The Rise and Fall of Kharud


s we made our way south the land was scarred deeply by the ravages of war. There are many stories of courage and mighty battles wherever you go in these lands. Less spoken of are those lost and the horrors beheld by those left behind. Barlak was one that survived the darkest of times but he spoke little of Gynka. This was once his home and as we gathered in a tavern close to the harbour that night, drinking more ale than usual, one had to wonder what loss he had suffered. As he recounted a sombre tale of destruction wrought and the mysterious part played by a distant land we came to understand how much our next journey would mean to him.

In time the sorcerer Kharud had emerged as a growing power across the lands. From relative obscurity he rose quickly to prominence as a scholar in the Salkamaerian city of Nubis. Ambitious and with an expanding following, his influence soon spread throughout the region. Gaining control of the most powerful legions, he earned a reputation as a ruthless commander and rumours began to circulate that he had a powerful magical artefact in his possession. Within years Kharud had turned his attention to Albar. Already weakened by centuries of war the empire was soon crumbling before his might. Swift victories led to fear that he in fact held more than one of the magical gems, once bequeathed to mortals by the Gods themselves, and soon he was conquering much of the land.

War ravaged the lands for many more years to come but as most succumbed to his advancing legions, Kharud's attention was drawn to the resilience of a little known peninsula by the name of Illarion. Whilst some of his legions continued to lay siege to the last remnants of the old empires, Kharud sent vast fleets of warships across the seas. Rumours would have it these three fledgling realms of Cadomyr, Galmair and Runewick stood unbowed against the Sorcerer. Unexpectedly powerful, suspicions arose that Kharud had found the custodians of the remaining three gems of power. Intent on acquiring the gems that would affirm his ambitions as undisputed overlord of all lands his arrogance and impatience for supremacy bettered him. Utterly confident of victory, and convinced none would dare betray him, he divided his forces, sending forth three generals, each armed with one of his magical gems.

Only a few know precisely how the wisdom of Archmage Elvaine Morgan of Runewick, the bravery of Sir Reginald of Cadomyr, and shrewdness of Don Tommaso Guilianni of Galmair overcame their foes but undoubtedly each played their part in this unlikely alliance. With the loss of the magical protection of the gems the remaining legions of the Sorcerer were quickly vanquished, the smoke of war rising to the north. None speak of what happened to Kharud himself, but from that day forth he was never seen again. So it came that the three rulers of Illarion became the custodians of six gems of power, only the diamond remaining out of mortal reach. Whilst the old empires crushed by the Sorcerer struggled to recover their former prestige, Illarion flourished. The passing of Kharud was marked by the resetting of the calendar, a reminder to all of how close annihilation had come and the danger of the gems falling into the wrong hands.