- 1 Overview
- 2 Recent History
- 3 Major Features
- 4 Regions
- 5 OOC Notes
Reikos was once composed of sweeping plains with occasional patches of deciduous woodland or raised elevation. The only major woodlands outside of the Great Forest of Peytaht were in Broken Ride, while only the south-eastern downs around Chalcis Mount really counted as being hills.
There have been settlements in Riverwatch and Haros Water for over 400 years. While Reikos was only conquered in 56YE, the Highborn had established settlements along its southern borders long before the foundation of the Empire. The chapters along the banks of the Haros were known as some of the hardiest and best-versed in the arts of war; during the civil war they played a major role in helping the Virtuous Assembly plan individual engagements against the forces of the Patricians.
Before the Druj invaded, this formerly peaceful stretch of the Couros river was home to pleasure gardens, parks, and country estates. A prosperous territory, the wealth of Reikos traditionally came from four places. Firstly, the Vigilant Swan and the Great Forest at Reikos produced quality stone and wood respectively, as well as highly sought after white granite and weirwood. Second, the Gardens of Chalcis produced herbs sold all over the Empire. Third, the wide roads helped connect the Navarr in Therunin and the Urizen in Morrow with the rest of the Empire and several towns grew up to cater to the needs of merchants and pilgrims. Fourth, the beauty of Reikos itself made the territory wealthy - the great gardens, sweeping estates and peaceful surroundings made it a favourite place for Imperial citizens from across the Empire to convalesce after illness, or to spend time away for the cares of everyday life.
For centuries, the only real threat to the peace of Reikos came from the abominable inhabitants of the dark forest of Brocéliande. All of this changed in 367YE with the arrival of the Druj.
The downfall of Reikos came from its border with the Great Forest of Peytaht. At its edges, the Great Forest is an abundant source of lumber; but its heart is wild and untamed. The long border with the dark forest was notoriously hard to defend, despite the efforts of vigilant chapters such as the Grey Watchers of Peytaht, but at least the forest was equally hostile to human and orc alike. When the Druj barbarians launched a surprise attack through the forest in 367YE, the Highborn were woefully unprepared for it. Those chapters on the edge of the forest that did not retreat were overwhelmed in the first few months of the attack.
The Druj quickly spread south, overwhelming the disorganised Imperial defences. The focus of the Military Council was elsewhere, and by the time the generals could coordinate their armies, the territory had already fallen. Emperor Hugh is said to have taken the loss of Reikos particularly badly, and campaigned to focus all Imperial resources on recovering it - unsuccessfully. The Military Council and the Senate had more pressing concerns facing a major mobilization of the Thule and the Jotun..
Many benefactors were ruined in the attack, and many more are still struggling to restore their fortunes. The gardens, parks and pleasant villages of Reikos were largely unprepared to face the onslaught of the Druj, and hundreds died in the initial attacks before they were able to take refuge in the fortified chapter houses. The presence of refugees complicated matters severely; several northern chapters fell prey to disease and starvation. The malicious tactics of the Druj served to make the situation even words - they regularly poisoned supplies; publicly tortured and displayed the horribly abused corpses of captured guardians and priests; crippled and maimed Highborn refugees then allowed them to flee so that their presence would further damage morale and absorb valuable medical supplies. Slowly but surely they pressed their advantage and drove the Highborn defenders southward.
Finally, in Autumn 377YE the Druj mounted a major offensive against the surviving Highborn chapters in Riverwatch, Haros and Tabernacle. The last regions of the territory fell beneath this assault, leaving only a scattered handfuls of fortified chapters as guttering beacons of hope in a sea of dread. it took some time for the Empire to rally after this defeat, but in Winter 378YE a combined Highborn and Navarr force crossed back into Reikos to begin the liberation. It was here that the Imperial soldiers gained first-hand experience of something that would later be referred to as the Druj miasma or the shroud of dread.
After a few skirmishes and the liberation of the Vigilant Swan, the Druj forces in the area - represented by a single clan referred to as the Stone Toads, withdrew into the massive fortification they had built in the ruins of High Chalcis. They left guerillas, traps and ambushers to harry the Imperial troops while they remained secure behind the great white granite walls of Urith Barath.
The territory was rejuvenated - and reconfigured - by a wave of Spring magic that swept Reikos in early 380YE. The magic saw the restoration of great swathes of forest, and the eradication of much of the lingering taint of Druj occupation - but it was not without cost. Drawing on the power of the eternal Llofir, the magic tore apart damaged and ruined structures without concern as to who had built them. The Highborn were able to protect some of their most valuable relics, but a great many damaged buildings were destroyed - including many chapterhouses. As the magic ebbed away, the eternal claimed the region of Tamarbode as its own demesne, a situation which continues to this day.
The establishment of the Gardens of High Chalcis, coinciding as it did with the coronation message of Empress Lisabetta, has seen an influx of healers and doctors into the territory - triggering a drive to see Reikos established as the centre for the healing arts in the Empire.
Prior to the Druj invasion, High Chalcis was one of the largest settlements in Highguard. Built on the hills of Chalcis Mount, and famous for its beautiful gardens, the town was a centre for healing and the study of the apothecary arts where the medical knowledge of the Empire was codified and expanded. The settlement fell to surprise attack in 367YE, the storehouses of knowledge raided, and the great Stone Toad fortress of Urith Barath built among the ruins. The Druj citadel fell to Imperial forces in Autumn 379YE, but little remained of the original town in the wake of the destruction. The powerful Spring magic that washed away signs of Druj occupation devoured most of the remaining ruin.
In the wake of this destruction, extensive work was undertaken to restore the town, and especially the Gardens that once surrounded it. New chapterhouses were established around the one structure still standing - the miraculously restored Shining Towers. These four beautiful towers appeared shortly after the destruction of the Druj citadel on the site of the old chapterhouse of the Shattered Tower. Returned at last from exile, the Shattered Tower have claimed the towers as their new chapterhouse. They report that not only do the towers surround a weak Summer regio, but that they seem to be composed of the legendary magical material adamant. In some parts of the territory has become a symbol of the unbreakable will of the people of Reikos. In the gardens around the towers stands the Grove of Golden Cox, famed for its unique apple tree that produces Golden Apples rich with Summer vis.
In the year since, the settlement has seen a remarkable spate of growth, heavily supported by Highborn exiles returning from Peakedge Stead in neighbouring Therunin and their Navarr allies. One of the more important structures is the beautiful Basilica of Cora Holdfast, completed shortly before the Autumn Equinox 381YE. Given that the exemplar was of the Navarr, it is perhaps only fitting that the basilica be built in High Chalcis.
While a great deal of work has gone into restoring the town, attention was also focused on restoring the bountiful Gardens of High Chalcis that once surrounded the settlement. Today, the great work they represent has been restored, and the Chalcis Hills once again bloom with a great bounty of healing herbs, providing a great boon to the physicks and apothecaries of Reikos.
The Sign of Tamar
This vast sigil incised into the plain in northern Reikos predates the first human settlements in Reikos. Created by digging long trenches in the earth, scholars have never been sure who constructed it, what purpose (if any) it served, or when precisely it was built. Scholars have paced out the sigil and drawn it, and declared it a humanoid figure that matches the constellation called the Drowned Man. There is some evidence that the sign is part of, or contains, a very potent Spring regio, possibly with an affinity for the darker and more destructive uses of Spring magic. If this is the case, its proximity to Brocéliande can surely be no coincidence.
Even before the coming of Llofir to Tamarbode there was no viewpoint nearby where the entire figure could be seen clearly. There has been a great deal of speculation as to who placed this sigil here, and whether there is any connection with the chalk figures of the Marches. Historians have also speculated extensively about how Tamar may have been, and why the region as a whole is called Tamarbode - it is assumed they were connected in some way with the original conquest of Reikos during the early Empire, but there are no records to support this or details of exactly who they may have been.
The eternal Llofir claimed the Sign of Tamar, as it claimed the whole of Tamarbode. The sigil itself disappeared beneath the enchanted forest that now covers the entire region. Even with the liberation of Tamarbode in 383YE, the earthworks that made up the sign continued to be overgrown and there is every chance it will simply be reclaimed by nature.
The Great Forest at Reikos is a Bourse resource that covers the eastern hills of Broken Ride. Custodianship of the weirwood groves is an Imperial Title that brings with it a Seat on the Imperial Bourse. It produces 25 Imperial wains of weirwood every season; control is allocated to any Imperial citizen by open auction during the Winter Solstice.
The Vigilant Swan
The Vigilant Swan is a Bourse resource located in Riverwatch. Custodianship of the Vigilant Swan is an Imperial Title that brought with it a Seat on the Imperial Bourse. It produces 25 Imperial wains of white granite every season. it is a assigned to the Highborn candidate who receives the most support from the Highguard owners of congregation resources.
The Grand Ossuary
The Grand Ossuary stands in Haros Water, not far from the place where the settlement of Haros once stood. A square, stocky building of white stone, it is surrounded by a quiet park laid out with every attempt made to create a quiet atmosphere of contemplation and reflection. Within the structure itself, the dead of Reikos are interred or memorialised, and many relics of the past history of Reikos are kept here - primarily those from before the Druj invasion, but with at least a few connected to heroic deeds performed during the conquest, the occupation, and the later liberation. In particular, the top floor of the Ossuary contains a library where stories from the occupation are stored. Harrowing tales of despair and courage, they include many journals written by those who fell to the orcs.
Work on the Ossuary was already underway when the great wave of Spring magic swept over the territory - magic that destroyed the remains of the dead as easily as it expunged the lingering mark of the Druj occupation. Only the desperate action of a dozen independent captains and their retinues prevented the Ossuary being overwhelmed. The names of Exarch Solomon, Inquisitor Courage, Guardian Maya, and Unconquered Jada of the Shattered Tower; Guardian Amon of the Raven's Watch; Guardian Cayleb of Felix's Watch; Cataphract Jericho of the Suns of Couros; Lucifer of the Cohort of the Winter Bear; Obidiah Rockborn, Ciaphas Dekar, and Arnulf Fuch, and Skywise Kray of the Imperial Orcs are all immortalized on a simple white granite plinth that stands just inside the main gates of the park. Without their intervention, the (apparently well-meaning) servants of Llofir would have completely devoured the history of Reikos alongside the lingering Druj taint.
Our assembly recognises the benevolent and saving Ambition and Loyalty of our departed Brother Gideon of the Suns of Couros in the creation of the Great Ossuary of Reikos. May his memory be forever linked to this Great Work and to the Prosperity and Pride of Reikos.Ianthe, Highborn Assembly, Winter 380YE (greater majority)
Another monument of particular note stands in the Ossuary, and has become a point of pilgrimage for new settlers in Reikos. A statue of Brother Gideon of the Suns of Couros stands in the entrance hall of the Ossuary building proper. Gideon was instrumental in the creation of the Grand Ossuary of Reikos, but died before the work was completed. His memory will forever be linked to this great work, and to the Prosperity and Pride of the people of Reikos.
The Ossuary is a great work; donations are made by visitors which are distributed to the priests of Reikos to help them with their work guiding the future, and commemorating the past. Every Highborn priest who operates a congregation in Reikos receives a share of the funds.
The Unbound Steel Hall of Lost Chapters
The hall was commissioned by Ella, Daughter of Zemira, of Reumah's Redoubt, using an Imperial Wayleave. It was financed by the Beneficent Order of Steel Chain in conjunction with several Highborn benefactors. The opportunity to construct the Hall arose as a result of the inspiration following in the wake of powerful magic that washed across the Empire prior to the Winter Solstice 380YE. A place of pilgrimage, the Hall is dedicated to the history of chapters who have fallen in service of the Empire and the nation. Built in the newly reborn town of Tabernacle, the hall is located on the original high street in Tabernacle, covering multiple lots that were reduced to rubble during the invasion. The Unbound Steel Hall is the largest structure currently standing on the site of the old settlement. It will be several years before Tabernacle is restored to its former glory but the presence of the Hall, and the pilgrims it attracts, are both certain to help with that process.
Pilgrims seeking solace in the lessons of the past first walk through a covered colonnade that winds through a park of a labyrinthine design. In the middle of the park stands a tall granite bell tower. The bells do not tell the time, but instead are sounded the time and day when each Chapter had fallen to the Druj. Arriving at the main building, the visitors are greeted by an imposing portico with massive columns, giving weight to what lies beyond. Passing the entrance, the pilgrims enter a cloister dominated by a huge statue of a basilisk - the protector of the place.
On the north side, the cloister lies against a basilica that serves as a place for contemplation and meditation. The vast space inside is filled with large banners of all the chapters symbols bound into a greater whole by the single endless steel chain that gives the hall its name. On the east side of the cloister, the Wing of Memory preserves the chapter relics and memorabilia that were recovered after Llofir’s season of mushrooms. Very little sound filters through from the outside as if the building itself demanded a quiet respect for the fallen. The wing also houses a large collection of scrolls, cared for by the archivists. The scrolls contain stories of the chapters, both grand and subtle, their culture and teachings, and their legacies. Opposite, in the Chamber of Murmurs, the stewards recite the names of the dead without pause day and night and they do not repeat themselves for many days. The Hall of Lost Chapters safeguards the Pride of the nation; here the fallen chapters forever remain a part of Highguard.
OOC Note: The Unbound Steel Hall of Lost Chapters is a great work that provides a pool of 30 votes in the Imperial Synod and 15 additional liao spread among the congregations of Reikos which are overseen by Highborn priests belonging to the Assembly of Pride, and who attended the previous event. Original text contributed by Tomáš Zdeněkovič Pilař
Seminary of the Swan
Raised a short distance from the Vigilant Swan, this seminary stands on a small island in the middle of a shallow lake. Waters from the lake feed into the washing pools of the great white granite quarry, and were once the main breeding grounds for the swans that gave the Bourse seat its name. Poisoned by the Druj, the waters were slowly purified until they were safe to support life once again. New swans were brought to live in the waters, the previous birds having been butchered by the orc conquerors.
The Seminary of the Swan itself serves as a school for the training of magisters. Built in a classical Highborn style, a number of smaller white granite buildings surround a single tall tower - Obadiah Spire - which provides the best view of the surrounding countryside. The Seminary ensures that students of a priestly background understand magic, while those of a more magical bent have a sufficiently Orthodox understanding of the Way.
It is an austere place of study, that demands much of its students and provides little in the way of comfort. To remove distractions the Students are forbidden to set foot on the mainland while they are engaged in their studies. The most common diversion for bored students is to take shallow boats out onto the lake. Eight boats are moored at a small quay beneath the seminary, each named by one of the "Benefactors of Highguard" who helped complete the seminary; the Pride of Reikos; Naomi’s Vigilance; Adoraims Ambitious Ravens; Asael’s Boon; the Wings of Courage; the Doctors Loyalty; Highborn Virtue; and The Silence of Atun.
The training of new magicians requires a regular supply of crystal mana, thus creating a steady stream of income for the mana sites of Reikos.
Completed just before the Autumn Equinox 381YE through the use of a potent enchantment, this fortification is built in Broken Ride. The massive citadel is positioned so as to keep a close watch on both the Great Forest, and on the threat of Brocéliande to the north-east - and to guard against any potential danger coming out of Tamarbode.
The rolling woodlands of Broken Ride were regularly used for hunting and for training Unconquered recruits. Only a few scattered chapters were built here, such as Beacons Rock which stood on the very northernmost borders of Reikos. These isolated chapters were easy prey for the Druj when they invaded.
In 369 YE, the woods were the site of the massacre at Exile. Built round a chapter of Unconquered who trained in the solitude provided by the deep woods, Exile was a hard place, and the Highborn there embraced many trials designed to harden the soul. They held out for three years before they were finally overrun. The Druj desecrated the dead, and used their remains to construct one of their grim shrines of fear and despair, responsible for helping to spread a foul miasma over the entire territory.
In the last days of the siege, the choice to hold against overwhelming odds or leave with honour was given to all of the recruits, not a one of whom chose to leave. In battle, the Unconquered used to say: “Remember Exile. We will return” in memorial of fallen friends and mentors. Since the liberation, many have instead begun to say "Remember Exile. We will always return."
Today, the region is sparsely populated. The weirwood groves are still worked, and a fortification has recently been completed here. Broken Ride Blooms still provides a bounty of ambergelt to those brave enough to work the forest. A few scattered chapters have returned, many of them dedicated to keeping a Vigilant eye not only on the Great Forest of Peytaht to the north, but also on Brocéliande and Tamarbode to the west.
The gentle hills of Chalcis Mount are the site of High Chalcis, and its eponymous garden. In some poems, they are called the Red Downs due to the distinctive hue of the Imperial Roseweald that grew profusely on their slopes - although in the wake of the Druj occupation the name has taken on sadder connotations. The Stone Toad clan built their ciradel of Urith Barath here, and it was from that citadel that they ruled Reikos with an iron fist; the citadel is gone now.
Chalcis Mount has a noticeably high population of Navarr residents. Primarily inhabitants of Peakedge Stead in Therunin, the Navarr came to help establish the Gardens to show their gratitude for Highborn support in dealing with a threatened Druj invasion, but many have chosen to stay - at least for the time being. They have established a small settlement on the edge of the region no more than a days march from the steading.
Outside High Chalcis, the physicks and apothecaries are beginning to return. The Fields of Remembrance in particular stand as a reminder of the Courage of those who fought to defend, and to free, Reikos. Perhaps just as significantly, the mine known as the Wound of Chalcis is in business once again, drawing up fine quality weltsilver from the dark stone cliffs overlooking Therunin.
The wide plains of Grey Charge were avoided by the Druj themselves, but given over to the control of one of their brutal subject tribes. The scattered chapterhouses were turned into twisted orc settlements, and the human populace reduced to the status of field slaves. After the liberation, the Spring magic devoured all the ruined chapters, villages, and farms that once stood here leaving behind untouched forest. New chapters are being established here by the survivors, looking to the trees as a source of Prosperity. Already, farmland has been liberated from the clutch of the magically inspired woodlands - Grey Watch Grasses weathered the storm of Spring magic reasonably untouched, and leads the way in providing food to the people of Reikos. The congregation known as Never Again, formed by refugees in Bastion, is based here. They actively support rebuilding efforts across the entire territory.
Haros Water takes its name from the tributary of the Couros that runs through it. Similar to neighbouring Riverwatch, Haros Water was made wealthy by a combination of prosperous farms and regular trade passing along the road and the river. The town of Haros, once a major stopping point for trade passing through Reikos, was effectively destroyed during the liberation, and the tide of Spring magic that followed after it. Most of the damage had already been done by the time the magic spread over the ruins - following a three day battle in the streets during Winter 378YE, the Druj fired the town, creating a conflagration that lasted through the night and saw the entire settlement reduced to ruins. The beautiful river gates of Haros, which once allowed daring forays by expert boatmen supporting the defenders, were reduced to broken fragments, standing as mute testimony to the loss of the last Imperial foothold in the territory.
Not everything is lost. A brave effort by several chapters managed to protect some remnants of the former town from the voracious appetite of Llofir and its agents. The ruins of the river gates in particular still stand, providing a memorial to those who died fighting to protect their homes. The only other structure still standing is now the tallest in the new town; the tower of Echoes of Wisdom bell-makers business survived the fall of Haros, the Druj occupation, and the wave of Spring magic entirely untouched A new town is beginning to flourish around it, taking advantage of the influx of lumber from the new woodlands of Grey Charge and Longshire. The Suns of Couros in particular have been active in re-establishing Haros. The Draughir chapter have established a new chapterhouse - a dim reflection of its previous splendour - and are encouraging other Highborn to participate in the rebuilding of Haros as a staging point for the settlement of western Reikos.
The plains of Longshire were not heavily settled even when Reikos was at its height; now that they are densely wooded this has not noticeably changed. During the occupation, the scattered chapters here were reduced to ruins and claimed by various barbarians. These unruly gangs of orcs squabbled among themselves, occasionally causing the Druj themselves to step in and make an example to restore order. Of particular note is the attack in 370YE when the Druj slaughtered every member of the clan living in the ruins of the old Granite Chain chapterhouse.
An ambitious band of Unconquered soon took residence in the ruins, exploiting the superstitious dread of the local orcs to maintain a hidden chapterhouse that helped coordinate the resistance in the western territory. Today the chapterhouse has been rebuilt by the surviving Unconquered. Working closely with the School of Exorcism in Riverwatch, the chapter works to help lay to rest the remaining wraiths that haunt Longshire and to provide support to new chapters establishing themselves amidst the new grown forests.
The Vigilant Swan was the source of a great deal of prosperity for Riverwatch, but a significant amount also came from the farms that sprawled across the wide, fertile plains north of the Haros river. As with Haros Water, the region was also made wealthy by trade passing along the road between Casinea and Sarvos in the east and the Navarr steadings of Therunin to the west. Much of that trade passed through the town of Tabernacle, a well-fortified triple-ringed settlement whose residents sprawled outside its walls in long years of peace. Riverwatch held out against the Druj for a decade, the last site of major resistance to the invaders, with constant skirmishing along its borders that saw the farms devastated and Tabernacle reduced to the status of an armed camp. Riverwatch was the last region of Reikos to fall to the Druj, and even then only after many months of sustained assault. While some chapters survived the fall of Tabernacle, the survivors were forced to retreat across the river to Sybella Cross in Bastion. A year of occupation saw Tabernacle reduced to mud-choked ruins scattered with lethal traps and deadfalls that would have taken months of careful work to locate and disarm. In the end, the town was swallowed by Llofir's wave of Spring magic, devoured by the earth itself, ruins and traps and all.
Today a village is slowly spreading around Riverwatch, named Tabernacle in memory of the town that once stood here. With trade caravans returning to the pre-occupation routes, the village is enjoying a little of its former prosperity. The re-establishment Tabernacle Legacy Claret in particular marked the beginning of the new prosperity; built over the extensive hidden cellars of the old vineyard, the wine produced here is said to have a particularly fine if bitter quality and has proved popular in several places damaged by war with the orcs. Further prosperity has been brought by a small family of respectable Faraden traders who have set up a small, permanent enclave in Tabernacle, trading herbs and wood with the citizens of Reikos as they serve as a hub for caravans trading into Therunin and Urizen..
Quality: Forest, Springtouched
The desolate plains of Tamarbode were primarily known as the site of the enigmatic Sign of Tamar, and at least one chapter was dedicated to protecting and guarding the eerie earthworks. It was also home to a couple of fortified chapters on the borders of Brocéliande, facing into the forests there and keeping a careful watch on the Vallorn that slumbers fitfully at its heart. Contact with these chapters was lost when the last of them was overrun by Druj in 372YE. During the orc occupation, the region appeared to be under the control of an especially vicious Druj Ghulai nicknamed "Greenmask".
The region was never fully liberated - even after the fall of Urith Barath, scattered orc warbands held out here for several months. In Summer 380YE, the great surge of Spring magic that began the rejuvenation of Reikos apparently began here, and the entire region was claimed by the eternal Llofir. Tamarbode became a primeval woodland that thrummed with unruly Spring magic, and was largely unknown to Imperial forces. Indeed, there were indications that the woodland might be actively hostile to humans, possibly as a response to an abortive attempt by the Urizen Citadel Guard to drive out the eternal forces here.
In the end, a combined operation by the Wolves of War and the Towerjacks ultimately destroyed the Castle of Ruin, and Llofir's Garden collapsed and was withdrawn into the Spring Realm. While there are still a profusion of mushrooms and toadstools amid the trees here, the forests of Tamarbode now seem to be entirely natural in nature.
- As of the end of the Autumn Equinox 381YE, the Highborn control all the regions of Reikos, meaning it is an Imperial territory.
- The fortification of Remember Exile is a rank 2 fortification in Broken Ride.
- The Gardens of High Chalcis are a great work which provides a significant bounty of additional herbs to any Highborn character who control herb garden personal resources in the territory.
- The Grand Ossuary is a great work which provides 1300 rings each season, split between the congregations of Reikos.
- The Seminary of the Swan is a great work which provides 900 rings distribute between the mana sites of Reikos each season.
- Prior to the magic of Summer 380YE, several regions devastated by the Druj had the ruins quality. The powerful magic invoked over the territory removed these qualities as they removed the ruins themselves.
- While the majority of Reikos has been freed from the Druj miasma by a combination of hard work by Imperial forces and the powerful rejuvenating Spring magic that swept the territory in Spring and Summer 380YE, there are still some areas that suffer under its influence. They are for the most part isolated, hard-to-reach places immediately surrounding a miasma stone.(OOC Note: these remaining areas exist primarily as a source of quests, or as inspiration for an individual player event, rather than as a threat to the territory as a whole).
- Some of the pre-eminent chapters of Reikos are detailed here.