The Candle'Bre Bible

A Guide to Writing Fiction

In the Candle'Bre Universe

By: Christopher D. Hartpence

Purpose

I am posting a copy of this work on as a "getting started guide" for any who wish to write canonical fiction in the Candle'Bre universe. You can get a PDF version of this guide free, and can learn more about the books and the computer game set in the Candle'Bre universe by visiting us on the web at .

The goal of this writer's guide is not in any way to stifle creativity….on the contrary, it is my hope that such a work will enhance it, and do so in a number of ways, not the least of which are:

* To outline "what has already occurred" in the Basin. What precedents have been set by other writers, what characters, secret societies, and geographic features and locations have already been described, what flora and fauna have already been inserted into the eco-system of the Basin, and so forth. Many authors do this simply by mentioning something "in passing" and do not do much to flesh it out. This then, creates the perfect fodder for future stories, and in that way, can jumpstart the creative effort. A perfect example of this would be the relationship between the "Jacob Dunn" story and "The Stranger." In Jacob Dunn, I made a rather brief mention of a particular Nilroggi who had a scar on his face. This singular feature set the Nilrog apart from his fellows, but I didn't do anything beyond that with the character (in fact, I killed him shortly afterwards). Big Rich was able to take that single reference though, and craft a wholly new story about Scar's life, leading up to the point of his death which I described, and along the way, he greatly expanded what we know about the life of a Nilrog. In short, it was an absolutely fantastic addition to the mix of history and mythology that we're creating in this game universe, and I would very much like to see more of it! A huge reason for putting all this information in one place.

* Another outstanding reason for creating this document is to prevent duplication of effort. If we've already got a Spaghetti Monster then unless there's a compelling story reason for having a closely related new creature (say, a Linguini Monster), it makes more sense to use what's already in place, and a concise book detailing everything that's here, will put that information at any writer's fingertips.

* Yet another would be to establish some writing conventions, such as "don't kill off a character that someone else created." By all means, feel free to kidnap, torture, torment, and test any character you find listed, but don't change their fundamental nature, and don't kill 'em off if you didn't create them. "Rules" of this type will help create a deep, rich tapestry. Example: (unless you've got a compelling story reason—temporary insanity, possession, etc—don't have someone else's character "do something" that runs contrary to their essential nature….take Lord Rand as a case-in-point…he is portrayed in "Darkness Falls" as a life-long pacifist. It therefore makes no sense to write a story where he goes on a killing rampage, and worse, to kill him off at the end of your story). Stories that violate these conventions can certainly be written, but cannot be considered as "canon." And there are a good many other reasons for the creation of a document like this, but I think you'll agree (I hope so, anyway) that given the above, this is a good thing, rather than a bad). Mostly, it's designed as a tool to help anybody who wants to create fiction to add to what we know about the Candle'Bre universe.

~Ж§Ж~

Seminal Works

The following works are the complete listing of published material to date that is seen as "canon:"

Author Notes

Tapestry, Vol. I – Collected Threads

...Flight and Founding

...Foundations

...Jacob Dunn The Stranger

...The Theft

...Legacy of the Black Sash

...The Story Weaver

...Native Sons

Darkness Falls

Birthright

Sins of the Father

~Ж§Ж~

In the Beginning

This section provides some broad overview material of the foundational aspects of the Basin that should be kept somewhere in the back of your mind as you create fiction set in the Candle'Bre universe.

Pre-History:

An enormous amount of pre-history is hinted at in "Flight and Founding" including the existence of the "Old Empire" from which Candle'Bre is descended, the lands of the Harradis (a witching people), and a few others, besides. And while the creation story of the Basin itself has been fleshed out, very few specifics have been written about the lands, and the history "before." In large part, this is because the refugees have few history texts with them detailing the days of the Old Empire, but that's not to say that a hidden treasure trove does not exist somewhere, and in fact, World History events for the game make the claim outright that there's a hidden library somewhere in the Basin with just such knowledge….waiting to be discovered and written about.

The Creation Event:

While the creation event itself has been completely described already, it was described from the vantage point of the largest band of refugees in the region when the cataclysm occurred. There is a great deal of room for new fiction describing the events of that day from the perspective of some other refugee group, or even from the perspective of a tribe or group of indigenous people already living in the Basin. This too, then, is a wide-open field of study. Note too, that the groundwork has already been laid in for this to occur. In the "world history" section you'll read below, you'll see that it has already been openly stated that there were a number of other (smaller) bands of refugees in the area that is now the Basin when the cataclysm occurred, and further, that there are, were, or could be, any number of bands or tribes of indigenous peoples living in the region, who would now be "locked in" with the more numerous refugees. In short then, there's a tremendous amount of room and flexibility here, even to introduce a whole new "race" (reference "The Story Weaver" and the mentioning of a People called "The Forgotten."...an aquatic race of "troll-like" people)

Diametric Opposition (and, by definition, Balance), Tension, and Conflict:

This is really the "holy trinity" of Candle'Bre, and all three concepts play a crucial role in maintaining the vitality of the world, echoing through nearly every aspect of it. The humans are not trapped in the Basin alone, but are locked in a bitter (eternal?) war with the Nilroggi. The Church holds sway over the hearts and minds of the masses, but they have a foil in the form of the immense power of the Order of Mystics. The Aristocracy holds enormous sway over much of the Basin, but their authority is being challenged by the rising star of the Council of Seven. Noble knights and heroes roam the Basin performing great deeds, but in the background, a number of nefarious villains and secret societies plot to undo them. The Nilroggi are hive-minded, acting as one, while the humans in the Basin are free-thinking individuals. This leads to a number of striking differences in the societies created, and leads to some interesting paradoxes beneath the surface (for example, consider the Trentans, as a subset of the humans in the Basin…the free folk are so open and so free-thinking that they are almost kindred spirits of the Nilroggi, being the most able to "get into the HiveMind" by virtue of their openness. This is contrasted by the rest of the folk of the Basin, but especially by the Kellens, who are exceedingly standoffish (closed-minded). Even the gods themselves are in a strange sort of diametric balance. J'honsa has Ollux. Kaylarr has Laernan. And so forth.

Another manifestation of this is the unspoken generality that every power has a tradeoff in the Candle'Bre universe. Every gift has its price, and this too, is crucial to the construction of the universe. Jacob Dunn had a remarkable healing gift, bought and paid for with his feeblemindedness. Scar was a Nilroggi war leader, a position he could only gain by dying. The Silent Lord is a powerful telepath, a gift he gained via long-term exposure to the unrefined nectar of the Moon Lily, and in gaining his amazing gift, he lost the ability to speak. The Swifting Cloak allows its wearer to cover great distances swiftly, but it can kill you if it's used too long at one time, because it draws its energies straight from the wearer. Haaranda berries give you energy to counter the draining effects of the Swifting Cloak, but are themselves highly addictive and expensive, and so forth. Nothing ever comes free in Candle'Bre. It's built into the nature of the world. Even heroes without noticeable flaws or weaknesses (Lord Randall) pay the price for their flawlessness by watching their friends die (Malachi). It can truly be said then, that there's no such thing as a free lunch in the world of Candle'Bre.

The Gods:

The Pantheon of Gods in the Basin is, at present, only four strong, and a Pantheon should probably be more robust than this. Currently, the gods and goddesses we know about are these: J'honsa – HighFather of the Gods, and the God of Hardships. At least 75% of Candle'Bre's population worship J'honsa, and it is by far the largest, most dominant religion in the Basin. This is fitting, given that J'honsa is indeed the God of Hardships, and given the near-continuous struggle that the people of Candle'Bre have endured. Ollux – "The Polluter", God of Death, the Moon, and Insanity. His followers are few in number, and the religion is extremely cultish in its nature. This makes "The Cult of Ollux" an extremely useful "foil" for heroic characters in writing, especially since the cultists are relatively few in number, we can afford to make them powerful individually, to say nothing of the sinister fact that "anyone" could secretly be a member…. Kaylarr – The goddess of magick, and the patron of the Free-Folk of Trentare. Very little has been written about this goddess, and her only real following exists inside the borders of Trentare, and among the members of the Order of Mystics. Laernan – The goddess of fertility, water, and the Loch. Patron of the Ten Tribes of Kell. Another goddess whom very little has been written about, and a fertile field indeed. Note too, that even in the Pantheon, there's tension and balance.

J'honsa has Ollux. Kaylarr is the patron of the open minded Free Folk, while Laernan is the patron of the standoffish Kellens. Two males, two females. Balance, diametric tension, conflict. Good stuff. And, there are also any number of lesser gods, demi-gods, and heroes who have yet to be uncovered or discovered in the realm…they're out there though, waiting for someone to breathe life into them.

~Ж§Ж~

There are also two figures who need to be mentioned at this point….it has not been made clear in any of the writing so far what these characters are, precisely, but in describing them here and now, I will attempt to shed some light on them. The Enchantress of the Silver River – A sorceress of extreme power and ability, she pre-dates the existence of the Basin itself. In fact, she predates the UNIVERSE itself (read below). That is to say, she dwelt in the Silver River before the days of the Cataclysm (and even before that). When the Free-Folk discovered and settled in the land they now call Trentare, the Enchantress presented herself to them, and she became their spiritual leader (much in the same way that Lady Ahnwick Castillar is the spiritual head of the Holy Church in the Basin….the Enchantress can be seen as her opposite number for the Free-Folk). This gels nicely with what we already know about the history and mythology of the people. Kaylarr is the goddess of magic, and the patron of the Free Folk. The Enchantress is highly magical, and thus, a natural "fit" to be their spiritual leader in that regard. There are, and have been hints that she periodically needs to "die" and be reborn (reference "The Story Weaver," where the Enchantress has taken a human husband, and allowed herself to grow old), and I have vague plans in my mind to see this pattern repeat itself in future stories. It's also intriguing that the Free-Folk are generally described as gypsy-like in appearance (swarthy skinned, dark haired, dark eyed, and the Enchantress is their opposite number, appearing most commonly as a fair skinned, blue eyed, blonde haired woman).

What has not yet been revealed to the reader (and a thing that may never be, but is included here for purposes of completion) is that the Enchantress is actually not even "from" here. She existed before in another dimension, multiverse, whathaveyou, and wandered here with the Basin's "other" enigmatic figure. In that sense, she and the other figure predate even the gods themselves, and are thus, a part of the fabric of the game/story universe, and yet, apart from it.

From "The Story Weaver" we glean the following additional insights: Enigmatic figure inside the Basin of unknown age and/or origin. She is known to pre-date the formation of the Basin, and is known to appear more frequently during times of crisis or upheaval. Although little is known of her motives, she is almost universally regarded as a force for good. Has lived at least one lifetime as a "regular" human, including the taking of a husband and growing old, however, her present appearance is that of a golden-haired woman, some thirty years of age. The Grand Master of the Agents of the King – I had not intended to put "myself" in the game/story universe, originally. This was actually done by Big Rich, in writing some event quotes for the proposed event engine for the computer game, and I ran with it. Thus, I fictionalized myself, and inserted "me" into the mix of the game/story universe. Like the Enchantress of the Silver River, the Grand Master predates even the oldest myths of the world of Candle'Bre, wandering in from "elsewhere" to set up shop. Whether the world already existed before his arrival, or it was created on the fly when he first arrived, is a matter of conjecture and philosophic debate (and might, in and of itself, make for a good story). His presence also adds balance to the equation (one male and one female enigmatic figure, a part of, and yet, beyond the normal mythos that exists), and he too, is bound by, and subject to the rules of the universe. He too must periodically die (or sleep, or whatever) and be reborn later. It has not yet been discussed or decided, or in any way written about if the two enigmatic figures are on some kind of cycle, or if one must sleep while the other is awake….unknown). His name (though this is not something I have firm or current plans to reveal in stories, and make mention of it only for the sake of completeness here, is Charles Morgan, and he is (was) a poet/writer on earth, who dabbled in sorcery and stumbled here by accident). This also sets the stage for, and opens the door for other "enigmatic figures" to wander onto the stage from the great "elsewhere." (though this would be a VERY rare event, I would think…overuse of this fictional device could easily rip the whole world apart). Note too that even though these figures are "timeless," neither are overtly, or overly powerful. The Enchantress could not simply wave her wand and prevent the dark events in "Darkness Falls," and in fact, she did not know if her efforts to stave it off would succeed (and this was against a "normal" human in the Basin). Likewise, the spell she cast drained and exhausted her to the point that she could barely stand, so make no mistake about it, these are not all seeing, all knowing godlike figures, and they must abide by all the normal conventions set forth here. The Grand Master is the same way, but treads even more lightly. The few times he has been seen or mentioned, he has not displayed any powers at all, preferring to simply guide and direct key figures from time to time.

~Ж§Ж~

Author Notes

World History Events

A good bit of work has been done in outlining several "large scale, large scope" conventions, by way of the proposed event engine for the Candle'Bre computer game. The noteworthy events appear below, for your convenience:

"The Big Lie":

This really deserves its own sub-category, because it's absolutely pivotal to the tension between the Church and the Order of the Mystics. As anybody who has read "Flight and Founding" knows, the Mystics saved the refugees from certain death by wielding a spell that they could just barely control (and in fact, its casting killed half the wizards who made the attempt). However….since there were relatively few who actually saw the event occur, the Church has, in the two hundred year history of the Kingdom, seen fit to claim credit for the spell (spinning it as a "miracle" wrought by the hand of J'honsa), and

the Mystics have not been able to successfully refute the claim (the Church has better PR people).

~Ж§Ж~

The Outlawing of Heretical Texts:

This entry had to be added with the completion of the Jacob Dunn story, "The Big Lie" should really be called "The Expanded Big Lie," and here's why (although this was not actually written about in Jacob Dunn, it is relevant enough to discuss among the inner circle of writers and would certainly make its own compelling story). The Enchantress of the Silver River knows that the Nilroggi are sensitive to our magicks. During the Jacob Dunn story (at its end), she discovers that magical energy is actually a catalyst that drives their evolution. Energy hits them in the form of magic, and poof! We get rapid, uncontrolled evolution. We further know that, despite what the Church says in perpetuating the "Big Lie" that the Cataclysm was caused by a spell....not a miracle, and further still, that the spell was wampum powerful. Big Big Magic = Big Big Evolution (and probably the reason we began seeing other types of Nilroggi...Swimmers, Wraiths, and probably more, besides). We know that "Llankhan the Wanderer - Freeman of Trentare" penned the Jacob Dunn story, writing it down to preserve it, and to spread the tale to all corners of the Basin. Except that it didn't. Spread, that is. And the reason it didn't was that it was squashed by....yep....you guessed it. The Church. Censored as heretical, the few copies of the story that actually survive to this day are locked up in some Church Vault somewhere. And why would they do that?

Simply put, because if the story got out, then the cover for the Big Lie is blown. It's incendiary information that would ruin the Church and destroy the trust that the common folk have in the leaders of the faithful. So it is kept quiet (and again, there are so few living people who know the truth of the matter that they wouldn't be believed even if they got the word out...at this point, it's an outlandish fictional tale at best....a conspiracy theory, modeled after Roswell, for example). So...there's that. Of course, the Enchantress knows. The Kellens know (reference: Darkness Falls, Braal (the younger) refers to Braal (his grandfather, and the story of Jacob Dunn as one of their much-cherished legends), so.....

~Ж§Ж~

Discreditation of the Magi

* Note that this entry and those that follow it are pulled direct from some of the historical events that will be in the computer game. That's why they read as they do.

The Kingdom of your birth is a land of many things. Among them, it is a land of secrets, and among secrets, there is one that trumps all others. Only a select few know this secret, and that you are about to be privy to it is a sign of your growing power, and a tribute to your abilities. You have grown up with the belief that the mountains that ring our fair Kingdom were wrought by a miracle…that the hand of J'honsa was outstretched, and at the last moment, He saved his People from certain destruction. This is a lie.

It was a necessary lie, but a lie nonetheless. Two hundred years ago, the mountains were formed by magic, yes, but not by virtue of the faith of the Clergy….rather, by the hand of nine Mystics, four of whom gave their lives to see the spell through to completion. After the Cataclysm, with the newly formed Kingdom's future uncertain, the Wizards turned their full attention to assisting the new King, lending their considerable talents to both security and exploration, and while they were about these tasks, the Church set about soothing the fears of the Populace. Only a handful of witnesses actually saw the Wizards at their work on that day, and these were easily silenced….one way or another. With no one to refute the claims, the Church set about instilling in the minds of the Commoners that they were responsible for the last-minute miracle that saved the refugees, and the people, eager for heroes, latched onto this belief fiercely. By the time the Wizards (who have never been over-inclined to pay attention to the day-to-day affairs of the common man) discovered the Church's deception, it was already an entrenched belief, and to challenge it would have been to rip apart the newly laid foundation of the struggling Kingdom, and so the Wizards remained silent. Aloof. And over the years, the Church has repeatedly reinforced this lie, building themselves up with it, and fostering mistrust of the Wizards among the peasantry of the realm. Every time the Wizards stumble or make a miscalculation, you can rely on high ranking Church officials to point it out to the populace at large….loudly. Of course, all of the original perpetrators of this lie are long dead, and the truth has been handed down verbally (written records of these events are strictly forbidden) to a handful of people in important leadership positions ever since. And so, we have seen the slow erosion of the power of the Order of Mystics, from the instrumental right arm of the First King, to a faint shadow of its former self.

~Ж§Ж~

The Basin's Aquifer:

It is a question you have wondered a time or two yourself, and now your learned men have provided you with an answer. The story of the Basin's creation is well known to all who live here. Just more than two hundred years ago, your forefathers, pursued by the Nilroggi Hordes, wrought a miracle which saved them, creating in an instant the foreboding mountains that ring the Kingdom in…the earth itself destroying the bulk of the Horde, and scattering the rest. In the early days of the Kingdom, rainfall was something that was monitored closely, and there were fears that any rain trapped in the Basin would have nowhere to go….over the course of years, slowly submerging the Basin, and creating a vast lake. Clearly, this is not what has occurred, and now your scientists have discovered at least part of the reasoning behind that. When the Miracle occurred, the mountains did not merely spring up by the grace of J'honsa, but were, instead, crafted from the very earth beneath your feet. Had this occurred in wholesale fashion, of course, it would have left an immense crater in its wake, but again, this is not what happened. The surface of the land remained untouched, save for the spots where the mountains actually rose up from. The current hypothesis fronted by your Academians is that at the time of the Miracle, small channels of earth were taken from all across the Basin, and beyond it, and these channels of earth were assembled by the Hand of J'honsa to create the mountains around the Kingdom. But J'honsa's gift was both a blessing and a curse. The channels dug were vast and numerous….vast enough to serve as both a drainage system for the water that would normally collect in the

Basin, and also to serve as a refuge for the remnants of the Horde, allowing them a safe haven to survive in and slowly rebuild their numbers. Thus, the Basin is both a life-giving blessing and a cursed prison. It saved your People, but it also helped to perpetuate this awful inter-species war that has now raged for two centuries….

~Ж§Ж~

Folk of the Fringe (Attitudes and Cultures in Candle'Bre):

Candle'Bre is a relatively young Kingdom by almost any reckoning, and yet, her history is the only guide we have to draw on (notwithstanding the few tattered tomes of the Old Empire that spawned us, passed down from the days of the Cataclysm). This paradox resonates throughout our society, and it, combined with the unusual nature of the founding of our land, and her extreme isolation have created a society that, we must conclude (even in the absence of anything to compare it to), is utterly unique to our borders. To date, there has been no deep and formal investigation into the demographics of Candle'Bre…no determined attempt to examine the astonishingly divergent groups that have risen up over the course of two hundred years of settlement, internal squabbling, and desperate warfare with the Nilroggi, but some surface-level observations may provide sufficient insight to offer up a place of beginning. In many ways, Candle'Bre is a society of Pioneers. Not by choice, in this instance, but rather by the dictates of happenstance and fate. One might imagine that having being boxed in by supernatural means and having survived the harrowing flight from the Nilroggi hordes together, would have combined to create a tightly knit communal society. And it is true that there are strong vestiges of this in the Kingdom, even today, clearly evidenced by the numerous highly conservative, deeply religious provinces that dominate the central Basin, but it would appear that these are the exception, rather than the rule, and the Pioneer spirit of our People has reigned supreme for two centuries.

Of course, it can be strongly debated that had it not been for many of our former Kings, husbanding and nurturing this spirit, making it possible for a near-continuous stream of expansion into new lands inside the Basin, the more conservative-minded side of ourselves may well have taken to the fore, and while this is an interesting hypothetical, clearly, the Pioneer spirit has been the Basin's dominant and guiding force, shaping the nation just as surely as that same spirit compelled our forefathers to expand into every available space inside our mountain home. The first conclusion, and most obvious to the eye is that in looking at the attitudes as a whole for the basin, the conservative-minded folk tend to live toward the center, while the wild and free-spirited pioneers among us have invariably gravitated toward the mountains, making their homes amidst the hidden valleys and remote vales, tucked away in countless pockets at the very edges of our Kingdom. Beholden to none, save for our King, of course (and then, at times, only nominally). Thus, the term "The Folk of the Fringe" takes on new meaning and deeper significance, but the casual observations do not simply stop there. One has to wonder at how much credit the Free-Folk of Trentare, and the Stout-hearted Warriors of Kell deserve for shaping the social consciousness of the nation. Surely these two groups, with their wild and free ways and their fierce independence were an inspiration to many of our ancestors, as they continue to be to this day. The other compelling and significant observation we can make thus far is this: Just as geography played such a role in defining the borders of our Kingdom, so can it rightly be said that geography has had its impact on the mindset of many of our people. This can be seen clearly enough in the dispersion of our populace, and their prevailing attitudes. In the conservative center (WestKeep, EastGate, and others), we see highly developed urban centers of trade and commerce. On the plains and flatlands, we see free-spirited, highly individualistic cattlemen and ranchers. In the rugged hill country, we see clannish craftsmen dominating (and the closer to "The Fringe" those clannish folk get, the less conservative their attitudes become—contrast the men of Calimbar, quite conservative in their general demeanor, with the strange and sometimes unsettling ways of the craftsmen of Etian, who

live in a province nearly split in half by the rugged mountains), while the forest folk are known for their silence, mystery, and seclusion (StroudHaven being the obvious exception here, who are anything but silent!) We know too, that our society has a great deal more equality than the Empire which spawned us, in that womenfolk are regarded as the equals in all ways to men. What few surviving texts we have from the Old Empire suggest that this was certainly not the case in the land that spawned us, but we in the Basin never had such luxury of putting the fairer sex upon a pedestal. Our womenfolk work, hold positions of power, and some even serve in military units throughout the Basin. One need only to watch a Battle-Maiden of Kell in action against her enemies to see the value of women in combat. And, we are apparently a good deal more democratically minded than our forebears, as well. Since the founding of our Kingdom, the Council of Seven has been a guiding voice that has tempered the actions and machinations of our Nobles, and on the whole, I think there are few who would argue that their existence as the "Voice of the Common Man" has been anything but a boon to the Basin. Thus, I bring my remarks to a close, good People of Candle'Bre. Thank you for listening, for making the long journey to attend this conference, and before I turn the podium back over to our esteemed host, I leave you with this question: If it is so that our nation has been long-guided by a Pioneering spirit, what is to become of that spirit, now that the whole of the Basin has been mapped and settled? This terrible war that rages around us will come to an end, and when it does, will we begin to shun the very spirit which has allowed us to thrive here, and if so, what will that mean for us as a society? With no readily available frontiers to conquer, would such a shunning lead to social unrest? Rampant crime? Worse troubles than these? And if we do not shun that spirit, then how can we harness it next, so that it can lead us to even greater glories? This is why we ought to make an in-depth study of our people, and I implore you to take these thoughts to your leaders, and bid them listen. Thank you, and good night.

~Professor S. Burns, Transcript of a speech given in IronPort

~Ж§Ж~

Origins of the Mercenary Code:

Much has been written about Candle'Bre's famed Mercenary companies, but few know the true origins of the Code that guides them and their actions. As your military prowess continues to grow, and your focus on Military traditions increases, it is time that this piece of history is made known to you. During the time of the First King, and after the Foul Resurgence, there was a time of peace as villages and townships were formed, built by the sweat of the refugees who turned their attention toward taming the new land that was now their home. The tiny Kingdom had no standing army, and it fell to each village to defend itself, so bands of volunteers formed in every town and noteworthy village, each calling themselves by a different name. To stay in practice, in case the Nilroggi reappeared, these volunteer bands would come together regularly to compete in tournaments, where style and personal prowess in duals won prizes over strategy, tactics, formation, and discipline. In time, as the Kingdom grew and prospered, these volunteer bands were displaced by the House Guard system, whereby each petty Noble was charged with maintaining order and defense in his or her district, and as the King developed his own standing force to augment this, the Volunteers were no longer needed. In an attempt to remove a potential threat, the Nobility of those early days petitioned the First King and sought to have the Volunteers outlawed, but the Council of Seven recognized that in the Volunteers, a common man maintained the right to keep and bear arms without being formally sworn to the defense of the Crown, and argued that there was vast political danger in removing this right from the People, who had so ably and willingly defended the Kingdom even before a proper standing force could be raised. The Councilmen argued well, and the First King was swayed by their words, and the People were allowed their Volunteers. It was the only time the edict that allowed their formation and existence was ever challenged. And as the Kingdom grew stronger and spread out, the Nobility found uses for them, hiring out bands of Volunteers to augment their own forces as they skirmished with one another. As time passed, some Volunteer bands gained notoriety in this manner, and from this, the Mercenary Bands as we know them today, were formed. They still cling to their origins; style and personal prowess in battle count for more than rigid tactics, and any man may join their ranks. It matters not from whence you come, or your station at birth, or even if you come without a weapon. One will be provided you as you sell your services, and not your blade. Thus, unlike the Mercenaries of other cultures (and from what little information we have on the matter, it appears that most Mercenaries were reviled by those who hired them, and treated with little regard), the Mercenaries of Candle'Bre are honored and respected members of the community, and much-cherished by the common folk of the Kingdom....What few outlaw bands have formed up over the years have generally been hunted down by other Mercenary groups, who have a keen interest in keeping their reputation spotless. It should be noted, however, that despite the fact that the commoners dearly love "their" soldiery, the Nobles are somewhat less fond, and from time to time, skirmishes have been known to break out between the hired help and the King's Regulars. These incidents are, by and large, overlooked, as the Mercenaries provide an invaluable service to the Crown, shoring up armies and relieving the Nobility of the need to maintain larger standing forces.

Additional notes: the Mercenary Code was quite likely inspired by the Free Folk, and their Hearth Guard/Bordermen (the Free Folk being the ultimate individualists, and their Bordermen, being a famed military unit that MUST rely on personal prowess, since they have never been very numerous....quite possibly, after they departed for Free-Home (later Trentare), the commoner's who were so impassioned by Armando's speeches about taking control of their destinies, sought to emulate them in as many ways as possible....

~Ж§Ж~

The Witching Way:

The history of the Witching Way is an intriguing, often paradoxical element of our national story. In the same breath, the Wizards and Enchantresses that ply this not-quite-forbidden trade are both revered for their wisdom and reviled for their heresy. It is a fine path, and a difficult one to walk, but for the Practitioners of the Art, there is nothing more gratifying. The Witching Way is open to all, at least nominally, but in truth, it is highly Aristocratic in its leaning, with estimates placing fully 97% of Mystics practicing today as members of Noble houses. (Primarily, this has to do with the relatively low literacy rates among the Commoners of Candle'Bre, but is also helped by virtue of the Mystic Patronage system, whereby any new inductee must be formally sponsored into the brotherhood, and the Nobility tend to look out for their own). In a similar vein, while men are welcomed into the Order, there are clear limits on how far they can rise through the ranks, and all the positions of real power in the organization are held by women (in the history of the Order, as it has existed inside Candle'Bre, there has never been a High Master of Mystics (always a 'Mistress'), only two males have ever held power at the regional level, and only 6% of leaders at the provincial level have been men). Despite their relatively small numbers, their Aristocratic bearing, and their reclusive nature, the Order of Mystics has brought stunning

advancements to the Basin, and given them freely to all, asking nothing whatsoever in return, save for to be left to their studies and seclusion. Among these are Construction Automatons, which have been experimented with on a limited basis in building sites throughout the realm, and promise to become increasingly wide spread in the years ahead, manufacture of various magical devices that speeded communication between leaders, and their magicks have been instrumental in helping keep the peace when men are called off to battle, and are, in truth, a formidable weapon in their own right.

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MistMoon Warriors:

At the height of the Wars of Darkness, a powerful Enchantress from Trentare made a remarkable discovery. Nilroggi evolution is tied to their exposure to magical energies. The notion was a radical one, to be sure, and it was scoffed at by most of the learned men of the Kingdom, but the Enchantress was powerful and well-connected, and her arguments were compelling, for it was only a handful of generations following the Cataclysm that bathed the Nilroggi in tremendous amounts of magical energy that dramatic changes began occurring. Terrifying new tactics, and rumors of different sub-types of Nilroggi (later supported by the sudden appearance of the Steppe Wraiths in the Second Incursion) certainly made for a compelling argument, and it forever changed the methodologies used to fight the enemies of our race. Previous to this discovery, and because of the fact that the Nilroggi seemed fearful and suspicious of our magic, every army of note being sent out to give battle to them were accompanied by a contingent of Mystics, who would augment the troops with their powerful spells. After the Enchantress made her conclusions known, there was much discussion that perhaps the "fearful demeanor" so frequently mentioned in eye-witness accounts with the Nilroggi might have been a ruse to prompt us to feed additional energies into them. That debate still rages to this day.

Nonetheless, once the conclusions of the Enchantress became widely known, it prompted a decisive change in the way that magic was used to fight the enemies of our race. No longer were Wizards sent to the front with the armies, but rather, they used their powers to support the war effort indirectly. The MistMoon warriors were among the first, and most successful of these experiments. Fashioned from the pre-dawn fog that frequently blankets much of the Basin, solidified and given rudimentary intelligence and the ability to follow simple instructions by virtue of the eldritch energies they were infused with, the Warriors of the MistMoon were seen as a near-perfect solution by the Nobility, who, with a contingent of these magically created warriors on hand, were confident enough in their abilities to release increasing numbers of their personal guard to the front, and strip away the human defenders from key towns and villages, relying on the warriors to serve in garrison roles throughout the realm. Over the years, the Wizards have experimented with a number of variants, using different elements to construct a wide range of "flavors" of magically created troops, but the MistMoon Warriors were the first, and by most accounts, the most successful and readily accepted additions to the armies of the Basin.

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The Hidden Library of Thunder Hill:

One of the earliest decisions made by our eternally beloved First King, was to grant the territory in and around the Thunder Hills (which, as the site of Duncan Fury's bold stand against the Nilroggi Horde, is among the most famous battlegrounds in the whole of the Basin) to the Fury family. For their part, the Furies constructed a small keep at the base of those famous hills (Thunder Hill Keep was the first keep actually completed by the refugees in their new Kingdom), and upon its completion the First King ordered the gathering of all available books, scrolls, and other materials that survived the flight of the refugees to the founding of the Kingdom, to be placed there, under the

care of the Furies. These priceless tomes, representing all that remained of the Empire which spawned us, served as the foundation for Candle'Bre's first library, and King Perrin hired an army of scribes to add to that body of work for future generations. Initially, the Library was to be open to all, but petty infighting by the Nobility of the Realm, coupled with the Foul Resurgence caused the King to relocate the library to his modest castle, and tightly control access to it. Sometime during the middle part of his reign, the famous Thunder Hill Monument was constructed to honor the men who died there defending the Kingdom before it had even been born, and at the base of the monument (which stands proudly towering over the hills), a secret entrance was made, and tunnels dug into the hills themselves. This was the site of the King's "Hidden Library" for some twenty winters. Unfortunately, it proved to be a rather poorly-kept secret, and after the death of the First King, the province was the site of frequent clashes between rival Nobles who visited the region to make use of the wisdom those tomes contained. The most famous of these skirmishes was the Battle of the Hennig's Pass, in which petty Lords in the service of the Order of Mystics, escorting a Wizard research team gave battle to forces under the control of the Council of Seven. At the height of this skirmish, a large raiding party of Nilroggi appeared, routed both sides, and then invaded the Library, killing the scribes (but leaving the contents of the library undisturbed, a clear sign that they did not understand their significance) and vanishing before the Fury garrison at Thunder Hill could be mustered to prevent it. In response, the King posted a strong contingent of Royal Guards at the base of the monument, and when the capitol of Candle'Bre was moved to Langborne, the site was abandoned, and the contents of the library were once more relocated to the Palace of the King. This move proved disastrous, for during the Second Incursion, when Langborne was sacked by the Nilroggi Hordes, under the direction of

the fearsome Steppe Wraiths, the library was burned and looted, and a significant portion of the collection was lost. Some of the work survived, having been moved under armed escort by the King's Personal Guard to an undisclosed location, and the exact whereabouts of the collection was uncertain for a number of years, and a matter of much speculation. During the Onyx War, rumors abounded that Mikhail (called "The Usurper") had discovered the library cache during a raid into Shaladare, and was in possession of it for a time, but there is no conclusive proof of this. Finally, when Nathanial the proclamation was made that the library cache was back in the hands of the King, and that a new fortress would be constructed to house the remaining wisdom of our forebears. If the fortress was ever completed, then the secret of its location seems to have died with the King, for a search of his palace in Wyndamere has revealed no traces of what remains of the priceless collection.

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The Disastrous Birth of Widow's Way:

It is a commonly held belief that our forefathers can all be traced back to a singular band of refugees who survived their perilous flight and escaped the ravages of the Nilroggi Horde under the guidance and leadership of Arliss Castillar. This, however, is simply another of our cherished national myths. In reality, there were no less than half a dozen bands of refugees in the area we now refer to as "The Basin," although it is true that the band led by Arliss Castillar was far and away the largest of these. Still, the presence of the other refugee bands in the area when the Cataclysm occurred (to say nothing of the indigenous population) cannot be discounted. They have their own stories, and these tales are every bit as important to our national story as the tale Arliss. One of the other bands (the second largest, in fact) was somewhat south of Castillar's position on the day of the Cataclysm, and was being

led by none other than Lady Dierdranna, the first High Mistress of the Order of Mystics. In the hours before the miracle that saved our People, the weather changed dramatically, and one of the worst storms in our two-hundred year history occurred. The ground that Dierdranna band was traveling over quickly became little more than a bog, and scores of wagons were mired in the muck as the torrential rains fell. In response, the menfolk of this band remained with their wagons to get them unstuck, and sent the women and children ahead. When the Great Miracle occurred, tragedy struck the menfolk and their wagons, for fate had placed them directly over the spot where some of the mountains sprang up. In an instant, untold hundreds died, and families were ripped apart just as the earth itself was sundered. The full extent of the devastation may never be known, for no precise headcount was ever conducted in any refugee band, but the damage was extensive, and by some accounts, more than a third of Dierdranna band was lost when the Cataclysm occurred. In the days immediately following, as our Kingdom was born and the new nation mourned her dead, the survivors took to calling the mountains of that area "Widow's Peaks." And when the region was formally incorporated into the Kingdom as a province, it bore the name "Widow's Way," as a reminder of the loss of that fateful time. During the Foul Resurgence, a series of earthen forts and towers were built, spanning both Widow's Way and Perrin's Point, and over time, some of these were expanded into proper fortified towers, way stations, and lookout points, garrisoned with strong contingents of the King's soldiery, but ultimately, all of these were abandoned as reports mounted year after year that the whole area was haunted. Travelers to the area today tell tales that mirror the stories of the first soldiers to be stationed there….that on certain nights after a torrential rain, the distant echoes of the cries of the fallen can be heard mingled with the night wind.

The name "Widow's Way" endures to this day.

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General Conventions

Any author is free to write on any topic, and do whatever he likes in pursuit of the creation of the story, however, the following conventions must be strictly adhered to if the goal is to both create a new work of fiction AND add to the this document, which records everything considered to be canon in the game and fiction world. Note that the conventions listed below will, in all probability be changed and added to as the body of work continues to increase. 1) Don't contradict anything that is already considered canon. There's plenty of room for creativity, and there's always the possibility for inventing new stuff entirely, but if it's already established as a norm in Candle'Bre, then don't contradict what has come before. 2) Don't kill off any character you didn't create, unless you consult with, and get the explicit permission of that character's creator. Likewise, don't borrow a character you didn't create, and then have him "do things" that are completely contrary to his normal behavior, without providing some sort of compelling explanation, and bringing the aberrant behavior to complete resolution and closure. 3) When referring to the largest kingdom in Candle'Bre, the standard nomenclature is to call it "The Realm", "The Kingdom", or simply "Candle'Bre." Keep in mind, however, that there are technically three "Kingdoms" in the Basin (Trentare, home of the Free-Folk, Kell, home of the Ten-Tribes, and Candle'Bre itself). When referring to all of these collectively, "The Basin" is appropriate to use. Feel free to call Candle'Bre anything else you like, but so as not to confuse the reader, only use references to "The Basin" when you want to include all the human kingdoms inside the mountains….a small, but important point). 4) No free lunch. Every power, gift, boon, ability.....everything that makes a character stronger or better, has a price. There is no free lunch

in Candle'Bre. You don't have to go into "that aspect" of "the gift" in great detail, but be mindful of it. Heroes or villains who have absolutely no weaknesses tend to be rather boring anyways, and this convention helps ensure that we don't create cardboard, or cookie-cutter characters to drive the game and story universe with.

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Story Timeline

Year Zero - Year of the Cataclysm. "Flight and Founding" takes place in this year. The great Crevasse in Widow's Way opens, the Kingdom itself is founded, and Perrin is named First King of Candle'Bre. All years after this are marked with the designation "AC" (After the Cataclysm). The Free-Folk are released from the service of the First, and all future of Candle'Bre's Kings, and allowed their independence. These march to the encampment that will one day be IronPort, and, with the help and blessing of the King's Engineers, construct a sufficient number of Barges to travel the shallows of the Loch, and thence, to wherever the rivers may take them. This provocative move "cost" the First King nearly fifteen percent of his populace. AC 3 - Dissidents, explorers, and a few other wayward souls filter away from Candle'Bre's as-yet ill-defined borders, and deeper into the wilds. Some few of these make it all the way to the great forest of StroudHaven, where they will eventually merge with the indigenous population and create one of the strongest provinces in the Kingdom. AC 4 - Initial survey complete, resulting in the creation of the provinces of: IronPort, Gloim, Ascaaphol, Sphanaar, Thunder Hill, Widow's Way, and Perrin's Point. These create the boundaries of the Kingdom as it existed in its earliest days. For their tireless service to the Kingdom, the province of Thunder Hill is granted to the Fury family. This move is followed by similar land grants in AC 5, to the Church (Sphanaar), and to the Order of Mystics (Widow's Way). The Council of Seven is given no such land grant, but a meeting hall is planned for them in the province of Gloim. Also notable is the fact that the House of Mourngrym received no such land grant from the King, and was, in fact, shunned for its constant meddling in the affairs of the Crown.

AC 6 - IronPort is declared the Capitol, and construction begins of the First King's Palace.

AC 10 - AC 12 - The First Incursion (more commonly called "The Foul Resurgence"). Nilroggi Raids and sharp skirmishes occur in Widow's Way and Perrin's Point, with indications that the Nilroggi are traveling over-land from the south. The Code of the Free Swords (the Mercenary Code) is developed during this time, and the Council of Seven wins an important victory for the common folk of Candle'Bre...the right to keep and bear arms. This victory satisfies the Council of Seven completely, and is regarded as far more important than any land they could have ever been granted.

AC 12 - The Battle of the Southern Watch - Often claimed as the end of the Foul Resurgence. The First King commissions an army and marches into the wilds south of Perrin's Point, delivering a decisive blow to the still-gathering Nilroggi. Although raids would continue sporadically over the next eighteen months, this action marked the effective end of the Nilroggi threat in the region, and the Province of SouthWatch is created as a military province, to guard against future attacks from this quarter. It is relevant as the Kingdom's first expansion.

AC 14 - The Palace of the First King is completed - In years to come, this building will serve as the home of the "People's Congress," part of a bold, democratically rooted experiment in Candle'Bre.

AC 18 - "FreeHome" established by the Free-Folk. This land will later (AC 21) be called Trentare, after the first diplomat of that land, to the Kingdom of Candle'Bre. King Perrin recognizes the new nation, and trade and diplomacy commence at once. From the Free-Folk, it is learned that a fierce, indigenous People dwell in the land between the two Kingdoms...the Kellens.

AC 22 - Although scholars refer to the second period of general expansion as the "Expansion of 25," it actually began three years earlier, with the completion of the survey of Sphanaar, and the beginning of settlements there. Over the next decade, three additional

surveys would be completed, and settlement begun in those provinces as well.

AC 25 - Vestford survey complete, and the province opened to settlement.

AC 29 - Shroudwater survey complete, and the King announces his intention of settling 'round the Loch completely.

AC 32 - Gallowmir survey complete. With settlement on-going in all these provinces, the Kingdom is nearly double its initial size.

AC 48 - NorthShores survey complete. Settlement begins, but evidence of Kellen presence is discovered nearby. NorthShores is given a military presence.

AC 49 - Skirmishes erupt between the Kellens and the folk of Candle'Bre, culminating in the defeat of two contingents of the King's regulars. Kellen skill at arms becomes widely known. The King sends another, larger force into the region and finally hands the Barbarians a defeat, then settles in to negotiate with them, securing the lands 'round the Loch as the territories of Candle'Bre. The lands that one day will become EastGate, WestKeep and Micklenach are added to the Kingdom, although they are not yet surveyed, nor formally incorporated). Despite the treaty settling the land-boundaries between the folk of Candle'Bre and the Kellens, skirmishes continue over the next several years, and put a strain on the fledgling economy of the new Kingdom.

AC 54 - AC 56 - Sensing a looming financial crisis for the Kingdom, and also sensing a means to put it to their advantage, The House of Mourngrym purchases the unincorporated lands that will one day become the provinces of EastGate and WestKeep from the King. This move immediately solves the cash-problem for the King, but formally re-introduces the House of Mourngrym as a force to be reckoned with in the affairs of the Kingdom. For his part, Mourngrym pours his fortune into settling his new lands, and begins building what will become the first and second largest cities in Candle'Bre (WestKeep and EastGate, also called the "Sister Cities." Over the years, and given their close proximity, these two cities have all but grown together.

AC 61 - Micklenach survey completed. Settlement begins. AC 64 - Settlement begins in the provinces of Calimbar and Etian, even though they are not formally surveyed, nor incorporated into the Kingdom Proper. Including these two unincorporated lands, the Kingdom has swelled to more than thrice its original size in its first sixty-four years of existence, and already participated in two minor wars (one against the Nilroggi, and one against the Kellens).

AC 1 - AC 66 - The Rule of King Perrin comes to and end. The First King's reign was the longest of any King of Candle'Bre, and despite the fact that two wars were fought under his stewardship, it was remarkable for its extended periods of peace. These years would be the last peace that the folk of the Kingdom would know for a number of years.....

AC 66 - Ascension of Aesil, Second King of Candle'Bre. Aesil was deeply resentful of the Kellens, and their refusal to bow to his father's authority, and in many ways, this resentment defined his entire reign. One of his first acts as King was to send a large contingent of troops into what is now the province of Langborne (but which was, in those days, Kellen territory, as agreed to by the terms of the peace accord signed by his father). His aim was to spark a renewed confrontation, and the Kellens obliged him almost at once, checking his advance, and ultimately routing this force. The King's men retreat home in disgrace, but Aesil is determined to bring them to heel, and formulates a plan to grind the less numerous Kellens to dust. He raises additional troops and reinvades later in the year, and is dealt a string of stinging defeats, but the constant warring has the desired effect, and the Kellens begin to feel the pinch acutely.

AC 70 - Confident that his more numerous troops will win the day, Aesil orders construction to begin on a new Palace for himself in what will one day be the Province of Langborne, but which is (still) the sovereign territory of the Kellens. Construction continues apace for the better part of the year, but a series of raids and sharp skirmishes by the Kellens culminates in another spectacular defeat for Aesil, and with the army defeated again, the construction crews are chased off.

Undeterred, and displaying breathtaking stubbornness, the King musters yet more troops, and plans yet another invasion.

AC 72 - Aesil fights the Kellens to a draw in Langborne, and a new peace accord is reached. Both sides view it as a victory, because both sides got what they wanted most. The people of the Ten-Tribes of the Kells gain a guarantee of their independence, in exchange for an annual tribute, paid to the King of Candle'Bre, and as payment in-advance, the Kellens offer to sell what is now Langborne and Brigglund to King Aesil. It is agreed, and settlement immediately begins in these two provinces.

AC 75 - Survey of Argenia, Misty Vale, and Elynthia completed (these lands were unsettled, and not a part of Kellen tribal territory). Settlement begins in these three new provinces immediately. With such an emphasis on expansion, the King's treasury begins to run dangerously low, and he makes generous land grants to the Great Houses of the Realm in exchange for their assistance in financing the expansion of the Kingdom. This quickly leads to numerous (and often conflicting) claims on newly formed provinces, and the Great Houses compete with one another for control of increasing amounts of territory in the Basin. Not all of the territories owe their settlement to a mixed bag of claimants, however. The territories in the Northeast, Elynthia, and later Dasgardia, and Maldev, were bought and paid for almost entirely by the Order of the Mystics. Likewise, Griggor's Steading and Micklenach owe their rapid incorporation and development to the House of Mourngrym, while the territories north of the Loch were settled primarily by the House of Fury and/or the Church. Nonetheless, there were numerous areas (The Vales, Willet, Vargalas, Bessmer, Brom, and Hlo'Haas, which share such mixed ancestry as to make it impossible to tell which Great House has the stronger claim).

AC 77 - Palace of Langborne is completed. Willet and Griggor's Steading are purchased from the Kellens in exchange for several years' reprieve from their annual tribute, as relations between the Kingdom and the Ten-Tribes continue to warm. At this point, the Kellens have paid their annual tribute nearly twenty years in advance.

AC 81 - First year that Kellen Mercenaries begin to hire themselves out as the Personal Guards of important Nobles of Candle'Bre. This new form of trade between the two lands sends more wealth flooding into the land of the Kells, and their warriors are in such demand that the independent nation quickly comes to be regarded as the center of wealth in the whole of the Basin. StroudHaven is formally incorporated into Aesil's Kingdom. Surveyors are dispatched to the north Basin, from Hlo'Haas to Maldev.

AC 83 - Settlement begins in Hidden Vale and Maldev.

Ac 84 - Settlement begins in Dasgardia.

AC 85 - Settlement begins in North Vale (later renamed Vargalas)

AC 87 - Settlement begins in Bessmer

AC 89 - Settlement begins in Hlo'Haas and Brom. The Kingdom has grown radically over its 89 year history, and is now some six times its original size. This rapid, rampant expansion had the effect of spreading the Kingdom's population dangerously thin, making it all but impossible to properly defend, and this would be blamed for the disasters that would unfold in years to come. Thus far, in the Kingdom's history, a total of three wars have been fought. One against the Nilroggi and two against the Kellens (now allied to the folk of Candle'Bre). Moon Lilies, and their remarkable curative powers, are discovered in Brom.

AC 91 - (Jacob Dunn) Hiram and Elizabeth Dunn receive their land grant from King Aesil, one year before their death, and move to the province of Hlo'Haas. AC 66 - AC 92 - The reign of Aesil, Second King of Candle'Bre, comes to an end.

AC 92 - Candle'Bre's Third King, Haras, ascends to the Throne, to find a very different Kingdom than the one that his forefathers ruled. The Great Houses of Candle'Bre hold nearly as much power as the King himself, and the Council of Seven has been completely marginalized, having passed no significant legislation to further the rights of the commoners since winning the right to keep and bear arms. The Kingdom has become too large to easily defend, too spread out, and exceedingly Aristocratic in its leaning.

AC 96 - (Jacob Dunn) Five years have passed since Hiram and Elizabeth Dunn have moved to Hlo'Haas when the meet a very young Jacob (the Wanderer). They adopt him, and he becomes Jacob Dunn.

AC 101 - (Jacob Dunn) Jacob's remarkable powers begin stirring, as war once more erupts in the Basin. It would have been during the opening days of this war that the events in "The Stranger" unfolded, resulting in the birth of the WedgeLeader known as 'Scar.'

AC 93 - AC 106 - Only a year after the ascension of Haras, the Wars of Darkness begin with the Second Incursion, and they are a terrible, trying time for the Kingdom of Candle'Bre and her allies. The Nilroggi return, this time, led by a fearsome new offshoot of their race, the Wraiths (later called Steppe Wraiths, given that they ruled the steppe lands to the north of Loch for a number of years). Initially, the Wraiths directed their armies to attack the provinces of North Vale (later Vargalas), Dasgardia, and Maldev, sacking the cities there, and capturing Dasgardia and Maldev. This information was kept from King Haras, and the Wizards who controlled the land assured the King that the situation was well in-hand, and the lands were firmly under their control. It is a matter of much conjecture what the true state of affairs might have been during those dark days. Some have argued that the Wizards briefly entered into an alliance with the Nilroggi, in exchange for their lives. Others insist that the Wizards were fighting a covert war against the Wraiths, but too shamed to admit that they had lost much of the lands they had been granted by the King. Whatever the case, this period saw numerous battles, and numerous setbacks and defeats for the men and women of the Basin.

The fortunes of the human kingdoms were reversed in the year 106, when an allied force of Trentans and Kellens joined with the army of Haras, and a large independent contingent of Fury Cavalry (raised and paid for entirely by that family), and expelled the Nilroggi and their Wraith masters from Vargalas. General Vargas, who led the allied armies to victory, was awarded the lands of North Vale. These were renamed Vargalas, and put under the protection of the military, with a permanent garrison of the King's forces stationed in the province to guard against future Nilroggi incursions (and also to serve as spies against the Wizards, whom the King mistrusted).

AC 103 - Dol'Doras and Cho'Neria are surveyed and added to the Kingdom, the former, for the fertility of its land, and the latter, for its deposits of Iron. Fearing the power of the Steppe Wraiths, the King desired new lands, away from the troubled north, that would be instrumental in strengthening the Kingdom. This proved to be a good decision, for the Iron Mines of Cho'Neria were invaluable when the Nilroggi struck again....

AC 106 - NorthVale renamed Vargalas, and given to the famed General who led the army of the allies. For their valor in battle, and ceaseless service to the Crown, the Furies receive a large tract of land north of Trentare. It will not be incorporated for many years, but much of the family relocates to the area immediately following the conclusion of the Second Incursion. Eventually, these lands will become the provinces of Cerilon and Parthaway.

AC 107 - (Jacob Dunn) We get the distinct impression that even though the second incursion has come to its official end, the armies of the Basin are still at full muster, and still skirmishing with lingering remnants of the Nilroggi forces (Braal's comment to the effect that the HearthGuard of Trentare is stretched thin, thanks to the on-going battles). This reinforces hints and suggestions elsewhere that there really wasn't a complete cessation of violence between the second and third incursions....just a marked decrease in the frequency of the battles.

AC 113 - (Jacob Dunn) At the height of the third incursion, Lord Randall makes his "proposition" to the House of Dunn, the result of which is that Jacob joins the army under the protection of the Furies. The Enchantress of the Silver River makes an appearance in this year, looking young and blonde and pretty. This year also introduces us to the following characters: Lord Randall Fury (minor lord of the Fury Family) Lady Lauren Fury (member of the Witching Way, in Trentare, mentioned in passing) Malachi, the BladeMaster (dies later in AC 113) Lady Ashlyn Briggs (Master Animal Handler, and descendant of Deacon Briggs, who helped settle the province bearing his name) First and earliest mention of the secret society behind many of the machinations of StroudHaven, and clear indications that the society has been in operation for a long time (long enough that their actions are guided by, and steeped in tradition, so probably since before the province was even formally recognized...)

AC 111 - 115 - The Third Incursion, and the conclusion to the Wars of Darkness. During this time, the Steppe Wraiths returned, laying waste to much of the north, and capturing outright, the provinces of Dasgardia, Maldev (both of these may well have been under their control after the previous war), The Vales, Vargalas, and Willet, with Brigglund, Argenia, and NorthShores trading hands frequently, and often only nominally under the control of the King. AC 115 - At the height of the fighting with the Nilroggi, the King's Capitol at Langborne is sacked and the city put to the torch. As much of that city burns, King Haras retreats to Kell, where he makes his provisional capitol in the only Barbarian city, spread out at the feet of their mighty basalt fortress, Basal Kor. This fortress too, comes under attack by the Steppe Wraiths, but their defeat at the gates of the basalt fortress spells the turning point in the war, and after that time, the allies of the Basin gain the offensive, pushing the Wraiths back in two long years of continued warring. They do so, however, without the leadership of their King, who was killed by a cursed arrow of a Steppe Wraith, as he directed the battle from one of the battlements of the mighty fortress.

AC 91 - 115 - The Rule of King Haras comes to an end.

AC 115 - Candle'Bre's Fourth King, Nethior, takes the throne at age 14. The first two years of his rule, a Regent (a man called Larsen, a shadowy figure, about whom very little is known) handles the day-to-day administration of the Kingdom, and proves himself to be both cunning and loyal. Even after Nethior is coroneted (which occurs on his sixteenth birthday--of particular significance, because the First King was sixteen when he ascended), Larsen remains on as his one of his most powerful and influential advisors. During his first two years of rule, and freed completely of administrative duties, the Crown Prince of the Realm proved himself to be an able student in the ways of war, and personally led the armies that ultimately crushed the Steppe Wraiths. His coronation occurred just three days after the last major engagement during the Wars of Darkness, in AC 117.

AC 117 - The Wars of Darkness end, and Nethior is officially coroneted. The new King moves from the provisional Capitol at Basal-Kor, to a temporary Capitol in Dol'Doras. He will move it again in AC 142, to Wyndamere (the present site of the nation's Capitol), once that province is surveyed and incorporated, in a bid to foster westward expansion. The Sutter's End land grant is made to William Sutter, of the Royal Guard, for valorous conduct above and beyond the call duty, and great deeds beyond the realm of possibility for mere mortal flesh. Settlement begins here even before the survey is complete. AC 124 - In order to give the people of the Basin a goal to focus on, and an achievement to be proud of, Nethior commissions numerous explorers to fully map the basin, and survey all lands unclaimed by indigenous peoples as unincorporated territory for the King. This project is completed in 124, and work begins immediately to carve up these new lands into provinces to be settled. Determined not to make the same mistake as his forefathers, King Nethior passes a series of laws known as the "Acts of Fertility," which are a series of generous tax breaks to large families. The next two decades are fondly recalled as "The Time of Children," and during this time, the population of the kingdom exploded. Thus, unlike the previous rampant expansion, the population growth of the realm outstripped the pace of the expansion.

AC 124 - Settlement begins in earnest in Parthaway and Cerilon, as these two provinces are officially recognized by the Crown.

AC 125 - 135 - Settlement begins in the whole of the southern Basin, with the provinces of Pyrixius, Massetta, Ouestron, Sutheron, Clannimar, and Skanalarr being added at a rapid clip.

AC 136 - 145 - Settlement begins in Vandamere, Wyndamere, Shaladare, Henderlaas, and Ravanna. The Fourth King's Empire stretches from one end of the Basin to the other.

AC 142 - A new palace is constructed in the province of Wyndamere, and the capitol is relocated there in a bid to encourage westward expansion. This represents the fourth and last time the capitol has moved in the history of the Kingdom. Settlement begins in Sarsgardia, driven by the discovery of gold in that province. The wealth of the Kingdom grows by leaps and bounds.

AC 143 - Liam O'kinso is born to Mikail (who would later be called "The Usurper"), and secreted away.

AC 150 - The palace of the King is completed, and King Nethior claims the rest of the lands in the Basin as belonging to the Crown. By now, the relentless drive to expand is beginning to play itself out, but there is still plenty of free land to be found, for those willing to make the journey westward.

AC 151 – The events of "The Theft" occur on this year.

AC 152 - A local agitator named Mikail, in newly settled Sarsgardia sparks a minor uprising in that province. It is put down in a matter of months by forces of the King, but Mikail himself is never caught. This might have been little more than a footnote, but fate would conspire to ensure that it became much, much more. AC 115 - 155 - The reign of Nethior is at an end, and rule of the Kingdom passes to his son, Shilda. AC 155 - Shilda becomes Candle'Bre's cursed Fifth King. Unfortunately, he lacks his father's vision and strength, and almost immediately, the old power struggles between the Great Houses of Candle'Bre bubble to the surface. A good man, but a weak King, Shilda is powerless to stop the trouble from brewing into a full-blown catastrophe. (Actually, this is an over-simplification....Nethior was blessed to be born in an age that had been marked by bloodshed and desperation. The memories of those dark times were still fresh, and this, combined with his idealism, sense of adventure, and series of grand achievements (to say nothing of his populist policies), made him the perfect ruler for the period. By the time Shilda ascended to the throne, the great adventures were gone...the Basin had been largely tamed, and the hardships and terrors of the past were distant memories. All of this combined to create an environment that required a fluid, innovative, bold King, and none of these were things that described Shilda. In short, fate conspired to ensure that he never had a chance).

The events of "The Story Weaver" take place in this year.

AC 156 - Robber Barons in the not-yet-recognized province of Haven rebel, and declare themselves beyond the reach of the King's law. Shilda sends a force into Haven to bring the rebels to heel, but finds his force decimated by the brigands from Haven. It is learned then, that the agitator Mikail leads these forces, and King Shilda, determined to bring the brigand to heel, orders a larger force to be mustered to invade Haven the following year.

AC 157 - The men of Haven, with Mikail at their head, invade Sarsgardia in an attempt to take control of the Gold Fields. He is expelled by one Tessal Aedrannai in a matter of months, but the King is unable to capitalize on this victory because the none of the major Houses in the Realm answer the King's call for additional troops. Even the Fury family, normally quick to answer any call of the King's, is reluctant (this, because they are stretched thin maintaining order in the now-sprawling realm, and have nothing to spare for a military adventure in such a remote location). This would prove disastrous the following year, when Sarsgardia is taken from within, and the King's troops in that province swear their allegiance to Mikail.

Historically, the year 157 is known as the Year of Crisis, as it exposed the glaring weakness that had been growing in the whole system of governance. The Great Houses of the Realm had simply grown too powerful to be contained, and were busy pursuing their own agendas, leaving the whole of the Kingdom essentially paralyzed and unable to act.

AC 158 - Sarsgardia revolts, to Mikail, and the fighting men of the province "don the black sash" (a phrase coined during this time, which essentially means "goes over to the other side."). Emboldened by this, and sensing the paralysis of the Kingdom in general, Mikail, with his former foeman Tessal now serving under him, launches a series of offensives, aimed at Wyndamere and the palace of the King. His forces cut a swath through the western provinces of Candle'Bre, and before the year is out, Mikail the Usurper stands at the threshold of Wyndamere. The Onyx Wars have begun. AC 159 - In a move that shocks the whole of the Kingdom, Wyndamere is captured, the King's palace is ransacked, and Shilda is deposed. The Great Houses of the Realm, each playing Kingmaker, stand independently against the growing forces of Mikail. In this year, it is learned that Mikail's success can be at least partly attributed to the fearsome weapon he wields....the dreaded Black Sword of Zeal, whose power can bend the will of men to the service of it's possessor, and with this dreadful weapon, Mikail's armies prove to be all but unstoppable.

AC 158 - 170 - The Onyx Wars - During this period of strife, confusion, and civil war, Grand Lord Mikail winds up subjugating much of the realm, and his renegades carve a new Empire out of the old. In turn, he defeats the Furies and their Free-Folk allies, the forces of Castillar, Mourngrym, the Order of the Mystics, and the Kellens. This last group, he punishes particularly severely, in order to make them an example for the rest of the Kingdom. If Mikail could best the greatest warriors of the Basin, then surely none of the rest could stand against him. This was his plan, and the reason why he sacked their ancient fortress of Basal-Kor. Finally realizing that they had no hope of defeating the great war leader individually, the Great Houses of the Basin set aside their differences, and for the first time in decades began genuinely cooperating with one another. In AC 170, that cooperation paid off, and Mikail's army was caught, cornered, and defeated, and Mikail himself was slain. Perhaps even more dreadful than his near-conquest of the whole of the Basin, was the sheer ruthlessness that he pursued the Royal Family with. His goal was to utterly end what he viewed as a thoroughly corrupt line of Kings, and he very nearly succeeded in that goal. All but one of the King's blood Kin were slain, and that one was spared only because he was well-hid by the Fury family and could not be found. It is estimated that no less than twenty members of the House of Fury died at the hands of Mikail's torture-masters in an attempt to find the location of Aledan, last surviving member of the Line of Perrin, but to no avail. And thus, upon Mikail's death, Aledan ascended the throne, preserving the Line of the First King.

AC 170 - Once the Onyx Wars had come to their end, the deposed King Shilda was sought, but was never found. As he had no heir to rule after him, the coronation fell next to Shilda's only surviving Uncle, Aledan, who became the Kingdom's Sixth King. The events in "Legacy of the Black Sash" unfold here, in the dying days of the Onyx Wars. AC 178 - "Darkness Falls" Introductory material occurs. Liam is presently working for the Holy Inquisition, in Sutheron.

AC 170 - 195 - Aledan was in his middle years when he ascended the throne, and his Kingdom was in shambles when he took the Scepter and Crown. He did not rule for a long enough time to address the fundamental political problems of the kingdom (that being, the vast power of the Great Houses of the Realm), but focused instead on the tasks of rebuilding the shattered economy and restoring hope to her People. In this, he was vastly successful, and a sufficiently gifted diplomat that he was able to keep the Great Houses from sundering the fragile Kingdom anew. Aledan's reign was a source of quiet, steady strength for the Realm, at a time when it was most needed. For that, he is much beloved, and spoken of nearly as highly as the legendary First King.

AC 195 - The reign of Aledan ends when he expires quietly in his bed. His only son, Nathanial, is coroneted as Candle'Bre's Seventh King. Nathanial proved to be an even more able King than his father before him, and in the time of his father, the Kingdom had recovered much of its former strength. Thus, Nathanial reckoned that the realm was strong enough to withstand the shocks he was about to give it. His first major act was to fully empower the much maligned Council of Seven. They were given the Palace of the First King to serve as the House of the People's Congress, and were given stewardship over the provinces of IronPort and Ascaaphol, and even permitted to experiment with Democracy in the lands under their direct control. As predicted, this was dimly viewed by the Great Houses of the Realm, who greatly feared any disruption in what they now viewed as the natural order of things, but King Nathanial was a far better diplomat than any had reckoned, and over the first nine years of his rule, he ran the gauntlet of diplomacy with the Great Houses, acting decisively at every turn, and in the end, utterly short-circuited the underlying causes for the continual strife by undoing two hundred years of conflicting land claims. A whole series of proclamations were issued to this singular end, with each building on the last, until he had arrived at a place where he, as King, was in control of all the land in the Basin, and some few parcels were doled out for the Great Houses to administer directly.

There was much grumbling and rumbling about these proclamations, but the land, and her People were still weary from the constant fighting, and all were mindful that they were fortunate indeed, that the Nilroggi had not taken advantage of their weakness during the Onyx Wars to strike at them, and so, King Nathanial got his way, and the power structures inside the Basin were completely redrawn (this process completed in AC 203)

AC 204 - The first year after the reclamation of the Kingdom began with great hope and promise. The Great Houses had been brought to heel, the Kingdom had recovered fully from the darkness of the Onyx Wars, and was stronger now than it had been at any point in its past. The sun shone brightly on the reign of this glorious King, and a new era of peace and unmatched prosperity seemed to be at hand. Unfortunately, the peace was not meant to last, and in the Autumn of that year, in a night filled up with blood and death, the entire Royal Family was brought low...felled by an unknown assassin. Where Mikail's armies had failed, the blade of an unknown assassin finally succeeded in ending the Line of the First King. Hungry to regain the lands and powers that had been recently taken from them, and eager to be the power behind the Throne (especially in light of the fact that there were no heirs of Perrin to stand in their way), the Great Houses of the Realm immediately began gearing for a new war. One that would shake the very foundations of not just Candle'Bre, but the Basin itself..... The main body of "Darkness Falls" occurs here.

~Ж§Ж~

Coming Soon! Supplement to The Candle'Bre Bible

As soon as I can make time for it, I've got a plan in the works to include a spreadsheet in this download packet. The spreadsheet will contain a listing of every person, place, or thing mentioned in all the material that's considered canon, and will be sortable in a variety of ways. The hope is that this'll be helpful/useful both in terms of research on the Realm, and as something of an "idea box" for future stories. In any case, I'll make it available as soon as I can, and thank you in advance for having patience with this poor soul!

-Chris

-=Vel=-