Loknir's Encyclopaedia of Hiraeth

Written by the sage and hunter Loknir during his travels in the land of Hiraeth.

Edits and additions by Yuri after Loknir's death.


On Peoples and Places


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The land of Hiraeth is ruled from the city of Hiraeth Port. Set on the coast this is where the human ruler of the land, the Prince, resides. It is a settlement that grew from the original landing fleets of the humans some centuries ago before the Treaty. The Prince's name escapes me but I will add it at a later date once I have a chance to ask a human. The Prince flies a banner of red and white, with an orange sun sitting at its centre. All settlements in the land loyal to the Prince bare the white sun symbol to show their allegiance, modified slightly for each major town or city. Most humans follow the church of the Lord of Light but other religions are permitted. Most chapels have shrines to a dozen different gods such as Mystra the goddess of magic and storms. For some people the Prince himself is a deity, having risen beyond a mere mortal during his thousands of years on Hiraeth. Tales of his battles with daemons paint him in a heroic light and it does seem his personal paladins gain strength from his divinity.

There are many dwarven settlements within Hiraeth. Some, like the mining village of Redcliff, are little more than outposts, while others like the cities of Minoc and Vesper are stone walled and thriving. Minoc is a military port from which the dwarves protect their borders while Vesper sits on a river and is the dwarven hub for trade and governance. As is right all the dwarven holds are run by the Council of Elders in Vesper. These nine elders form the governors of the land of Hiraeth and are born on dwarven sigils with the symbol of nine rings.

Set on its own island the Moonglow College is an elite institution that trains magic users. A small town sits near the college and helps supply it and maintain its grounds. The college is run by a council of Arch-Mages, with one seat on the council for each school of magic. The seat of necromancy sits empty as this foul art is outlawed in Hiraeth.

Redcliff

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A dwarven mining outpost north of the town of Skarabrae. Settled 567 years ago by the dwarves it has been owned and operated by the Banking Guild since its inception. The few buildings in Redcliff have stood for hundreds of years, a permenant camp for mining groups that go out into the surrounding hills and mountains. The stone chapel is attended by Father Olneas, an ancient dwarf with an obsession for books. The other permenant buildings in town are the blacksmith and The Bank. The Bank is where the members of the Banking Guild store all the ore and precious metals to be transported far abroad by caravan drivers. It is guarded by heavily armed warriors from the guild and run by The Warden, a relatively mysterious dwarven noble who oversees the day to day running of the camp. The drivers and their guards usually stay at the Lying Fairy inn down the road from Redcliff, a two story stone and wooden structure run by a barkeep called Austin A. Arthur.

Around these buildings sit tents and lean-tos used by the miners when in camp. Crews are sent up into the mountains to look for veins of ore or down into the depths of the mines to work existing veins. The camp is often troubled by wild beasts as well as the goblin tribes that raid from the higher mountains. But with their food and accomodation paid for by the Guild and with decent pay atop that the dwarves of Redcliff live good lives.

North of Redcliff lies the druid encampment of Yew, but few dwarves travel that way through the wilds. Some years ago the miners of Redcliff broke in an existing civilisation deep beneath the earth. The Svirfneblin settlement within had lived in peace for centuries since splitting off from their forest gnome cousins. These deep gnomes made a deal with the dwarves of Redcliff and since then the two settlements have had a mutually beneficial truce.

Skarabrae

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A port-city on the west side of Hiraeth ruled by the Prince. Once an army outpost, the fort has swelled into a settlement in its own right. The soldiers of Skarabrae work under a General, even as the army outpost has turned into a settlement. These soldiers bear shields of blue in two shades, with the white sun of the Prince and the citadel of the army serving to identify them. The soldiers in Skarabrae protect Hiraeth from seaborne pirates as well as raiding tribes of goblins and ratmen inland. Their most pressing concern, however, is the policing of The Treaty. The majority of the settlement in Skarabrae is set on the mainland, with dozens of wooden and stone huts holding the civilian inhabitants.

Across a bridge lies the island of Skarabrae. It is here that the fort, market and shops are located. Also on the island is a large church and an inn, the Broken Grape. The Broken Grape is run by Rust Radavar, an ex-soldier who holds rooms for visitors to the town. Skarabrae primarily exists to service the Prince's troops and to assist in trade going from the northern mining outposts.

On the edge of town is the manor house of Lord Drak, a mysterious nobleman who is said to be wealthy beyond imagining. He has his own private guards.

Yew

An ancient druidic settlement ruled by a woman named Fernwhirl. The druids who live here eschew the use of metal in tools or weapons and all the structures in the settlement are what the druids call "sung wood". This appears to be a magical ability the druids possess to shape and rework wood to their own purpose. Indeed all the structures in the town are built directly into the massive trees that surround the settlement. All natural elements here are magically enhancing, with brambles and ferns covering the deep brown earth.

During our travels we discovered that the druids of Yew were engaging in illegal trades with the criminal known as Gimear Weebit. The druids were hostile upon discovering that we had revealed their illegal trades with the Prince.


On History and Myth


Pre-Colonisation

Before humans and dwarves came to Hiraeth there were only the gnomish tribes. Magical and reclusive they built their homes in the large forests of the land. They were largely peaceful, fighting only to protect themselves from wild beasts and raiders when their illusionary magic failed.

Around a millennia ago the dwarves arrived from the across the sea. Their diviners had determined that there were great mineral deposits to be found here and a vast explorator fleet had been sent to claim these riches. When the dwarves arrived they made a deal with the gnomes, securing mining rights. This deal would later be negotiated into the Treaty.

700 years ago the humans arrived from across the seas, the servants of the First Prince of Hiraeth. There were skirmishes between the humans and dwarves before an agreement was made. The Council of Vesper and the Prince would strike a deal that would set up trade for centuries to come; The Treaty.

A Forgotten War

Records and notes from the ancient Ratman Shaman Hacktooth have revealed that before humans arrived on Hiraeth there was a massive war that stretched across the lands. From Trinsic in the south the Elves fought against an alliance of Ratmen and undead. The undead were commanded by a necromancer named Saff who had an alliance with Hacktooth. The Elves were led by an unknown black robed warrior who fought with twin magical swords.

Eventually the Elves sacked the outposts of Hacktooth and Saff, seemingly wiping out thousands of Ratmen and undead in the process. Some reports all claim they slaughtered Gnomish tribes during the war. In the end the forces of the Ratmen, the undead and the Elves were all destroyed in the process.

Why these events don't appear on Dwarven records I am unsure.

The Treaty

The Treaty is a binding document that holds all dwarves, humans and gnomes in the land of Hiraeth to a set of rules. The Treaty was signed 700 years ago and is a complex series of trade agreements and organisational tenants that can be broken down to the following:
-All trading ships must only load and unload goods through the Port of Hiraeth Capital.
-The land to the south of Trinsic belongs to the Elves and none my enter without their permission.
-One fifth of all profit from exports of The Isles is sent to the Dwarven Bank situated in Vesper.
-Only Dwarves may be blacksmiths in The Hiraeth Isles.
-Necromancy is forbidden.


On Beasts and Monsters


Wild Beasts

Fire Beetles

A large beetle around the size of a dog, these beetles have a black matte chitin. They get their name for an internal glow they give off when threatened. Nubbly Nubbkins believes this to be a phenomena called "bioluminescence". They have a painful bite regardless.

Lightning Lizards

Known to live for hundreds of years, these small lizards grow steadily as they age until they rival mythical dragons for size. They are named for the nasty jolt given to any that touch them and are identifiable by their bright blue scales.

Monstrosities

Ratmen

Foul creatures neither beast nor man, these Skavarn are scavengers and raiders who live in the forests of Hiraeth. With the appearance of rats that stood up they are furred and hideous to observe. Usually found underground, they attack in the darkness and carry off unwitting victims to their elaborate warrens. It is believed that the Skarvarn have been in Hiraeth since before the dwarves arrived, living in massive societies that have since been driven into the shadows.

Wights

Called Mummies by some, these ancient warriors were interred with dark magic that causes them to rise again as foul undead. Legend holds that the Wight Lords must have their hearts destroyed otherwise they will rise again from their graves.


On Magic and Mystery


Faith

Many believe that in worshipping the gods one can gain great blessings. For example the worshippers of Woeb Prall claim great feats of luck from their god. Within Hiraeth the Prince himself is sometimes worshipped as a deity and is said to give magical abilities to his paladins. Mages at Moonglow College dispute the difference between harnessing magic with faith and any other type of magic, but the miracles of clerics tend to speak for themselves.

Pacts

Mortal beings can sometimes harness the power of others through magical arrangements. These Pacts are mostly willing but it is not uncommon for magical beings to trick mortals in exchange for power themselves. I have experienced these pacts firsthand. One was between an ally of mine as a being known as the Raven Queen while the other was between an unwilling young boy in Skarabrae and a fearsome devil the name of which I will not write here.

The Land

Some magic users seem to draw magic from the land itself. Perhaps from the Fey energy that lays across it or even the primordial spirits of creation.

Scholars

Those who wish to learn the art of magic may apply at the Wizard's College. Here those with the aptitude can learn to harness magic though the use of power words and runes. These mages depend on their spell books and casting wands for harnessing power. Gnomes seem to have some of these abilities naturally, passed down in their clans. The Deep Gnomes seem particularly capable in the casting of illusory magic.

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