Author Topic: BOTH VERSIONS - The world of Pendor (History and Tales of Pendor) - Backstory  (Read 76098 times)

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saxondragon

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Prophesy of Pendor


Introduction

    The hospice hallway was dimmed and there was lingering smell of bleach as I walked
down towards Vance’s room.  I knew that he was dying and the summons I received from his
sister meant that the end was near.  It had been a long year and Vance, my friend since
college, had struggled with and will finally succumb to, the cancer that he was diagnosed
with last Christmas.  What a lousy year this had been.

I knocked at the door and entered, pulling the linen drapes aside I saw that he was lying
in one of those high end hospital beds, a bright red blanket up to his chest and an IV
drip was attached to his left hand.  I knew it was morphine.  He looked gaunt and tired,
his hair was uncombed and he had a pale look to him.  Not just pale, but worn, almost
translucent.  He smiled as I entered.

     “Hello champ how goes it?” I bantered as I sat down in the chair closest to the bed.

     “Hey!  I have been waiting for you slacker.” He said in a strained voice, barely
above a whisper.  “How am I?  I’ve been better.”  A small mischievous smile crept across
his face. “You see that hot nurse out there?  Too bad she’s taken.  I can’t talk her out
of dumping her fiancée and running off with me to Tahiti.” His smile ended in a slight
grimace and a spasmodic cough.  “Sorry, the morphine is still kicking in.  The pain is
not fun.” He said.  There was a moment pause where we just looked at each other. 

Memories flooded me, the times we had shared, and a sense of what this man meant to me as
my friend.  Dam few friends these days to lose any more, especially ones that were so
important.

     Seeming to sense my mood, Vance smiled, “I still think you should have bought the
Jag.”  I laughed as my mind flashed back to a time when I could have bought my dream car
for a song.  I procrastinated and it was sold out underneath me before I mustered the
guts to sign on the dotted line.  Vance said that I was a fool and went to some pains to
remind me of his ignored advice for going on twenty years now.  Never of course, in front
of my wife, but when we were alone, it was almost a mantra.  Twenty years?  Yes, I
recounted them; I had known this man as my friend over half my life. 

“I have something for you.” He said and he motioned to the table next to him.  There was
what looked to be a large stationary box.  “Open it.” he said.

   I reached over and grabbed the box.  It was much heavier than I had anticipated and
brought to my lap where I carefully opened it.  Inside was what looked to be a typed
manuscript.

“I have been working on this for a long time”, he said, “and now I want you to have it.” 
He paused as I took a moment and inspected the pages, several hundred, neatly typed. 
This surprised me, as I had no inkling that Vance was a writer.

“I don’t understand” I said, unable to contain my confusion.

He smiled, and said, “Read the introduction.”  He then closed his eyes and sighed, “I
will just take a short nap here while you do.  Wake me if that hot nurse comes in.  I
have to work in her some more.”

I smiled then turned my attention to the box in my lap.  The introduction was twenty
pages long, talking about of all things, the nature of the universe.  Specifically how
there are infinite variations of reality played out in alternate dimensions and explained
fairly well under the general term of Quantum Physics.   It went on to cite references
and theories and wove an intricate argument of how every story, every act of artistic
creation was a momentary breach between these infinite dimensions bringing that “reality”
back into our own.   Every story, every novel, every “fantasy world” was in fact, in some
other alternate dimension and therefore real.  It ended with a question in that do we
really pull this stuff from alternate dimensions, or by the act of inspiration do we
cause its existence?  Do we create infinite universes by our acts of creativity and
storytelling?

I looked up maybe twenty minutes later to see Vance watching me.  He smiled and
whispered, “Keep reading.” then shut his eyes again.

I looked down at Chapter One, and I started reading about the history of this medieval
fantasy kingdom: Pendor.

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Almost a Millennium ago

The war of the Titans laid the foundation for the ascension of Man.   A terrible war,
between ancient elder races left the world stripped of magic, and those magnificent
mythical people, once so powerful, were now only the stuff of folklore and legends.  Only
the reclusive Noldor, what since “The Lord of the Rings”, we call “Elves” remain from
those times, and their once great cities are all destroyed save perhaps one. 

Three hundred fifty four years ago – the Founding of Pendor.
It is the time of Man.  The story centers on the fertile lands of Pendor and the
struggles of the peoples, their leaders and their destiny.  Several hundred years ago, a
single Kingdom was forged by sword and fire.  A peace was maintained and prosperity came
to the kingdom and it flourished.  Five generations of Pendorian Kings sat on the Silver
Throne in Sarleon and for nearly two hundred years they guided the destiny of their land
and it’s subjects.


From the Founding of Pendor – the year is 198
The downfall of the Kingdom was as swift as it was and vile.  A single month, thirty
days, and the empire was in tatters.  The irony was it was not by the sword in battle,
nor by some dark magic that caused the deaths of the King and his family.  But by an
unseen killer, a disease, the red plague that ravaged the land and cut down the peoples
of the Kingdom, great and small, like an assassin in the night.

The royal family had perished, and there was no King to rule the land.  Then came the
invasions that seemed to shatter the once proud kingdom into slivers and the glory that
was once the Kingdom of Pendor, was now itself the stuff of legend.

With the death of the King and his heirs, there was chaos.  Multiple lords laid claim to
the throne and nearly every noble of the land began squabbling over succession. 

From the Founding of Pendor – the year is 199

 The carefully laid agreements, truces and alliances with neighboring powers became
suspect.  In the North, the mountain tribesmen began raiding the heartlands of Pendor. 
Embolden by their success and the lack of response from the Knights of the Realm, they
struck even deeper and soon this led to the siege to Rane.  The Earl of Rane sought help
from the nobles of the land, but the schemes of the powerful found reasons not to come to
his aid.  Many Northern Lords, banded together and formed a small army that marched to
defend the city from the onslaught of the northern Mystmountain warriors..  The battle
was bloody and fierce, and in the end, the siege was lifted, and the barbarian tribesmen
and their shaman leaders, routed back to their mountain homes. The Northern Lords, who
fought so valiantly that day, decided to establish a knighthood order, the Order of the
Dragon, comprised of the valiant warriors who defended the city.   News of this new order
was not well received by other knighthood orders or by the nobility to the South.   They
demanded that the Order of the Dragon be disbanded which in the minds of the proud
warriors of the North, was an unforgivable insult to their valor.  The scorn of other
established knighthood and the lack of support to route the invaders from Rane prompted
the Northern Lords to break ties with the southern lords and declared themselves an
independent Kingdom: The Kingdom of Ravenstern. 

Reeling from the succession of the Northern cities and lords, the remaining Pendorian
nobility were not prepared to meet the next challenge that followed within a few short
years. 

From the Founding of Pendor – the year is 202
From the South, over the southern sea, the great Baccus empire launched an invasion fleet
and landed a powerful army on the shores of Pendor led by the war hardened General Oasar.
 He drove inland conquering cities and castles, and seemed unstoppable.  Ironically,
within a few short months of campaigning, the general received by messenger that the
great Baccus Empire itself was in civil war and that the Emperor had been assassinated. 
After receiving this shocking news, Oasar established himself, with the support of
several Pendor Lords, as Overlord of Janos and officially broke away from what was left
of the Baccus Empire.  The great Baccus Empire convoluted and fragmented into dozens of
principalities, city-states and kingdoms.  The greatest and most powerful is the under
the dominion of the priesthood of the serpent: a powerful and seemingly mystical religion
of warrior priests who worship the unnamed goddess of darkness who manifests herself in
the form of a snake. 

For the once great kingdom of Pendor, that meant that a large portion of it’s Southern
lands, cities and nobility were now either dead or sworn to service under this upstart
general who calls himself Overlord.

From the Founding of Pendor – the year is 204
After the establishment of the Northern Kingdom of Ravenstern and the invasion of Oasar,
the powerful Lord Alfred, Duke of Sarleon, consolidated the remaining lords of Pendor and
declared himself King of Sarleon.  For ten years a measure of peace was maintained.

From the Founding of Pendor – the year is 213
To the far north, across the seas lived the hearty warriors of the Vanskerry.  Segmented
into Jarldoms, they were raiders and traders.  With the Baccus Empire gone, many of the
Vanskerry mercenaries in their employ were free to return home to the frosty shores of
their fathers. A wise man’s musings in the reaches of Vanskerry goes “Death is found in
the blade of your enemy and trouble when a warrior has nothing to do.”  When word came to
the North of the troubles of Pendor, it was greeted with a call to arms and promises of
plunder and women.   Soon, raiding ships found the shores of Pendor a ripe land full of
gold and wealth.  Their well-armed and hearty warriors began raiding the towns and
villages along the coast and met very little resistance.  The Knights of the Lion and
Lords of Sarleon responded by patrolling the coastal shores.  Yet, still the crafty
Vanskerry raiders managed to sack village after village.  With so little ability to
defend themselves, the merchant lords of the Pendorian coastal provinces sent delegations
to the Jarldoms to seek alliances and protection.  At first they were rejected, but in
time as offers included titles and lands many Jarls and their huscarls began to listen. 

The lands of Vanskerry are rugged and cold, compared with the lush and rich pastures of
Pendor.  The lure of good weather, and the chance to become a Lord of a castle, or even a
well-located mayor of a village, appealed to many of the Jarls.   Soon, many Vanskerry
households left the shores of their fathers and sought fortune and prosperity along the
coast of Pendor. Some entered into the service of the Pendorian lords, others married
into the noble families.   This changed many things in the Kingdom, as the warrior
culture and attitudes of Vanskerry were brought into the noble houses of the coastal
lords.  Within a generation the culture gap was so great that the coastal nobles broke
away from the King of Sarleon and formed a rough alliance of city-states called
collectively the Fierdsvain.

From the Founding of Pendor – the year is 204 to 245
The story continued and detailed intrigues, war and heroic actions as well as the great
villains of the land.   There were stories of the Jatu tribesmen and their flight from
the Empire and General Oasar, becoming nomads in the Eastern prairies of Pendor.  There
are the detailed accounts of the Order of the Lion, a knighthood order of Pendor, and
their history and their betrayal by one of their own which had the order declared outlaw
for years until their redemption under the current King of Sarleon. Chapters were
dedicated to the D’Shar, a nomadic peoples who are evolving into a military and economic
force only to find that their own worst enemy is themselves.  Just as fascinating was the
references to the encounters with the ancient Noldor and their powerful weapons and
enchantments that changed the life of more than one adventurer.  I was especially drawn
to the story of Madigan, a wandering mystic who prophesized the coming of a hero who
would unite the lords of the Pendor and reunite the old kingdom.  His saga touched me as
a hero himself, trying to speak the truth and being condemned to death for his beliefs.   

 I was startled out of my reading by the nurse telling me that visiting hours were over.

It was late, and I had spent most of the afternoon and early evening captured by the
amazing story I held in my hands.  I skipped quickly to the last pages and found them
blank.  I realized suddenly that the final chapters were missing.

I looked at Vance, who once again was awake, and watching me. 
Guessing my question and concern he said, “I do not have the answer to the last chapters.
 Those will have to be written.  Perhaps when you write them, it will create those
dimensions, those realities.  I do not know for sure, but I suspect that is the case.  I
am too tired now to continue.  That is why I asked you here today mate.  Finish the
story.”

He reached over and took my hand and gave it a hard squeeze.  “I am tired mate and I have
to sleep” he said in a half dreamy voice.  It was the morphine I knew, finally giving him
relief to the awful pain he must be feeling. I smiled at him and he shut his eyes and
went to sleep.
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« Last Edit: May 15, 2011, 10:09:02 PM by mp84 »

saxondragon

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Re: The world of Pendor (History and Tales of Pendor) - Backstory
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2009, 01:31:56 PM »
From the Founding of Pendor – the year is 354 – The Prophesy has awakened.

The North – Ravenstern and the Mystmountain Barbarians:
To the North, the Kingdom of Ravenstern sits on the southern slopes of the impassible
Cloudmist Mountains.   They are a hearty, proud peoples having adapted to the harsh
Northern climate.  The ruler of Ravenstern is King Gregory IV, the great grandson of King
Gregory I, who led the final charge that drove the shaman of the northern barbarians back
into their homes in the Cloudmist Mountains.  Every since that battle, Ravenstern has
been tested by constant raids and sorties from these bloodthirsty clansmen.  The Lords of
Ravenstern are fearsome warriors, yet they are quite proud and very individualistic. 
There is a strong underlying culture of competition among these peoples that makes them
outstanding individual warriors, though in groups they tend to be undisciplined.  The
Knights of the Order of the Dragon, the cream of the Ravenstern nobility, are to be
feared in combat.  Like most of the other Knighthood Orders in the realm, these Knights
do not swear allegiance to any noble, but rather travel with the Lords of the realm when
it suits them. 
 
The West – The Fierdsvain and the raiders of Vanskerry:
Along the coast to the West is Fierdsvain, where some of the Jarls of Vanskerry have
intermingled and intermarried with the old Kingdom to form a unique warrior culture. 
Most of the former mercenary Jarls of Vanskerry who went to war on behalf of the Emperor
of the Baccus Empire had difficulty in returning to the cold barren shores of the North. 
When the emissaries from the coastal lords of Pendor arrived, many jumped at the chance
to establish themselves in better climates.  However, there were many in Vanskerry who
looked upon these mercenary Jarls as turncoats to the code of the North and have sworn to
make it a point to plunder the lands held by these traitors.  Regardless, infused with
new blood, strong warriors and an appetite for both battle and trade, the Fierdsvain have
flourished and have become as powerful as Sarleon itself.

The ashes of Pendor – The Kingdom of Sarleon.
The Kingdom of Sarleon dominates the center of the game map.  The current King, Ulric of
Sarleon, is the descendent of King Alfred I, former Duke Alfred of Sarleon.  Once King
Alfred established the Kingdom of Sarleon, most of the Knighthood orders charged with
defending Pendor were outlawed. .  The most famous of the outlawed orders was the Order
of the Griffon: the guardians of the royal line of Pendor.   Today only one order, the
Order of the Lion still exists in Sarleon.  This noble order backed Alfred’s claim to
rule. The Order of the Lion since that time has had a murky past, and for a score of
years they also were outlawed.  Today they have been vindicated and are now in the good
graces of King Ulric of Sarleon and are the guardians of the realm.

The Southern Steppes – The D’Shar Nomads.
The South, along the Shavanir Desert is the Principality of D’shar made of dozens of
separate individual tribes.  At the height of the founding of the Kingdom of Pendor
several tribes supported the peace and prosperity that the Kings of Pendor offered them
for a treaty of peace.  The peace turned into an alliance and these tribes began trading
with the Northern Kingdoms.  The makeshift tents and stalls that they set up in the
plains of D’Shar over several generations became small-fortified towns and villages.  No
longer were they nomadic, but settled down, built homes and planted crops.  Their
prosperity quickly propelled these tribes into prominence in the D’Shar plains.  Yet,
those tribes who were staunchly tied to the old ways, remain nomadic and have rejected
the “city dwellers” completely.  Recently they have reverted to raiding the many caravans
coming into and out of these towns.  This has caused a great deal of tension between the
cities and the tribal nomads closer to the great desert.

The Southeast – The Empire and the Snake Cult.
The remnants in and on Pendor of the Great Baccus Empire are now called just “The
Empire”.  However, some portion of the old Baccus Republic (Pre-Empire by several hundred
years) must have had profound influence on General Oasar, as he decreed that a democratic
council of Lords selects each new “Overlord” when either the existing ruler dies or
reaches the age of sixty.   The strong military of the Empire could have long ago swept
Northwards into the Pendor heartland and conquered the interior towns, but for the ties
that the Empire has from their homeland across the Southern Sea, which have plagued them
to no end.  The Serpent Cult has been a constant threat, both politically and empirically
to the Empire as they almost successfully corrupted the Empire ruling class from within. 
It did not help that the many civilians and nobles were until recently openly in support
of the path of the Serpent.   All this has changed.  The current Emperor, Marius I, has
been successful in banning the Priests and temples from the cities of the Empire. This
diplomatic feat has resulted in more of an all out war between the priesthood and the
Empire and battles in and around Empire towns and castles are common.   The Serpent
worshipers in Pendor have gone underground, and receive help from across the Southern Sea
where the heart of the Serpent resides.  Marius I, has deftly turned the tables on the
priesthood and has shown to the peoples of the Empire the depths of their unholy
depravity.  Escaping the death kiss of a Priestess of the Serpent is strong motivation
for the average citizen to help their emperor in this task. 

East – the Jatu tribesmen.
Along the Eastern plains of Pendor are the steppes of the Jatu.  The original Jatu lived
across the Southern Sea in a land of vast plains.  They were a fiercely independent
nomadic people, well versed with bow and spear.   The Jatu are skillful horsemen and boys
at an early age learn how to fight from horseback.  After years of conflict, the Baccus
Empire brokered an agreement with the leaders the Jatu that in exchange for peace. The
Jatu would provide mercenaries to the Empire to conquer other lands.  When General Oasar
invaded Pendor, his main compliment of cavalry was the Jatu Horse Lords.   When word came
that the Great Baccus Empire was in tatters and that the Emperor was dead, the War
leaders of the Jatu had no way to return to their homeland.  Instead, they left the
service of Oasar, raided dozens of villages for women folk, and traveled northwards to
establish a new homeland for their peoples.   A closed society that refuses trade and
diplomatic overtures, these warriors will attack anyone in their domain.   
 
Everywhere – at-large – those with weapons and the will to use them.
Once the Empire’s armies began to stand down and call Southern Pendor their own, the more
unsavory elements, to which the old Baccus Empire was famous for, began to emerge.  The
Red Brotherhood is a confederation of secret societies that crossed borders all across
Pendor.  They are bandits, thieves, slavers, and they deal in unsavory plans and sell
whatever they can get their hands on.   You will find them at times, helpful, and at
times, they will be glad to relieve you of your possessions and perhaps your life.  Town
Militia and various lords try to wipe them out when found, but rooting them out of the
various cities is like trying to kill rat infestation with a stick.  You never seem to
get them all.  Note that the various gangs of Red Brotherhood operate independently of
one another. 

While there are many hazards in Pendor to be wary of, perhaps one of the most dangerous
are the various Renegade Knights who wander the countryside.  These knights are of
various origins, some are from outlawed knighthood orders, others are twisted by the wild
magic of the items which they carry, and some are just bent on the destruction of any who
cross their path.  One thing if for certain, they are deadly.

There are many religions and faiths in the lands of Pendor.  Most of them are benevolent,
 and maintain a doctrine that is the bridge between life and death with a code of conduct
that paves the way for a  pleasant hereafter.  A few of the non-benevolent religions are
bent upon destruction and hatred.  These followers are termed heretics by the other
faiths, and are looked upon as something to be stamped out.  Heretics often are believers
in human sacrifice, and other dark rituals and are unsavory at best.  At worse, they
bring the stuff from your worst nightmares to life.

In your travels you will find adventurer companies.  These groups of adventurers are from
varied backgrounds and have many different goals.  Some are on missions for various
lords, some are bounty hunters, and still others are explorers of the ancient cities
destroyed long ago.   If they happen to take an interest in you, be prepared for anything
as it is these self styled heroes that turn up in the most improbable places, with the
most unreal equipment and do the impossible.

To the far East, the Noldor.
The last known remaining trace of the elder races are the Noldor.  The war of the Titans
was horrific, and the once graceful cities of these folks have long since been destroyed.
 Only this one place, hidden from outsiders, remains of their civilization.  The Noldor
were once wondrous workers of magic, but one of the results of the great conflict was
that they were no longer able to invoke the cantrips and spells that were so central to
their lifes.   Still, some of their lesser enchantments are still working as evidenced by
their almost supernatural abilities on the battlefield.    None who cross the paths of
the Noldor near their home, come away unscathed. 


The world of Pendor 
A brief look at Knighthood orders

History of the Pendorian Knighthood orders as researched and scribed by
Hubris deAelswid of Sarleon, Scholar of the third order and keeper of the Seal of Sarleon.
[/center]

The founding of Pendor was accomplished by a figure of legendary renown:  Cavalas of Valonbray, the son of a renowned knight who, depending on which historian you reference, either 8th or 12th in line to the throne of Valonbray.  Regardless, through exploit and adventure Cavalas brought together the various noble lords and founded the Kindom of Pendor and established the Silver Throne in Sarleon.

It is generally regarded as fact that King Cavalas, in his adventuring days formed the Order of the Griffin, which is considered the first Kighthood order of the Pendorian Kindgom. 

Soon after his coronation, Cavalas drafted the Validus Charta, and it was signed by the various noble lords of the realm and through this document established the binding charter and legal grounds for the existence of a body of knights to form an organized order that had recognized coat of arms.  It is generally argued that this was a condition by some Lords to support King Cavalas in the establishment of Pendor.  This claim cannot be verified as no documents are known to exist that substantiate this theory.

Regardless, within several years a plethora of knighthood orders sprung up in Sarleon and other cities and castles.  Few of course lasted more than the lifetime of the founder, and this document shall confine it’s scope only to those orders that have survived in some form, to this day, the 12th of April, 354, with one notable exception: that of the Order of the Griffon.

The Order of the Lion – Established in the 82nd year after the founding of Pendor by Sir. Roderick the Red.   Colors: Red Rampant Lion on a silver field.  The Order of the Lion is one of the largest and most renowned orders of Knights in the land.  The charter of the order is strict in it’s chivalrous by-laws.   It is the oldest knighthood order that still has members in Pendor.   After the untimely deaths of the royal family in 198, the order was instrumental, along with the Order of the Griffon, in establishing and maintaining order in the realm and preventing an all out war between rival factions contending for the throne of Pendor.   

After the succession of the Northern Lords, and the war with the Greater Baccus Empire, the order backed and supported Duke Alfred of Sarleon in assuming the throne and declaring a himself the King of Sarleon. 

In the 298th year after the founding of Pendor, the Order was outlawed.  All texts and reference to the reasons and history surrounding this event have been destroyed by the order of our King, Ulric I of Sarleon, himself now a prominent member of this Knighthood Order.   In the 346th year after the founding of Pendor, the Order was restored by the order of King Ulric I of Sarleon and all references to the events and histories since 298 were destroyed.
Scholars note: King Ulric was coroneted in 346.


The Order of the Radiant Cross
. This Knighthood Order was established in the 113th year after the founding of Pendor by Baron Jorn of Dunglave.  Colors: White Cross on a Black Field.
  Scholars note: Dunglave was renamed to Janos after the occupation of the city by General Oasar in the 203rd year after the founding of Pendor.

The order was one of the prominent forces to battle the invasion by the Greater Baccus Empire in the 202nd year after the founding of Pendor.   Overwhelmed in the battle of Sagent Glade, they were all but destroyed by the legions under General Oasar.   When General Oasar became “Overlord”, and after the desertion by the Jatu, he incorporated the order colors to form the identifying marks of his elite cavalry units.  While these Cavalrymen are not true Knights by any stretch of the imagination, and they do not operate under the Validus Charta, the colors survive and the citizens of the empire often refer to these mounted soldiers as the remnant of that once noble order of Knights.

The Order of the Dragon – Established in the 199th year after the founding of Pendor by Earl Klovis of Rane.  Colors: Red Dragon on a field of Azure.  There are some accounts that the order was actually ordained on the field of battle during the siege of Rane.  Other accounts point out that the order actually came into existence when the documents were ratified and signed several weeks later by the traitorous lords of the Northern borders..  I shall leave that debate in the hands of other brothers to determine, if indeed it shall be settled in my lifetime. 

The Order of the Dragon was created to honor the noble warriors who stood and routed the armies of the Mystmountain Tribes during the siege of Rane.  It is a rogue order, with no charter under the Validus Charta. 

The Order of the Falcon
– Established in 94th year after the founding of Pendor. Colors: Black Falcon on a yellow field.   This order has the notable distinction of allowing females into it’s ranks.  The original charter allowed for this as one of the five founding members was a woman warrior by the name of Valera who was of no little prowess on the battlefield.  This Order originated as a very successful adventuring company in the early years of the Kingdom that later transformed itself under the Validus Charta.

The Order fragmented after the breaking up of the Kingdom and over the years have declined to the point of extinction.  The order was outlawed in Ravenstern in the 349th year after the founding of Pendor by King Gregory IV.  Most of the order either retired or fled to other lands. 

Scholars note: The order may have survived in a form with the Valkyrie in Fierdsvain as they wear the orders emblem upon their breasts.  No documents survive that speak of this, and the initiation rites of the Valkyrie are not well documented nor understood. Though I daresay that I doubt that any of my scholarly brothers would want to risk their manhood by too closely examining the breasts of these female warriors.

The Order of the Griffon
– Established prior to the founding of Pendor.  Colors: Gold Griffon on a field of brown.  This prestigious order of knights were the royal guards of the line of Cavalas.  The plague of 198 wiped out a large amount of the Order Knights as well as the Royal family. 

After the plague, they put aside their differences and worked with the Order of the Lion to maintain order in the land.  In the 203rd year after the founding of Pendor, in the forests of Laria the order made it’s last stand against a small army of the Jatu who were moving into the Larian farmlands.  While successful in defending Laria from being plundered by the Jatu, not a single Knight of this once proud order survived.  The great hall of the Griffon Knights in Sarleon stood empty for many years until being converted into an abbey.  Scholars note: There is some reference in the recorded histories of the Order of the Lion that prospective knights applying to resurrect the Order of the Griffin were discouraged from achieving their goal.  This will have to be researched further.
 
Order of the Rose – Founded in the 125th year after the founding of Pendor.  Colors: White Rose on a green field.  This order was founded by Sir Rhys of Avendor and during his lifetime was a prominent order of gallant knights.  After his death in the 158th year after the founding of Pendor, his successor turned the order away from martial pursuits and more towards scholarly ones.  Since that time the order has degenerated into an elite club for the sons of the Sarleon nobility to enjoy fine wine, and intellectual diatribe.  I list it as it still does exist in the taverns and back rooms of Avendor.

 
By my hand and no other..

Hubris deAelswid of Sarleon,

Scholar of the third order
Keeper of the Seal of Sarleon.

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saxondragon

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Re: The world of Pendor (History and Tales of Pendor) - Backstory
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2009, 11:27:25 PM »
Hello folks,


While I was preparing for this next release, I recalled reading this very short story in Vance’s boxes. I am happy to share it with you here...as it has some relevance to the release that I have not shared before.

~S


I remember
              that this was my last encounter with my friend, Vance. His funeral was three months ago and I still have a hard time believing that there can be no answer if I call him. Loss is funny like that.  It sneaks up at odd moments and tangles up your thoughts in a net of sorrow.   

Much had happened of late that helped keep my mind off Vance, and my grief at his death. I lost my job as part of a sweeping layoff due to the bad economy, and was frantically trying to find work to pay the bills.  Christmas was fast approaching. During that time, in accordance with Vance’s last wishes, I created a “Module” for a game called
“Mount&Blade” as a way to bring Vance’s story to life.

Vance’s story, and my approach to it as a game, has been well received.   I felt that my work on Vance’s legacy was done.

Then, Vance’s sister, Jenny, knocked at my door and dropped a small bombshell on me. Jenny was the executor of her brother’s estate, and, while she was clearing out the house preparatory to selling the property, came across several boxes of notes, interviews, half written manuscripts and drawings.  She decided that Vance would want me to have them, and brought them over.  I numbly accepted them, said a few lame words of condolence and, after several awkward moments, we said goodbye to one another.
 
It upset me a bit that Vance had obviously done an amazing amount of work on this project but had never even mentioned it to me. Vance and I were very different in temperament, even though we were good friends. He liked to live in the moment, and was “people smart,” whereas I was what he called “book smart”. I suppose I was berating myself for not knowing my friend as well as I thought I had, and was saddened at knowing him better after his death.
 
There was a time a few years ago, when Vance disappeared on a business trip for about six months.  We never discussed it. He rarely talked about his life, and I had a feeling that he liked to live on the edge, perhaps even a tad nefariously.  Even though he often vanished for a week at a time, that extended hiatus, with 20-20 hindsight, sticks in my mind as a turning point.  Vance was different after that journey.  He seemed slightly more introspective and just "different” after that particular trip.  After he returned, I saw him more often.

Recalling my wife’s allergies to mold and her probable reaction to having our living area turned into a storage facility, I began exploring the boxes with an eye to organizing them.  In one of the very first boxes I inspected, I found a very thick book with old, cracked leather bindings. The pages were hand hand-written, and very fragile, and reeked of mold. It struck me as interesting, so I opened it and began to read.

I was not prepared for what I found. Pendor was not Vance’s invention.  I spent the next two hours reading and re-reading this journal dated 1888, transcribed by someone named Jonas.  The more I read, the more confused I became.  Jonas had received it from an ex-Benedictine monk, who lived as a hermit in Landes, France.

Jonas had apparently met this hermit regularly, both before and after he left his Order, and had received the story of Pendor, bit by bit, over several years’ time. The initial notes were in French, which Jonas had translated into English. In one entry Jonas wrote that the monk was convinced that he had been “directed” to go to Landes, and to dictate his knowledge to Jonas.

The story itself was fascinating, but seeing my own last name in the journal more than a hundred times set me reeling.  I did not know if it was coincidental, but it was certainly unsettling. Where had Vance acquired this journal?

Why did I end up with it?  A prudent man would have taken the boxes, unopened, to the dump without delay, but curiosity overcame my caution.   

I put the journal aside, and went through the rest of the boxes, to see what I had.  I found maps, drawings and many stories, tantalizing snippets, disjointed pieces of a very large puzzle.  I stored all the boxes in my garage, where I spent a great deal of time over the next several weeks.  I began piecing the jigsaw puzzle into a time line, using the unfinished manuscript, which Vance had given me. Had Vance shown me the entire collection at once, I would have thought him insane, and told him so on the spot.

Vance had done a good job on Pendor, and his transcription served me well to determine that most of these manuscripts dealt with events before and after the time line of the Pendor manuscript.  I became more and more drawn to the story of Pendor and want to share with you what I know.  I warn you, some of it is unsettling.

I have pieced together only part of the puzzle of love, life, tragedy and sacrifice that made up the history of Pendor, altogether human stories, but alien in many ways. Because of its “other-ness,” some parts of it are difficult to understand. I have transcribed less than half of the story, concentrating on the earliest parts, with an eye to relating the story in a logical progression.

Many years before an event the Pendorian Historians call “The War of the Titans”, humans were organized into tribes and clans, living as hunter/gatherers. There were several elder races, the most prominent being a race that today we call “Elves”. I found vague references to the fact that these beings had come from “elsewhere,” but those references are obscure at best. Apparently, they inhabited a fairly large island far to the Southeast of the lands now called Pendor.

There were other races native to Pendor, Giants, Trolls, Dragons, Furies and Gryphons. These races did not use tools, and their artifacts did not endure as long as those of the Elven race, but they were strong, somehow magical, and very long-lived.  Extreme longevity and the use of magic seemed to be the hallmarks of all the elder races.  The stories examine the “Elves” to a much greater degree than the other races are described.

These beings lived on an island called Gwythdarian. Their society was organized into Houses, which were ruled by Lords and their families. These houses were both social and political entities; there were five major houses and many minor houses. Their social structure was interesting, as it was divided into distinct social classes.  Class was determined early in an elf’s life by a demonstration of personal power, what we would term “Magic.” Elves who demonstrated and could maintain a high level of personal power were called Sindari, and those who failed to do so were called Noldor. The latter lost status in their respective houses and became a servant class. Often members of minor houses would align themselves with the greater houses to provide services and receive a measure of preference. The greater houses were fairly competitive, both amongst themselves and with the lesser houses.

Of particular note is the fact that Elves had children infrequently, so when someone gave birth, the entire House celebrated.  For the most part, Elves were scholars and explorers of the use of personal power. Elves did not bother with the race of men, because men did not use Magic, and thus were deemed of lesser status even than the Noldor. This is of interest, as the Sindari often referred to the Noldor as the “invisibles”.

Most of the stories began on Gwythdarian, where there was a disagreement between one of the major Elven Houses, and the rest of the Elven nation. Whilst the event is not explicitly described in my papers and stories, apparently the Sindari of one house did something forbidden with magic power.

At this point, the stories become more detailed.  I have paraphrased the hundreds of pages of dialogue and descriptions, which I have uncovered thus far.

The story begins with two young elves born twins, which was exceedingly rare in Elven births. The twins, a boy and a girl, Avaldain and his sister Althea, were unfortunately destined to become Noldor. The Sindari Lord of their house, Lord Gaelrandir crafted a sailing ship and embarked upon a quest to find a reclusive “Oracle” living in the far north. His goal was to seek help to counter the renegade Sindari who were bending their power towards forbidden ends. The twins stowed away on the ship to be close to their father, who was House Under-Steward in the service of Lord Gaelrandir.

 After many trials and tribulations they found the “Oracle” and tragically, along the way, the twins’ father, the Under-Steward, died. What happened next is where the story takes strange turns.

At first it seemed that the Oracle was a small Dragon, as this was the form in which the Oracle appeared in its first meeting with Lord Gaelrandir.  Later, however, it becomes evident that the Oracle is something altogether different. It lives somewhere else and manifests itself through a pool of water on the island. The Oracle takes control of a nearby willing “host,” which allows the Oracle direct interaction with Pendor. One of its favorite hosts is a small Dragon, which has a general disdain for Elves and an appetite for small white rabbits.

The Oracle decided to help Lord Gaelrandir, but stipulated a steep price for his aid: Althea would have to stay on the island and serve the Oracle for her entire life. Even worse, the Oracle would wipe away all memory of Althea so that no Elf would remember that she had ever existed. There was a heartbreaking account of the good-byes between Avaldain and Althea at the conclusion of this part of the story.

It is also not clear what help, if any, the Oracle gave to Gaelrandir, yet the Elven Lord seemed satisfied and returned to Gwythdarian.

Unknown to Lord Gaelrandir, the Oracle had put Avaldain under a compulsion.  He was under a “geas” to return to Gwythdarian, gather together what Noldor he could, and leave Gwythdarian forever.

When the expedition returned to Gwythdarian, the situation had worsened to virtually open warfare. There had been bloodshed, and tensions were strong. No longer was Gwythdarian a haven for the learned, with sweet music floating on the cool breeze. It was a solemn place without sound and the air was heavy with foreboding.  Lord Gaelrandir hastened to organize a concerted effort to stop the renegade noble house. He called together the heads of many other houses and held a grand council. He and his allied Sindari were so involved in the struggle before them that they did not notice that Avaldain had gathered several thousand Noldor and sailed for the mainland.

When the Sindari conflict reached its full pinnacle, the fury of magic that was unleashed caused the entire island to sink beneath the sea, killing all the Sindari and forever destroying the magic used by the other elder races. This event led to the eventual extinction of the elder races.

The surviving Noldor roamed Pendor for several months, then finally settled down and built a city next to a lake. Avaldain cloaked the city, having apparently some control over magic, (perhaps granted him by the Oracle, as Noldor had no powers of their own), so that no one could ever find it.
 
A recurrent theme in the stories is Avaldain’s feeling that something important was missing in his life, and his search for that elusive “something”.  Althea often watched Avaldain in his struggles by using the power of the Oracle to scry him. In fact, many of the stories were from the Althea’s perspective and told how she watched her brother’s children, and their children’s children throughout their lives, helping them upon occasion, with no one ever aware she had done so.

Whatever it was that the Sindari had done, a forbidden “something” survived the sinking of Gwythdarian. There were very lengthy dialogues between Althea and the Oracle about countering and defeating this influence in the world and about the sons of Avaldain, who, being part Elf and part Human, had a chance to ultimately put an end to the Sindari influence on the world of Pendor. Further, their victory would ensure that many others, in “other places” would be spared great suffering if the sons of Avaldain were successful. These dialogues gave the general sense that whatever those rogue Sindari had done threatened the existence of the Oracle itself. Additionally, the Kingdom of Pendor was center stage to that conflict. Uniting the Pendorian Kingdom was a prerequisite to countering the remaining Sindari threat.

Madigan, a Prophet of Pendor, who may have been part Elf, made a prophecy recorded by the Pendorian Historians, predicting the coming of a great Warrior/Defender to Pendor.  I have found what I think may be the Prophecy, written in Latin by the ex-monk, and never translated.

Verba de futuro:
Multis post annis, ex cearulo, Defensor veho a equus et Pendor sub secreto et sub selentio, fortes et liber. Defensor cognoso non est ad astra mollis e terra via. Defensor insisto quo fas et gloria docunt. Defensor laboro est arduum sane munus. Amicus certus in re incerta cernitor, quod latet anguis in herba.Quam terribilis est haec hora! Vae victis! Nil desperandum, forsan miseros meliora sequentur, pax et bonum, vinculum unitatis. Finis coronat opus, et in hoc signo vincis.


In other stories and recorded conversations between the Oracle and Althea, a very different version of reality was presented to her. I am still digesting the ramifications of these conversations and piecing them together with some of the conversations between the ex-Benedictine Monk and the Oracle that shine an enlightening and disturbing light on our reality.

Here are three short conversations and explanations, between the Oracle and Althea where the former is lecturing to the latter. These conversations I thought interesting enough to share with you, to wit:

“There is order in the universe, from the rotation of galaxies around a central core to the structure of the smallest particles with charged bits of power orbiting their center. There are definable laws governing how everything interacts. These laws govern speed, weight, resistance, attraction, repulsion, temperature and many other concepts too difficult to explain right now. Everything has a natural law that defines what it is, how it works… except life. Life is only partially governed by natural laws.”

“Elves and Humans, have the spark of creation within them. We have talked about this in the past, and the decisions made to yield that spark to them. Higher orders can reproduce themselves, explore, think, and, most importantly, exercise free will. Free will allows them to dream, to bring incongruent facts together and create something new. That spark of creation reverberates through the weave and unfolds countless alternate possibilities. It is from these possibilities that stepping-stones, where we may walk, are created.“

“Infinity is a concept, not a number, too large to define, beyond the realm of what human and elven minds can hope to comprehend. They thus attempt to define that which cannot be defined, creating a “definition’ that is much more than the definition could be.  They scoop up a flagon full of water and call it an ocean.  Yes it is a liquid, yes there are similarities, but does it encapsulate the immensity of an ocean? It falls woefully short does it not?”

There were many other stories, not dealing with Althea, which are narrow windows into the world of Pendor. I will share those with you as time permits.

What becomes really confusing in several of these stories, as transcribed by Jonas, is that the unnamed ex-Benedictine monk often had direct conversations with the “Oracle”, about our own world.  For example: Jonas recorded one such conversation where the Oracle discusses with the Monk the importance of building the Eiffel Tower.

Another disturbing reference is to the name of the Elven Island, Gwythdarian, and how its name was wiped away from the “weave.” The term “weave” is often used by the Oracle to describe the nature of his existence. I thought this odd so I decided to run a search on the Internet for “Gwythdarian” using various search engines. To my dismay I could not find any reference to that name at all.  Nor could I find substantial references to the name “Gaelrandir”. (The only reference was a player who named his character Gaelrandir in Lord of the Rings Online in December 2007. I wonder why these words are so elusive.)

As I continue piecing the Pendorian puzzle together, it has transformed into an enormous tapestry.  In my subsequent accounts of its history, more of Pendor and its fascinating inhabitants will unfold before you.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The storm raged against the cold stone walls of the castle.

Echoes of thunder rumbled down cheerless corridors and into the great hall, where reveling shadows danced across rough stone walls to the silent music of flickering torches.

Althea sat alone beside the pool, clutching a finely-patterned wool shawl to ward off the damp chill.

“I hear you, Qualis,” she said simply. She looked up into the high rafters where the shadows deepened, untouched by the torchlight.

Above her, the snap and whirr of leathery wings announced the descent of a small dragon. It touched down beside her, its sharp, curved claws scraping against the flagstones.

“Why do you not rest?” rasped Qualis.

“The storm keeps me wakeful. It reminds me of the night we lost our father, my brother and I,” said Althea, as she turned her gaze from the dragon back to the still water of the pool.

The meredragon regarded her silently, as she drifted into memories of her past. The pain of her sacrifice was still fresh, and as she thought back on all she'd given up, a solitary tear slid down her cheek.

The dragon watched her grief in bewilderment. He had lived with this elf-woman for years and still she remained an enigma. He could not comprehend her strong ties to her own kind, particularly her unbreakable link to her hatch-brother. He knew of the mysteries and the will. He understood the loose kinship of his kind, love of the hunt, the need every twenty winters to seek out a mate, but Althea's behavior was inexplicable.

He wondered, and not for the first time, if she was mentally defective or had a disease which caused a sickness of spirit.

He felt a familiar touch upon his mind then, a gentle shifting of perception, and knew that the Oracle was again coming to inhabit his consciousness. He had long ago ceased fighting this inner interloper. For centuries he had struggled against this possession, and always in vain. The futility of this resistance was at last borne upon him, and he discovered that cooperation was of mutual benefit.

Now, out of habit, he simply relaxed and cleared his mind.

“Althea, you are in pain,” rasped the Oracle through Qualis.

Althea started, as she always did when the Oracle took control of the dragon’s body without warning.

“Yes, “ she began, “I suppose I am. The storm has brought back so many sorrowful memories.”

“I know that it is still difficult for you, however willingly your choice was made. Yet poor Qualis does not understand, and is disturbed by your grief,” the Oracle said.

She felt the warm, familiar touch in her mind, and let the Oracle enter her consciousness. The room began to fade around her, and she slipped peacefully into the black.

When she opened her eyes again, it was morning. The storm had passed, and brilliant sunlight had banished the torch shadows from the great hall. The air smelled fresh and clean, with a hint of the rain still lingering.

Sitting on his haunches and surrounded by glittering, sapphire-hued gems was Qualis, perched with wings folded back and forearms resting upon his knees. “I am going release Qualis to himself now. Please be gentle with him, as he is deeply distressed.” said the Oracle.

Althea looked at the Oracle-Qualis in confusion. “Why is he distressed? And what are these?” she asked, as she indicated the dozens of glowing gems, scattered like shimmering raindrops about the room.

“I allowed Qualis to experience your sorrow, Althea. Dragons, even clever meredragons, are incapable of understanding elven emotion. Their needs are simple, and they lack the emotive expression of your kind. These gems are the tears that Qualis shed when he experienced your pain.

Still confused, Althea said, “Dragons feel no sorrow, nor do they shed tears!”

“Do not and can not are worlds apart, my dear. For last night, this little dragon did. Once Qualis is more composed, he will undoubtedly slink off to sulk, so please pick up this litter of gems. I believe that they just may be useful one day.”
« Last Edit: January 11, 2011, 04:38:00 PM by saxondragon »

saxondragon

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Re: The world of Pendor (History and Tales of Pendor) - Backstory
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2010, 10:44:57 PM »
I remember . . .

About a week after releasing Prophesy of Pendor 2.0 in June of 2009, I applied for a teaching position in a small community college in Michigan.

They wanted a game designer and producer to head up their interactive media program. I felt ready for a change and I really wanted to try living  somewhere in the US other than Oregon. This new job would be a good fit for my skills, both teaching and creating something new. It would also give me time to spend on my passion: researching and pushing the boundaries of game design as well as piecing together the mysterious contents of these boxes that Vance had left for me.

The move was, as are most moves, absolutely hideous. I had to pack up personal belongings, all my needed household goods and, of course, Vance's boxes and journals. As I drove cross country, all went well at first, but when I stopped in Nebraska overnight, my trailer was stolen.

Luckily -  at least for the story of Pendor - I had brought a number of Vance's manuscripts and journals into my room that night for some light reading.

Otherwise, all the rest of the Pendor information would have been lost, along with all my personal belongings. I suffered through lengthy sessions with the police, U-haul, my insurance company and all the other hassles which accompany such a theft, and went on my way once more. My belongings and some of the boxes from Vance were never recovered. 

Packing up all my worldly goods prior to the move had led me to delve into Vance's boxes yet again. Surprisingly, this time I discovered references to other lands, cultures and cities far across the seas from Pendor, lands referred to as "The Baccus Empire." These documents described the civil war which shattered the once-proud Empire. Some of these lands had been destroyed or swallowed up, but others apparently still existed. I found an obscure reference to an army stranded by the civil war in Pendor; that army evidently was the foundation of the faction in Pendor known as "The Empire."

Once I was moved, I assembled a group of friends to help me correlate this hitherto-unstudied information about the Pendor Empire's origins and the other lands which were now apparently quite relevant to its history. I knew that with the pressures of the move, the new job and the trauma of the theft, I'd need help in organizing it all. While I settled into my new job, they began assembling the next part of Pendor's story.

Prior to the move, I had been heavily researching the fall of the Empire, the other nations around Pendor, as well as some of the towns and cities
of Pendor, specifically Janos and Singal. I came across several enlightening stories. I concluded that this information was too valuable to keep to myself. I distributed copies to the friends aiding me in researching these documents, and they forged ahead while I threw myself into my new job.

Fortunately, I was able to recreate from memory a large part of those notes which had been stolen.

My friends' research uncovered some extremely interesting information. It appeared that some of the apparent enemies of Pendor actually also had cooperated with the kings of Pendor. They found several Knighthood Orders which I'd overlooked before, as well as information which indicated that several of the Knighthood Orders were not the paragons of honor and nobility I'd assumed they were. Another document made reference to the attempts of the aforementioned foreign nations to meddle in Pendor's economy and politics. One journal yielded a treasure trove of information about the Snake Cult and the Red Plague, which had killed over half the population of Pendor. This and other recently discovered lore about Pendor has greatly expanded both my knowledge of Pendor and its continuing story. We are still piecing together some most interesting background information on the Noldor.

We found a very descriptive account of Singal from a traveler, to wit:

The City of Singal

This was told me in the Sarleon tavern, by a traveler missing one hand, with a scar from temple to chin:

"The very name 'Singal' sends a shiver down the spine of all right-thinking men. In Singal, Pendor's human underbelly skulks; everything is for sale and everything has a price, including one's continued healthy existance. The alleyways teem with dealers in Buriligi's drug, Red Brotherhood Slavers and murderers of all classes. Assassins flourish here and sometimes those lords who come seeking to hire them . . . disappear. D'Shar outlaws sell their loot openly in Singal's markets.

Ramun's auctions of the most beautiful women in Pendor, including kidnapped noblewomen and Noldor captives, are held behind secret doors, and it is rumored that the admission prices to these select sales exceed 1000 denarii, merely for the privilege of bidding. Sinister Knighthood Orders who fight for evil godesses and bands of ruthless Singalian Slavers led by Temptresses maintain their headquarters in Singal. The Snake Cult and the Heretics practice freely within the town, unhindered by the corrupt City Guard, who are either bought off or part of the many Singal conspiracies. Honest men keep their women locked up and no one of good intent walks the streets of Singal by night. Only the obviously insane are able to move freely through these mean streets, for the mad are known to be touched by the gods and thus are sacrosanct.

Woe betide one who finds himself bound over to Singal's Courts of Justice. All the honest judges were assassinated years ago, and justice is defined by the quantity of gold dropped into the judge's greedy hands. In the older parts of the city, mangy stray dogs fight with D'Shar orphans over noisome garbage. The Red Brotherhood finds many youthful recruits amongst these childish strays. Whores dripping with nameless diseases offer their dubious charms for a few coppers. Many of these whores go veiled, to hide the sores and signs of their disease. Prophets in ragged robes preach the benefits of converting to hideous religions. Human sacrifice is openly practiced in their rank hovel temples.

Hawkers compete to enquire of the unwary visitor 'What do you desire? If I don't have it today, I will assuredly have it tomorrow!' Contracts for murder are written openly in Singal's largest tavern. Go there and see for yourself, but don't linger too long or otherwise attract attention.

The groans and pleas of crippled beggars and the shouts of hawkers, the dulcet propositions of whores and rhythmically beating tablas create Singal's backdrop symphony of disharmony. Kicked dogs yelp, stallions scream challenges as their handlers beat them into submission, priests chant in many tongues. Rising above all, the sinister rhythm of the drums drives the heartbeat of the city.

Singal's market smells of spice and opium, of exotic perfumes with an undercurrent of poison-scent from the Herbalist stalls. Food sellers offer kebab cooked over dried dung fires in their braziers, but the origin of the meat is oftimes dubious. Bales of scarlet silk spill onto counters, high-bred horses arch their necks, kick and snap at their handlers. Unusual weapons long outlawed in Pendor can be had from the weapons makers - all one needs to do is ask to see the "special goods." The stench of unwashed bodies and rotting vegetables permeates the market, nearly overwhelming the pleasant scents. Hold onto to your purse, keep a hand on your sword and always guard your back as you walk there. Innocent-looking urchins await a moment of inattention to lift your purse, and the cults ever seek fresh sacrifices from amongst the hordes of travelers there.

The lord of Singal pays lip service to Kadan Bahadur Khan, and periodically attempts to enforce a modicum of order within the city. He is known to impale lawbreakers outside the city walls. The sickly stench of rotting corpses pervades even the more affluent parts of town. So long as his taxes are paid, the Bahadur Khan interferes little, knowing that even he, with all the might of his army, cannot conquer the evil within Singal.

Go warily, should you travel there."

*************************************************************************************************

There was also a most interesting first-person account of a Noldor assassin's adventures, as per the following:

The Assassin's Tale

I sat quietly in the tavern, sipping an indifferent Sarleon wine. I prefer better vintages, but, considering the potential value of the business under discussion, drinking sour wine was a small price to pay to gain a possibly lucrative contract. If, that is, we could move past the boring preliminaries and get to the point.

“Yes, yes, your philosophizing on the injustice of the world is interesting but I fail to see what it has to do with me, or my particular skills,”
I interrupted the fat fellow, squinting slightly at the light reflecting off his balding head.

“Please, I'm coming to that, sir.” His twin chins wobbled as he nodded vigorously. “As you know, the world turns on profit, and we merchants need protection. An attack on us is an attack on all Pendor's commerce.”

“You wish some caravan guards disabled? Hire a common bravo to do your dirty work. You waste my time.” I stood up to leave, and pulled my hat down a little lower; a habit I'd developed of late.

“No, no, sir, that is not what I want. It is his protector who must be dealt with in a rather... permanent, shall we say, way?” he babbled on. His mannerisms were starting to annoy me. Dealing with clients was definitely the most unpleasant part of my profession.

“So, you want some money-grubbing merchant killed, do you? A competitor perhaps? What did he do - steal one of your customers or seduce your daughter? All you need is one of the local Red Brotherhood murderers. There's no reason to pay my hefty fee for such a simple job.” I swung my leg over the rough bench preparatory to leaving. He caught my arm in a surprisingly strong grip as I turned away. Ah, well, if I wanted jobs, I had to deal politely with the fools who offered them, so I refrained from stabbing the hand still attached to my arm.

“Sven Hairybreeks, brother of the eminent Lord Inar Hairybreeks is the man to whom I refer. That Fierdsvain bastard is undercutting all my prices, and hiring my own caravans away. I can do nothing personally, because he is protected by the Fierdsvain merchant princes.” Hmm, this job was starting to sound rather more interesting now. I've always enjoyed killing the squabbling Pendor lords. If I did the job right, I could likely pin blame for it on a Sarleon or Ravenstern lord. A contract which offered the prospect of setting a Ravenstern or Sarleon cat amongst the Fierdsvain pigeons was intriguing. It might even lead to another war, which would certainly serve my private cause nicely indeed.

"Very well, continue," I sat back down and examined the man before me more closely. My estimation of him rose as I noted that he'd dropped his pose of dithering merchant and narrowed his eyes shrewdly, revealing the hard-nosed businessman beneath. "You now have my undivided attention. Let's get down to business." Our discussion progressed swimmingly from there to the all-important matter of my fee. I left the tavern with a bulging purse and a contract;  he departed with an empty purse, rubbing his hands gleefully as he contemplated his enemy's imminent demise.

As I stepped out into the arid air, heat shimmered in the filthy street ahead. Ah, Singal. What a pit it is! I mentally contrasted its clay hovels with the forests I grew up in. For some reason, despite the squalor, I actually like it here. Thick crowds and noisy streets are better aids to stealth than the silent forests of my home. The only camouflage needed to blend into Singal is the attire of a ruffian and a visible weapon; I need none of the soft greens and browns which blend one into the Larian woods. Even the slight lilt left in my accent attracts no notice in a town where people speak in many dialects from all over Pendor and foreign tongues from beyond.

Several days later, I'd completed my research and preparations and was ready to complete the contract. Hairybreeks was currently here in Singal on business.  I was ready. I'd pilfered a cloak from a Sarleon nobleman, and picked out some stitches so it would tear under the least strain. I'd also stolen the nobleman's sword undiscovered, since the man was happily occupied at the time in one of Singal's more opulent brothels. The sword sold for enough to buy me a pretty whore and some decent wine.  Those of my profession do not favor swords.

Making Sven Hairybreek's acquaintance had not proved difficult, and he'd believed the forged letter I sent him informing him that a certain lord's representative would contact him concerning some business of mutual benefit. Hairybreeks certainly had a good head for his wine, I'd give him that.

Despite my "understanding" with the barkeep which kept my wine heavily watered, I'd been hard-put to stay sober whilst pretending to keep up with him.  We arranged a business meeting for the next day and he staggered off to his inn.

Upon arrival at my target's inn, I once again carefully examined the points of entry and exit. Adjusting the set of my hat and my wealthy merchant's disguise, I entered and headed straight towards my intended victim's room. I was quickly admitted by a fetching young lady wearing next to nothing.

"Welcome, good sir, I'm pleased you have come. I believe in a judicious mixture of business and pleasure, don't I, my lovelies?" He squeezed the nearest whore's bottom; she giggled. He pushed her out of the way and waved me to a seat. The other girl perched herself on my knee. Up close, she wasn't bad, but I prefer my women slimmer and very lithe and she was a trifle overblown for my tastes.

"So, sir . . . I'm sorry, but I don't know how to address you?"

"Sir Envoy will suffice. I am here on behalf of . . . a certain lord. Should our initial discussion prove fruitful, you will deal in future directly with my master concerning the trade contract we are here to discuss. Our acquaintanceship will thus be very fleeting." I smiled and pinched the whore on my lap to make her squeal and wiggle.

His visage changed from affable and confident to angry - he clearly was unused to being addressed in such a way by an underling. "Bugger off, whores, your services are no longer needed." He tossed a small purse to the nearest one. "By the way, don't bother returning until you've lost a bit of weight. You may inform the madam that I shall require different company tomorrow night." The whores departed in a flurry of obscene remarks about his manhood, bed performance and overall appearance. I stifled an appreciative grin; some of their comments were both apt and most artistically phrased!

"Ah, good, we can come straight to the point of our meeting. My master prefers to deal straightforwardly." I walked over to him. "My master said that you wished a sample of the quality of cloth his serfs produce." I removed the heraldic cloak from my shoulders. "Please, examine the texture and strength of the fabric and confirm the quality of the weave." I handed the cloak to the still-seated man. He felt the cloth between thumb and forefinger then bunched two sections in his fist and pulled them hard apart. As per my plan, the cloth ripped in twain.

I planned to leave my victim clutching a bit of the cloak; I would abandon the remainder in an alleyway for the town watch to find. Stupid as they were, they should still be able to connect the dropped bloody fragment with the other piece left in the dead man's hand. Once the Sarleon crest was recognized, the Fierdsvain would surely demand blood-geld and vengeance for the murder. I shook my right hand and the dagger hidden in my sleeve sheath slipped into it.

"What on earth is the meaning of this?" The man failed to notice my dagger as he examined the torn cloth. He gasped as my dagger slid neatly into his chest.

"There's a saying that all men in Singal are equal if their gold is the same color. Except, of course, that in Ravenstern, they prefer to trade in silver.  Still, denars are denars."

"Who are you?" he gasped as his eyes began to glaze over.

"Ah, you ask my name again? No harm in giving it to you on your deathbed, I suppose. I am the Noldor, Lethaldiran, and you, my poor friend, are now quite dead." He gurgled as I slit his throat, just to be sure. I cleaned my dagger on the fragment of cloak he still clutched and checked over my clothes to make sure that there was no betraying bloodstain anywhere. Not that it would matter in Singal, anyhow, but I am fastidious about my clothes.

I left the inn unobtrusively, the other fragment of cloak over my arm, to be dropped in the nearest convenient alley. So it goes, another day, another death, another denar. The life of an assassin can really be rather boring at times. I do wish that, just once in awhile, one of my marks would prove a little more challenging.

*************************************************************************************************

I also found another excellent map and other information about Janos. Our research continues, and each day adds another page to the ongoing saga of Pendor.

TBC

(Credits: Introduction, I Remember, Saxondragon - Singal, Fawzia - The Assassin's Tale, M0rdred, Editing, Fawzia)

Edit - SD, fixed a couple of typos today and removed the over-running separation lines.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2010, 03:43:49 PM by Fawzia dokhtar-i-Sanjar »

Fawzia dokhtar-i-Sanjar

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Re: The world of Pendor (History and Tales of Pendor) - Backstory
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2010, 09:07:06 PM »
Saxondragon's Noldor history:

A very long time ago the Eliga were one with the universe.  Then they discovered the purpose.

They diverged, with half coming into existence and spreading through the multiverse,and half staying in a
place to which we have no reference.

The Eliga who came to the Multiverse drifted through time and space until they were offered form. 

Some became greater powers that took a single form and were locked in a single time/space; others spread
themselves through the multiverse and became the combined soul of a species.  Some took combinations of many forms,
some few.  When a form was chosen, memory of the purpose was forfeited.  Some survived, others perished.  Some exist
inside time/space, others outside of time space. Some exist in a combination of time/space/dimension.

The Eliga who took form as individuals were as gods to those who took form as individuals.  Those who chose a species
spread their life force and individual power across many beings.

Thus in Pendor, the gods, races, and powers were brought into existence over time.

The elves and humans were brought into existence in this form as were all other races, some many in number but great in
power; others great in number but lesser in power. 

The Elves of Pendor were quick to thrive and became dominant, having few extensions in other dimensions.  They were more
focused and personally powerful than other races such, as humans.  While the humans were struggling to survive in thatched
huts and using crude spears, the elves were well on the road to creating an advanced society.

The Elven society and elves rose then fell, as discussed in other places on these boards.  Their legacy exists in two forms
in the current day.  The Noldor Elves (who were the lesser of the elven due to having very limited magic power) have relocated
to the shores of a lake in what we now call Pendor.  The other legacy is an abomination, something that was never meant to
be which has no place in the order of the universe. This is a being created by the Elves' misguided quest for power and is
often mistaken as a goddess.  This creature of great power feeds upon the very essence of the beings which it encounters,
and slowly devours the Eliga or soul of the other entities of this world.

Other great powers, gods to some, recognize the threat and band together as their form permits to stop this abomination.


« Last Edit: August 31, 2010, 10:44:56 PM by saxondragon »
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