The year is 1392…
_Cormyr is in a state of decline and deep depression as a result of a trade embargo from Sembia throttling Caravan Trade. Suzail and the coastal cities grow more and more impoverished, and taxation results in more people flooding to the frontier, regardless of the danger.
Hardcastle, coupled with his Red Wizard allies keeping Arabel somewhat exempt from the economic and social crisis effecting the rest of the nation, though the fall of the primordial, crashing down over the King's Forest raising the water levels, flooding bospir, vast swamp, and the king's forest, turning it into the king's swamp and also the expansion of the helmlands has cut off many of Arabel trade routes, and easy access for Cormyrian reinforcements. A new material is found within the region, one with great value and the potential to restore the city, and the nation back onto its feet, if only it can be recovered.
Hard times have fallen on the Forest Kingdom, and Arabel finds itself experiencing death throes as the once proud frontier city is forced to confront new realities. It’s been ten years since the Second Cormyr – Shadovar war ended in a tenuous peace accord. This fragile peace between The Empire of Shade, and the Kingdom of Cormyr has held._
If only just…
Zhentarim expansionism to the north, coupled with pressure from the Lords Alliance make outright war undesirable for the Emperor. Granting Cormyr much needed time to try to recover from a near decade of strife. To the east, the great Forest of Cormanthyr and the Dales experience upheaval as well, as a war of reclamation is fought by Elves seeking to eradicate an ancient foe, and return to a home bitterly lost many centuries earlier.
With Cormyr no longer an easy prize, and the Dales now protected by their powerful Elven allies, the Shadovar turned their attentions to the small collective of mercantile city states called Sembia. Instigating a civil war, several Princes of Shade manoeuvred and successfully place a puppet to the head of a unified Sembia, taking over the nation in all but name. Whatever hopes that Cormyr enjoyed as a result of a stronger Elven presence in Cormanthyr, are soon shattered by a Sembian trade embargo, and the implementation of severe tariffs on Cormyrian goods. The Caravan Trade, the lifeblood of the Cormyrian way of life slows to a crawl. The nation, barely recovering as was, now finds itself ever closer to economic and social collapse.
A Nation in Decline
Even a nation as wealthy as Cormyr could not thrive after a decade of warfare, and once the embargo began, the Crown was left with few alternatives to rebuild or grow strong anew. Strong ties with a budding reclaimed Myth Drannor, and what little remains of the trade from the Sea of Fallen Stars is all that keeps the nation afloat. With the Crown no longer able to bear the burden of maintaining its large armies and holdings, it has been forced to rely more and more on the local nobility. This power shift has resulted in a strengthening of the feudal class system. With a harsh increase in tax, and a general lack of employment, an ever widening social and wealth disparity started to form. The time honoured foundation of Cormyrian working class, “an honest days wage for an honest days work” became a luxury fewer Cormyrians were able to attain.
Realities of the Frontier
Nowhere are the hardships of the dying nation understood with more clarity than in the frontier city of Arabel. The lands around the city have grown wild, and dangerous over the past decade. Both the treaty with Shade, and the lack of gold to properly fund a military have allowed monstrous hordes to take root and fester in the darker corners of the frontier.
In the wake of the calamitous floods that swallowed much of Northern Cormyr, agents of the Furies were quick to claim responsibility before a shattered nation. Although many among the adventuring population showed them enmity for this act, it was impossible to prevent the tide of hysteria which swept the nation. Arabel, once a city renowned for its benevolent patrons, now plays host to the vengeful Furies as the hostage populace watches with dread the sacrifices and violent prayers of their new shepherds, as they announce time and again that Arabel belongs to the Furies heart and soul - and to spare it destruction for one more year.
With the former lifeblood of the city being throttled, necessity dictated more and more, though a substantial minority clung ever more to higher values, and the gods, trusting that either Tyche, or the gods of the Congress would relieve them of their current plight. Lord Hardcastle grew more powerful. His mercantile acumen, and alliance with the Red Wizards of Thay, has allowed the former Southern districts to flourish, becoming the true jewel of the city.
While Arabel has, as a result of Lord Hardcastles influence, managed to remain relatively free of the oppressive taxes, or poverty festering in the southern towns, and cities, it has come at the cost of Arabel being a place where being weak and not contributing to society are not tolerated. And, as ever, death is a constant threat. Even Arabel's walls, strengthened thanks to a sizeable donation from the Thayan Red Wizards, are no guarantee here on the frontier. Ideals cannot keep a man warm, or his family fed, and the moral spark that once burned so brightly slowly flickers out. The Archmage Kanthea Farelven has not been sighted for many moons now, her tower warded from entry, causing great concern among the well educated. Many worry of what this might mean for the future.
Weight of History
Long before the banners of the Purple Dragon soared over the land, proclaiming Obarskyr rule, what is now known as the Forest Kingdom housed first the Elves of ancient Miyetar, and millennia after, the remnants of Netheril. Arabel itself is built over the ruins of a fallen Netherese city, brought low by the hubris of Karsus, a massive complex of lost lore, secrets, and treasure, much of it still buried in collapsed halls and warded vaults. The past history of the region, while significant, is far more subtle. Elven ruins, hidden from today’s world, can still be found in the wilder parts of Cormyr, the Hullack, the Vast Swamps, and the Stormhorns. In forging its future, Arabel may have to look to the past.
Time of great opportunity…
The crisis that grips Cormyr erodes much of the status quo that has upheld social norms and rank within the nation. Some have taken advantage of the situation and laid a stake in a reborn Cormyr should that day ever come. The Red Wizards of Thay were among the first, having ridden the crisis to reclaiming their former position within the city. An embassy, one enjoying the rights of diplomatic immunity is now found within the prosperous southern district, though there are only a couple of Red Wizards here, Arabel being such a gamble. These Red Wizards retain their cultural heritage, though appear as though they may not be the best Thay has to offer, more likely, the task was given to them to get rid of them. Hardcastle himself has tightened his reigns of power within Arabel, the south being the only part of the city with any resemblance to the old qualities of life Arabel has historically enjoyed. Hardcastle Guards enjoy equal rights with the Watch to enforce the Law, though both of these forces are few in number, and most are concerned with keeping the defenceless from being oppressed by the strong, and mostly stay out of the affairs of adventurers.
Within the last year, even more opportunities have arisen, with a band of adventurers exploring the ruins coming back with a rare metal, one unseen in the realms to date. Wizards marvel at how attuned it is to magical energies. "A staff made of solid Mythalite? they fantasize, "Such a thing would create a fireball with the effort we expend making a spark. Imagine!" Used for good or evil, the ore - native only to the lands around Arabel where the cataclysm occurred - quickly becomes one of the most sought-after resources in the lands. At once, fuelling the Red Wizard wards and yet leaving them ever lusting after its power for their own personal intrigues.
Druids, in their wisdom, declare the magically warped metal an alien creation, disrupting nature. Industrialists seeking wealth, Wizards seeking power and Druids seeking to contain this volatile, corrupted ore clash in the new age. Over the course of the year, Hardcastle surveyors verified vast amounts of the ore below the city, within the ruins. Despite the danger of the ruins, and the difficulty to mine and refine it, its financial value is quickly apparent to the industrialist. For the first time in a decade, the people of Arabel dare to hope of a recovery, and a return to their former glory. Adventurers once again flock to Arabel.
…And Fear of an Uncertain Future
The city residents fear that the tenuous truce with the Shadovar, reached only a decade ago, may end. The more local threat - such as the wild frontier, bandits, and roaming monsters - are things that adventurers will need to handle, if the region is to truly recover. Many fear that the ore itself is tainted, and using it will bring ruin to Arabel, and that the recovery will fall onto itself once the reality becomes known. Worse still, miners and adventurers working in the deeper halls speak of the once quiet ruins coming back to life, and of the remnants of an ancient race slowly stirring to life.
_As the new year dawns of 1393, the Temple of Furies hosts its annual Day of Sacrifice - with many throughout the city torn between seeking sanctuary or bringing forth what they can to try and appease the Stormlord and spare the city from Disaster. This year's offerings appear markedly haphazard - desperate collections by desperate Arabellens - by those who have borne witness to the Sacrifices of years gone by. Not a few murmur despondently that the Talassans are likely to be demanding more than what was offered before the year is through, from a population exhausted by calamity and misfortune.
And yet, among the adventurers now flocking to the city in search of Mythalite are not a few who seek to turn around Arabel's misfortune. Commoners speak of days of hope, of men putting themselves forwards to protect the innocent from Talassan demands, of lycanthropes being contained from mad bouts of violence in the city…
The Talassans may only be partially satiated, but if this rolling pebble of hope should catch something on its way, long years of fear and sacrifice before a vengeful deity may yet see their end._
_Bar-room layabouts chuckle into their cups of a recent altercation that took place outside the Temple of the Furies earlier - allegedly because a Sunite man kissed a Talassan storm cleric. The ensuing chaos was only stopped when guards got involved and had to pry the two apart. A few joke about Love being likened to a Strike of Lightning, and where the romance may go from here…
...but not in earshot of any Talassan._
AronFF last edited by
Word around town is that security outside the Citadel is getting worse lately, muggings become more regular, and people whisper about a new gang with either gnolls, bugbears, or even lycantrophes in their ranks.
Others say these rumors are spread by the mercenary companies securing the Citadel hoping to force higher wedges.
Alice shadowhand last edited by
Rumors scatter that more street violence erupted around a priest of Talos, this time in front of the Spire!
Polaris last edited by
_A werewolf was spotted yesterday just outside the Citadel gates to Greater Arabel, at the centre of a number of street brawls. Hardcastle's mercenaries locked the gates and did not interfere.
A tiefling was spotted today, entering Maleen's spire with no effort to disguise his nature. Many people shied away and closed up shop, leading to a lot of complaints to the steward.
A large brawl took place outside the spire, the faith of Talos apparently being held in contempt by several adventurers. A priest of Talos was at the centre of the fight, and Hjort was rumored to have been present, demanding abject shame and fervent appeasement from onlookers.
The people of the Citadel buzz quietly about the need for someone to keep all the miscreants in line._
Military men in silver-and-blue armour are seen lugging compact bags of precious few belongings off a series of battered ships anchored in the Citadel Docks. On the waters from whence they came, the carnage of a small naval battle drifts aimlessly, carrying bodies and splintered wood with it. Tavernfolk regard the Suzailian men and women with a mixture of welcome and apprehensive stares. Some who were present talk of the regal, yet battered "Pride of Marsember" pulling in to anchor earlier in the night, flying a battle-stained Blue Dragon pennant signifying it to be a ship belonging to Cormyr's naval military. An irrepressible woman of noble flair was seen to be marching to the estate of Lord Malcolm Hardcastle before half the ships had even arrived to port, flanked by Blue Dragons in little better state than their vessels.
Words has it a mass brawl erupted in Maleen's Spire, then again at the shrine of the Fury's. People mutter saying that the faithful of the fury started the entire ordeal- while their fearful supplicants blame the "Templars" for causing the ribaldry by standing in the path of their faith. Regardless, it is uncertain who won each brawl, and what caused it.
Adventurers in Maleen's Spire speak of a new exciting discovery, the talk of treasures and dragons have become more frequent.
Paradox last edited by
Rumors circulate that the avatar of sune in the form of a cat materialized in Maleen's Tower, and had a clash with the avatar of Tempus, a giant dragon warned Archmage Aldek and he stopped the fight. Many people were injured but no one died, those more in the know suggest that they were actually two clerics fighting over a cat, but the bored commoners prefer telling the flashy tale.
_Following the skirmishes in Old Town yesterday, and the brutality of the fighting, many citizens of the Citadel Quarter are increasingly appealing to the City Guard to simply seal shut the gates and make do with trade and travel across Lake Wyvernwater. The Citadel is divided in fear and anger over events so close to their haven, with not a few calling for the Lords' Council to open up additional funding to strengthen the City Guard.
In Old Town, many of the gangs have gone underground while fighting rages above, taking to the shadows as adventurers turn the abandoned district into a veritable battleground. The residents of Shylocks' Pub slim in number, with the few remaining keeping a watchful eye on the door and a hand on a blade, ready to defend themselves should the fighting spill over - cursing the entire affair.
Although a werewolf is by far the most central target for much of the debates, the sheer volume of people and atrocities taking place has stained the reputation of many more besides. The faiths of Talos and Sune especially have lost repute among Arabellens, seen by some to be little more than bandits with nothing to offer the city but blood and death, as representatives of the faiths are tied to some of the most brutal and anarchic displays of violence outwith the werewolf itself.
It is a dark day for the City, as the Lords' Council convenes…_
_Violent rioting mars yet another Talassan ritual, as townsfolk run for cover against the backdrop of a man being stoned with rocks. The Citadel Guard are known to be growing increasingly antagonistic towards the Church of Talos and its displays of anarchy, with patrols pointedly passing by the temple on a regular basis - much to the chargrin of its clergy. Many Sunites are distancing themselves from the entire affair besides, as rumours whisper of a man of Lady Firehair offering his body to be whipped by the Stormlord's clergy stain the faith of Sune further.
In the early hours of pre-dawn, the Estate of Lord Malcolm Hardcastle played host to a motley assembly of adventurers in a closed-door meeting. The exact details of what happened are rife with rumour-mongering, ranging from fel-pacts to a game of dice. Clearly Lord Hardcastle was not amused however, because soon after everyone involved was sentenced to serve time in The Pit!_
Kingsman last edited by
Tavern regulars recent bandit-joke turns into rumor. Apparently, a mob attempted robbing a traveller from all his valuables. They say the victim had been a penniless gnome, forced to hand out his golden loincloth in payment to please said mob. Though exact details remain untold, evidence hints some truth in its core, as the regulars claim it was told my a pantless gnome.
TheSheep last edited by
Rumour spreads of a horned man said to be holding "festivities" of sort in the Shylocks pub. Apparently, a group gathers this time of each week to share tales, drinking and sometimes brawling with chickens in order to gain prestige and influence amongst eachother.
Thune last edited by
Word spreads of a massive assault on the Arabel from the swamps. The sounds of fighting echo for hours as a battle is fought in Oldtown. People speak of lizards and werewolves either working together or against each other.
The Tenday of the Furies appears to be in full swing with adventurers regularly leaving the city bellowing a Furies name at the top of thier lungs.
Claims are made that a way has been found to stop the undead rising in Easthaven but wether this is true or boastful no one knows
What is known for certain is a huge feast was held at the temple with 3 white stags being used to feed the people.
With a Laypriest claiming the Furies will provide for and protect Arabel as long as the Furies are appeased
Heavy Storms surrounded the peak of the Stormhorns today as wildlife for miles fled in terror
No one knows for certain what caused these Storms to occur
LittleMissBadass last edited by
Rumors circulate about a duel between a Dwarf and human right in the lobby of the Maleen Tower. Apparently there was some sort of religious conflict, as words like "blasphemy" and "heretic" are bounced around. No matter who each teller of the tale holds to blame, the outcome is the same: the human lay on the floor in a bloodied mess; the Dwarf walked away wearing a grin.
Ponies last edited by
Local socialite, and heir to the Wyvernspur estate and fortune, Merek Wyvernspur has bought the Nine Hells festhall, causing a stir with what remains of the local high society. He has openly claimed to have called to Suzail for friends, and entertainers to come celebrate his new purchace.
FZ last edited by
Rumors abound of a pack of bloodthirsty elves scalping and mutilating screaming humans in the ruins of greater Arabel, with many eyewitness reports.