An Island


ur whole company boarded the ship the following morning, such was the faith in our Master. As we sat out on deck drawing away from his sombre memories he shared with us a tale of hope found but then lost.

The tiny island of Hope in the Great Ocean, that would later become known as Gobaith, had became a symbol of hope for some refugees fleeing the anarchy that swept across the lands as the old empires collapsed. The land was fertile with vast forests and the mountains were rich with minerals, yet only lizards inhabited the coastal waters. An old lighthouse and haunted temple ruins were all that indicated past settlement of the island but this tiny enclave seemed untouched by the destruction that had swept the mainland.

The first colonists of the island held dreams of a new beginning, a place where all would be treated as equals. They pledged to leave their past behind and forget the bitter feuds of the mortal races that had brought about such suffering. The settlement 'Troll's Bane' was established, named after the first dwarven king, Udan Trollbane. In these early days refugees of all races cowered together with a shared goal, simply to survive.

The past is difficult to leave behind though and not all could forget what had been left behind. Desires to be amongst their own kind drove division amongst the fledgling population and guilds, tribes, cults and races began to separate once more. The dwarves took the first steps, digging out their own caves beneath the Copper Mountains, creating the magnificent stronghold of Silverbrand. The settlements of Greenbriar, Vanima, and Northerot, later called Varshikar, soon followed, along with a number of smaller communities. In time some achieved great feats or even established great notoriety. Others simply went about their daily business and would never be remembered by any but those dear to them.

Frustrated at the constant devastation wrought by their own creations, it is said the Elder Gods once more returned to the mortal plane. The Beacon of Hope brought prophecies of doom, a warning from the Younger Gods of what was to come. Such was the wrath of the Elder Gods they would not arrive unnoticed. Although Gobaith was a speck in the ocean and held no great significance, the isolated island paid the ultimate price for the self destructiveness of the mortal races. Some will claim punishment was long overdue and it was time the colonists suffered for fleeing war and responsibility. As Tanora returned to the oceans, the seas swelled and Tol Vanima and Greenbriar sunk beneath the waves. The ground shook with the power of Ushara, burying Silverbrand and damaging buildings across the island. As the islanders desperately congregated in the remaining settlements energy released by Eldan's return disrupted minds, creating havoc as the population was terrorised by visions, illusions and loss of control. The air grew heavy and the arrival of Findari brought immense thunderstorms. The coming of Brágon dealt the final blow as meteors rained down devastating anything in their path. The land ablaze, people fled looking for whatever salvation they could find. Only Illarion heard the plight of this distant island across the Great Ocean and in those last days refugees were plucked from the sinking island as it crumbled beneath the wrath of the Gods. With promises of glory, wisdom and prosperity there was new hope.

Illarion was Barlak's symbol of hope. This was his refuge, his chance to lay his memories of the past to rest and spend his last years at peace. For me, Illarion held a different kind of hope. Illarion promised wealth in whatever form it may come and experiences that could only have been imagined in my former life, in short this new land offered me hope of a future.