The Jheriak Continuance
"If you are stronger, take…if you are weaker, weep."…a Jheriak nursery rhyme.
Capital: Dunnal Moor
Major Settlements: Khalen Tor, Suland and Irul
Ruler: Marduk Vul Wolfe
Major Races: Human, (In the dunashes: Half-giant, Orc, Half-orc, Half-Ogres, Hobgoblin, Ogrillon)
Major Faiths: Ferrakus, Fenris Kul, Myketa (all are consider cults within the Continuance, no major temples exist).
Resources: Mercenaries, arms and armor.
Languages: Common, Gruntish (A type of trade/battle language native to the Continuance), Clan Cante (Each Continuance clan has their own creole), Undercommon, Giant, Bartogue
Jheriak Vul Wolfe witnessed the strength a mercenary band can wield when as a boy of thirteen he saw a platoon of Talorian sell-swords lay waist to the company of Iskandarian dragoons that his father commanded at the Battle of Dargul Ridge. For ten days the dragoons hammered into the mercenary lines, and for ten days they were repelled. On the eleventh the Talorians counter charged and broke the dragoons. In a matter of minuets the Iskarndarians were routed. Jheriak found himself fleeing for his life, as the mercenaries rode down the scattered dragoons. The Talorian's caught him six days later when he snuck into their camp to steal food. Rather then kill him, the captain said if he wanted to act like a dog, he would be treated like one, and he was tossed into a pit with the other fighting dogs and told if he wanted to live, then earn his life. Jheriak was twenty two when he killed the Talorian captain and took the mercenary company for his own. He was twenty seven when he killed his own father on the battlefield.
For fifteen more winters he led the mercenaries through campaign after campaign. Each year growing richer and larger than before. Finally Jheriak was growing wary of the continuous warfare. The company had used the same winter camp for almost a decade and with each year it seemed to grow. Permanent structures were appearing and by the fifth year of the camps, small root gardens were becoming rugged farms. Finally Jheriak sent runners to the nearest cities, and proclaimed the land surrounding the camp a sovereign state and challenged the neighboring kingdoms to take the land back if they could. This led to the three year War of Iron. In the end the mercenaries had carved their own state, thrice again as large as their original declaration. Jheriak wrote then the Laws of the Talon upon which the kingdom of bloods society is built.
Jheriak lived until his eighty third year and fathered five sons and fifteen grandson. He died in his sleep, his sword clutched to his chest.
In the time since Jheriak's death, the Continuance has continued to grow. The original camp at Dunnal Moor has become the capital of the kingdom. There the Iron Crown is worn by Marduk Vul Wolfe, a direct descendent of Jheriak. Politics do not exist beyond that which can be settled at the end of a sword or axe. The Iron Crown rules by might according to the Laws of the Talon. Any who should prove strong enough to take the crown may challenge and all challenges must be met with only one outcome permitted. It is a brutal society, children, both male and female are taken in their eighth year to schools, called Pits. There they prove their strength and right to live or they die. Each major clan has one or more cities that fly their banner, and each of these clans a number of houses sworn to them either by blood or oath.
Marriage in the Continuance has little to do with emotion and more with breeding. A woman or man may take a mate, provided they can. Interestingly once a bond has been formed though it is sacrament and none may violate it. It is also worth noting that in the past few decades many of the stronger clans have began carefully choosing mating pairs to ensure the strength of their bloodlines.
Many come to the blood lands to train or to trade for arms or to purchase the services of the mercenary houses. Additionally gladiatorial blood sport has become an increasingly popular draw with many cities having grand arenas. This has also increased the importation of slaves, however unlike other nation a slave in the Continuance has simply to be strong enough to take his freedom and it is his by right, so is written the Law of the Talon.
Dunnal Moor is the largest of the cities and capital of the Continuance. It is also the home of the Iron Crown and the largest of the gladiatorial arenas. Here each year the Harvest of Blood and Bone is held on the midpoint between the Summer and Winter solstice during which the lowest ranking members of the society gather and fight in a brutal seven day and night spectacle of violence and gore. Those alive at the end are chosen by the ruling Clans to join their houses as blood bound.
Khalen Tor is second only to Dunnal Moor is scope and strength in arms. While the border dunashes (non clan or house affiliated towns that cater to foreigners) of Suland and Irul house the largest of the martial yards used to train foreigners.
- A Continuance Mercenary has claimed a party member as a mate.
- A foreign noble has offered a kings ransom to any who can defeat his champion in the arena at Suland, never before has such a large prize been offered.
- You find yourself in chains on your way to the Continuance, a slaves life awaits.
Pit Born You survived the pits of the Continuance, were violence was your sustenance. You gain a +1 trait bonus to Intimidate checks and it is always a class skill.
Take what you can, keep what you can The life within the Continuance is harsh and cold, you have learned to make each strike count. If you surprise your opponent you receive a +2 trait bonus to damage.