The Frozen Kingdom
History of the Region
The Miramar Region is divided by the Carnal Mountains into Upper Miramar and Lower Miramar. For decades, the Isenhart family has ruled Lower Miramar with little motivation to try and make Upper Miramar part of the Kindgom. Lower Miramar is populated with several major towns, has a bussling economy, and has seen peace for much of the Isenhart’s rule. In contrast, many think of Upper Miramar as a frozen wasteland. The frozen plains are overshadowed by the huge snowy peaks of the Carnal Mountains and the Great Glacier. The only civilizations known were a tribe of artic barbarians who have a semi-permenant camp nestled in the shadow of the Great Glacier and a small town named Culhaven comprised mostly of half-orcs who have carved out some semblance of civilization. However, this all changed approximately 30 years ago.
King Gareth Isenhart’s father had recently passed and he was now King. King Gareth was a strong paladin and as such, was a benevolent ruler and like his forefathers, he tried to care for his people and continue the prosperity of the Kingdom. However, reports soon came to him that monster sightings of all kind were becoming more frequent in Upper Miramar and even more supring, that a Castle had constructed itself overnight in an area near Culhaven. The King sents scounts to investigate these claims, but none returned. Eventually, a messenger from Culhaven found his way to Waterhaven (Capital of Lower Miramar) and confirmed the rumors and more.
It was eventually learned that a powerful Lich named Zhengyi had found an even more powerful sentient artifact named the Bloodstone buried deep within the Hollows and was now using it to create an army of monsters that threatened the entire region. What’s more, it was reported that the Witch King (as he referred to himself) could not only control the living with the Bloodstone, but it had increased his powers tenfold over the dead. Scores of undead could be seen from the constructs Zhengyi used the Bloodstone to create throughout Upper Miramar – even dragons, both living and dead were at his command. In all, Zhengyi used his powers to create towers, strongholds, castles and other fortresses throughout the region. Today, you can still see the remains of Castle Perilous and Zenith Tower – leftover from the Bloodstone War (as the ensuing war was soon named). Zhengyi also created other powerful tomes, weapons, artifacts and items for his armies to use. Many were destroyed during the War, but several survived and some are still being recovered. Many factions today are scrambling to find the lost magical items for their own use and the already known items are highly sought after.
After hearing the reports of the Culhaven messenger, King Gareth assembled his armies immediately. Knowing that the Witch King would eventually bring war to his door step, King Gareth was determined to strike first. Among his generals were his most trusted allies and companions: His Wife, Elizabeth – a powerful Invoker and tactician; Dopray Dragonsbane, his childhood friend who hailed from Luskan and best Ranger in the regions; Master Kane, his mentor and Supreme Monk of the Shadowsong Temple; Duncan Godspeed, High Priest of Pelor and closest advisor; Arrayan Damara the Bard and emmisary of the King who could “persuade” any of her listeners; and Bregan Da’erthe the Wise, long time advisor to the Isenhart rulers and Overwizard of the Arcane Hosttower. Later they would be known as the Bloodstone Companions.
The Bloodstone Companions along with King Gareth’s armies marched north to Upper Miramar, striking each of the Witch King’s fortresses in an attempt to gain a stronghold in the region. For years the war raged on, even during the bitter winter months when king Gareth’s armies saw many die to the cold and frozen wastelands. Eventually, King Gareth’s armies marched to Castle Perilous where the Bloodstone Companions confronted Zhengyi. There, in an epic battle far below the Castle, the Bloodstone Companions fought Zhengyi and his lich dragon. In the end, Zhengyi was defeated because he had grown greedy and used too much of the Bloodstone’s power to spread his armies and constructs across the land. Without much of the Bloodstone’s power, Zhengyi fell to King Gareth’s blade. Zhengyi’s armies began to disburse and many of the constructs began to crumble.
Thankfully, Bregan De’erthe (the wizard) was able to locate Zhengyi’s phylactery in Castle Perilous and the phylactery was also destroyed. However, what the Bloodstone Companions didn’t know was that Zhengyi had forseen his destruction and created a false phylactery for the Companions to find. He instead had used the artifacts created with the Bloodstone to use as his phylacteries where he hid many parts of his spirit so he could never truly be destroyed. It’s for this reason that many who hold a Zhengyi artificate find themselves subtely changing overtime, becoming evil or malignant. Many of the people see the artifacts as a curse as a result. However, those who know how to properly shield themselves from the evil call within the artifacts, can use the artifacts to their advantage.
As for the sentient Bloodstone, it has not been destroyed. It was instead brought to the Arcane Hosttower and is now under the watch of the region’s most powerful wizards and Bregan Da’erthe himself. There, they have cast powerful wards so that no evil creatures will be drawn to it’s powerful call. The Wizards hope that one day, they will learn more about who or what created the Bloodstone and how it can be destroyed.
Meanwhile, the bond that formed between the small civilizations in Upper Miramar, especially Culhaven, and King Gareth’s Kingdom, made King Gareth reevaluate Upper Miramar. He has now vowed to make Upper Miramar part of the Kingdom. To his end, he established Bloodstone Village in Upper Miramar several years ago. In an effort to populate the region, he has provided many motivations and opportunities for people to come to Upper Miramar including land grants, large royalty sharing for minerals and other resources located, and of course The Hunt. The Hunt is a program established by King Gareth that will pay any mercenary for every monster kill around Bloodstone Village and in the region. Each season, a purse (money) is given to the leader of The Hunt. This has brought many skilled mercenaries to the region eager for coin while at the same time making the region safer.
Since then, Upper Miramar is becoming more settled and more peaceful. However, people have began noticing that attacks on caravans and smaller outlying settlements of Bloodstone Village have become more frequent. Some attribute this to the fact that more people are living in the regions so the once abundant resources many humanoid monsters had are now shared which has lead to pockets of scaricty, others suspect that Zhengyi was never quite destroyed. Rumors are even leaking out of the Arcane Hosttower that some wizards working close with the Bloodstone have gone insane. All the while, many secret organizations work to establish themselves in Upper Miramar too, hoping to expand their own power.