Posts Tagged ‘Rysia’

KYL: Lord Ralinkar and the Seven Spires

City of Ice

Onan and the Seven Spires

You play the game. You know your characters, and through their eyes you see a world. But do you really understand the world they see? Do you really know what they know? Now, from the mind of your Dungeon Master, come the answers. Read the column, learn the lore, experience Cromina as never before…

This time on Know Your Lore we explore the mythos behind one of my most beloved characters: Lord Ralinkar. How did he become ruler of the Seven Spires? What did he do before he raised the city of ice from the snowy arctic? Just who, exactly, is he?

To understand Lord Ralinkar, one must understand the place of arcane magic in the world. Initiates of the Seven Spires are relatively new to the world, but arcane magic is as old as the world itself. People have known and used this power since Nefrondin. However, it has been used at a high cost. Every time a magi reached out to the arcane forces he was forced to pay a debt of life. Blood magic thrives on the life force of people, and until Lord Ralinkar raised the Seven Spires now mage had ever figured out how to circumvent that price. As such, few indeed were willing to use this dark power. Arcane magic became the stuff of nightmare stories. Its most common use was that of the feared Death Curse. Sometimes an angry soul would forfeit her life to slay another. Time and time again this happened after the war against the Nightmare King.

After the war, fear ran rampant. The Nightmare King was banished, but it had been humans that called him forth, and people feared that it would happen again. Thousands were accused of being Dreamers. They were thrown on the bonfires of terror, and there they burned. But in righteoius anger, many being burned called down death magic upon their persecuters. This only served to fuel the fear of Dreamers and taint the knowledge of magic. People began to see magic as part of the Nightmare King’s domain, something used only by Dreamers, only by those who worked towards breaking free the Lord of Dreams from his prison.

And so passed about three hundred years. Then, about one hundred and twenty years ago, in the town of Aldrin in Rysia a boy named Elestro Ralinkar was born. He was the son of a simple thatcher, and should have grown up to inherit his father’s trade. But when he turned sixteen years old tragedy struck the small town. One dark night the blacksmith, Torin Numingrad, went on a murderous rampage. He killed his three daughters, and then his wife with a brutal battle axe. Before she died Torin’s wife, Paria, cursed him with her dying breath. Arcane power flowed out of her, cursing her husband that he would forever be a monster, that he would know a monster’s pain, and that he would never die.

Torin was transformed into a hideous goblinoid creature with an insatiable need to spill blood. Taking the giant axe, now nearly twice his size, the monster rampaged through the town killing woman, children, men in their sleep. Elestro woke with a start when he heard the door to his father’s small house splinter open. He rushed out of his room and barreled down the hallway into the master bedroom, just in time to see the giant axe seperate his father’s head from its body. The goblin turned on Elestro’s mother, and the young boy did the only thing he could think to do.

In a panic, fueled by anger, the boy reached inside himself and embraced pain and death. He felt his life force coursing through him and he hurled it at the creature. Fire exploded from his hands, and the goblin was covered in flames. Elestro kept the flames on the creature, powering them with the pain that racked his body. He focused on the goblin’s arms and they were burnt into useless stumps. He channeled the fire to the goblin’s legs and they disintegrated. But still the monster didn’t die, it couldn’t die. Though the fires burned through its chest revealing charred bone beneath, the bloody heart beneath continued to beat. Finally, worn and exhausted, Elestro let the flames die. The pain and agony slowly left his body and he surveyed the scene.

It was terrible. The house was on fire. Elestro had summoned the fire to save his mother, but lost in the overwhelming arcane forces he had called, he hadn’t noticed that the fire had spread. His mother had been reduced to a pile of ashes atop a blazing mattress. His mother was dead. The goblin was not.

Angry, afraid, racked with guilt, Elestro did the only thing he could do. He took the goblin outside, dragging it into his mother’s flower garden. From the shed he found a shovel, and he dug a deep grave for the goblin monster. It is said that even now, if one stands in that ancient garden, one can hear the beating of the heart below.

Elestro watched his home burn, and he never realized that he had aged nearly twenty years in a single night.

Aldrin had been saved by Elestro Ralinkar. The remaining town’s people tried to shower him with gifts. They tried to elect him as mayor, but Elestro wanted none of it. He retreated to a small house at the edge of the town. There he became a hermit. The townsfolk began to avoid the house, for it was said that in the depths of night strange colors could be seen flashing inside, and sometimes the smoke from the chimney twisted into unnatural shapes. On windy nights the sounds of agony were carried across the town. People began to whisper that their hero had turned into a Dreamer. Some tried to work up a riot, a group to attack Elestro’s house and burn him at the stake, but most were too afraid. And so Elestro was left in peace. For three years Elestro remained in his cottage. Then he finally emerged.

The boy’s hair had gone white, his face wrinkled. Anyone looking at him would have thought him to be nearly sixty years old. But the man stood straight and tall, and he radiated power. He came from his home just long enough to romance a young girl of twenty three, Alehandra Uldam, and marry her. Then he brought her into his home, and the newly married couple disappeared for more long years. Finally, ten years later, Alehandra emerged with a baby held in her arms. She too had aged quickly, and now appeared to be almost fifty. She said that her husband had died, but that he had taught her wondrous things, things that she would now share with the world.

When her child became five years old Alehandra gathered together the other children in Aldrin. She created a school, teaching the children how to channel arcane powers, how to endure pain, and how to create wonders from the very force of life. These children became the pride of Aldrin, and all watched in pleasure as they grew older. And they grew older quickly. Parents watched their children grow into adults unnaturally quick, but they seemed to mature just as quickly. Jakel, Alehandra’s son, became their leader, and soon the entire town of Aldrin deferred to him. Alehandra beamed in pride, offered a guiding hand, and when Jakel was estimated to be twenty years old the village elected him mayor.

But Jakel Ralinkar was not happy with the title of mayor. He and his friends wielded immense powers. They could change the very world around them, pull fire from the air, call monsters from strange dimensions. Should not the entire country bow to his will?

So began what is now called Ralinkar’s War. It swept through Rysia, and the country divided into two groups, those that were impressed by the young mage, and those that still feared magic and called them Dreamers. Ralinkar’s side thought that power should be stripped away from the princess, that Jakel would lead the country back to it’s ancient glory. But most of the country feared and hated this upstart from a nowhere town. Armies were raised against him, and despite his power Ralinkar was eventually forced out of Rysia entirely.

But Jakel Ralinkar was unwilling to relinquish power, and he now had many followers. Magic was rampant in his people, and arcane powers of all sorts was common. Jakel rounded up his people, and together they sought a place where they could practice and develope their powers unmolested, a place where those strong in magic would rule. They fled to the north, to the bitter arctic, and they survived by force of will.

But trouble brewed even here. Jakel laid out the plans for a grand city with seven schools of magic, one for each of the magical paths his mother had taught. But there were other magical paths that had been discovered during the war, and now it became clear that Jakel saw them as inferior and weak. The magic of creating items, artificiers, were especially pathetic in his eyes. Jakel invited all practioners of magic into his spires, but the lesser schools would be forced to give up their powers and join one of the accepted forms of arcane power.

The artificiers, and many others whose powers were not accepted, were enraged. They left Jakel Ralinkar and went their own way. Jakel watched them go and bade them good riddance.

It was then that Jakel Ralinkar performed the miracle that is still whispered in awe throughout Onan and the world. One day he and his people came to a hill in the arctic snows. There Jakel drew down arcane powers from all around him. A giant city rose out of the ice, perfectly clear and prestine. Seven Spires of ice thrust into the air. Buildings and houses of ice rose from the ground. Those that watched saw Jakel Ralinkar consumed in blazing white light, and it is said that in that light Jakel battled against the gods, that he confronted fate and twisted it to his very will.

The result of all this power was a grand city of ice named Onan. In addition, amulets of seven different colors had been carved from the ice, and for each of these one person was chosen to head their spire. Lord Jekal Ralinkar ruled over all of the spires, but his magic had left him twisted and broken. His face had been covered by horrible boils. His bones had become frail, twisted. He hunched over and his skin peeled away from his body. He had become a monster, an apparition of death. But his people loved him for it, for he was willing to sacrifice his very body for those he loved.

Now Lord Ralinkar sits on his ice throne in the tallest spire in Onan. At his will every child in the city is trained in the arcane arts. By his command the Genasi children were brought into the city and the spires. Magic is still feared in Cromina, but under Lord Ralinkar’s hand it has gained reluctant respect as well. People are scared of the Initiates of the Seven Spires, but the also understand that they have dedicated their lives to learning, that they are wise and powerful. Eighty years after Onan was raised from the ice, queens and kings seek Initiates to be their advisers. And Lord Ralinkar watches over it all, sitting on his throne of ice, covered in a dark cloak to hide the price he paid for his people.

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