• Lying in the south of the Rhodam Empire, in the fertile plains between the port city of Dalun and the capital, is the Free Trade City of Lodast. Known across the land of Valeria as a symbol of freedom and prosperity, it owes its fortune to both the good graces of Rhodam's emperor, and the wise and patient rulership of its Lord: Arlin Forneld.

    Risen from the middle class to become lord of a city, Arlin was looked at as being just as skilled in words and mind as he was with a sword. It was he who rose Lodast to prominence from its former station as a simple farming hub, and it was he who formed the Free Trade Agreement with Rhodam's Emperor and Ruling Council. Now Lodast exists as a beautiful gem in the southern plains; home to craftsmen and merchants and men of all kinds looking for the city's promise of fortune.

    But now everything might change, the messenger worried to himself as his horse bolted headlong through the crowds mingling in the streets. His destination lay at the center of the bustling city, the Baron's Keep, where Lord Arlin awaited the report he was afraid to give.


    The inside of the Keep was not something an ordinary citizen could see in their lifetime as it was not a place open to the general public. Only those with important station and business, or those under Lord Arlin's personal directive, were allowed entry into its hallowed halls. Marble floors reflected the brilliant sunlight streaming through the windows, large and ornate tapestries hung high from the walls and depicted stunning scenes of battle, historic events, and mythical stories. Finely crafted weapons and armor stood like trophies of victory displayed to visitors and the numerous soldiers posted throughout warned against any potential aggression or ill intent. Lord Arlin found it all to be... distasteful.

    The grandeur of his castle was not of his own doing, but of his followers and his wealthy associates. He may have directed its construction, but its decoration was stripped from him and given to those whose fancy he found overly flamboyant and eccentric. It was the palace of a proper ruler, yes; but Lord Arlin never saw himself as such. He was a man of simple wants and needs, a man who still seemed to live amongst the middle class.

    Thus the one place he directed all to leave alone, the only place he found he might be able to return to that time before he ruled a city and was responsible for its people, was his personal study. A small room crafted of sturdy wood and stone and filled only with a desk, a chair, and a single wall of bookshelves; it was Lord Arlin's sanctum where he might find peace of mind without the day-to-day worries of lordship. But while amidst the reverie of an old tome, he found himself pulled away by a sudden knocking at the chamber door.

    With a heavy sigh, he closed the tome delicately and replaced it upon the shelf before gathering himself to greet his unknown visitor. He had no need to ask whom was knocking for he already had a suspicion and was proved correct upon opening the door. Before him stood a rigid soldier of lean build and average height; a fraction of a foot shorter than Arlin himself. His hands were firm at his sides and his feet stood together at the heels, but his face betrayed anxiety and his eyes seemed to shake from inner worry; as soon as his lord appeared from the study he bowed his head, took in a quick breath and began his report.

    "My apologies, my lord, but I fear I have news which cannot wait."

    "So you do. Speak and I will listen." Arlin spoke calmly and with authority, but inwardly he braced himself for what he was afraid to hear.

    "Yes, my lord. The Emperor of the Rhodam Empire, Tyrus Lucius, has passed away just as you predicted."

    Arlin's brow furrowed deeply as he took in the statement. Tyrus, the "Lion King of Rhodam", the "Immortal Conqueror" has died; and now a large power void has been left in his wake. As a youth Tyrus was a brave and passionate soul; born from slavery, his was a life of constant fighting and struggle until it came to be known that his mysterious father was actually of royal blood and Tyrus was promptly escorted to the palace to become Rhodam's prince and future emperor. Unfortunately for many, Tyrus proved to be a double edged sword.

    Displaying great skill in warfare even at a young age, Tyrus quickly became known on the battlefield as he led Rhodam's legions to victory after victory. His followers in the capital grew exponentially with his prowess in battle; as did his enemies. There were many who were against Tyrus becoming ruler due to his mother's heritage as a slave and consort, but it wasn't until the young prince truly became a threat that the assassination attempts first began.

    Their attempts were in vain, however, as Tyrus possessed what many proclaimed as the "Blessing of the Gods." Even though he would be stabbed, impaled, or even poisoned, Tyrus would rise up and slay his attackers or leave them broken without repair. To his people he was a divine immortal, to his enemies and everyone else he was a monster that could not be killed. These events only served to fuel the prince's fury, a fury he used to conquer half of the Grand Continent and nearly destroy the Kingdom of Setyra.

    Upon his father's death and his ascension to the throne, however, Tyrus chose to end his days of conquering and instead built a sturdy base of power for the Empire in the central plains; a base which has lasted throughout the years despite being accosted by surrounding forces several times. No one dared to commit to large scale war again; the cost was too high. And so a shaky peace has been maintained, but with Tyrus' passing Arlin could already feel the winds growing in an effort to topple it all down. He needed to act fast to avert the approaching disaster.

    "I also have other urgent news you may wish to hear, my lord." The young soldier spoke tentatively, his feet beginning to fidget. "We've lost contact with the north and the professor's last reports indicate rising rebellion among the tribes there."


    Arlin lowered his head in deep thought, the troubling information swirling around in his mind. He needed time to think of a solution to this dilemma and he needed more concrete information before coming to a proper decision on the matter.

    "What are your orders, my lord?" The messenger looked at him with a worried gaze. Arlin chided himself inwardly for allowing his inner distress to show and cause anxiety in his subjects.

    "You've done well, thank you. You are dismissed for the evening and you may ask the Court Chef to fix you any meal of your choosing as a reward for your efforts."

    "Thank you, my lord."

    Arlin watched briefly as the soldier bowed and headed in the direction of the Quarters before he turned himself and made his way to the Council Room. His steps were firm and his stride sure so he found himself before the double doors before even five minutes had passed. Two armor clad soldiers saluted him upon his arrival and he gave a cursory nod before waving them down and allowing them to open the door. As he walked inside, he turned toward the soldier to his right and spoke in a hushed whisper.

    "Bring Captains Gerald and Lexis here at once. Tell them it is a direct order from myself."

    "Yes, my lord."

    And with that, Arlin strode into the chamber as the sound of the heavy oak doors closing resounded behind him.