The story So far: Cairn Cultural Information.

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Aggravain

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Please read below for Cairn cultural information. All this is generally known unless specifed otherwise. As we write more may be added.

THE THREAT:
Our story began when the world ended. Creatures from another plane, monsters we call the Vreech, came into our world. At first, we ignored the threat, for we thought ourselves above these risks. We had our floating cities and magic that allowed us so many advances, so why should we worry?

We were fools.

By the time the threat was realized, it was too late. We had ignored the warnings of the Harbingers, and for that we would suffer. Our defenders managed to temporarily ward off the threat, but our mystics didn’t take the claims of the Primal Fae. No one listened to the Dwarves’ visions. Our pride and our confidence in the world we made became our downfall. It ripened us for conquest.

It was then that we took measures to stop the Vreech, but it was already too late in many ways. The Dragons arose and made themselves known to us. Their ancient lore was unearthed, and pacts were made. It was decided that we would complete a ritual, one that, once completed, would banish the Vreech from our plane forever. The lore said a great risk must be taken, but with the assistance of dragons and our magical technology it could be done.

The Ritual:

A plan was made to push back the Vreech, to send them from our plane with a massive proscribe ritual. We altered the magic to allow for influence from various groups, and each race had to invest part of who they were - a piece of what made them them. We risked the ante in a desperate gamble, but we lost the bet. Each race gave up a part of themselves: The Dwarves their height, and their reliable foresight they used to find in their dreams. The Dark Elves surrendered the sky itself, and the sun now hurt them. The Wardens had made their oaths and since have become the defenders of the prime material plane. The stone of the land itself is now part of them. The Unions hive like mind has been shattered. The Celestial Corus has been thrown into disharmony and their harmony broken. The orcs long lives taken and cut so very short. The Dryads all fell into a deep slumber when the last dragon died. The jade pacts ancient alliances fell. All these changes and more.

Each race took a devastating blow in the backlash of the ritual, and in the aftermath there were whispered rumors that claimed someone had intentionally sabotaged the ritual. Many tried to defend the ritual, including the great Dragons themselves. Even they fell under the many variations of the Vreech monstrosities, their essence and magic fed upon ravenously.



THE MIGRATION

The Dwarves, as they now calling themselves, had a plan. Their High King had long ago seen what would happen, and they had built great Cairns within the Iron Mountains to hide traces of magic. The Selunari had their elaborate carriages, which they usually used for vacations, now loaded with supplies and goods, as well as the sick and injured. Many things were abandoned, and the magical technology that previously had been their boon became their bane. It only drew the Vreech to them, who fed on it and massacred any who stood in their way, so it was not worth the risk.

The creatures even ate the magic straight out of Earth and Celestial circles, and if it were not for the Order of the Silver Sword then few would have made it to Cairns. These warriors were the finest the Protectorate (the governing body of the civilized world) had to offer, each soldier an army unto themselves. It was this cadre who had been held in reserve during the battle, and they now split into companies to defend the travelers as they made their way into the Cairns. Some remained outside while the evacuees sealed themselves inside, hiding the cairn from spies and covering the tracks. It is believed none entered Cairns; they chose the fate of being the protectors of the Protectorate itself, even at their own expense.


THE COLLEGIUM:

The Collegium is an organization constructed primarily by the Biata. In the beginning the Collegium was a massive source for common education throughout the Protectorate, and since The Fall the Collegium has ensured that each generation is educated and trained for an eventual return to the surface. While not a political faction the Collegium does have goals of its own, and not a member within the Cairn is untouched by them. The Collegium also runs the Orphanarium where orphans, or the discarded Null, have been raised and educated.

LEY LINES:

These are lines of power that intersect and go through the mists of Fortannis. These conduits of power were said to be one of the major feeding sources for the Vreech, and reagents can normally be found near them. The “leystone ore” has been rumored to have been craftable, and the Cairns themselves have been rumored to have been built where these lines intersect deep below the earth. The most ancient of magics and machines are powered by them, and they may yet be useful.

THE CRYSTALS:

Originally thought to have grown near areas where the Ley Lines came to the surface, crystals that can store magic within the lands of Ascension have been closely tied to the story of the people themselves. Cultivated and shaped over eons, the crystals functions varied based on color, size and shape. Some were used as power sources for magic, while others were directly imbued with powers. Unfortunately, the knowledge to cultivate and grow these magics has been lost since The Fall. Now the few that remain are safeguarded, and are only used in the most dire of need. They are avidly guarded, and are protected for the potential of what they can do.

NECROMANCY:
The very thought of necromancy is abhorrent to the people in the Cairn and the lands of the Protectorate. Ot is referred to in whispers and talked about with disdain. Necromancy and any chaos infused magics are anathema. It is rumored that rather than risk the disgrace of restarting to it people have instead been resurrected and in whispers those that have talked about it know of someone who was out down by their own people for using it and not resurrected.
The Sombre Lance themselves seem to target those rumored of necromancy just in case. It is known where it is used it destroys the life in the area and damages the land that your people so badly want to reclaim. It is taught by no one anywhere. No one has ever seen it used (officially) it is a death penalty upon use.

THE CAIRN:

The “Cairn” is a city-state built underground by the Dwarves. It is one of a few such constructs that were made centuries before The Fall by wary Dwarves, the seers who saw the end of all things coming and wanted to give the Protectorate a chance to outlast the threat and survive. It is built in multiple levels, much like wagon wheels, with districts within each wheel. The Cairn is truly a marvel of craftsmanship and planning, as it has stood strong for a millenia since The Fall. It is known that there had been a few Cairns each with special names and purposes but even our own's have been lost in time.

The lower levels were known to house affluent families, as well as Dwarven royalty. The Cairns themselves were built inside areas of heavy iron content in the hope that the wards and defenses, as well as old magics, would be hidden from the Vreech.


THE RESONANCE:

This term refers to the ability to “feel” magic. It is said that when one resonates with an object their spirit can call out, and sometimes even connect, to it. Lore from ancient ritual scrolls, from the time before the Dragons' passing, talk of being able to link your spirit to the magic items of yore. Scholars believe that the Vreech themselves can call out with their screeches, which is how they hunt down sources of resonance and feed on them.

It is unsure if the Vreech can feed upon the energy of spirits.

RECENT EVENTS:

Within the last few years the Collegium has become more protective of the resources at the upper levels in which you reside, and all communication and trade with the lower levels of the Cairn have stopped. Resources, such as ore and minerals from the ancient mines, have dwindled. More and more scout teams are being sent to the forbidden and abandoned tunnels to look for resources, and rumors of some kind of invasive species being seen in tunnels persist. Sometimes the rumors float back, and all they talk about is the horrific screams that echo through the seemingly-endless tunnels.

Rumors always circle, and the most recent ones have even claimed that plans have been recovered for the ancient wards, and that emergence back into the outside world is planned. The feeling lately is one of desperation and anxiousness, and everyone seems struggling in varying ways. The Night Markets have become even more important for keeping supplies in stock, and there is a heavy sense of unity even with all that has been happening. It is widely said by the Collegium that "Only together can we rise."


THE GLOSSARY: COMMONLY KNOWN THINGS IN THE REALM OF ASCENSION

Paragon: An individual who represents the finest aspects of each of the races within the Protectorate: in other worlds they would be deemed a Knight. The Paragon has no political power or military, save what others are willing to give them. They simply are those who represent others the best. This is a role of servitude, and a Paragon only appears or is sought at the time of greatest need. Many Paragons have risen for a small time before helping search for another, and there has not been a Paragon since the Deep Troll Wars nearly 3,000 years ago. The time to seek a Paragon were almost always brought about by a foretelling by the Dwarves.

The Order of the Silver Sword:
A military force composed of the very best. From Ex-Paragons to the finest combatants each one is an army unto themselves. They are the force that protected the caravans as they evacuated to Cairns and sealed themselves outside to protect and defend Cairns for as long as they were able.

The Collegium:
The Collegium is a non-political educational body which sees to the needs of the citizens of the Cairn. It is responsible for education, training and prosperity, and while the Collegium may have their own agendas they have been the driving force for both survival and peace within the Cairn.

The Protectorate:
The political body before The Fall in which all races and their nations joined as one. This was founded in harmony and peace for the betterment of all.

The Sombra Lance:
A rumored clandestine force within the Cairn society that metes out justice outside the laws and controls of the land. They are beholden only to themselves.

The Rot:

Few official cases of this have been found. The Rot seems to be an invasive mold that grows over living matter, and can even animate it - sometimes even while the thing it inhabits attempts to fight back against the creep that burrows into its skin. Thought by some to be propaganda and justification for killing the Dryads, whom the Orcs harbor and protect, or as an excuse to cease rationing on planted foodstuffs, the “Rot” keeps popping up in tales from scouting parties.


The Races:

The Marad’ Unn: The name in Ascension for the Dwarves. Formerly able to tell the future with their dreams, since The Fall they have lost height and their prophetic ability. Nevertheless, the Dwarves tend to hide things they think of great import in their bears and are always well prepared.

The Harbingers: Elves from another plane who warned the Protectorate of the Vreech. They are marked by faintly glowing lines of Ley Line power running through their skin.

The Null: The name for Ascension's humans. They appear to be the byproduct of breeding between races in a world with little magic.

The Librahm: The Ascension name for Biata. These people have been integral in retaining the history of the old world so that everyone can reclaim the new one. They are said to have had wings before The Fall, and are the protectors of memories.

The Winnowers: The Ascension Dryads, who used to decide what life was to be kept or culled when it spawned at a Dragon clutch. They worked closely with the Orcs, whom they would then give the new entity to for it to be cultivated and reared. When the last Dragon died during The Fall the Dryads all fell asleep. They are only now just waking, and no one knows why.

The Incarnate: Created by the Elder Fae, the Incarnate are Ascension's Sylvanborn Elves. They are a timeless race who can change their gender, outward appearance and outlook when they resurrect. (Is the fact that they were created by the elder fae common knowledge?)

The Sonorant: Ascension's Stone Elves. They were called Golden Elves before The Fall, and their harmony and songs charged the crystals and powered various arcane machinery. Since The Fall they have lost part of who they were, and are now resigned in their path to be those without harmony. They rarely show a desire to strive to again attain it, and the Sonorant are now viewed as mediators and judges in much of the Cairn.

The Circle-Born: The Ascension High Ogres are not a normal race. They are the remnants of spirits, who were torn apart when the Vreech destroyed the Realm of the Dead and every Earth circle. Recently the Arcane Life Engines, which the Selunari created just before The Fall, turned on by their own volition, as if the Earth itself was trying to bring back the shattered spirits into the world. This birthed the first golden skinned child, the first Circle-Born. These Ogres are their own person, but they can glimpse the dead - including who they had been previously.

The Wardens: The Alliance Oathsworn are former members of the Protectorate military. They have sworn to make right the duties they had forsaken before The Fall, and all have a role in the eternal war. They are creatures of the primal plane, and as such have a hatred for the Vreech unlike any other. This carries over to a dislike and distrust of all extra planar creatures.

The Union: The Ascension version of Hoblings, who gained their sense of individuality after The Fall. They retain a racial memory and many talents, though things are difficult to process at times.

Selunari: The Ascension Selunari are very affluent. They formerly were master craftsmen and inventors when it came to arcane implements, and their great family dynasties were the cultivators and creators of many of the magic crystals. All that knowledge and skill was lost in The Fall, so now they strive to reclaim what was lost as well as to try and keep the people of the Cairn together as one.

The Jade Pact and the Wylderkin: Technically two different groups, but they function together. The Jade Pact Elves are Ascension Forest Elves, who have ancient pacts with the deep forest and honor the Primal Fae. It was these ancient deals that allowed the Primal Fae to make a deal to invest their power into the Jade Pact, which helped to defeat the Vreech - though things didn't go as planned. After The Fall a few generations passed, and Wylderkin children began being born to those with Jade Pact ancestry. Details for this and their connections are within the race packets.

The Star-Touched: Ascension Dark Elves. The Star-Touched are swashbucklers and heroes. They were sky pirates when the sky ships flew, and were known as commandos and protectors. The Star-Touched held a special place in the lands of the Protectorate, and for the ritual they sacrificed the sun and sky they loved. The ritual denied their bodies from even being in sunlight, and they feel pain if they are exposed to it. Even so it is said that no one gets the best of them, and their skin adapts the color, and sometimes aspects, of the sky at the time they were born. They still adopt more of the aeronautical war of their ancestors, and you cannot take the sky from them.


Laws of Cairn



If a person murders another that person shall be Banished.



If a person assaults another they will receive the same treatment they inflicted on the person charging them and spend one (1) month in jail.



If a person is a thief they will be put to death one (1) time.



All persons shall adhere to curfew. Curfew is 9:00 PM (21:00). Persons outside after Curfew must provide their work token. If they do not, they will be jailed for five (5) days.

~With the exception of Night Market Day, which is Saturday (the 6th day of the week)



If a person slanders another they shall be marked on their face with a hot iron in the shape of the letter S.



If a person commits fraud they will have to pay a fine of ten (10) times the value of the item and will also have to return payment to victim.



If it is proven that a worker does not complete their job, they will be jailed for a length of time appointed by a judge.



If property if not not maintained, the owner will be moved to community housing. The owner will also pay for repairs and pay a fine of two (2) times the amount for repairs.



If a person bears false witness in a trial they will be jailed for a length of time appointed by a judge. If the trial reaches a capital punishment, that person will be Banished.



If personal housing, business, or community areas are not kept sanitary the owner will pay for cleaning as well as a two (2) times the fee fine.



If a child is neglected, law enforcement will remove child from the home. A trial will be held and a judge will determine the punishment up to Banishment.



Each couple will only be allowed to have two (2) children, by adoption or coupling.

~Any persons found with more than two (2) children will be given the following punishment,

~One (1) parent will be Banished.

~If a couple has more than one (1) child over the limit all children will be removed and both parents will be Banished.

~Any children over the maximum of two (2) will be placed for adoption or will be entered into community housing until they come of age.



If a person dismisses the orders of a law enforcement officer, they will be fined 10 gold and jailed for 5 days.





All Persons have the option of a trial by peers instead of receiving the base punishment. However, the punishments delivered from the trial are not guaranteed to be less than default punishment. Punishments delivered by a trial are chosen by the Judge presiding over the trail based off the jury's vote.
 
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