When the gods first discovered Isserac, they couldn’t help but smile. With its lush forests, glistening oceans, and fertile lands, they immediately saw it was a world of great bounty. A primitive species had sprouted on the main continent. Although they were dull-minded, the primitives moved with determination and pride. The gods, in their unanimity, blessed the people, granting prosperity in their future.
And so, a period of enlightenment began. The first true people of Isserac left their huddled campfires and quickly built an impressive civilization. Their glittering buildings passed through the clouds with ease. A diverse and honourable culture flourished, while traders spread beyond the main continent, into new lands of opportunity. The glory of Isserac seemed unending.
None living can say what happened next. Many details remain blank in the lorebooks, as if stricken from the mind of history. Some loremasters claim a collective amnesia was somehow agreed upon to forget unspeakable terrors. What is discernable, is the fall. The Isserac Empire collapsed – some say in a single day – unexplainably reduced to rubble, leaving the people savages once more. Plagues haunted the lands, killing anything with lifeblood. Storms ravaged the seas, reshaping entire landmasses. The gods wept, helpless to intervene.
The world suffered unimaginable blights for countless years. Slavery and cannibalism abounded as the very reality fabric of Isserac bulged while its seams unraveled. Treasured technologies and philosophies were lost in a merciless tide of ignorance. Barbarian kings rose and fell. Many struck out on their own during this time, only to find death in a wilderness reclaimed by the vengeful teeth of nature. Against the chaos, a few noble families held their disaster-stricken composures and rallied around a prophecy of unknown origin.
Self-imposed exile drove them to the harsh icy wastes of Winterland, destined to return and claim their birthright after a millennium of penance. If it weren’t for the alliance of traveling merchants and warrior clans, civilization may never again have taken root on the continent. Some say it was an unholy pact, but the reluctance of a few could not hold back the desires of unification and promises of what would become The Risen Alliance: security, stability, prosperity. The future would be alight with hope once more. Bloody infighting eventually gave way to economic and social alliances tugging back and forth in an infinite play of political swing as new nobilities fought for a rotating but accepted throne.
After one thousand years of strength and unity, the Alliance is on the brink of collapse. With intermittent nobility disputes and growing piracy harrowing trade, Isserac’s greatest kingdom was no stranger to threat. But now it suffers a rebellion of monumental proportions, cutting painfully and deeply along economic lines, wedging theological schisms, and ultimately, fostering non-confidence in the possibility of a continued collective.
Soon after the rebellion began catching stride, the self-proclaimed pirate lords of the archipelago managed to unite their interests into a loosely governed federation. Looking upon the rebellion with greedy eyes, the pirates descended upon poorly defended ships and trade ports. With the forces of the Alliance stretched thin against their newly organized foe, many port cities – rebel and Alliance alike – were pillaged, and the sinking of merchant ships became a regular occurrence.
The rebel’s challenge to the Alliance came amidst an ancient grudge only the most eccentric loremaster could recall. A thousand years of exile had come to an end, and the Magus Elders of the Winterland call for the oath-tribes to rally under a banner of retribution. The promise of rapture drive their warboats as they leave their shores for the first time in a millennium, eager to reclaim their birthright.
But for all this conflict, a greater threat to Isserac looms, tucked away from the frailty of human minds, an evil only the gods could possibly remember…