Throughout the history of the Royal Basin there have been stories about a timeless wanderer, an artificer, a scholar and a warrior who has fought for the integrity of the people. He had come down in the early days of the Basin from the Drayal Vork and in those years he was styled by the name he gave, Dazak and the place of his origin: The Frozen North. For many years he settled himself into life as a Priest of Bethylak and demonstrated an unfathomable talent for the magics of time, fate and sagacity alongside an incredible skill with artificery and engineering. Swiftly, he rose through the ranks of the Church and began an adventuring career that would resonate through history.
His early years were dominated by a war that he waged against the Daemonic power of Sarkith using the resources of the Guild that he formed called “The Covenant” whose specific purpose was to understand and battle the Daemonic forces that permanently threatened our world. He was part of the forces that helped drive Gabrak and Sarkith from the Basin in the early days of Monarchy alongside the divinely blooded Dieron Shadowmane. He would go on to gain the name Dazak North and for that name to be recognised as a noble line as well as becoming the Lord of Time, the leader of the Church of Bethylak. In his later years he took on the role of “Emperor” briefly, to lead the people and to fulfill an ancient prophecy thereby defusing the plans of a group called the Conclave.
Eventually he was named a Duke, although he had no land and his home was the Grey Keep, the ancient edifice of the Timeless Order of Time and Fate which he had had a hand in making. He was also long famed for his rivalry with the man that he would often fight alongside, and Dieron and the Dragon would often find themselves at loggerheads with Dazak of the Covenant. Eventually the years began to catch up with the Duke and despite having lived for hundreds of years he gathered his power and his companions travelling into the Shadowed Lands one last time where he would destroy the form of Sarkith so that he would not return to plague the land for many long years after his own demise. Finally he set out on a pilgrimage to the fabled Zoranethi temple of time where prophecy claimed that his moment had been prepared for.
He returned a young and invigorated young man with no words for anyone regarding his time in the mythical temple. His endeavours from this point were many and important to recant in short format: He married a majestic Vormearn of Dreff Wood, although some could say how he achieved such a feat others would point to their obvious love and the North line was created. He fought in many wars against many evils and time and time again sacrificed a part of his essence or years of his life to defend the people not just of the Six Duchies, nor Daer Akmir. It soon became apparent that Dazak North, Duke of the Grey Keep, was fighting for a world and all of the people in it.
The folk of the Bitter Vale loved him as did the houses that gave fealty there and they gave their loyalty to the family North until the land was his without question. Here he built Shriekspire, in honour of the land of his home and gave shelter and care to the survivors of Arodan which had once stood on that site. The inhabitants of both of those villages handed over their loyalty too, gladly, to Dazak North. Beneath his Keep, atop the mountain of the Spire he found great deposits of Conol and from that material he was inspired to design and build the dirigibles that would lead to the great vessels that even now dominate the skies. Finally, he worked diligently within the Grey Keep, making it his true home and designing new and innovative methods of its defence and worship.
In the nineteen hundreds Dazak North was called upon to lead the Basin as regent on several occasions due to deaths or wars and on each occasion his reign was successful and well received. He also acted as Prime Minister as well as continuing to be the Duke of the Bitter Vale and the Lord of Time at the Church of Bethylak. His great hammer, a gift from Bethylak himself it was said, was felt across the Battlefields of the world as he served during the Codex Wars and against the rise of the power of Zalphinia in the Dragon Empire. It was that latter battle, in the very palace of the Emperor, that he gave up all the years of his life to reach the throne and destroy the power of the corrupted Geomancer Pajagiasi Ju. It was this action that led to hope being restored to that land, saving hundreds of thousands of lives save one: Dazak North.
He was entombed in a glass sarcophagus with tens of thousands attempting to attend his funeral and even more thronging the streets in grief at his loss. For many years the Duke lay beneath the ground as Quintus Lionsgold destroyed the world that he had worked so hard to create. Fitting then that during the last days of Soul Anchor, when the heavens opened and the dead came forward to fight alongside the living, his name was remembered. When all was over a chance came forward that was taken by Mallory, Mirelle, Jaq and the like to call back a soul of the departed and it was his that was called, returned to the world albeit a grimmer man whose time beyond had been kind to him and his return hard. Yet he was in time to return to the keep and be appointed the rank of Sky Marshal before the world would be changed forever.
In Twenty Fifteen The Kren and Arrid of Eidelos, directing a tremendous amount of Fae Glamour, boarded a Torakaylin vessel that had been evading Basanic forces and contained the bulk of their remaining power. The resulting sequence of triggered events led to a disastrous outcome for the people of Daer Akmir and presumably the rest of the world beyond our known limits: In the blink of an eye beings called Shadows teemed into the world, mindless and with hostile intent, from beyond the confines of our world. They were supported by Blights and their terrible machines of war which swept aside an unprepared and unknowing people before there could be any form of resistance.
At nodal points they gathered and began to ritualise there gathering an unknown variant of power and utilising the bodies of dead civilians and soldiers alike to awaken some unspeakable power. A wicked lightning stretched out from each point to encompass, presumably, the world and killed every living being that it touched. It seemed that life on this world would be over in no more than a handful of days and that there would be no resistance to stand against them. As armies of another world crushed the life from the cities of the Royal Basin and to everyone’s surprise the Grey Keep unfolded beautiful artifice, tremendous balloons grasping into the sky and took to the air.
The Grey Keep had become more than Dazak North’s Church or Keep or even home, it was alive with people and a great shipyard in itself. However it was old and in the midst of a refurbishment but nonetheless it came to the rescue of the people of the Royal Basin with all the power at its disposal. In the first week the Keep rescued thousands of people and managed to recover a fleet of civilian and military Dirigibles. The Lightning field prevented the fleet landing so they were forced to remain airborne even with limited resources and fuel and an accumulating number of people from across Daer Akmir. The war was long, years long and is well documented in other places, this text is designed to give us an idea of the man and the situation that he faced.
He was elevated by the Rookery to the role of Monarch who also appointed the Countess Essemile to be their Primeminister, a move which would ultimately cost ten thousand innocent lives. Time and again Dazak North outfoxed, out fought and sacrificed much of who he was to bring victory and safety to the people of Vaklam. To state that the man was loved by all who knew him would never be enough, he was revered, worshipped, adored and hated his role as King. He was an unassuming man who would rather have spent his time in a workshop creating machines that would have bettered the lives of the people around him, he was never, truly, the monarch of war.
By the time the Shadow Wars were over Dazak and the other PrimeMinisters that had served him: The Earl Aloysious Lionsgold and Mallory De Mandeville had unified the majority of Daer Akmir under a coalition and defeated the Ministers who were behind the Shadow War. They had overcome an attempt by the Countess to install a false government in the Royal Basin and driven her out of the Drayal Vork where she had held power and forced her into the mountains where she had taken refuge among the people of the Low Kingdoms. The Fleet had come home and the damages of the War were being swiftly forgotten as the Western Marches unified and the way of the Eleven was embraced by the faiths.
Under the Bethylakian King the impossible had been achieved: The lands of the Iskarani were becoming as one, the Ancestral Lands were made safe from ancient enemies, the Dragon Empire was reborn, the Drayal Vork was returning to the old ways and renouncing their horrific present, The Royal Basin was as one and the power of the Savage Claw was being pushed out of Rhygahrea. The Shadowed Lands were purged of their Daemonic taint and the Clergy were standing alongside the Eleven and showing a united front as the new afterlives that had always been intended by the Gillieabad were installed. Only the Countess remained, deep within the caverns below the Razorbacks, like a tick, embedded and drawing the blood from those around her.
The Fall of the King
The Union of the Coalition continued on an alliance that occasionally felt as though it might break until the hand of Dazak North was felt time and again. The Union however could not stand under the Royal Basin, that much was clear and the King of that land took to relying almost solely on his Prime Minster, who remained from the Fleet, to operate the running of the six Duchies. He came to live solely on the Grey Keep which moved from time to time across the face of its entirety to protect those that dwelled in it or settle disputes or, more often than not, to bring hope to all who saw, no matter how lost.
The Keep had become, through the days of the fleet, the magic that had been used there, the Oaths taken aboard her and the sacrifices taken, a living thing, a breathing thing. Within her rested an ancient Gillieabad giving her life, she spoke through the being known as Archie and her essence was born of the journeys, the weave of all those that had fought for her and what she had in turn given to them. The Keep has, without a doubt, become its own land, or place, perhaps even a world and the core of this place, responsible for every Oath and echo of great and noble deed that had been done here was Dazak North. A man like no other that had ruled with huge regret in his heart and a love and responsibility for all people like no other.
On the 15th day of Earthnew in the year twenty twenty Dazak North sent a charter of people into the Drayal Vork in an action designed to delve into the power of the Countess that remained there. Their actions triggered a trap left behind by the Essemile that would travel down the lineage of Dazak’s days, all of his life and those that made him and destroy everything that he was and had ever been. What happened is something that we are still unsure of, details are lacking save that in some ways she failed and in others she was successful. Dazak and the Countess fought, we know that he travelled to her under the mountains by some magic and that they crossed blades and that it was he that was victorious but that he too in turn was wounded.
His body returned to the Keep and here he laid in state but on the day of his internment, with all and sundry gathered to pay their respects, his body and many, many guildsfolk of all cultures vanished, along with the keep into the ether of nothing…….