Before Independence Edit
Ehb is, and always has been, the homeland of the Droog. They lived in relative harmony for centuries, occasionally encountering outsiders who wished to trade with them, including the renowned Agallan explorers, Fedwyrr and Klars. The most successful of these men and women was Etan Stonebridge, who arrived in Ehb in the late 590s, and quickly came to be on friendly terms with the native Droog, earning exclusive trading rights with them. The town of Stonebridge would later be named in his honor.
By 604, the Droog elders began to suspect that the outsiders that came from beyond the borders of Ehb were not merely 'passing through', however. Indeed, the region had been named an imperial province, and more and more settlers were arriving by the day. Seeking to rid themselves of these interlopers, the cunning Droog set them against one another, sparking a two-year, three-way war known as the Green Range Conflict. Humans battled Goblins battled Seck, but, much to the dismay of the Droog, the forces of the Empire of Stars came out of the war in an even more powerful position than before.
When the treachery of the natives was discovered, the victors forced the Droog to concede a major thoroughfare through their lands in exchange for semi-autonomy. Fortress Kroth was built at the northern end of this route in order to protect it from possible Droog aggression. The discovery of iron in the early 800s, located in the mountains of western Ehb, spurred imperial traders to push harder for Droog concessions in this region as well, and they too either perished, or were relocated to the Cliffs of Fire. This would become known as the Great Relocation.
However, trouble soon came to the mighty Empire. When the War of Legions broke out, the 10th Legion fled the chaos, refusing to bow to the Utgard tyrant, Zaramoth. The Legion returned to their holdings in Ehb following a brief engagement with the 3rd Legion in the Aranoi Desert. After the defeat of the Seck in 845, Ehb was proclaimed a kingdom in its own right by the commander of the Legion, Karese Noanni. Calls were made for him to assume the throne, but he declined, saying that the new kingdom of Ehb would still need an army, and that he intended to lead it through the difficult times ahead.
A monarch was elected, and the 10th Legion swore their undying fealty to them.
The Kingdom of Ehb Edit
After gaining independence, Ehb knew many years of peace. Refugees fleeing the destruction caused by the First Cataclysm came in droves, finding homes in the newborn kingdom. They carried with them the faith of Azunai, which would spread, eventually becoming the major religion of the region.
The first mages of the kingdom helped to construct Castle Ehb over the prison of the Seck, using a sorcerous delving machine that was later used to help create the Glitterdelve Mine, after gold and coal were discovered in the mountains. The construction of new fortifications began all across the land, with those at Frostspire Pass being completed in 935, replacing the much older Wesrin Cross to the south. The Crypt of the Sacred Blood was also built near Stonebridge in order to inter the remains of the fallen kings and queens of Ehb, as well as Azunite martyrs and heroes of the 10th Legion. Over the centuries, wealthy families would continue to add extensions to the crypt, until, eventually, it was considered unsafe to enter them.
In 943, the Great Blast rocked the Glitterdelve Mine, burying priceless veins of ore, and destroying the delving machine used to excavate the tunnels. The death toll was great, but would have been higher if not for the heroism of the mule, Mags, who rescued several miners at the cost of her own life. Ehb's mining industry would slowly recover, with a system of magically-powered fans, the Stonestream, being installed to prevent another such catastrophe.
Geoffrey Gunderic was appointed as the Grand Mage of the 10th Legion in 960, and offered his personal estate to serve as a training ground for the Legion's battlemages. The rigorous course he devised to teach these mages would be used for centuries, spawning some of the kingdom's greatest spellcasters.
In 1065, Ibsen Yamas protected the town of Glacern from Goblin raiders, driving them back through Frostspire Pass after they tried slipping past the 10th Legion's fortifications and into the eastern kingdom. This was seen as a precursor to the Affair of the Goblin Pretender, which occurred soon after, in 1080, after King Edvard was driven mad by Grand Mage Olvis. Ehb was very nearly plunged into a civil war. One of Olvis's apprentices, Merik, was able to put a stop to his former master's plans, however, and was promoted to Grand Mage as a result.
An expedition of Dwarves, gathered from all the great mines of western Aranna, traveled east in the late 1090s, seeking the wealth buried beneath the Plain of Tears. They found very little within the ancient Mines of Kaderak, but learned of a mother lode lying in the mountains near the Elven town of Aman'lu from an elderly Dwarf they encountered. They established the Glorydeep Mine, but lost contact with their western cousins afterwards; many believed that they had sealed themselves away in order to hoard their limitless treasures.
In 1144, Grand Mage Merik disappeared while traveling through Fedwyrr's Way. As it was later learned, he had been ambushed by minions of the Goblin Inventor, who sought to use the Staff of Stars that the mage carried to take over Ehb. Unfortunately, without the Staff of Stars to empower them, the wards binding the Seck beneath Castle Ehb weakened, and the evil beings were eventually able to escape in what is known as the Seck Resurgence.
Dungeon Siege Edit
One of the first signs of the Seck's return was a massive incursion of Krug into the lowlands. The dimwitted creatures pillaged the countryside in search of magical items, leaving devastation in their wake. The Krug even ransacked the well-fortified town of Stonebridge, putting much of it to the torch before being driven out by the legionnaires. A heroine arose from out of these lands.
After an old friend named Norick died before her very eyes, this simple farmer set out for Stonebridge, in search of the one known as Gyorn. Venturing through the Crypt of the Sacred Blood, and rescuing a scribe named Ulora from the Krug, the farmer eventually arrived in town, finding the place in shambles. She was asked by Gyorn to inform the Overseer of Glacern, the retired Ibsen Yamas, of all that had occurred, but the path through the Glitterdelve Mine would require one to battle their way through the bulk of the Krug forces.
With the help of several new companions, including a dwarf named Gloern, she did just that, braving the spider-infested ruins of Wesrin Cross, and the depths of the Glitterdelve to reach Glacern. The farmer informed Yamas of the Krug aggression, but the Overseer had even worse problems to deal with. He was already searching in vain for the missing Grand Mage, knowing well enough that his disappearance only a few months before was no coincidence; soldiers from over the mountains had also reported to him that things were even worse in the east, at Fortress Kroth. He told the heroes that if they really wanted to help, they'd reinforce the garrison there.
Traveling into Fedwyrr's Way alongside the retired battlemage, Lorun, the farmer and her band found Merik frozen in a block of ice deep within the Alpine Caverns. Freeing him, the Grand Mage told them what had happened, and begged them to help him recover the Staff of Stars. Helping a group of Lescanzi travelers being harassed by bandits along the way, as well as a down-on-her-luck archer, they entered the Eastern Swamp, where the lair of the Goblin Inventor was hidden. They successfully retrieved the Staff and continued on towards Fortress Kroth, and the Inventor was forced into hiding.
They ventured through dangerous woodlands and the ancient ruins of a temple, but eventually emerged near the fort. They found it under siege by an army of undead and Droog, led by the necromancer known as Gresh. Gresh was none other than one of the ancient Seck, and turned out to be the one who had orchestrated the Krug attacks in the west as well, sending them out to find the Staff of Stars so that it could never be used to imprison his kind again. He challenged the farmer and her companions as worthy foes, and, in the end, was defeated.
As it turned out, scouts had spotted Seck in the woods weeks before Gresh's attack, but did not report their sightings out of fear that they'd be ridiculed. Captain Tarish was furious with his men for letting such concerns cause the deaths of no less than 182 of Fortress Kroth's legionnaires, but could do little now but rebuild. He asked the saviors of Fortress Kroth to continue south and to stop the Droog attacks, recruiting a few more companions in route, they eventually reached the Droog Village.
The elder, Nonataya, told them that the Droog sought redemption, and were forced to ally with the Seck or face extinction themselves, fearing the beast within Dragon's Rathe. Slaying the dragon and continuing on to Castle Ehb, the farmer and her band joined up with Lord Bolingar in order to rescue King Konreid from the dungeons. Konreid gave them permission to retrieve the blessed artifacts locked within the Chamber of Stars to use against the Seck leader, Gom. Equipped with these, the heroes defeated the god-king and ended the threat that hung over the kingdom.
After the Resurgence Edit
For her service to the kingdom, the farmer who had ended Gom's reign of terror was awarded a noble title by King Konreid in 1145, and she became the first Lady Montbarron. Her and her companions would be honored as heroes for many years afterwards.
In 1154, King Konreid signed the controversial Goblin Treaties, granting rights to Goblins as citizens of Ehb. Many towns retaliated in response, passing laws to prevent the creatures from settling within their borders, but Stonebridge, which was still recovering from the devastating attack by the Krug, readily invited them to settle there. The wealth of these Goblins would spark a golden age for Stonebridge, and within a few years, it was the richest city in the kingdom. Products by brilliant inventors, such as Brimfallow, were exported all across the land, and the Stonebridge Collegium became the premier academy for mages.
With King Konreid's death in 1156, his son, Karlyle, ascended to the throne. It is believed that the sharp decline in Konreid's health, culminating in his early death, was caused by the horrible torture that he had endured at the hands of the Seck twelve years before.
In the year 1175, Stonebridge's ironmongers were granted permission to construct a massive complex beneath the city, in order to power the various machines around town. This complex, the Great Foundry, was completed four years later. The foundry was originally fueled using coal from the Glitterdelve Mine, but began to use bound Fire Elementals after magical advances were made. Cyclopses from eastern Ehb were brought in to work the foundry.
Lady Montbarron passed away in 1192, and the Heroes' Crypt was built near the village of Raven's Rill to hold her remains. The bodies of her companions would also be interred within over the next few decades, as were those of many others who had fought and died during the Seck Resurgence. Regular pilgrimages were made to the crypt to honor the dead. Fearing that the crypt would be pilfered by grave robbers, however, the remaining heroes met in 1200, and devised a protective spell conceptualized by Zed the sorcerer.
In 1220, Gloern, the last surviving companion of Lady Montbarron, died.
Horrible earthquakes struck Ehb in 1243, and the stars in the night sky shifted overhead. Unbeknownst to the kingdom's citizens, the Sword of Zaramoth and the Shield of Azunai had met once again in the east, and brought about the Second Cataclysm. Bandits began to attack the borderlands in unprecedented numbers, testing the 10th Legion's forces to their limit. Eventually, the Legion was able to drive these invaders away.
Yoren Glitterdelve returned to the kingdom of Ehb alongside an Elf named Amren during this time, bringing with them news of the Lost Dwarves of Glorydeep. Yoren revealed to his people that their missing cousins had not become reclusive misers, but had been enslaved by a terrible sorcerer, known as the Overmage of the Cinbri, for the past century and a half. Mounting a rescue expedition, some of the Glorydeep Dwarves would finally return to their ancestral homes in the west.
It was into this period that Jeyne Kassynder was born.
The Rise of Jeyne Kassynder Edit
Jeyne Kassynder was an orphan, raised as a ward of the Church of Azunai in the southern port of Bisselberg. She excelled in her studies, and the Azunites saw great things in her future, with some even claiming that she had "divine gifts".
Many considered Ehb's young king, Hendrick, to be strong and handsome, but as he aged, he became prone to fits of rage and paranoia. Hendrick began to fear the kingdom's long-time defenders, the 10th Legion, convinced that they were plotting against him. Eventually, in 1264, he began to seize their property, with some saying that he even planned to disband the ancient institution. The Legion quickly convened in their Grand Chapterhouse in Stonebridge to discuss the incident, and it was decided that they would remove the king from power, as they had the mad King Edvard centuries before, and seat his eldest son, Roland, upon the throne.
Something went wrong within Castle Ehb, however, and King Hendrick was slain by the Legion's Grand Master, Hugh Montbarron, grandson of the legendary hero of the Seck Resurgence herself. Outrage swept across the kingdom in the wake of this unfortunate event, and the people were incited to action by a young Azunite firebrand, the 19-year old Jeyne Kassynder.
In a bloodthirsty hunt for retribution, many citizens of Ehb took to the streets, ruthlessly attacking members of the 10th Legion. In Stonebridge, the Grand Chapterhouse itself was ransacked, and the ancient treasures of the Legion taken as trophies and souvenirs. Eventually, the Legion was forced to retreat far to the north, to the forested valley of the Rukkenvahl, where the Montbarron Estate lay. The Azunite zealots were close on the Legion's heels, however, tracking them down to the dark woodland known as the Mournweald.
The 10th Legion, under the command of Grand Master Montbarron, made their last there, in the shadow of an enormous tree. When the smoke cleared, only Jeyne Kassynder was left alive, and she alone walked out of the Mournweald. The Church of Azunai hailed her as a 'living saint', and many in Ehb, especially in the east, saw her as the kingdom's savior. Soon after, rumors began to circulate that Jeyne had royal blood in her veins, with some even saying that she was the illegitimate daughter of King Hendrik himself.
The remaining members of the royal family did not take kindly to this, however, and moved against the upstart Kassynder in 1266. Civil war tore the kingdom of Ehb asunder, turning the royalist west against the Azunite east, with the lands of the north trapped between them.
Stonebridge, horrified by their actions during the purge, exiled the young mayor and his mother, declaring themselves an independent republic after the infamous Tomcat Rebellion to try and reinstall the mayor miserably failed. The merchants and guildmasters of the city named themselves 'Meisters', and became the new republic's ruling council. The war that ravaged the rest of Ehb proved profitable for these Meisters, and Stonebridge prospered.
The civil war would finally come to a head in 1289, when Jeyne Kassynder's forces marched on the royalist stronghold of Glacern, sacking the city and leaving it a snow-swept ruin. The royal court, including King Roland, was slain, leaving the young princess, Roslyn, the sole surviving heir. She fled into the Glitterdelve Mine with her remaining supporters, and was named Queen of Ehb.
Dungeon Siege III Edit
In 1294, the last surviving member of the 10th Legion, a former scout named Odo, finally decided to come out of hiding. He put out a secret call to all those with legionnaire blood in their veins, asking them to gather at the long-abandoned Montbarron Estate. Together, he hoped, they could restore the kingdom of Ehb to it's former glory.
But Jeyne Kassynder had learned of the meeting, and hired Lescanzi mercenaries to slaughter all those gathered at the manor. A few had arrived late, however, and discovered the estate in flames. They dove into the burning building, and found one of their fellows, a legionnaire named Marten Guiscard, within. Together, they escaped, and made their way to the Raven's Rill Chapterhouse.
As they had hoped, they found Odo there. The old man was surprised to see that they had survived the tragedy, but believed that there may be other survivors. This theory proved to be correct, but the Lescanzi occupying the area had captured them. With the help of a rogue witch named Leona, the legionnaires freed their comrade and prepared to retake Raven's Rill from the mercenaries, who answered to a woman named 'Rajani'.
Venturing to the Mournweald to retrieve the fallen Hugh Montbarron's signet ring, the legionnaires encountered the Radiant Youth, a legend of the 10th Legion. The Youth gave them a warning of things to come, and gave them the ability to open the ancient Causeways, inter-dimensional highways used by the Legions of old, so that they could infiltrate the village. They confronted Rajani, and learned of that she was one of Jeyne Kassynder's elusive handmaidens, as well as one of the ancient race known as the Archons.
Deciding that their next course of action should be to reclaim the Grand Chapterhouse in Stonebridge, the reborn Legion set out, only to find their path blocked. A group of royalists, led by Lord Devonsey, were reeling from a clash with Jeyne Kassynder, who had cornered them in the Eastern Swamp, and butchered nearly all of their soldiers. Many others had been captured by the savage First People in the aftermath of the battle. Rescuing these prisoners, including a scholar who knew the Dwarven art of geomancy, the legionnaires continued southwest to Stonebridge.
The Legion retook the old chapterhouse there, and set about finding allies for their cause. News soon reached them that the Azunite zealots were bearing down on Queen Roslyn's Tumbledown Court within Glitterdelve Mine, and the legionnaires quickly sprang into action, helping Ibsen Yamas IV, a descendant of the old Overseer, in exchange for his help in entering the mine. Within, they worked with Lord Devonsey to shut down the ancient Stonestream, allowing explosive gases to fill the deep tunnels as they had in 943. Bidding a hasty retreat, the royalists ignited the gas, and buried Jeyne Kassynder's forces under an avalanche of stone.
Having bought themselves time to breath, the Legion set about the difficult task of convincing Stonebridge's Meisters to ally with them. Helping resolve various troubles around the city, the legionnaires gathered the votes they needed from the councilmen, but before anything could be decided, a criminal, known only as 'The Dapper Old Gent', turned half of the city's automaton army against them. The Legion stopped the Gent's plans for revenge and apprehended him, learning that he was the apprentice of the 10th Legion's last Grand Mage.
With Stonebridge's automatons and the remaining royalist forces at their back, the Legion marched on Jeyne's stronghold, the Spire of Azunai. When they arrived, the legionnaires were confronted by several of their enemy's handmaidens, who revealed that Jeyne was like them, an Archon. Her mother was the First Sister of their people, and her father was none other than King Hendrick, just as the old rumors had said, making her the aunt of Queen Roslyn herself. They feared that she had gone mad, however, as she claimed to hear the voices of the Archons' long-dead gods. Indeed, when the legionnaires faced her atop the Spire, she fled, promising to revive these Creator Gods.
Chasing her to the Mournweald, the Legion found that Jeyne had revived an army of dead Archons, numbering in the hundreds, as well as the dreaded Daevas, hideous demon warriors who served her mother's gods. When they finally found Jeyne at the heart of the forest, beneath the great tree which held the seed of the First Creation, their foe summoned forth a Corrupted Creator to strike them down. But the monster was destroyed, and the army that had risen alongside it returned to the dust; broken and defeated, Jeyne finally surrendered herself to the legionnaires.
The ultimate fate of Jeyne Kassynder is debated. Some say that she went on to help the Legion rebuild, only to be murdered by vigilantes; while others say that she was tossed into the depths of Glitterdelve Mine for her crimes, to be imprisoned there until the end of her days. Others still claim that she and her Archon handmaidens disappeared in a flash of light atop the Spire of Azunai, never to be seen again.
It is rumored that the few surviving Archons abandoned their former mistress, however, believing that their gods had willed Anjali, an Archon who was reborn after defying Jeyne's mother within the Mournweald, and raised as a member of the Legion after being found there by Odo, to become their new leader. It is said that these ancient beings dedicated themselves to the 10th Legion.
Major shakeups occurred in Stonebridge after the war's conclusion. The constable, Meister Wulf, who had supported the Legion, was elected mayor, although others say that he lost by a small margin due to the legionnaires' decision to spare the Dapper Old Gent who had terrorized the city. Meanwhile, the Cyclops workers of the Great Foundry found new freedom from their centuries-long enslavement, and gained new rights in Stonebridge; some say that this was just a fanciful dream though, and that the ironmonger Meister Rorik Kassel, used their back-breaking labor to supply the 10th Legion with the finest arms and armor in all of Aranna.
It would take many years of difficult reconciliation between east and west, but in time, the kingdom of Ehb was reborn under Queen Roslyn, with the might of the 10th Legion at her back.
Ehb is a widely diverse land. Temperate farmlands and forests in the southwest border with the foothills of massive mountains which, at higher altitudes become completely snow-covered. To the east, past the mountain ranges lies a dense, frigid forest which, to the south, gives way to a murky swamp. Further east of the swamp, the land becomes arid, and further travel east lies the Plain of Tears. This desert, covered in dry plateaus and seemingly fed by a single river is the home of the Droog, their cities sometimes built into the cliff-faces of the valleys. Southeast of here is a region of volcanic activity but once past there, the land becomes temperate again. In the middle of all of this land lie the various lakes and rivers which feed a massive estuary, making the country appear like a giant inverted 'U'.
It is likely that useful geographical features were not exploited for commerce (for example, a potential city in the Farmlands to trade with Meren in the Utraean Peninsula), to keep Ehb from expanding into an empire like the one before.
The kingdom of Ehb is ruled by a line of hereditary monarchs, who are served by the 10th Legion. These monarchs have the ability to grant and seize land, and to bestow titles of nobility upon individuals. Under the law, however, all citizens of Ehb are considered equal, even the greatest monarch, as was made abundantly clear during the Affair of the Goblin Pretender.
The favored method of execution used by the monarchs of Ehb is to release criminals into Dragon's Rathe, where they would be forced to face the dragon, Scorch. Only one person is known to have survived this punishment.
Ehb's ruler at the time of the Seck Resurgence was named Konreid.'