Many apologies for the down time, everyone. Real life has rudely intruded. Anyways, for today, we’d like to introduce some of the backstory for the Humans featured in Thrones of Iron!
Once, long ago, the area that was to become the human realm of Garrick on the continent of Atlica was largely uninhabited. Altaris, an exiled nobleman from a far-distant country, arrived with a small band of settlers and soldiers in tow. He decided to halt their wandering amidst the hills and forests of this uncharted place, and established the realm. He declared himself Lord President, with the first city built by his people called Freehaven. Freehaven in time grew to be the largest city of Garrick and was designated the capital.
As the city grew, it became renowned as a place for the dispossessed and those seeking a new start. The exiles, washouts, riffraff, and runaways from foreign lands came together under the protection of the Lord President’s jurisdiction, and during the thirty peaceful years of his reign Garrick would expand, five more towns springing up and growing into thriving cities of their own:
The first town was Fjord’s Crossing. It was built near the Spirit River and founded by the explorer Harbinger Fjord. It is the furthest west; beyond it lays largely unexplored territory full of pine forests.
The second town was the port known as Mar Dunra, built along the inlets of the Gulf of Sodemare. Sodemare was the Dwarven word for “southwards” and where Dwarven traders first made contact with human merchants. This city is northeast of the capitol. Due to its lucrative trade, it’s considered the second most important town after the capitol.
The third town was called Foundry. Nearby is the adjacent village of Coalforge. Incidentally this is the region where most of the mining and forge-work is done. It is closest to the southern border of Garrick, which is where the mountains are.
The fourth town was called Hilldale. Hilldale is not far from Mar Dunra. In fact Hilldale is almost as vital because they are a trade link to the towns between Mar Dunra and the others.
And the fifth town was called Uppcroft. This is to the north and is where most of the farmland has been cleared out. The so-called breadbasket of the country is perhaps its single most important area.
Over time, the nation of Garrick grew strong and prosperous. They became renowned for their architecture and carpentry. The natural human thirst for progress and technology led to rapid development of steam engines. The humans also have a rudimentary grasp of the nature of electricity but steam-power remains more prominent. Gas as fuel for lighting is also common, much like the gaslight lanterns from the real world’s past.
The rival jungle nation of Ardel Kadji, home of the cunning trolls, however, grew jealous of Garrick’s wealth and influence. What started out as economic competition grew into political feuding; it wasn’t long before all-out war erupted between them; trading partners around the continent of Atlica stood by and watched, afraid to get involved in one side or another.
The war lasted three years. Ardel stubbornly attempted four separate invasions of Garrick; all four invasions were repelled, each invading force sent home in shambles. Their brutal war spilled across the borders of neutral neighbors. Unwary to bring down the wrath of either belligerent, even the countries with the war being fought inside their territory did nothing, not even attempt mediation. It was understood in this part of the world that although peace and riches were amongst the most valuable commodities, once blood was spilled it must continue to spill until one side gave in or both sides brought each other to mutual ruin.
Happily for Garrick, mutual ruin was not the case. Their innovative technology led to their victory. Experimental weaponry was brought into play. When at last Garrick was able to push into Ardel territory, their counter-invasion was expedited by the remarkable weapons at their disposal. Flamethrowers cleared out the vegetation. The villages, towns, and cities would then quickly fall to sword and spear. The ramparts of Kadjinro, the second city of Ardel Kadji famous for their presumably invincible walls, were blasted down with barrels of gunpowder planted under the walls by Garrick’s sappers. Their sneaky engineers would dig down, set the barrels, and explode them in precise weak spots to maximize both damage and confusion.
Ardel’s capital, Ardelia, was the last one to fall. The besieged city bore witness to Garrick’s most terrifying weapon: the steam-powered machine gun. To prove that Garrick was not to be trifled with after Ardelia was burned to the ground its arable farmland was salted and filled with the corpses of all the slain defenders of the city.
This is only the first part of the human backstory. More will be posted soon.