Knives Of Rallah
The Knives of Rallah are aptly named, for here even the land is a weapon. A land of danger and conflict, dominated by a ragged coastline of violent water and towering stone, the motif of violent wilderness clashing with implacable bastion repeats again and again as a hundred petty kings make war upon one another, and as the very woods - a mystic wilderness of terror and unnatural magic - creeps to the walls of vast sprawling cities. Meanwhile bloody savages in shining armour strive to keep the peace by opening throats and piercing hearts, an impotent overlord has ceased to even call for unity, and a cold sun looks down upon the land it forsook from behind leaden skies.

Physical Geography


The Knives seem much larger than they actually are when seen on a map. Vast expanses of dark, endless forests towered over by mist swathed mountains and ragged rocky coasts, barely broken by even the faintest traces of civilization except where walled, stone city-states sprawl lazily over the landscape. The Knives are bordered in the south and east by their namesakes, four huge jagged stretches of coast thrusting out into the sea like daggers and sheltering three great bays. And in the north by ranges of dense towering mountains. The Knives are lands of extreme contrast, dense wilderness, and great hardship for those who choose to dwell there.

The coast is wracked by violent storms and tides that fluctuate to extreme levels. As a result most of the coastline of the Knives is made up of towering basalt cliffs broken occasionally by jagged rifts where the land has finally given in to the rage of the sea and fallen under it’s assault. Behind these cliffs in shoals and inlets broad, shallow silty beachheads formed by river deltas breaking out of the cliffs into the sea stretch, often for miles, out into muddy bays prone to hidden reefs and sandbars. Only the hardiest of marine life exists here, and even in the inlets great outcroppings of jagged rock and islands of smashed wood cluster. Bays of a depth that can be used as a harbour are rare and extremely valuable. In the far west the Irian Straits narrow into the misty region of razor-coral between Ahlonia and Donnaigh. The hazardous Gulf of Shay divides the Shaeish and Lleweith cultures, while the broad, deep Gulf of Toar does likewise for the Lleweith and Tuorvae. In the east the chill Garyn Gulf breaks well up into the mountains, while the Vargash Sea sees Ghanish vessels pass Ralstaan shores. The three gulfs lead out into the tumultuous waters of the Bitter Sea.

Inland from these bays for several miles around the deltas are densely wooded marshlands, covered by a thin layer of brackish, often very dark coloured water and full of thick, deep mud and silt, hidden drops and scarcely visible roots. Some islands form entirely of marsh-grasses, and these, which often seem like islands of dry land, can drift unnoticed by their passengers. Many travellers settle on what they believe to be a hillock only to awaken miles from their original position and totally lost.

Thick, deep, dark virgin forests dominate most of Ralstaa, and these have found a way to encroach on nearly every other part of the land. They sprawl and hang over the edges of the coastal cliffs, and wade on tiptoes over the surface of the marsh waters, delving tentative roots deep into the mud in search of solid ground. If the marshes seem hazardous the forests are even more so. Countless major rivers and tiny promontories, often totally invisible until stumbled upon carve to woodlands into a series of shallow rises and valleys. The hardwoods of the south give way to the evergreens of higher altitudes, but the forests are always dense with impenetrable undergrowth, of wild roses and creepers and ferns. The canopy seldom lets through any but the dimmest light, and at night viability is almost nothing. The woods also teem with more exotic life, and often an unwary traveller will slip unknowing into another world where the forests become increasingly twisted and horrific. Few return from such sojourns. The creatures of the forest are similarly dangerous, and just as secretive. Often faerie lights burn just inside the forest’s edges as if to lure in the unwary, hypnotized by their gay flickering.

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All part of the Starwood, and ancient forest with at least a dozen common names, the forests of Ralstaa are split into several major divisions, usually based around the knives themselves. In the extreme northeast is the Firewood, a region of great magic where the trees are in a constant state of autumn, and the faerie fires can become massive columns reaching to the tops of the tallest trees. The central forests are called the Silent Wood, or occasionally The Forest of Haeliard. Many areas of these forests has been cleared, but they tenaciously reclaim land almost as quickly as it is cleared, and the people here are in a constant battle to force back the boarders of the forests. Great clearings are dotted amongst chaotic copses of new growth, with a more savage, feral feel than the rest of the Ralstaan woods. In the south around Caldare the forests are light and dispersed and have many divisions and many names, but the largest is Larnarch Wood, which lies like a shawl around the shoulders of the Blue Hills. And along Ralstaa’s inland northwestern boarder is the true Starwood, mostly falling into the jurisdiction of the Cwmbran. Here is where the forest is truly mythical and eternally, defiantly mysterious. And where a swift and unseen doom is promised to all but the most canny and wary of traveller. Even the locals will not traverse the ground, but rather ply the skies on majestic riding-birds.

Fringing the northern Starwood, and at the centre of each of the Knives blue-grey mountain ranges abruptly tower out of the forests like bared fangs out of the treeline, and though the attempt the evergreens make to scale them is a valiant one, it eventually proves impossible. The Caperkils rise in the west of Cannavin, giving way to the Hoarfrost Mountains running from Wynd to the north of Cwmbran. The Kilbyrns run the length of northern Ralstaa, from the Hoarfrosts to the coast in the east. The Cloudpeaks border Bradenthyr and Cwmbran, and the Spearmarches divide Avalaigh and Branddale, while the Craig Byrn divides Craigbyrn and Blackstone. The mountains are cold, bare, and shed swathes of dark-coloured rock into the land below, making enormous wounds of splintered wood and broken stone. Further up the mountains become so steep as to be near-vertical and their slopes are covered in ice. There are few passes through the mountains, and those that are known to local guides often become choked with fallen rock or chunks of fallen ice within mere days, and are rendered useless for generations. Ironically despite their threatening aspect the mountains are most likely the safest part of Ralstaa, and the Skrāl and their various avian cousins who make their homes on the higher slopes find all but the most tenacious predators are no threat at all, and the dangers that the forests are home to do not reach to the upper reaches of the mountains.

The waterways of Ralstaa that feed the marshlands and provide the forests with their life's blood are usually tiny and choked with thirsty growth, but there are a number of major rivers that cut their ways from the towering mountains, and hack great swathes down through the forests and the lands of Ralstaa to the seas, where they either feed the great bays or else the younger waterways plunge recklessly off the towering cliffs and crash thundering into the sea below. The waterways hold their share of truly savage and horrifying life, but they also create natural roadways that criss-cross the land in relative security and ease compared to the overland options, and as a result great cities rise up on their banks.

The cities of Ralstaa are almost geography unto themselves. Because the land is so wild it is largely unsettled and the sprawling walled metropolises of Ralstaa are unlike anything else in the world, often housing hundreds of thousands in a landscape of cobblestones, gravel, mud and roofs. Many buildings reach three, four of even five stories and are often joined by bridges and scaffolds that help the structures lean on one another for support as much as they provide an alternative walkway without venturing to the ground. Cities tend to rise like low, man-made mountains, ascending at their centre, often near the water, where the tallest buildings cluster together for security, as do their wealthier owners. The cities are choked with smoke and airborne filth that sticks to the skin and blackens the roofs, and they have developed a wildlife all of their own that subsists in the alleyways and crawl-spaces and under the eaves like the life of the forest, but here unlike the forests the men who built this ragged landscape are the top of the food-chain.

Setting Trait (2): Untamed Wilds The cities of Ralstaa teem, packed with peoples bustling here and there, and their rulers command mighty armies from indominable fortresses, but scarcely a stone's throw from the walls, more often than not, the land is as wild and untamed as it was in its primordial days. The Ralstaans cluster together, in fear and reverence of the shadowy wilds, in their concentrated pockets of civilization, and seldom find cause to wander.

Spirit of the Land

Truly the Knives are the land that hates, for nowhere in the world is there so malign or cruel a collection of elementals. The spirits of the winds and waters howl and churn and gnash in endless, insatiable hunger, tearing away that which they can from the towering coastline, be it man or beast, caer or mountain, wearing away at all in their reach. The arrogant mountain spirits send their cold breath down to the very coast, bringing chill snows in deep winter not inflicted on other lands. Aloof, they defy attempts to pass or scale them with freezing scree and hidden pits. The spirits of the rivers are cruel and spiteful things, luring men with their rushing depths and gentle song, then pulling them under with strong undertows, or sending their awful denizens to pluck a thirsty man from the banks, and issuing foul chill mists to conceal all but the cries of the doomed. But it is undoubtedly the woods that have mastered jealous hatred for mortal souls. Overwhelming cruelty tempered with a strain of madness leads of ever-changing weather, horrid beasts blended from the parts of many others, and plant life unseen elsewhere in the world. Life of such ingenious sadism that it comes and goes from the world in an inconstant flux that never lets any grasp what truly dwells in the wood. Death is strong here, and the shadow world looms close, perverting and twisting and caressing the world. None can deny that the dense green wilds of Ralstaa hate men like few others. But some elementals have embraced men, awakening to find themselves changed. The spirits of the sprawling tohls are raving creatures, broken by men but not slain, tangling perverted tentacles of brick and filth around each other in a writhing parody of the wilderness without.

Political Geography


The boarders of the High Kingdom of Ralstaa dominate the Knives, though there are fewer parts of this vast land that go down on bended knee before the Banner of House Rallis than there those that would dispute their inclusion in the domain of the High King. There are four major racial divisions among the landsmen here, and countless smaller divisions between various noble families, religious organizations, ancient tribes, small trade cabals and other political factions.

Historically the Ral split into five tribes, the Cord, the Dunn, the Shay, the Orr and the Raed. The Orr were amongst of the last to leave the Isle of Men and it is assumed that they did not survive the exodus, while the Raed settled over the seas some generations after Ralstaa was first settled. The Shay, the third tribe of the Ral settled the southernmost Knife, the Dunn, the second tribe of the Ral settled in the northern knife, and the central one was left to the first tribe the Cord, today known as the Lleweithe. The kingdom was united in a semi-secular fashion under the direct rule of the earthly-Divhi Rallah. Since then the Kingdom of Tuar, originally settled by Lleweith, after centuries of independence now constitutes the fourth division of Ral genealogy, though exactly when this distinction dates from is a point of hot debate.

Western Ralstaa is divided into a number of royal fiefs, each ruled by a king belonging to one or several noble houses, and within these can be one or several independent sovereign kingdoms based around established city-states and owing fealty to the High King. However within a few general guidelines the fiefs of the High Kingdom of Ralstaa have total autonomy. They can make their own laws, except where the High King lays down occasional royal decrees. They can collect whatever taxes and property that they wish but must make tithes to the High Kingdom, and perhaps most unusually they are able to conduct their own politics and raise their own armies, and are free to ally with one another and make war on one another so long as they defer to the High King’s mediation should he choose to step in.

As a result there are many kinds of political structure in Ralstaa, but for the most part they are secular, feudal states based around a single city-state or a cluster of city-states. The unique city-state structure of Ralstaa means that kingdoms really have no boarders as such, but rather are free to range and claim what assets they can safely reach simply by establishing a settlement around them. Because the Ral are not farmers and the few folk who risk living in tiny settlements outside the city states are not governed by anyone but the High King, and are not called to pay tax or own their lands, ownership of actual land is rather less meaningful than anywhere else on Allornus. The High King assigns some of his closest allies the duty of guarding the outer boarders of the High Kingdom in return for his subsidizing their military. As a result places like Cwmbran have immense military forces, and are near untouchable to the internal politics of the other Kingdoms.

To the east, however, the High King holds little sway. The massive kingdom of Tuarvael, better known as the Free Marches, is too wealthy, proud, and powerful to bend before the High King, though the two nations have seldom been anything but the closest of friends. The Dunsain, however, maintain old divisions. The eight old provinces of the Dunsain lands are divided between six kingdoms, each claiming independence, and each intermingled in plotting against one another, and coldly indifferent to the western High King. And in between these lands and Ralstaa lies the Clanlands, a region ruled by the original Dunn. A fierce tribal society, aided by massive creatures of stone and sorcery, who have broken every army ever sent against them. Dispirit and semi-nomadic, they are a fierce foe indeed, and ready to name anyone foe that takes their fancy. Only Tohl Graihaen bows before the High King, and it is hundreds of leagues from friendly border.

Setting Trait (3): An Empire of Kings Ralstaa might be united as a High Kingdom, but each and every king within the high kingdom, be he so lowly as to rule a single Tohl, or mighty enough to command dozens, and their outlying caers and tors, is a sovereign in all his dealings save those with the High King. Competition amongst the kings is fierce, and outright warfare and conquest between these allies routinely takes place, all within the sanction of the high kingdom.

Social Geography


The Ral are a diverse people of whom there are five ancient tribes, two younger and one complete and totally alienated subculture. Besides the landsmen of the Ral the fey-folk also wander the wilds of Ralstaa, recognizing no king and lamenting their long lost nation. Trols are cold hearted killers dwelling in a magical city hidden somewhere in the wilds of Ralstaa. Finally there are isolated tribes of Skrāl living high in the northern mountains. Being so few and such tiny settlements they exist primarily as bandits.

Ral fall into a few social groups. Churls live in the wilds and live off the land, usually herders, trappers, hunters, furriers etc. as farming is technically illegal on an industrial scale. Villeins live in villages, inns, or similar small settlements, and tend to have a domestic trade of some kind (tailors, bakers, smiths etc.). Legally a village is a sort of commune, so quite often there will be a franklin responsible for the town’s crops. Because only cities and the territories around them are considered to belong to any one lord Villeins pay no taxes, but are also afforded no protection. Churls come to villages to trade. Crofters are either churls or villeins who have purchased the right to make money from the land of a local lord, so usually crofter’s settlements are found around cities. Mostly crofters will have a small settlement of villeins to operate his croft, and these villeins are indentured serfs in most lands, though each fief is free to make its own laws. Citizens live in cities, they pay taxes and are protected by their local lord (most commonly a ‘King’ or ‘Prince’). Normally citizens trade with crofters rather than churls - from the convenience of proximity if nothing else. Anyone feeling the need to be a King need only go and build a city-state, but if he doesn’t bow to the High King then he may find himself besieged - when he is eventually noticed that is.

The Ral are led by a warrior elite called ruire, and adhere to a strongly militant power structure. A King usually controls an army, and rules by right of being able to take what he wants, and below him a bureaucratic structure exists independent of the King, but dependent on his protection. Thus the King amasses property and wealth to bolster his strength. As a result no profession is more revered by the Ralsaans than that of the warrior, and knights in the service of their King, or of the High King are admired, respected and obeyed almost without question. However, in Ralstaa, the knight holds the duel role of physical and spiritual guardian of the people, and is expected to spread the tenets, ideals, and worship of the Temple of the Sun wherever he goes, to all of his followers.

The other truly revered profession for the Ral is that of the magician. Magicians and the common people have a love hate relationship, where the common folk at once venerate their powers and also regard them as somehow tainted. People refuse to come into direct contact with magicians, people who become too close to a magician, especially as lovers, are usually cast out of a community to live out their lives as hermits. Magicians who breech the tenuous etiquette between themselves and the common man by something as simple as making eye contact with a child or seeming to use his powers for some perceived evil risks instantly having the awe of the people turn into terrified hatred. Powerful Magicians are forced to destroy entire communities in self defence, while the lesser of their profession are murdered and have their remains thoroughly destroyed in whatever manner the elders of the settlement believe will prevent them from returning for revenge. Powerful magicians are usually forced to identify themselves, such as being forced to wear orange in the Clanlands or by being branded on the hands, neck or occasionally face as is common in the traditionalist Shaeish kindoms. However when danger looms the people are superstitious, and quick to turn to the magicians to aid them. Often in some measure of revenge the prices of such aid are terrible, and magicians have been known to demand first-born sons or the destruction of holy relics out of sheer spite masquerading as magical artifice.

Because the noble houses regularly make war, and their heirs die at tourney or on quests, the kings and queens of Ralstaa not only consider polygamy a sign of wealth and standing, but often an absolute necessity to ensure enough heirs survive beyond adolescence. If the ruler of a fief can afford several wives, he will marry to the limit of his wealth. However taking a second wife when one can not support the first in a suitable lifestyle is a great insult to the families of both women, and actually a crime in some fiefs. Women may have more than one husband in the same manner, though this is rarer since it serves little practical purpose. But only a king's line, that is to say a member of a noble family that rules over a fief, may have multiple spouses, and he or she may not choose anyone from a similarly stationed family (i.e. another house with a fief), unless they want to give up their right to polygamy. This is not only a useful way to safeguard succession for a male monarch, but also an excellent way to cement political alliances, and usually a given king or queen can marry a child into every one of his followers families in every generation, keeping genealogical ties strong without giving any one noble house a stronger claim to the throne than any other.

Settlement patterns in the Ral are unusual to say the least, and leave huge tracts of inhabited, unclaimed lands where the strong can thrive with tenacity and fortune. A King controls one or several cities and traditionally everything he can see from his tallest tower on a clear day. Boarders are only drawn onto maps in situations when two kings claim the same piece of land, and usually these boarders are formalized by skirmishes or all out wars, because friendly neighbours are usually willing to simply share the disputed lands, and both demand tithes from their residents, quickly emptying the area to make a healthy buffer-zone. A King then assigns noblemen to govern his city, some places assign a single nobleman, some of the larger cities, especially The City of Coin, The City of Stone, The City of Dawn and The City have dozens of petty noblemen controlling them in the names of their King, who may not always be called a King. Then to control the lands outside of his walls the King depends upon his Knights Bachelor. These men are expected to find strategic locations in the lands the King claims and build outposts. Each outpost is the knight’s responsibility to protect, though if a sizeable settlement develops around it the knight is sent to build a new outpost and the place is made a fiefdom and given to another noblemen. The lands immediately around most cities are divided between several fiefdoms, especially those along roads. Aside from keeping his boarders the knights are tasked with collecting tithes from the fief villeins and press-ganging armies if the Kings calls for them. They are also responsible for raiding independent villages for goods when food is scarce.

Food is a major issue for the citizen class of Ralstaa, as in cities a month’s food is considerably more expensive than a month’s rent. Because no man but the High King can profit by the bounty of the land the King’s responsibility is to collect all surpluses generated in the fiefs, and in the unruled villages should this become necessary, and because it would spoil if sent to the High King for distribution, he is given the duty of redistributing it on the High King’s behalf. As a result servants of the ruler are often very very prosperous because they needn’t spend their gold on food, and though they cannot trade in what they are given they still prosper by being attached to the ruling King. The King of a region is also expected to care for any agent of the High King who enters his domain, be they royal heralds or messengers, members of the warrior cults, questing knights and heir retinues, wardens or the High King’s armies, and to fail to do so is seen as an act of secession.

The nobles and knights of Ralstaa fill a twofold role however, because they are also tasked with overseeing the spiritual well being of the people and ensuring that they mark the proper rites and rituals to please Rallah. While most noblemen employ a body priests taken from their extended family and sent to the Royal University to learn their craft for this purpose, all noblemen serve as rudimentary Cannons of the Temple of the Sun to their people, and if the land is spiritually failing the High King holds it’s ruler personally responsible, so usually harsh laws enforce religious duty and assets such as temples and places of worship and religious festivals are paid from the ruler’s coffers. Smaller cults devoted to ancestors are often established to give a divine right to the ruling line, and make them even more aloof from the folk they rule by requiring that their ancestors, and even occasionally the King himself, be worshipped as an earthly deity descended from the blood of Rallah, based on the logic that if one exceptional mortal can ascend to divinity others must also, though always in subservience to Rallah. Cults to viran the unifier uth rallisViran Uth-Rallis are very very common, especially in Lleweith kingdoms, and particularly loyal states especially in lands governed by royalist families like the Caldares and Voeres have cults devoted to the entire current royal family including Carin and his children.

Despite the presence of other races and nationalities in the major cities along the Great Northern Highway the people of Ralstaa remain insular, suspicious and xenophobic. The Trols are known mostly as legend, though in a few settlements in Cwmbran they are merely monstrous killers, though a few Starwood settlements also see visits from bands of travellers. Meanwhile Skrāl are thought of as merely bandits, criminals lower than even the robbers and highwaymen that roam the wilds who haven’t nearly the rights of Ralstaans. Ghans and Haedrasians aren’t unknown in the Knives, but usually these outsiders are met with thinly veiled hostility.

Major Races and Cultures


The native folk of The Knives of Rallah are the Ralstaans, descended from the tribes of the Ral. Ralstaans tend to be of average height and build, though Dunsain are thought of as large and muscular this is actually a product of myth and not reality. While their build is largely unremarkable their colouration is quite striking. Their skin tends to be a dark tan and their hair, usually thick and fine, varies from a very light brown to straw coloured to golden blond, with rare individuals having hair so light it is almost a platinum blond, going white in later years. The Ral tend towards very straight hair. Their eyes are usually grey-blue or sapphire blue with emerald green and amber being in the minority in roughly equal measure.

The Ral are split between three remaining tribes, the Lleweith, Shaeish and Dunsain, and while the Tuarae are a goodly number of generations apart from the Lleweith they differ only politically and in language, and for the most part have the same kind of culture and tendencies as their Lleweith forbears. The Lleweith are easily the most populous and civilized of the Ralstaans, and adhere most strongly to the city state structure of Ralstaan life. They are a people who pride themselves as great woodsmen, artisans and archers and those who rise to the top of Lleweith culture tend to be concerned with gracefulness and presentability. They have a liking for fine things, and their warriors wear their long hair brushed smooth and lustrous by a servant they often have solely for this purpose. Despite a distinct appearance of effeminacy they can also be ruthless, and exceptionally proud, and are some of the most prolific duellers in all Ralstaa, with some nations extending the right to settle disputes in combat even to commoners. The Lleweith are also the most religious of the Ralstaans, and adhere strictly to one or another of the faiths of Rallah and the hero-spirits of the Ralstaans.

The Shaeish are more provincial, and tend to be a slightly more agrarian society, though still not to the same extent as any other race of men. They are a slightly smaller people than the Lleweith and are more interested in the honour of the family than the individual. Shaeish tend to think of themselves as more serious and more stern and just than the other Ral, who they see as either frivolous or barbaric, and the Shaeish are generally slower to change their thinking, and more suspicious of outsiders and superstitious than other Ralstaans. While they are by no means great seafarers like that men of Sigard or the Mhulak or pirate nations of the seas below the knives, the Shaeish do see themselves as belonging to the seashore and the coasts, and their longboats are the most common ships of the Ral, though they tend only to trade with close neighbours. The Shaeish seem more prone to facial hair than the Lleweith or Dunsain, and their clothes tend also to be worn for function rather than appearance.

The Dunsain are the most progressive of the Ralstaans, and paradoxically also the most barbaric. Historically always quick to rebel they tend to be the larger and hardier of the three tribes, and consider the Lleweith and Shaeish somewhat fragile. Their skin is usually darker and they are far more at home in colder climes, and also consider themselves to be a warrior race where the rest of the Ralstaans merely become warriors. The Dunsain believe that every Dunsain warrior is a warrior not just in body and mind but in soul. They are the most prolific practitioners of alternative religions and of magic, and the 'uncivilized' clanlanders are semi-nomadic warrior tribes who worship nature spirits and consider themselves to be very much in tune with the land and it’s innate magic. Their view of themselves as mystical warrior-magicians is further reinforced by the presence of one of the most dominant and enduring magocracies in the world, in the form of the Devil-Dukes, driven out just over five centuries ago, and somewhat romanticized. The Dunsain also seem the most ready to reunite as a tribe when the need arises and have on several occasions since the departure of the Earthly Divhi. Often considered as nothing more than barbarians by other Ralstaans, the Dunsain are really no more or less civilized, but certainly embroiled in far more internal conflict.

Native to the mountains that form the northern boarder of the Starwood, and to those that rise as spines down the Knives, the Birdmen, or Skrāl as they call themselves in their own language are the only true native beast-men of the Knives of Rallah, and can be found in very few other places in the world. They are also the only cultured race that makes it’s home in the mountains, indeed one of the few living things at all. The Birdmen have a human torso, thighs and pelvis with bird of prey legs and talons below the knee and wings in place of arms, though the joints of the wings have hand-like appendages. Their heads are those of falcons or eagles or some combination of the two with hooked beaks which make their speech awkward, but eyes are more similar to those of a man than a bird except for the thin semi-transparent orange eyelid that closes over the eye during flight. They are feathered only on their wings, shoulders and heads, giving the impression that their wings are a hooded cloak of some kind, though when folded they rise well above the head. The plumage ranges from a red-brown to deep reds and oranges. They do not wear clothing of any kind, and thus many of the Ralstaans consider them deeply offensive as they are equipped with fully human bodies, except that they are totally hairless. Living in small extended families called ‘Rookeries’ the Birdmen are lovers of things that shine, but are intelligent enough to understand trade, and they are both excellent merchants and talented thieves, often forming bandit troupes and robbing caravans, though they tend to flee rather than fight, so their attacks seldom take lives like those of human bandits might. Generally they have a reputation as immoral thieves and exhibitionists even in the few settlements that host rookeries.

Trols however are the true terror of the Ralstaan wilds, though they are thankfully exceptionally rare. Several cities shrouded by mist are said to travel nightly by ancient magic between the swamps of Ralstaa, the most famous of these being the mythical Troggort. Trol raiding parties are often hidden by cloying mists wherever they go. The Trol are tall men, with pale skin and jet hair, who clad themselves in forest colours, and move silently through the undergrowth. Some Trols lead solitary existences in the marshes of Ralstaa, and others travel in bands, murdering as they go. Some whisper that the travelling folk, a people who live as nomadic traders, going from town to town where they know they have been welcome for generations, carrying goods through the perilous woods they know so well, are in fact also descended from the Trol. Certainly they have the same aspect, but how could one people possibly be so diverse?

Timeline


All dates are given in the count shared by the Ralstaans and Irians, it is measured from the year in which Rallah and Irik left their people, and ascended into the skies, notated as D for Departure.

c. D 1730 The birth of the Earthly Divhi Rallah on the Isle of Men.
c. D 1020 The Ral leave the Isle of Men with the other three last tribes.
c. D 1010 The Orr are lost.
c. D 1000 The Raed are lost.
c. D 990 The Ral settle a region east of the caperkils.
D 930 Much of the mainland vanish under the wild seas, the Knives rise.
D 674 Ralsholm is founded
D 484 The City of Lights is founded
0 D Rallah departs
290 D The Dunn rebellion
291 D The first reformation, the founding of the Temple of The Sun (for more detail see the Early History of the Ral)
510 D The Devil Dukes appear in the Dunsain kingdoms.
521 D The Devil Dukes rule all the Dunsain kingdoms except Garynshae and the Clanlands
586 D The Red Hand escapes Caer Yvenghiest
593 D The Red Hand kills the Kaevin Valdur, ending the reign on the Devil Dukes
891 D Birth of Viran Uth-Rallis (then Viran of Alendel)
920 D Viran of Alendel besieges the City of Widows
922 D The City of Widows falls to Viran’s Mercenaries
923 D Viran of Alendel takes the name Uth-Rallis and marches out of the City of Widows under the Royal Banner.
923 to 926 D Uth-Rallis in Talladale
926 D Uth-Rallis in Branddale
926 to 929 D Uth-Rallis in Avalaigh
929 to 936 D Uth-Rallis in Haeliard
936 D Uth-Rallis in Lammornia and Caldare
936 to 937 D Uth-Rallis in Donnaigh
938 D Uth-Rallis in Rhuovaith
938 to 941 D Uth-Rallis in Coulbaigh
941 D Treaty of Garynshae
941 to 943 D Uth-Rallis in Bradenthyr & Lieutenants in Breconn
943 to 946 D Uth-Rallis in Kenatallen Wood & Lieutenants in Balleymoore & Kileirey
947 D Uth-Rallis in Uerenuell & Lieutenants in Cannavin & Wynd
947 to 959 D Uth-Rallis in the Clanlands
960 D Treaty of Castrette
964 D Treaty of Byrnham (incorporated Duncarrick, Strath Gorge and Craigbyrn, named for signing-place)
968 D Uth-Rallis abandons the Clanlands
969 D Viran Uth-Rallis’ campaign ends and he returns to Tohl.
972 D Viran Uth-Rallis dies in Tohl aged seventy-one.
1087 to 1089 D The Bandit Wars in Tohl.
1100 D Carin Uth-Rallis is crowned High King.
1114 D Present Day.

The Knives of Rallah, High Kingdom of Ralstaa
The Shaeish Kingdoms Caldare, Donnaigh, Rhuovaith, Kileirey, Balleymoore, Cannavin, Wynd, Breconn, Coulbaigh
The Lleweith Kingdoms Avalaigh, Haeliard, Lammornia, Branddale, Talladale, Bradenthyr, Tohl
The Starwood Cwmbran, Kentallen Wood, Uerenuell
Tuarvael Castrette, Serlot, Friesse
The Dunsain Kingdoms Byrnham, Blackstone, Craigbyrn, Duncarrick, Strath Gorge, Garynshae, The Clanlands, Aulorn's Gate
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