The Adventures of Eterne
Eterne is located in the southwest on the Seas of Moroda is a series of islands nestled inside a nearly impassable wall of jagged reefs and rocks. Nobody has been able to successfully sail in or out of the jagged outcroppings that surround the islands, and the few shipwreck survivors that make it through are hard pressed to communicate anything specific about the world outside of Eterne’s barriers due to language barriers between natives of Eterne and people from the outside. The reef itself is called the fingers of Ilse after the goddess who formed the island at the beginning of time.
There are two main islands and a series of other islands that make up the entirety of the kingdom, the main island, conveniently named Eterne itself is four hundred seventy five miles across sporting the most diverse landscape of all the islands. Most of it is fairly temperate with wide open plains and foot hills. The most northern part of the island where the Treame Rivers feed into a vast swampland where salt is refined. The Treame Rivers run southeast and eventually converge to become the Stolme river, which runs far to the south along the high planes and finally splits into two rivers between which the capital city of Herion is settled. Herion is a city built around the Temple of Ilse where it is said the hands of the goddess remain cupped under the island, as such all roads generally lead to Herion where many pilgrimages’ come to their conclusion, and conversely where the whole world nation concentrates its trade. Also directly around Herion is the dense forests which supply the whole island with an abundant supply of wood, though the harvester of wood is a village about seventy five miles to the north of Herion. About fifty miles to the southeast of Herion is the Orcs Maw, a passage between the mountains that leads into the Jokunder Desert. This large wasteland is surrounded on three sides by large mountains and volcanoes and the nomadic settlements that reside on its white hot sands host open trade with the dwarves who inhabit the mountains around it, trading many different minerals and metals found within the desert and the mountains themselves. Far to the southwest on a forgotten peninsula is the ruins of Besette, an ancient kingdom that was fell due to pirate raid and conversely became the home of many different pirate camps.
To the east of Eterne is the island of Ghald, a crescent shaped island that is mostly covered in mountains, though it does have a forest along the northern tip, and a river that runs from the north into the mountains in the south. The North itself is sparsely inhabited except by ruthless cutthroats and bandits, With the only official city in the north being the heavily guarded port of Panere. The mountains are home to many dwarves and the cities themselves seem to be a retreat for the more magically inclined that find the minerals in the mountains and the flora and fauna of the island are very bountiful for alchemic purposes.
West of Eterne are much smaller islands that generally appeal to those who openly disagree with the political scene that the main islands bring. The Ferris Straights in particular host a multitude of small fishing and farming villages that generally produce people that have no love for what they perceive as a lazy seat of government in a otherwise hardworking nation. North of the straights of the twin islands of Mab and Frel which both host a cities of scholars who work hard to understand the mysteries of the ancient towers that stand against the mountain ranges of each island.
Eterne is represented by many different races, Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Halfling and Gnomes all have lived on the island since its creation and all races serve Ilse equally. The only exception among the residents of the island seems to be the newest members of the island, the Tieflings which came from a rift in the planes that was opened by an ancient wizard hoping to harness powers beyond his control and subsequently closed by a group of adventurers. Though they have over the years escaped the racism of being outsiders they still retain bits and pieces of their own cultures and ideals, though the names and faces of their gods have long since faded into ideals and practices.
While most of the races have flourished on the islands, filling the various places on the islands, some of the races have lower numbers for various reasons. Elves are the lowest numbered race among all the races, due to their long lividness they don’t often pursuit relationships with their own kind. There’s nothing wrong with their breeding, in fact they do have quite a bit of progeny among the humans. The other race that has low numbers is the Orcs, Orcs are primarily found in the deserts and are generally met with hostility as they meet others with hostility. This said they generally don’t breed much with humans, there are exceptions of course but its rare to see half orcs.
Eterne is an island that has effectively been cut off from the rest of the world, as such it has a very limited scope of religion. Though the rare few who have washed up on the shores of Eterne claim there are other Gods and Goddesses in the world, none have been able to properly convey exactly who they are due to language barriers between Eterne and the supposed rest of the world. To the natives of Eterne there is one Goddess who created the island and thus there’s only one deity to serve. Ilse is supposed to have brought they island into being by cupping her hands in the ocean and lifting up to let her breath move across the surface of the water. In her cupped hands she watches and protects the island from outside corruption
Those that do not serve Ilse tend to serve ideas and codes, its not that they don’t believe in deities, just that they know of no others to serve. As well openly serving another deity can become a bit of a problem as Herion has a large military force of Cavaliers and Paladins known as the Arbiters of Ilse who make life hard for anyone who does not openly serve Ilse. The main island of Eterne is the island most in the grips of the Arbiters, and unless there’s a major dispute they rarely ever leave it, so most people just move to other islands to live their life quietly.
Ilse herself is something of a mystery, her domains and her appearance vary greatly depending on who tells her origin. To the humans she appears as a blonde haired, blue eyed ghost like woman in flowing white robes, where the dwarves see her as a hardy brown haired brown eyed dwarf in thick durable clothing with a blacksmiths hammer at her side. Further still her domains of control seem to change as well with the different races, Dwarves tend to attribute her to goddess of earth, fire, and glory. Elves on the other hand give her domains of freedom, community, and nobility. Gnomes incite magic, and law while Halflings claim that she is a goddess of luck, and charm. Humans seem to like to make her out as a goddess of knowledge and good, conversely Orcs like call her a goddess of strength. Despite all that most races can agree that she does consistently have the domains of Water and Wind as that is a constant in the story of the islands creation.
In the beginning the world was bare, seeing this, the great goddess Ilse bent down and cupped her hands along the surface of the water to bring it up to her face. As she looked into her glorious reflection she let out a breath which rippled across the surface of the water, from those ripples rose the island of Eterne. Pleased with her creation she held the tiny island close to her, creating people to tend to it, protected from the rest of the worlds corruption and misery. And the people served her, protected and kept close by her.
Eterne’s early history is steeped in mystery, nobody really knows where all the races began, or when they started coexisting with each other. There are stories and theories that when the island first came into existence that many of the races started out warring each other, gaining bits of territory on the islands. This is definitely the case with the Dwarves who weren’t discovered in the mountains until long after recorded history began and the races started trying to mine the mountains for precious resources.
The beginning of recorded history can be dated back to the ruins of Besette on the southern peninsula of the island. It’s ironic to admit that evil forces united uner one banner before all the races actually united. Besette was a thriving human community that became the target of pirates and slavers, eventually falling. The human kingdom would have probably ceased to be there, however they were able to convince the Elves of an alliance due to the elven coastal villages becoming the next target of the pirates. Together they were able to drive back the pirate forces and eventually able to reason with the rest of the races to make an alliance against the pirates. After that the capital city of Herion was set up where there was supposedly access to the hands of Ilse, eventually the city elected a council of members from all races and established a large cathedral in the name of Ilse.
Life continued pretty uneventfully until a wizard by the name of Jochard Davaris came up with a plan to tap into other planes of existence to increase his own power. The then fledgling Arbiters of Ilse mounted an offensive against the dark and powerful wizard and were eventually able to close the tear in dimensions with the help of a group of adventurers. Their victory came at a price however that they couldn’t really comprehend at the time, the tear in the dimensions brought forth Tieflings from other planes, who after learning the language of the land began to tell people of other deities and religions in other dimensions. Though most of the names of their deities were actually lost this began to bring people to the realization that they didn’t have to serve Ilse.
Eventually this split in the mono-theology brought about a civil war between the peoples of the island, the Arbiters fighting against those who did not openly serve Ilse The war never came to a proper conclusion but the open warfare eventually petered out due to people beginning to hide their opinions on theology rather than display them in the open. Eventually those who disagreed with the teachings of Ilse separated themselves from the main island in order to live lives on other islands in the Eterne sea. Currently there is still tension between the two views of thought, but there hasn’t been any reported cases of open hostility for nearly fifty years.