The Chronicles of Theradune
The known lands of Theradune center around a land bridge known as the Ghost Crown, an immeasurably valuable land junction between three major continents. The terrain is very slanted, as the whole of the Ghost Crown is an enormous, gently sloping mountain. This makes for a truly vast range of visibility, as the terrain sweeps slowly down to the coastal waters near the horizon, many miles away.
This region is dominated by a scattered wasteland metropolis known loosely as Truce City, though this area has been renamed countless times as it has changed hands. The landscape tells of its repeated conquerings with a hodgepodge of blended architectures and makeshift structure patchwork. Even the terrain itself bears an occasional gash or crater. And yet Truce City is still the most civilized of wastelands, with highly decorated and lively shops even set up amongst the piles of rubble that have yet to see any attempt of repair.
Each of the three adjoined continents are home to one of the three prevalent nations. While these three nations do not have a blanket control over the whole of the land, they eclipse and overshadow the size and military might of any other known principality. Many small city-states dot the countryside of the continents, but all of the largest cities are governed by the three prime nations.
The western continent is dominated by the theocratic Order of Ranos. They demand that they are the rightful owners of the Ghost Crown due to a prophecy. Disciples of the Order are easily recognized by their semi-circlet emblem branded on their foreheads. They are led by a very powerful paladin by the name of Baynar Karsaad, and his advisor, the High Oracle of Ranos.
The northeastern continent is known to be the home of the Drow Empire. Details of this nation are known by few, because the majority of Drow civilization lies underground in vast cities described only by rumors. The surface is still home to many scattered cities of neutral loyalty, including several Elven city-states. However, none of the neutral surface dwellers dare to challenge the Drow underneath, so they avoid the Drow surface presences.
The southeastern continent is home to the Garrian Horde, the most densely populated of the three nations. This is a nation governed by strength above all other things, so it is a natural hive for the stronger races of the land, such as giants, trolls, ogres, and orcs, to name a few. Though goblins are smaller and weaker, they are exceptionally common and have earned a welcome in this society with their eager willingness to thrown by their larger allies in combat. Residents of Horde cities wear evidence of their achievements to establish their rank in society. However, few are foolish enough to dare to fabricate these badges of prowess, because the Horde is very vocal about their hatred of deception. Combat is upfront and personal, and liars are hunted down and mercilessly crushed with face-to-face vengeance. The horde is led by a rune giant known as Suro, who is believed to stand at least 40 feet tall.
Although the current time of peace is an uneasy one, it is the longest in recent memory. The key to this particular time of peace is the unique treaty that enforces it. The treaty has stated that the first aggressor to break the ceasefire will immediately meet the combined allied strength of the other two nations. This has allowed even some loyalists from each of the three nations to interact within the neutral zone of Truce City without daring to make any forbidden acts of aggression.
Given the bloody history of the region, it may seem strange that so many people still flock to the area. For starters, the area is an irresistible travel hub for all but those who have access to naval transportation, which is limited by the requirement of very talented navigators. On top of that, the treaty makes this region an absolute neutral zone. This complete lack of government allows for totally free trade with no taxes or restrictions, which makes the region a massive trade magnet. Truce City still manages to avoid total anarchist chaos due to the very close presence of the three prime nations, and the fear amongst the populace of losing this bustling economic nexus to another massacre.
Close to the center of Truce City, high up the gently sloping mountainside, one building stands out from amongst the others. Both floors of this building are all in one piece, with a well-kept and aesthetically pleasing construction. This is the Jasmine Tavern, the largest and most popular tavern in the area. They serve all manner of drinks, as well as a limited selection of food to accompany them. The perpetually busy dining hall is frequented by anyone from gamblers to travelers with a scheduled meeting, though they do tend towards different sections of the wide open room according to their purpose here. Upstairs is an inn, and a stable awaits in the back for the mounts that have been worn out by the region’s relentlessly sloping terrain. The barkeeper is a bald dwarf with a long, gray beard known as Melrik, an atypically serene dwarf of high respect within the community.
And so our story happens to find a few select people within the walls of the Jasmine Tavern…