A Plane Scarred
History of Arlane
“Come children, gather ’round. It is time I taught you the history of our fair city. I will not teach you the entire tale today, though it is a tale worth telling. A tale of heroes and villains, of good and evil, of devotion and sacrifice. Today I will focus on why we live here, in the city of Arlane, the last bastion of hope in the known world.
“Many years ago, how many is a matter of some debate, we lived on the mainland, a land you now known as the Corrupted Realms, a land we once called Shandaria. It was at this time that four nations, once of great might and grandeur, ruled the realm. Individually, each nation comprised of many races, bound not by their racial history but instead ideals. Through such cooperation each land was able to defeat their long standing rivals and foes, be they marauding orcs, goblin empires, drow enclaves, or infernal cults.
“In time, the four nations met, and at first, it was in peace. Over time however, their peace turned to bickering over land, resources, and ideals. The division between the nations grew greater, leading to border skirmishes, subterfuge, which turned into rivalries, and then war. In time their bickering lead to the resurgence of older foes, further weakening the nations. All the while they remained proud however, going through a cycle of quelling internal, and then external conflicts.
“That all ended when she came.
“We know little about her, only that she came to be known Lady Eternia . She rose from mortal roots, some saying she was once human, others saying she was once a Tiefling or Cambrion. Her origin aside, what we do know is that she bargained with devils and was clever enough to wrest from them incredible power. With it, she was able to tear through the fabric of the planes, defy the very Primal Spirits of the world itself, and create fonts from which the Nine Hells could spill forth to claim the souls of the living.
“No where was safe. Not even the Feywild or the Shadowfell was free of the effects. Many were convinced our world was ending, that the grand experiment that was life was ending, and not even the gods could save us now. Thankfully, a watchdog organization existed known as Aegis. Forged in secret by the four nations before the rise of Lady Eternia, Aegis had many plans in place in case the nations would assure their mutual destruction. With this new threat, they enacted their plans, brought the Nations together, and tried to fight a resistance. Despite Aegis’ efforts however, they could not stop the continuing devilish onslaught, and one by one the nations fell to the invading infernals.
“In a desperate move however, several bands of heroes arose from the ashes of the nations. They were of the strongest bodies, the most learned arcane minds, the most faithful hearts, the most gifted by the spirits, and the greatest psychic wills. They told the nations leaders to take those still living and flee with them back to the thane islands and found a great fortress of the survivors. From there they would begin life a new, and when it was safe to return to their realms, the heroes would come for them. With Aegis’ help this came to pass and the heroes disappeared into the Lady’s onslaught, ready bring evil to its knees before them.
“It has been two generations since then, little over a hundred years. Our ancestors did as they were told and established our fortress city here on the largest of the thane islands and named it “Arlane” after the Aegis heroine who died to ensure the last of the refugees made it to the island. We are the descendants of the four nations, now only factions within the walls of the city. Today we bide our time, preparing for either our heroes triumphant return, or the fall of the city itself. Few dare venture to the Corrupted Realms, though enough now seek profit or treasure left behind that the number of adventurer contracts being written is increasing. Aegis still exists as well, now a more clandestine security organization that continues to work with heroes to find out all they can about the mainland and the fate of the lost heroes.
“And that, little ones, is the history of our fair city. Remember it, if people with shorter memories start preaching to you the superiority of one faction or another. It is only through our combined vigilance that we can hope to prepare for whatever fate awaits us.”