The Nightmare Plague

Aerathia Today

Where we begin

Peace and prosperity envelop the realm. House Albion has ruled the land for over twelve generations. The current matriarch, Queen Catherine, enjoys a quiet and successful reign. Agriculture, industry, and trade all flourish under her wise and popular leadership. Of course there are the occasional border disagreements and commerce disputes. These are usually satisfied with a hearing in the House of Lords, a governing body comprised of the leaders of the seven Noble Houses. Among these houses, the Earls, Dukes, Barons, and Counts of Houses Albion, Hasingstoke, Trent, Zarovich, and McCairn hold the most sway. The Elvish and Dwarven societies have no representation in the House of Lords, preferring to govern themselves while primarily keeping to their traditional homelands in the deep forests and solid mountains, respectively. Halflings, generally unambitious, do not concern themselves with matters of State. The Aerathian military, though powerful and well funded, is generally engaged in protecting the borders against far away enemies that have yet to appear. The churches thrive as religious tolerance abounds and citizens are free to worship as they wish.

Spellcasting is almost entirely a thing of the past. Certainly, the various clerics of the realm practice the Divine Arts, but these spells have become cloaked in ceremony and ritual, and are rarely performed outside the sanctuary of the church. Arcane magic may still be toyed with behind closed doors, but rarely openly or in public. A thousand years ago, the Mage Wars were responsible for great destruction throughout the lands and this may be the reason for the shunning of the mystical arts today. Numerous magical devices and artifacts from that era have been discovered and some are even in common use, but spellcasting itself is frowned upon. It is rumored that modern day spellcasters continue to create magical items in secret, only to “discover” them so that they may be sold to the populace.

Where once the humanoid races freely marauded, now small tribes of Orcs, Goblins, Ogres, Trolls, Kobolds and the like struggle to maintain a feeble existence. Only rarely, in the aftermath of some natural disaster when food and resources have been depleted for example, will a humanoid tribe encroach upon the civilized lands. The Giant races peacefully reside atop the mountains that the Dwarves live beneath. Dragons, once nearly all-powerful masters of the skies, exist today as solitary creatures passing, some say, inevitably into legend.

And yet, amid the tranquility that is life in Aerathia, there arises a trace of dread. Traders to distant lands bring stories that speak of impossible creatures and vile horrors. The people are restless. Strange dreams invade their slumber and a creeping fear stirs. A chill shudder slithers through the realm like a silent predator. Something in the world has changed. In whispers, it is wondered: What could be the sinister cause of this ominous foreboding?

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