Cold as the Depths
A History of Sorrow
Helosia was once a beautiful world, with massive oceans so great the sometimes seem to be but one. Where there was only one great continent in the northern hemisphere, and the rest of the world were a series of great islands. Like any world there was conflicts between great kingdoms, feudal lords, heroes, and villains. Armies of invading orcs and roaming monsters made living in any village without walls dangerous. Savage tribes of barbarians roamed the country sides and mighty dragons were the things of legends, nightmares, and all to real.
Then came the disease, the Dirge.
It was a disease unlike any seen before, or thankfully since. It started in a small village near the center of Helosia Prime, the central continent. A cult of death worshippers seeking the power to destroy a rival tribe sacrificed an entire generation of young in a single night in a ritual to create The Dirge, a virus that quickly wiped out the people of the small, nameless tribe. Unfortunately this did not mark the end of the Dirge, so named for the low, rhythmic moans its victims give off in the last hours of their life. Shortly after the tribe fell adventurers stumbled across the site, and discovered their bloated, reanimated bodies. Chased off by these monsters, thinking them normal zombies created by necromantic magic the company returned to the capital city. And from that center of commerce and trade death reached out to the far corners of Helosia Prime. Not only in the carts and in the coughs of the travelers, but carried aloft on the wings of carrion birds who fed on the corpses of the dead.
The chaos caused by the Dirge grew as its symptoms developed. Few people survived the Dirge itself, with nearly 3 in ever four victims dieing within a week of contracting the disease, but also nearly half of those who did survive were driven mad by the fever dreams it caused. And those talented in the arcane arts who were driven mad started to have the same visions. Great vistas and plateaus populated by strange and terrible creatures. Creatures and who wanted to come here, who wanted to come into the primal world. And those insane arcane casters started doing just that. Opening the doors to demons and terrible monstrosities alien in their very nature.
But the disease was unstable. And while the disaster lasted a few weeks, there started to be signs that its spread was slowly halting thanks to the works of The Cabal of Kitanua, a gathering of wizards and clerics dedicated to the Goddess of Healing. A few cities fell, and the lost of life was terrible. But the disease could be stopped and the damage repaired. The Cabal cast a great and powerful spell which concentrated the Dirge, created a distilled Essence. But so long as the Essence existed the disease could be freed again on the world. The choice was made to embody the Dirge in the flesh of a 12 year old girl, who would then be sacrificed, ending the Dirge and clearing it from the face of Helosia forever.
Laid out on an altar to Kitanua, the young girl was bound to the stones, fed the Essence, and then murdered. But the Cabal had been lied to. For the leader, High Priestess Krillion had not been leading them as directed by their goddess. Instead she had been listening to the dark whispers of H’yjion, the god of death who had created the Dirge originally. The girl did not die, the virus was not eradicated. No, the girl was in fact given immortality, was turned into a unique and powerful form of undead. Self aware, evil, and vengeful. The Dirge now answered to her will, and her will alone. And she lashed out at the men and women, and the very world which had allowed her to die. Morana of the Dirge was born. And her vengeance was absolute.
Helosia Prime was lost. Those who could boarded ships that left for the colonies and island kingdoms, abandoning what had once been the home of generations of human, elves, dwarfs and more. Directed by Morana, the leigions of summoned creatures, undead and demons soon controlled nearly all of Helosia Prime, and thankfully chose not to set off across the seas.
900 years have passed since those dark days, the Song of the Dirge as its known to historians. The armies of the Dirge Singer have not been seen off Helosia Prime, and by rumor and speculation have actually withdrawn to the center and northern most edges of the continent. The humanoid races have inhabited the great islands of the southern hemisphere, and thanks to the great distances between nations and the difficulty of waring on people so far away when food and resources are scarce has caused a time of peace and trade.
Of these great island nations, Tyreadosa is perhaps one of the largest and is an economic powerhouse. Located as one of the north-western most islands, its size provides for significant farming and lumber production, and its largest port is that of Ilyssa’s Landing.