The Dragons Shattered
History of the Broken Lords of Amberlain:
Long ago, before the Balorian Crusade, a society of Border Lords, a noble order that had stood at the edge of the world as guardians and watchmen for generations, lived in stark defiance to the ravenous madness at the edge of reality. All things must come to an end, with the Crusade of Balor, the lands and kingdoms of these men were no more, swallowed up into that nightmare realm before they could even take to the field. However, their prodigious skill and tireless viligance held at bay the stragglers and misanthropes that broke off from the invasion like splinters from a mighty warmachine. In mere days, or perhaps weeks as Creation reckoned, their bodies began to fade and fail. Hands that had once sliced clear arcs of silver through the madness began to tremble and weaken. Battle lines were crumbling and one kingdom after another fell to the endless tide. Many thousands gave up their ancestral lands, now changed beyond recognition, to make a last stand at Alcazaba de Amberlain.
Artificers and smiths saw the hands that wielded their craft weakening – sharp blades dulled by the hands that wielded them. Reputable skill and prowess a shadow of itself, more men dying each day as their bodies betrayed them. Beyond the call of Lethe or even Oblivion, abandoned by Creation, their dead flickered like stars upon the fields of battle, winking out in tides of gibbering dark. A mere year after the Crusade had begun, a line of warriors and heroes that stretched back centuries had become nothing but a handful of broken men, wretches. The disembodies lent what strength and guidance they could to the men that yet lived – ten, twenty or sometimes more blazed about them as a vengeful host of soul-light lit upon avatars of death.
Eventually these heroes fell as well, their spark difting in a sea of possibility. Some were dragged down and snuffed out, others blazed like the sun and were gone, but some were changed by the ebb and tugged into seeing the pattern of their essence…seeing it change. Becoming something beyond human, but also losing their humanity. Their souls became as the stuff of the Wyld, energy and purpose and desire. The last mortals forged mighty sealed suits of cold iron from the wreck of their once great hoast – forms that would protect the sparks of their greatest remaining heroes from the tides of change and consumption.
The scholars and elders debated and questioned, what would happen if they made their return? None could say, but seeking a future in the wake of the moon, the Broken Lords of Amberlain were born. Twelve lords stood at the edge of that Infinite Sea, their disembodied brethren powerless and mute, the flat promise of Creation laid out before them. The Broken Lords spoke, many feared those last steps, would they be their last? Or would death find them? Some stayed, fearful of giving up what they had managed to grasp and hold against the odds. Others, tired and weary, turned to Creation hoping for some kind of ending…some kind of rest.
What they found was perhaps worse, Creation did not grab them up, it and it’s laws no longer even recognized them…she no longer remembered them.
I: Ruled by a Septumvirate, more commonly called the Pentumvirate or Greater Pentumvirate due to the near constant absence of two of the Sepumvir, the seat holders are those original Broken Lords whom choose to return to Creation.
II: The Hall of Founders, the first wave of Amberlainians who rebuilt society, homes and bodies for their kin. They are regarded highly and advise the Pentumvirate of Amberlain. That said, most still perform those self-same duties that they did before they joined the government structure, near immortal experts in their field.
III. The remainder of societal power is divvied up amongst the Guild Houses, none more influential than the Bodywrights. Each citizen that walks the streets has a bodywright to thank for the privilege.
The Bodies of Society::
Greater Pentumvirate: The Eldest still wear the bodies of Coldest Iron, stained and marked by the hellish limbo of Arcadia. Their forms speak of an ancient time and hint at the culture that was lost in the fall.
Hall of Founders: Their bodies can be of most any common metal, reflecting the profession or role they served in reconstruction, but oft gilded or encrusted to signify their office. Most commonly in amber – symbolizing the stone of life.
Artisans/Bodywrights: Most have bodies made of dense hard woods, others ivory or even pearl, things of beauty that none the less fade in time. It was decreed long ago that the power to give life must come with the price of loosing it, a check upon the power of this all important profession. The one exception is Lord Agravain, of the Pentumvirate, the founder of the Bodywrights.
It is forbidden to destroy ones own body, though this is unspoken and unwritten, any individual that would so defile the station of embodiment would find himself forever more refused the services of the bodywrights, forever more a disembodied.
The Lords of Amberlain bring culture and security to the barbarians of the Border Marches, but also feed upon them like cattle. Usually the old, but those who have tasted the essence of youth can seldom stomach the dust of the aged.
The demands of the curse grow with the strength and age of the Amberlainians. For this reason, many are taken down the path of art and craft as an outlet for fulfillment and an endless distraction for the immortals of Amberlain. Many are left disembodied for lack of infrastructure to support them, but still others refuse an existence that requires they devour souls…a fate they know too well. Even then, the temptation to live and feel again grows with each passing year. Some of these join the Black – the returned order of the Knights of Amberlain. Taking the path as a vessel of ruination to make amends for an existence of predation.
Knights of the Final Bulwark: Those who man the walls and make peace with the lives they will take with the knowledge of those lives they will save.
Knights of the Unbroken Vow – Two of the Greater Pentumvirate are of the Knights of the Unbroken Vow, the reason they seldom sit in council. These knights seek lost kin in the wastes and bring the fear of cold steel to the Fae. They feed upon those who would have fed upon them – champions of humanity by turning from it.