| Fiction in Progress
These pages are currently in development & only intended for developers and authors. None of the info here should be seen as official yet.
Notice: Only Gaia & Red banner are "finished" this far, but even they need some lingual love...
Once upon a time there was a great continent. Together with the mighty ocean surrounding it, it gave shape to the world of Irdiya. It was a distant planet in a quiet corner of the universe where little technological advancements had been made compared with the systems not far away.
How the world came to be is not known. Neither is it's history as anthropology and archeology are newly born disciplines which are yet to unveil the background. Life on the planet is as on any average world in it's middle ages. There is nothing special about it even if it does have it's distinct cultures and sentient species. Due to the worlds vast size there are many different people and ways of life.
There are those that worship the gods, while other resort to science. For some the acquisition of wealth itself is the sole meaning of life while yet others believe it is living for the collective. Mathematics, mythical rituals, primitive machinery, the wielding of the steel and casting of magic all co-exist. Even though some species see the world as black and white most of the peoples have come to understand that cultural diversity blends right and wrong into the purest shade of grey. On Irdiya anything goes from somebody's perspective: Morality is a matter of belief and conviction, or the proper lack of it.
The world, like any other, had it's times of peace and conflict. Different confrontations still arise between the factions, and there are even alliances which are made up of armies from several species. Loyalty is earned or bought. Every warrior is ready to fight for something. Every heart has it's destiny.
Time served the world with scientific advancements in the fields of medicine, agriculture and technology. The once deserted and spatial world has now entered a new era where every inch of land counts. It's overpopulated and as a result resources are scarce and the survival of the fittest has become the guiding star. Some say the ancient prophecies are about to come true as new conflicts are colouring the skies red with fire. The worrying signs that the dead have begun to walk the earth again has fueled the already wide spread chaos: Conflicts between as well as within city states and kingdoms are in abundance.
The reasons for conflict vary. In some cases it's for the right to exist, for better living conditions and freedom. In others it's about pure greed, or a battle between religious faith, ideology and ethical conviction. Reasons put aside, one thing remains certain - the winners reap the awards while the losing parties are devoured into historical oblivion.
It's said that he, or she, who controls the land controls the universe. In conclusion, this is the saga of Irdiya. What has already happend to the world can't ever be undone. The future however, is in your hands.
Once their society was relocated a long period of stagnation stepped in. The elves became a more and more unusual sight in the cities of mankind. It was not until there came to be new generations that the rebel descendants began to journey further astray and slowly regaining their interest in the world outside of the forest realms. Where the woodlands stretched thin and mighty rivers divided the lands, flowing into the oceans, they came in sparse contact with the Merfolk, with whom they had a common connection with to life and nature.
The two people's relations evolved, and an implicit alliance was forged from their friendship, built on mutual respect for their inner will to live in harmony. Although the cultures had many differences, they both cherished mother nature as the prime - Gaia - the beginning and the end of the soul and all matter. While the elves were the shepherds of the green wilderness and ancient trees, the Merfolk were the guardians of the very essence of life - the waters. Through the meeting of the merfolk and elvish culture, new thoughts arose. Their philosophies began to converge. The academia became revitalized: Each term the seats for higher learning were filled, discussions were all around and all subjects of life were debated and part of polemics such as the love of wisdom entered a new era.
The two civilizations had always been socially and culturally instilled with a genuine respect for life. Initially that respect had religious origins, written in scripture and socially inherited. The old ways were still around, but now began a new process of rationalization. Ethics came to dominate the discussions, as it was recognized as the sole science which told what to value, why, and how to act.
A notion in particular rapidly gained recognition: The idea that the only thing worth something in itself was happiness, and that everything else was of instrumental value. Thus, it was understood that in practice, all actions center around and are derived from the avoidance of suffering and creation of happiness, placing the first as priority over the latter.
The Gaians believed that all actions taken by a creature related to one of these cardinal axioms, and that everything we do helps to fulfill one or both of them. Everything can be deemed a proper choice and action as long as the consequences itself leads to a result that in the long run generates the most universal happiness. In these teachings, developed in Practical Ethics by the Singer, all beings that are able to suffer were worth equal consideration. The question we should ask ourselves is: If we should care about a certain type of life or not wasn't if it could talk or reason –such attributes were not relevant–. The question we should ask ourself was ”Can it suffer?”
From the inherent logic of the ethical truths that the cultures recognized, a stricter ethical approach followed, placing them in a turbulent period of introspection: Knowing all of this was not enough. They had to go one step further. Their moral conviction required them not only to be passive bystanders, but to actively seek out and oppose suffering wherever it could be found. Wisdom and the focus on ethics was embraced as the solution to the perils of mankind. Education & enlightening, not the arrow or trident, would bring peace and happiness to the people.
Pluralism, nature, the freedom from any ruler other than reason itself and a closer relationship to earth are the goals of the Gaian. They always act in the interest of the planet's liberty, and seldom raise arms if it can be avoided. Instead they resort to logic as well as mother nature as a method of fulfilling their duties towards the all. Whatever one might think of their ideals it's hard to live up to them in a world that's in the process of becoming grimmer by the day. How the Gaia will react to the newly brought circumstances remains to be seen.
The Red Banner
Adjusting from tribal life to an urban one in the cities in times of mass unemployment was a devastating blow to the orcish cultures. Old rites and customs were lost in the transition, making the orcs forget about their heritage. While they got to play a role in the cities, they soon came to discover that they had a predetermined place in them. Frowned upon by men, exploited as almost free labour by the dwarves and perceived as an uncultured barbaric horde by others, their destiny was behind the iron, as labour for whatever tasks that couldn't be performed by neither wheels nor beast. Yet they always had the lowliest of work that no other people would touch and wages that kept them on the very verge of poverty and starvation.
It's said that the seed for the Red Banner was planted with a handful of orcish workers refusal to work under miserable conditions. They declared that nothing would be done unless they got proper payment and called out other orcs to join their strike to demonstrate their power and function in society. As a response mercenaries came to the site and killed their leader, unknowing that he was related by blood to the chieftain of a tribe in a nearby region. Enraged by the news that humans and dwarfs had insulted the clan and killed an orc who was sitting down unarmed, in a battle where he wasn't allowed to keep his honour, the chieftain sent his tribes finest wolf riders to the production barracks to burn them to the ground. From that event onward the conflict between the orcs and mankind escalated and became an infected issue about equal rights and citizenship, where the urban orcs were backed up in guerilla warfare by the remaining tribes all around the continent. The orcs were eventually forced to either flee many of the cities or be unwillingly deported out of their boundaries. Many of them returned to their roots while others regrouped and organized in huge secret encampments.
Others who knew of these events and the orcish call for better living conditions told their saga. The struggle became universal as not only orcs and goblins joined it, but also humans and others, also broadening the objective to encapsule the demand for equality. They were many. A body with members from almost all species, a cross-cultural gathering of the least fortunate ones in society. They were found at the very bottom of the burdening hierarchy which they carried on their worn down shoulders. From the free but hard working commoners, the slaves, the landless to the lawless and the sick to the outcasts. The masses were all connected in subtle and yet explicit ways. To join their ranks one had only to be a nobody, a task easily achieved wherever the shadow of the core cities, the Empire and House of Nobles fell.
Their understanding of the world originates in a socio-economical analysis that, in short, serves them the conclusion that the common people are slaves and are exploited by the wealthy classes in the world and that the people don't have any real power over their everyday life. Instead of the people ruling themselves, the ones with the gold rule all to their own advantage.
The members of the Red Banner have began to fight for a heightening in the collective consciousness in order to unite the people in a revolution. They are convinced that once they grow strong enough in numbers they'll be able to take back what should rightfully belong to them, the people. Not until then will the commoners be free.
The notion of the requirement of a revolution is central, as the members don't believe that the ruling classes will ever give up their power unless it's ripped from the grip of their dead hands. The exact nature of the revolution doesn't matter as long as the job gets done – whenever they're met with violence they respond with the same. A dead oppressor is always better than a living one. The Banner puts focus on acting instead of complaining and escapism such as religion or measly leisure.
Those that don't believe in the freedom of the people, comradeship, solidarity and collective thinking need to be woken up. In cases where they also enslave the people, they are enemies of the people and should be eradicated as such.
Notice: Info beyond this line if out of date and incomplete.
The House of Nobles
Their armies are mostly made up of paid mercenaries. The soldiers of the Nobles struggle to secure their employers authority, economic interest and to revert gaia into status quo. Their assembly has only that goal and is a response to any factions threatening those interests, like for instance the Red Banner.
Once the value of the gold and it's authority began to be questioned and once new ideas, faiths and causes were born, the power of the merchants & noblemen began to diminish. People that didn't value the gold couldn't be bought, and what can't be bought can't be controlled.
There was a time when there was law and order, and where the law protected the wealthy and secured their reign. The founders of the House were fast to recognize that the glorious days were over, that the world had gone into a chaotic period and that the outcome of things to come could be in favour of a different ways of thinking. Those ways shouldn't ever be allowed to spring root.
It's commonly told that greed for power and their own well being at the expense of anyone else's are the only motifs the merchants & noblemen have. That is however a very erroneous portrayal:
The House of Nobles is convinced that the old order of things is the one that pushes the world in the best possible direction. It is gold and the understanding of economical forces behind commerce that will save the species and make the world into a better place. True freedom and development can only be obtained through free commerce. By owning, or be owned. This is apparent to all the noblemen and their allies and such an obvious claim can't ever be questioned. The House only tries to fulfil it's role in the cycle of nature where you must eat or be eaten.
It's duty is to control the masses with every means possible to insure that they start heading on the right path, one that's free from factions, one where the people are at peace, united under the same principles and minding their own business – leaving the world to be governed by those appointed to do so: The noble elite.
With time some lands perished while others got occupied or joined forces together. Eventually they all became controlled under the flag of a single army. And with that The Empire was born. Outward it was justified with a grand vision of a united world in peace. The Emperor declared that an end of all wars had come, that there was only one nation, one people and one law. Many followed, but there were regions where the inhabitants never gave up on their cultural diversity, religion or politics. They experienced the Empire as an uninvited oppression. They saw it as a false freedom, a rule that wasn't better than the famine, chaos or civil wars. The taxes sent to the Emperor were high, the work camps were full with prisoners and voices started questioning the situation.
At first the people formed a loose resistance. Noticing that there were others across the continent that were opposing the Empire the resistance fighters soon began to get more organized. Although the resistance had some initial success it began to diminish as soon as the Emperor turned his attention to the matter. Out manned and out armored the resistance began to turn to disgruntled members of the aristocracy, former kings and ex-members of the imperial court to acquire more resources and funding. The resistance grew as a result of it's new financiers and the forces of the Empire began to deteriorate in the far away territories.
Every society has it's outcasts: Thieves, murderers and dark mages. And no one else will stand up, speaking in their defence. Life is cruel and dangerous. The only way to survive is to seek the camps of the Shadowguild. The guild itself intends to protect those who are willing to accept their rules. Even the greatest criminals are admitted if they swear the oath of the Shadowguild.
The most important principle of the Shadowguild is respect among it's members. There are no known reports of any traitor or breakers of the oath. The members are strictly loyal. This remains true despite several attempts to gain knowlegde of the secrets of the shadowguild by infiltration. Spies either failed to hide their real intentions or became loyal members of the Shadowguild. This is due to the way the society of the Shadowguild works. It is impossible to live between the Shadows (as the members are sometimes called) if you live a lie.
While dark magic and especially conjurations are frowned upon in most societies in WTactics, the Shadowguild has a long tradition of tolerating and using the dark powers for their own protection. Every camp has skeleton guards and in times or war great armies are conjured to serve in battle.
While the Shadows are very respectful to other members, they don't hesitate to take valuables and treasures away from other factions. They are feared and prosecuted by other factions as criminals. It should be noted that the ShadowGuild has no own territory. They travel across the lands and supply themselves from stolen goods of nearby cities.
Cruel executions of criminals had also led to open warfare in the past. In their anger the ShadowGuild brought terror upon cities as the skeletons and other summoned creatures fought their way through the streets avenging those members who had been killed.
The five circles
There are 5 circles that form the hierachy of the shadowguild:
The Lord of the Shadows
Usually the eldest member of the ShadowGuild and a master of necromancy. The shadowguild has studied the workings of life and death intensively enougth to prevent it's most valuable members from aging. However, this magic is too powerful for most humans. To obtain immortality, the subject is required to fight a great magical force and to subdue it by assimilation - an act that has ended deadly for many candidates. And while the Lord of the Shadows does not age, he is still vulnerable to ordinary weapons. His body may heal severe wounds but there are still ways to kill a Lord of the Shadows. As it had happend in the past.
The Lord of the Shadows is responsible making global decisions on the future of the Shadowguild. Because of his age he is well aware of the consequences that his decisions may result in. He has seen how Empires have risen and fallen and he has learned from their mistakes: One of them is creating an empire in the first place. The Shadowguild will therefore remain a faction of nomads until there is very good reason to change it.
The Keepers of Silence
A group of ancient and knowledgable mages that are immortal in the same way the Lord of the Shadows is. Together with him they form the Shadow Council to debate upon political questions of greater impact and the overal development of the world.
The Keepers of Silence are educated on the darkest of all secrets of the world. They consider themselves to be responsible for revealing and keeping those secrets when appropriate. This is the origin of their name. They pass on parts of their knowlegde to (normal) mages who travel with the Keepers for some time until they return to their tribes.
The Leaders of the Tribes
The Shadowguild is organized in tribes and they have tribes in most parts of the world. A tribe leader is responsible for choosing the travel routes and making minor political decisions.
The members that have studied the dark sciences and who are able to summon creatures for protection and direct warfare. They traveled several months togehter with the Keepers of the Silence to obtain their basic education. After that they are asked to serve and protect their tribe and to become more experienced.
The shadowmages use magic to call other shadowmages or even the Keepers of the Silence. Therefore it's possible for the Shadow Council to coordinate their tribes across the entire world, despite the global distribution of the Shadowguild.
The normal members of the ShadowGuild. They are usually requested to provide the tribe with food and other goods by stealing from nearby cities. Despite the support of the Shadowguild, this is still a risky business and many citizens strive to become a Shadowmage. Yet it should be noted that normal citizens are not considered as less valuable than mages. They receive the same amount of respect for doing their part of the work to keep the Tribe alive.
They are not really part of the hierachy (or a circle) but are listed for completeness. Skeletons and other conjurations do not have an own personality. They follow the orders of their masters and do not fear death. They are usually used as cannon fodder to preserve human lives.