and the Dragonstranglers
the days of the Aelven Empire of Xauphinelle, the most loyal of their human
servants were the people of Barrioch. The became great in the ways of magic
under the tutelage of the aelven wizards, a display of favor that no other
thrall-kingdom received. Only once was an uprising against their aelven masters
planned the people of Barrioch, but it was crushed by the human Magister General
before it could gain popular support. Barrioch grew in power and glory, a
short-lived, human shadow of the great Empire that controlled it. It was a place
where magical artifacts became almost common, where golems served the greatest
of mages, where magical education was free to those with the desire to learn it,
and the Emperor of Xauphinelle looked upon this human mimicry of the Aelven, and
Then, the Emperor died unexpectedly, and his twin children warred over who should ascend the throne. Their desire for power split the aelven race in two, and civil war erupted. For the first time, aelven brother warred against aelven brother and blood was spilled with sword and spell.
Barrioch was a battlefield in this war, and mighty magics were unleased between the two factions. Humans took sides in the struggle for the Imperial Throne, and died alongside the aelven they had sworn to follow and obey. In the last great battle that took place upon Barrioch, the ground itself was split, and a vast desolate canyon was left between the capitol city of Barrioch and the great plains that were that day's battlefield. This canyon's walls were steeped in blood, and to this day the Bleeding Canyon oozes forth its namesake, a wound that will never heal.
The battle of aelven against aelven could not go on for long, for as the arcane blood of the aelven was shed, a mystic karmic backlash erupted, and in that Kinstrifing the Empire lost something... some spark, some glory. It began to slowly decay and fall apart, even though the civil war was won and the conquered twin and her supporters were exiled, stripped of their magical legacy.
The Empire began to crumble, and Barrioch was left more and more to its own devices. Unrest made the streets strange and filled with anticipation, for the Empire's absence made things ready for change. A dangerous excitement grew, and the humans of Barrioch prepared to set forth and forge their own destiny, a new Golden Age for Humankind.
And then the dragons came.
The riches of Barrioch could not be ignored, and with the Empire no longer protecting Barrioch, the dragon's lust for treasure and magic consumed them. They descended upon the the mountains and plains, they destroyed much of the cities. Good dragons, in their hoard-frenzy, thought themselves aiding the human kingdom before anarchy broke out. Evil dragons were eager to snatch the choicest items from this grand opportunity. Their gluttony was unfettered as they took this most choice of nesting grounds. What was a pleasant locale for humans was an ideal clime for dragons, and their winged forms became a common sight over the wide plains of Barrioch. They traveled to Barrioch from far and near, for the dragon population had grown as the Empire had turned in on itself and forsaken its duties to control the draconic population. The Magister General of Barrioch ventured out to combat the dragon infestation, and was lost.
The wyrms laired in the mountains, in the scarred canyon, in the ruins of cities and towns. They took from the people of Barrioch their pride and their heritage, all the accoutrements of civilization that the Empire had given them. Those beyond the great canyon, trapped on the plain, descended into barbarism. Those in the few remaining cities, the capital among them, huddled in terror and held the drake-storm off with all the magic they had.
And all this was years ago...
The Bleeding Canyon is wide and harsh, haunted by aelven ghosts and other unwholesome things born of the Kinstrifing. The humans of the plains are nomads now, scuttling from place to place while the dragons go about their business. Occasionally one will rise up to toy with humans, but otherwise they see the barbarian folk as beneath their notice. They offer nothing to add to their hoards. The barbarians themselves count many who speak of their lost birthright, and stories are passed from parent to child of the City of Light beyond the canyon. Some say they are descended from the Magister General, the "Most High", and believe that some day that shall lay claim to the City of Light and the cowards that stories say hide behind its walls.
The folk of the plains are not content, however, to wait for the people of the fabled city to come forth and send the dragon plague from the lands of Barrioch, a deliverance that may never come.
But the barbarians of Barrioch take the long view. They will take their vengeance when and where they can, and though it may take millenia, they will succeed. They are a direct and aggressive people.
However, they are no fools. They know they cannot slay dragons without the magical might of Barrioch. What few items of arcane power they have kept out of dragon hoards are not enough to turn the tide. They cannot slay the great drakes that plie the sky-ways and shatter mountains with their terrible claws.
Past the traps and guardians they shall creep, when the mighty dragon is away...
No cry for aid shall escape the wyrmling's maw, for its throat shall be clenched in an iron grip driven by generations of hate.
Only the most sly shall penetrate the dragon's lair...
Only the toughest shall be able to suffer the wyrmling's burning spittle...
Only the strongest shall succeed in crushing the life from the dragon-child...
...but the Barriochmen will have their vengeance, and they shall have their vengeance in the nest.
And so the skalds sing the Lay of the Wyrm Foe, drake-choker, the tricksy and well-thewed Dragonstrangler.
Class Info to follow.