of the elves, who wish to maintain easy access to Flattop. For that reason a contingent of elves representing Elvenholme are also involved in negotiations with Lord Rovell to ensure uninterrupted access to Flattop. Lord Rovell has also maintained strong ties with Gryggsdral and has allowed a minor enclave of dwarves to settle within Elania as equal citizens.

At the present time Captain Kane is advertising far and wide for men to join his army, navy or police forces. The Rovell palace is entertaining high-ranking members of the Hanorian and Elvish ambassadorships, as well as frequently hosting important dwarves as well. The recent completion of the theater has also brought in the most famous acting troupe in the land as they prepare a special play written in Lord Rovell’s honor.

But something is killing dwarves in and around Elania. This has created friction between Elania and Gryggsdraal. Rumors of angry words between the dwarves and Captain Kane are common. Threats have been made by the dwarves to carve a new road north through the White Mountains into the Dwonland for trade, cutting off the flow of riches into Elania. Hanorian forces continue to occupy the boundaries of Elania and as the Rovell army grows, more and more Hanorian troops are moving into the ancient forts and keeps in the area. And Rovell’s own ancient enemies may have been beaten down, but they have not been entirely defeated.

And Flattop has begun to stir. Rumors of powerful monsters roaming the night are getting closer and closer to Elania. Orcs, hobgoblins, goblins and other wild folk have been spotted in growing numbers to the east and south. Rumors persist that the evil races are preparing for a sack of Elania to steal her riches. And strange apparitions have appeared in the form of holy men of many races, each preaching of the return of “The One” amid predictions of fire in the sky and the “Day of two suns”.

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