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Andal

From Dark Age Redemption

Many a century’s worth of time supplied the test of struggle for the nobles of Mercia and their sons against the deep dwellers, forging the way of resilience for the beginning of Andal. The trek northward established a symptom of monotony embellished with the excitement of war that would only satiate the natural born warrior, but demolish the weak-willed. Conquest is the root of Andal, and its lust over the years the stump immovable. The noble houses that oversaw Andal’s rise had followers of a special breed, and perhaps their emperor mentality did in fact birth children with fire in their veins as its purity spiraled out of control.

It’s scattered homes and buildings tell of its chaos to outsiders looking in from ‘privileged’ background. While order is stitched through tribal law that forces the weaker to submit, history does scatter noble ties throughout the genealogies of Andal’s sons and daughters. The highest of them claim to themselves multiples wives in addition to trophies earned from common careers of country hunting and mercenary service alike. Likewise, blacksmiths have made a name for themselves living amongst the high demand for weapons and armor in addition to the rich surplus of the Andalian range.

Since the days of the baronial revolt, Andalians at large have not been welcomed within the Federation. It is busied otherwise its own sect of mercenaries and warriors loyal to their choice of brotherhood that busies itself with sport and proof of strength. Greycastle does admit certain Andalians to seek lodging within its walls, although through their heavy accents they most prove their intent to be peaceful guests after thorough evaluation and vetting.

Highlights

Treason

During the Festival of Tamed Wilds, a skirmish broke out between Andalian border patrol and soldiers wearing the King’s colors. The perpetrator of the event was traced to Zachary Trevelyan.

Iron shortage

The Federation has been short of quality resources as a whole for decades. While this has no immediate involvement in Darkage, it is no secret that Andal is rich with iron, and holds this over the Federation’s head as its rival.

Andal and You: A Primer

Hello DAers! As many of you know, we’ve not had a lot of information released about Andal. It’s in the north, it’s cold, it’s full of steel-hearted warriors. This all remains true! But below I’m going to outline some more details about Andal… and some of this MAY BE A RETCON!

The Retcon

First and foremost, Dukat and I believe everything we’ve been writing for Andal stays true to the vision presented so far. That said, there are surely going to be a few points wherein our story conflicts with a player character’s individual story. We’ve attempted to capture the most obvious points in this section, but should you find yourself uncertain, please talk to us!

The Orcs of Andal

Orcs live in Andal. Orcs have, best anyone can remember, always lived in Andal. This is one of the big reasons that Andal was always “separate” from the Kingdom of Mercia.

Orcs make up a small group in Andal. There simply are not that many of them. In the Federation, they have been exceedingly rare, as very few choose to venture south, and fewer yet choose to remain. Legally, orcs are as welcome as any other citizen of Andal (which is to say, welcomed so long as they follow the laws, and allowed to reside permanently, if they swear their loyalty to the federation). However, their infrequent presence means that in certain areas (Coventry and Portcross, in particular), an orc will likely find themselves gawked at… and warned against lingering overly long.

Communications with Andal

As outlined below in more detail (see Recent History), Andal has always been xenophobic and very resistant to foreigners. Communications with the Federation were always few and far between. Beyond traders, who would make good coin selling raw materials in the north, news from Andal was usually carried by individual Andalians who had left the Empire. Leaving was always a “big deal”, as returning was almost surely difficult for that individual. Those that do leave usually do so to find fame and fortune and adventure.

About a decade ago, the scrace communication became nearly non-existent. All but the most well-established merchants were banned from entry. Federation exiles were usually killed on sight.

Some five years ago, following the Festival of Untamed Winds, there was a brief border skirmish between an Andalian border patrol and Federation forces. Communications further withered.

A few months back, all movement across the border was closed. Fearing a war could start, the Federation ceased any attempts to contact Andal, and anyone wishing to head North to trade or etc would do so at their own risk. No traders have returned.

The Root of Andal

Andal’s history goes about like this… A long, long time ago, a Mercian noble set out to the North. It is there that he found peoples that were native to Leanantla, that had their own practices, their own religions, and their own structure. This noble, pure of blood and spirit, shared the word of Mercanius and the might of Zeal, and through this claimed a seat of power.

Tribes were united under the banner of Andal, and even as the Kingdom of Mercia formed to the south, Andal remained always separated, through varying degrees.

When the Destruction of Mercia came about, it supposedly was the Andalians that drove south to stomp out the demon hordes and allow society to start to rebuild. That is, of course, the story the Andalians will tell.

Today, the true might of Andal is unclear. The Empire - as they claim themselves to be - is highly xenophobic and very little information ever goes in or out. But what does come out is a rather clear picture that Andal is quite mighty, and that alone seems to confirm the stories that Andal survived the destruction of Mercia, more or less in tact. When last the Federation had official contact, it was a man called Emperor Znar at the helm of the many Andalian tribes.

The People of Andal

The origin of Andal comes from a mix of Mercians and “native peoples”. Since then, Andal has been a place that, while xenophobic, is also oddly welcoming of people under certain circumstances. Tribes that were defeated by the Kingdom of Mercia would flee north, and so long as they wished to be reborn in the fires of Power, the Andalians would welcome them. The result is a large mix of people… and not just humans.

Orcs are present in Andal. They have been for as long back as any of the histories recall. The orcs are an integral group, and though they are comparatively few to humans, they are uniquely powerful in the structure of Andal. It is the orcs, they say, that taught the humans how to worship the Spirits. Orcs are seen, by and large, as entirely equal members of the Andalian Empire, and beyond mention here are not broken out as special.

When Mercia was destroyed, even more people fled to Andal. Some found a home there… while others did not. The strong survived, the weak died. The result is a society that while harsh is also egalitarian. Everyone that contributes is respected and honored.

The Government of Andal

The Andalians are a tribal group, with many small establishments and cities that span the north. The governance of each tribe, village, city, etc, is divided into two: the Varslad and the Sivean.

The Varslad

Leadership of the military aspects of the Andalian tribes is handled by the Varslad, referring to both a group and an individual, separated by their particular tribe, village, or some other aspect. The Varslad are “reborn under Power”, a military force and religious force all wrapped up into one. And while Power is clearly the focus, they embrace God fully. The Varslad honors and protects Wisdom. The Varslad administers Justice equally to all.

While “Varslad” can be used collectively or singularly, the group also refers to their singular leader as “Chief”. The Chief of the Varslad is then the highest ranking Varslad, tasked with serving the Empire directly, and leading the whole of the Empire’s military should it collectively be called.

The Sivean

The other “half” of Andalian culture is represented by the Sivean. Again, this is a title for an individual and a group all at once. Sivean of the Western Sea would refer to a singular person, also known as a “Mother”, and also the group of spiritualists that surround that person and serve that area. The Great Mother is then the singular individual that advises the Emperor and oversees any unified effort of all the Siveans.

The Sivean are a strange group, when considered from the Federation’s view point. They listen to God, they listen to Power, they listen to “the Spirits”. They also give great respect to the carnal pleasures of the world. Many a Federation noble has equated this group to some sort of awful blend of Courtesan and Witch. The Federation histories (the few that exist) write off this group as a sort of coping mechanism. In short, life in Andal is miserable, if there wasn’t a group devoted to art, drugs, sex, and booze, why would anyone choose to live there?

Even in Andal, the respect and authority given to this group is constantly in flux. Their might generally depends entirely upon the current leadership of both the Siveans and the Varslad.

And to be clear, neither Varslad nor Sivean is gender-exclusive! Sweet-talking and fast-stabbing is respected, regardless of who wields the weapon.

Recent History

There’s little point in devoting a section to past history. Where the southern lands of Mercia lost almost all their history due to systematic destruction by demonic forces, Andal never had much by way of history to lose. The stories that are passed - another great honor of the Siveans - are memorized and spoken, sung, or painted. The result is the loss of context and passage of time, as well as the “truth” of the story.

And so we pick up with recent history…

10 years ago…

Something happened in the North. Those few individuals that were still allowed to travel have been tight lipped about the incident, but it seems clear that there was an incident of internal strife within the Andalian Empire. Further, there’s talk of great monsters in the land, which the Emperor has been dealing with.

5 years ago…

After the Festival of Tamed Winds, there was a brief border skirmish between Andalian and Federation troops. Inside Andal, the story was quite easily told. Demons were in the South and they threatened the North. The Emperor cared little if it was the Nightraiders, the Federation, or some other evil force at work.

A few months ago…

It’s been about that long since anyone has been heard coming out of Andal. Even with communications all but severed, there still was the occasional trader or merchant. This kind of lock-out is more than a small bit unsettling. (Note: If you are a recently approved Andalian, please contact staff!)

The Religion of Andal

This will be developed more! But below is the quick version.

Worship God and Power. The Andalians worship the same God as the Federation - the only God! - though their focus is heavily upon Power. The other aspects are almost always seen through that lens. The Spirits. While in the South, “Spirits” can mean almost anything. In Andal, the term comes mostly from the reverence of ancestors. The belief itself is not well defined, but in brief, the Andalians believe the souls of Great Andalians who have passed continue on, through God, to aid their kin. Orcish Shamans. A topic of much debate within the walls of Blackmount… certain orcs seem to have the power to channel magical energy, intuitively. The people of Andal believe unconditionally that this is a Gift from God.