Neutral Forces

With no written word, much of Ogre history has vanished into the darkness of the past. Modern scholars fret about, trying to piece together the origin of the Ogres, much to the amusement of the Ogres themselves. This dismissal of intellectual pursuits coupled with their employment as mercenaries has given rise to the stereotype that Ogres are nothing more than uncultured brutes in search of gold.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The Ogre language is perhaps the most complicated in the world, with fourteen classes of female pronoun, each dependent on context and the speaker’s relationship to the subject. Speaking of an Ogre’s mother is almost never a good idea unless one has 

spent at least a decade studying the language. This complex language suits the Ogres for they are at heart a people of story tellers, not stories of deeds long past, but events the teller actually experienced, embellished in the telling. An Ogre proves their wealth through the stories they have collected, not through gold amassed.

​​A race of individuals, Ogres have never been able to understand why the other races pass one person’s belongings to their children when they die. For Ogres, such an act wrongs both the deceased and the children, since the children will not have to opportunity to earn what they inherited. To give an Ogre a gift is perhaps the greatest insult possible, one which almost always ends in someone’s death.
From childhood, an Ogre struggles to survive against the wild beasts and frigid landscape of the frozen north. Those few that survive to adulthood possess incredible skill on top of their sheer physical size and strength. They grow up listening to the stories their family members tell of their time fighting as mercenaries. They hear of the great mountains of Abercarr and the expanding desert of the Eastern Reaches. For an Ogre, no honour comes from 

knowing his father visited these places. They must travel the world, fight its horrors, and return with great riches to prove their own worth, to make their own stories.
Thus, every year there is the Thing. They call this gathering the Thing for there are no other things in the Ogre calendar, no festivals or holidays. At the Thing, young Ogres sign on to a veteran captain, who persuades them of his worth through reciting his own adventures in the south. Every nation in the world will pay handsomely for the service of an Ogre band, so an Ogre will have crossed Mantica twice over by the time they decide to return home. Upon returning to the warring 

 tribes of their frozen land, they will find a mate and sire a few little ones. Those children that survive to understand speech will sit at their father’s feet, eyes wide, listening intently as he explains how he fought in the south and saw things they could not believe. And so a new generation will grow up, raise their swords, and charge across the world, eager to carve out their own stories.
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Elinathora’s shattering of the Fenulian Mirror shattered the Celestians as well. They broke into two aspects, one Shining, one Wicked. One Celestian, however, sought to remain as herself. The Sylvan Kindred speak of how the Green Lady bound herself to the spirits of the trees and earth, holding herself together. However, this binding merely forestalled the split. In order to stabilise herself, the Green Lady tracked down and merged with the Wicked and Shining aspects of the former Celestian, Liliana. Only the Green Lady knows why she chose Liliana, perhaps it was because the Wicked One had retained some sense of tormented morality. Whatever her reason, this fusion resulted in a new tri-form 
entity, one part Wicked, one part Shining, and one part true Celestian.
Each of these aspects rules her mind, depending upon the world at large. When the world tips towards evil and the Abyss’s power rises, her Shining aspect leaps forth to defend the world. Spirits of fire, earth, air, and water surge forth at her command, smiting the threat. Naiads slip from their streams and centaurs emerge from the forests. Hydras and scaled salamanders ride to battle in force. Even the trees themselves uproot and march at the Green Lady’s call. Should good ever gain the upper hand, however, her Wicked aspect assumes control. Those same forces which once fought against the tide of evil will turn on the noble races. For whatever aspect she inhabits, the Green Lady’s Celestian heart yearns for balance above all. She seeks both preservation and change in equal parts.

 Whichever aspect she assumes, the Green Lady can make her power felt throughout all of Mantica. Wherever nature lies incorrupt, the Green Lady holds sway. Her reach extends from the Ice Mountains to Elvenholme, from the Vale of Imlar to the Croguedd Pass. It transcends national borders and the wills of rulers. However, nowhere is her power more felt than the ancient Forest of Galahir. While as a Celestian, she is likely not truly bound to a single body, the avatar she chooses to inhabit most often dwells within those sacred glades.
Some lands do lie beyond her sight. The Green Lady cannot peer into cities, for even the parks within them are constructions of mortals. Still, 
only the Abyss, a festering sore on the face of the world, lies truly beyond her reach. To compensate with her limits, the Green Lady once ensnared a mortal man and taught him the secrets of the shrouded wood. He swore an oath of peace, giving up his violent ways. More soon followed in his footsteps and thus the order of Druids was born. Druids walk the land searching out threats to the balance of the world. Since they can understand the mortal heart better than the Green Lady and go places she cannot, she largely relies on the conclave of Druid Elders in Galahir to determine whether a threat is worth counteracting. Lately, the druids have cast a worried eye toward the expansion of the Dwarven Abercarri Empire. Should King Golloch not halt his conquests soon, he may find himself facing the wrath of the Green Lady with Mantica itself behind her.
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The most common citizens of the Trident Realms to appear on the surface are the Naiads, with the more monstrous creatures of the deep only surfacing when called to large battles. Often they are seen fighting alongside their cousins of the Herd, and they loyally heed the call of the Green Lady whenever she has need of them.  Their most hated 
enemies still remain the orcs, the cursed sons of Garkhan the Black and Dark Kyron.  
The rulers of the Trident Realms, The three Trident Kings, are veiled in secrecy. They are known to be members of the three major noble families of Neritica, but beyond that their identities are a closely guarded state secret. In battle they wear the fabled masks of Medusa, hiding their identities, and ride into battle on large clam chariots pulled by sea wyrms.  Each of the kings rules a kingdom in the Trident Realms, and while they may bicker amongst themselves their union is strong when it comes to outsiders.

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Trident Realms

When Kryon's spirit split in two the shining half urged his children in the seas to hide in the deeps for fear that his dark half would corrupt them as he had the herd on land.  Over the coming centuries the fishmen cautiously emerged and began to intergrate with the surface world, soon splitting into tribes much like their cousins on land. 
 Like the Herd, the denizens of the Trident Realms feel the call to defend the natural world from the encroachment of the Abyss. This has led them to at times ally with the nations of the surface.   But they are also a fiercly territorial people and have been known to attack nearby settlements that pollute their waters.  

The Herd

Kyron was a Celestian known as a friend to nature. When the Fenulian Mirror was shattered, Kyron split in two like the other Celestians. His Wicked One and Shining One sides both retained the name Kyron, both seeking to continue to watch over the creatures of nature. The wicked half was known to be cunning and cruel, while the shining half was known for his kindness and bravery. It is said the two halves, instead of engaging in physical combat, argued incessantly with one another about the proper way to guide the natural world.
Eventually they decided to settle their differences by reforging the beasts of the world into new creations to vie 
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with one another. Dark Kyron, as the Wicked One was designated, worked with Garkhan the Black to create the orcs. When Brave Kyron, as the Shining One was designated, saw this new horror, he gathered the souls of those sacrificed in their research and reshaped them into the beastmen of the Herd.
Enraged, Dark Kyron sowed mistrust of the Herd among the human nations, seeking to destroy them. Many of these reborn souls fled to the sea, transforming into forms suited to hide among the waves. They hid under the seas for centuries, only venturing back to the surface after the defeat of Oskan. Once they reached the surface they discovered that the two Kyrons no longer walked among mortals, but were said by their surface-dwelling cousins to now endlessly chase one another through the skies as part of the Great Hunt.
The Herd seek to protect the natural world from those who seek to destroy it, particularly the cursed sons of Garkhan the Black and Dark Kyron. To this end they are often seen fighting alongside the denizens of the Trident Realms of Neritica. Humans tend to be distrusting of them to the present, but it is not unheard of for them to fight as allies as well.

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Kingdoms of Men

For millennia, the Grand Republic of Primovantor was the greatest realm of humanity. Even in their arrogance, the Elves acknowledged it as a close second to their own civilisation. At its height, it ruled a full third of the known world. It survived the God War and the Age of Ice with its capital city a shining beacon of hope in the dark. Winter’s defeat and the subsequent flood, however, saw the end of humanity’s golden age. The Infant Sea swallowed vast swathes of Primovantor with its birth. What land that remained had been devastated by the long war. With the High Consul’s death and their capital a ruined wasteland, the Grand Republic of Primovantor finally fell into warring 
states. Of the remaining human kingdoms, only Basilea in the east retains any semblance of the Republic’s glory.
To the west, the Successor Kingdoms dot the land. Unlike Basilea, these kingdoms are a mix of cultural influences, each as different from one another as possible. Their borders vary from a city’s walls to whole swathes of land, covering a hundred miles. Though there are many states that claim the title, only Valentica truly has the right to call itself a kingdom for it is the largest of the Successor Kingdoms and the most stable. These splintered lands are home to great warriors, engineers, and wizards. They have traded much with the dwarfs and even managed to secure rudimentary gunpowder weapons.

 North of the Dragon Teeth Mountains lies the Young Kingdoms. Winter’s Flood ruined the Primovantian provinces in this land beyond recognition. Whole new states with little resemblance to their Primovantian predecessors rise on the Ardovikian Plain. Men rule most, though a few are ruled by elves, dwarfs, and even, rumour has it, vampires. These lands are more isolated than those of the Successor Kingdoms. With less tradition behind their kingdoms, social mobility is much higher than in the rest of the world. There are even instances of the unthinkable occurring, a peasant becoming king and surviving to father a whole new dynasty.
Though, perhaps the greatest threat both the Young and Successor Kingdoms face is from themselves, numerous external powers seek to claim their rich lands. Basilea desires to reunite humanity beneath its gods. They have already conquered part of the Ardovikian Plains around the Forest of Galahir and several peninsulas close to the Successor 
Kingdoms. The Young Kingdoms must watch the Forest of Galahir carefully lest they anger the Green Lady and her wild forces. All across these lands, kingdoms must worry about roving orcish hordes and necromancers who fancy building their own realm. The Varangur invade from the north and goblins strike from the shadows.
The once great lands of man have fallen far. No longer can they keep their own borders secure. No longer can they all unite under a single banner. Much of what Primovantor stood for has been forgotten and cast aside. The time of men has ended. Scavengers pick over the rotting corpse of Primovantor, desperate for survival while vultures circle overhead.

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Kingdoms of Men

League of Rhordia

At the height of the God War the Shining One Eoswain battled her Wicked One half, Zbortan. Their conflict raged across the skies above the Ardovikian Plain northeast of Letharac. The two, weakened to near death, eventually plummeted from the sky in a deadly embrace, crashing into the ground below. A crag was left where they hit, although whether they died on impact or somehow continue to fight below the surface is unknown.
This area became seismically unstable, but five human city-states and a handful of halfling settlements were situated near the impact zone and continued to trade and war with 
one another after the end of the God War. As the years passed, the cities became weaker and weaker. This culminated with an invasion from outside by orcs. They razed two of the cities to the ground and began an assault on the remaining.
In one of the cities, Eowolf, a chaplain named Alobart Rhor rose to prominence calling for an end to their civil conflict and a unification of their forces to fight the invaders. He convinced the dukes of the city-states to do just that, who in turn put their military forces under his command. Rhor pushed the orcs out of their territory, but was mortally wounded in the final battle of the conflict. He lived just long enough to hear that the alliance was to become a permanent military and economic confederation.

Several decades after the formation of the League the halfling settlements were allowed to join in a subordinate role. Over several harsh winters however, their aid proved invaluable prompting the dukes to offer them a seat on the ruling council alongside them. Each duke and the halfling leader now have a seat on the council and rotate the chairman between them every eight years. It is now common for halflings to be seen in every member city of the League.
The Church of the Children of the Fall is the state religion of the League. Adherents worship the Celestians as they were before the shattering of the Fenulian Mirror; whole and balanced. They chose not to follow the Shining Ones as they believe them to be as extreme in their approach and temperament as the Wicked Ones. At times this puts them at odds with Basilea.

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