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The Chronicles of Ardenia
Chapter 1 - After the fall

ShieldThe City of Midgaard has now fallen; the demon hordes of the vile Lord Sarigar have ransacked the shops, and slain the citizens. Those adventurers who would come here and ruthlessly slaughter our own protection have MUCH to answer for. Fortunately for us, we have been able to seek refuge in the City of Duur-Halla where we have been welcomed with some hesitation, but at least we are safe for now. The Paladins have brought a powerful statue from one of their fallen cities to protect us, and I have been able to locate an heir to the throne. Now we must raise an army to banish the denizens of the abyss that plague us, or I fear our time will be short...

I write this diary entry to document the good tidings. Alas, Sarigar's minions still parade around the once-fair city of Midgaard, but our temporary home, Astar, received what can only be described as money from the gods. Two Patriarchs - Alkon and Chmeee - contributed a vast sum of gold - 200 coins each! - to the village to fund a guard tower on the edge of the village along with a vast wall around our humble homes. Perhaps now we shall be safe in our beds, for those wretched orcs have become more daring in their advances, and no doubt would soon have invaded.
 --Sir Robert, Guildmaster of the Clerics

Enough! These cursed demons are everywhere and I cannot stand it any longer. How am I supposed to conduct my research with these annoyances disturbing my every moment with their damned howling. I have sent word to Laura in Astar to make room for me, as I shall be joining her shortly. I will have my revenge on this blasted Sarigar and his minions! Now if only I could find those books... 

I fear the time is drawing near. Soon, my army and I will head toward the fallen city and wrest it from the demons that roam its streets. If we should die trying, at least we will have done something, for Sarigar must not be allowed to continue his evilness in our lands. We shall make our way to Astar, on the way enlisting anyone willing to lay down their life for the good cause, and then? Then we shall begin the onslaught. May the gods have mercy on us all.
 --Jura Avari

Bram and I have talked and he has decided to return to Midgaard. Although I love the insane old man to death, I cannot stand the smells from his brews any longer. He wishes to impose no further and besides, I think he misses that old shop of his. Come to think of it, so do I.
 --Laura, Guildmaster of the Mages

May the realm of the Abyss damn those Paladins for an eternity, or for at least twice as long as I have been kept here! I have sent word to my Demon soldiers at the gateway to move their presence from that cursed city Midgaard to the fallen city of Vanshi at once. The war fares well, but I cannot allow too many of my followers to pass through the gateway and onto the mortal plane, or they shall become uncontrollable, especially since they know I cannot follow them until he who banished me is himself destroyed. So, for now, I will battle only one front.
 --Supposedly attributed to Lord Sarigar

Chapter 2 - Rebuilding

ShieldMy men and I entered the city three weeks ago. Laura and her Guild assured me the demons were gone, so I decided the time was nigh to rebuild from the ashes and destruction wrought by the vile creatures of the Abyss. Sir Robert and his Guild purified the temple fountain, so it is once again safe to drink the sparkling water. The cleanup process is slow - I suspect it will be some weeks before the city truly recovers - but already we are seeing shops open once again for business. Fred tells me the Inn will be open to travelers within a few days.
 --Jura Avari

And so as they leave the village and head back to their former homes, we are left to count the cost to ourselves. At least three people were murdered by the hands of evil, but this might have been far worse had the Demon Lord decided to wreak terror and destruction upon us directly. Jura Avari has left a guard of soldiers behind to protect us from those who see us as nothing but target practice, and the new watchtower will be a boon in defending against the orc tribes who once again roam the plains...
 --The Elder of Astar

Truly it is a miracle. Through hard work and careful planning, the northern part of the city of Midgaard looks almost as good as new. The fortifications have been repaired, the buildings restored; the new saplings are even taking root. The southern half of the city is another matter. It is still mainly a jumbled mass of burned wood and crushed masonry, though the city walls have been repaired there as well, of course. It matters little, since our population is still much less than it was before all the troubles began. Even if the homes in the southern half were rebuilt tomorrow, there would be no one to live in them. Likewise, the city watch has been reformed and even now patrols the street. Wary as he is, Prince Jura still maintains the army in Astar, though it costs a huge sum to feed and pay all those men. With the costs of rebuilding mounting, I can only wonder how wise this is...
 --Robert, Guildmaster of Clerics

Chapter 3 - A New Darkness

ShieldDark tidings come. Strange, disembodied voices have been heard throughout the land, whispering in the ears of friend and foe alike, and even attacking our guards and citizens! Foul Morden, the pawn of Sarigar's will has been seen again, and some of our less discerning citizens have even had dealings with him. He and his invisible allies seem to be trying to turn the very world against us, and have already made a good start. Wolften is on the brink of war with Midgaard, as is Arak-Kur, and the Orcs of Orc Mountain venture further onto our lands than ever before. It is well that I still have the army I raised, though it cost the kingdom dearly to maintain it. I fear that days darker even than these lie in our future. Even our Kingdom's age-old allies, the dwarves of Duur-Halla, have become quiet and ill-tempered, barely speaking with us. I do not know what is going on in this world anymore.  
--Jura Avari

That is enough, that is enough. It is twice more than we can stand. We go, never to return, cursing the tall, thin humans that are our bane. If they want our cursed city, they can have it. 
 --Dv'Doursh, Watch-Captain of Duur-Halla

Though trouble spreads on all sides, and our enemies gather their arms, I feel that we must send a force to hold Duur-Halla and protect the human refugees that call it their home. My lieutenants warn me that this will thin the ranks of our defenses, but what can be done? We cannot allow the Half-orcs of Arak-Kur to take the city for their own. So I send my trusted vassal, Sir Alxar the Knight and the wise young mage Lamari at the head of a small but potent force, to take and hold the city at all costs. He rules there in my name, as I rule in the name of he who came before me. And may the gods protect us all from the coming fury...
 --Jura Avari

My studies show that a way may be found to detect these shadowy beings that plague our lands. I swear by my honour and by the name of my lost liege Welmar, that I will do all I can in the quest to find this means, even sell my soul into the very darkness that I seek to defeat.
 --Malaq, Archmage of Ardenia

The coming darkness hangs over my vision like a veil. I see it everywhere I look. So I make preparations for the future, even a future that does not have me in it. Therefore, I name my adopted daughter, Mira Avari, dream seeress, as my successor to the Regency of Ardenia. I am also sending the Mage Lamari and Robert, Guildmaster of the Clerics Guild of Midgaard to the far distant city of Moonbridge, in an attempt to gain knowledge of new more powerful magics and techniques that may aid us in the future. I can only hope that we are all still around when they return.
 --Jura Avari

I...I don't know what to do! My father has been taken by the very hordes of Arak-Kur that loom over us with threat of war. That l-leaves me in charge, and I....I don't know if I am up to it. Not only that, but Blunty the Warrior's Guildmaster has been foully murdered, further depleting the leadership of Midgaard's guilds. And to make matters worse, there is reason to believe that there is a subversive group among our ranks that is not only responsible for the murder, but is also spying for the hated half-orcs!  
--Mira Avari, Princess Regent of Ardenia

I have struck a costly but necessary deal with a half-orc envoy that I hope that it is enough. In exchange for large sums of money, he is stalling the trial and execution of our captured liege, Prince Jura. I only pray it buys us the time we need to free the Regent. Until then, we must help our Princess cope as best she can with her new responsibilities. 
 --Malaq, Archmage of Ardenia

A new comet arises in the night sky, looking like nothing less than a baleful eye staring down at us. I fear the worst for this ill omen. 
 --The Wizard Bram

We hear word that the mockery of a trial for our Liege-Lord has begun in the half-orc city! Not only that, but they mass their troops in apparent preparation for a final strike at us. It is all too much. We must save our lord and our city before it is too late. We ride now!
 --Alxar, Praetor of Duur-Halla

We are beaten back. I have no doubt that Midgaard will fall as soon as the blockage created by our mages over the entrance to Orc Mountain is cleared by the half-orcs. No word has been received from Alxar or the Duur-Hallan troops since we parted ways after the disastrous rescue mission to Arak-Kur. Our fate rests now in the hands and mind of the foolish young girl who is our leader. Surely only darkness can follow.
 --General Kelnak of the Ardenian Army

I leave for Moonbridge for a few months and the kingdom falls to pieces. Well, I am back, and though I found no new spells or allies to aid us in our desperate battle, I DID hear a tale in a tavern that gives me an idea...  
--Lamari, Master Mage of the Royal Guild

We are saved, we are saved! That a tricked dragon turns out to be our saviour leaves me in complete amazement, but I am happy nonetheless! It will be years before the half-orcs and their dragon-torn city are a threat to us again...
 --Mira Avari, Princess Regent of Ardenia

Chapter 4 - The Puppet-Masters

ShieldThat fool Archmage is only now finishing his research. He cuts it too close. Things must go exactly as planned, or I will be stuck with this accursed bond forever. But still, I must be careful yet. The day have planned draws nigh.  

The attacks by these strange beings who speak in chitters and call themselves the "Kii" grow ever more common. It would be bearable if we could at least see or touch them, but not even our greatest mages seem to be able to pierce the veil of their secrecy. After the war, there is not much more of this that we can take.
 --General Kelnak of the Ardenian Army

I have the key, finally. It seemed as though it would never be found, but after consulting with a being better left not mentioned, I have learned what I needed to know to complete the spell. Those things will no longer be hidden from us!
 --Malaq, Archmage of Ardenia

My visions have returned, and with more force! What was foretold seems to be coming true. I sense that the greater darkness is yet to come, and I know not how to prepare for it.
 --Mira Avari, Princess Regent of Ardenia

The darkness in the sewers has awoken. I fear the night and what it brings.

It seems as though every darkness possible is being thrown at us. Creatures and races that long left us be have awoken and thrown their might at us. It seems as though some new foul thing is abroad every night, and more than once, the city itself has been harmed by such incursions. The undead are out in greater numbers than ever recorded. My people are busier than ever before!
 --Robert, Patriarch of the Ardenian Temple

Even knowing it is them, even being able to see them, I still cannot stop what these things do to my land. It almost seems like this spell of seeing was pointless. How can you fight them when they only send others to attack us?!
 --Malaq, Archmage of Ardenia

The red eye fills my sight, both day and night. I can see ought else, it sometimes seems. It never lets me sleep. I fear I must let my duties of rule fall onto others' shoulders until these visions have passed!
 --Mira Avari, Princess Regent of Ardenia

I was given the a device which is based on the Archmage's spell by...well it doesn't matter who gave it to me. I was told that with it, a few of us could enter into the shadowy half-realm the Kii inhabit for a short time. Perhaps it is time to take the battle to these abominations?
 --Sheol, Former Apprentice of Malaq, and Outlaw of Ardenia

Look mommy, that comet thing has gone all red! 
--An unnamed child in the streets of Midgaard at night

What unsurprising timing. Our best so-called "heroes" have vanished into the nether-world on the very day that it seems every dead being from the last 1000 years has decided to awaken and pay us a call. And if that damnable red comet doesn't stop glaring down at us, I will scream! As usual, it's up to the army to save the day. 
--General Kelnak of the Ardenian Army

Arthur! Look out, that skeleton's right behind y....damn! All my friends are dying this horrible day. Hey, he's moving! Artie, yer all right! Hey, you don't look so good, lemme help you up.... 
 --A soldier's last words on the battlefield, The Day of the Red Eye

We did it, by damn we did it! The things were so scared that we were actually able to find where they were hiding that they ran like Paladins! And just in time too, it seems. When they fled, their hold over the undead faded as well, saving our beloved city. Though they are gone now, I have no doubt they are not gone for good. We'll just have to keep our eyes open for signs that the damn manipulators are back...
 --Malaq, Archmage of Ardenia

I am free. The plan was a success and those things no longer have a hold over me. Now to move on to my master's plans once more... He will be free as well one day... 
--Attributed to Morden

Chapter 5 - The Slow Upward Climb

ShieldI continue my studies, and I learn from my mistakes. I have little doubt that, with time, I will be a ruler to make my father proud. And with advisors at my side like the good Lord General Kelnak, I have no doubt that Ardenia will soon be even greater than ever before. 
 --Mira Avari, Princess Regent of Ardenia

Truly she's shaping up into a fine leader for our kingdom. Soon, she won't need my guidance anymore, and I can retire to my studies and my old age. I do not like her choice of company though... 
 --Malaq, Archmage of Ardenia

The rebuilding progresses slowly, but well. It is costly to rebuild a kingdom as we have to, but we will bear the cost somehow. Perhaps a new tax on these troublesome "adventurers" will be solve our problems... 
 --Lord Voronwis, Exchequer of the Royal Treasury

It seems like every day I arrest another of these dangerous fools for breaking the peace in our poor city. In time of war they are a blessing, but in times of peace, such as now, they are only a curse, and a dangerous curse at that! 
--Militia Commander Amosti

"Any who cast these sort of spells that effect large areas within the limits of any of the cities or towns of Ardenia will be arrested and jailed, without question..."
 --Excerpted from the Tenth Edict of the Reign of Regent Mira Avari

He comes again. His cursed existence he seeks to inflict on others. He brings his lycanthropic hordes to murder and maim us. People of Ardenia, prepare for his coming. Come all ye for violence!
 --Arzel Stargazer, Master of the Druids of Haon-Dor