To the south of Graben lies the county of Caerlyn. The land is one of low rolling hills and heaths that hide many towns and settlements in its low valleys. The population of the region is predominantly made of families that trace their lineage to The Middle Kingdom bloodlines and tend to feel a stronger loyalty to the king than regions further north. However, in the north of the region there are still those towns and families that hold strong to the northern fifes and as such a diverse mix of the two peoples live here. The clothing and fashions of the region tend to be a mix of the old northern traditions and the influence of The Middle Kingdom, depending on how far north you go.
This vast expanse of mostly unexplored dense forest has been the subject of song and story for years before the cataclysm.
The outside edges of the forest are farmed for the high quality wood that is Caerlyn’s largest export and the lumber mills are a hive of activity in the numerous working settlements that surround the outskirts of the forest.
The forest has its legends and the people of Caerlyn have a healthy respect for its secrets. It is a brave man or woman who ventures into its depths to seek adventure and many such an explorer has walked into the forest never to return. It is said that there are other powers at work in the depths that are not understood by the people that inhabit its edges and the forest does have a foreboding presence if you step deep beyond its borders …
It is this reputation that attracts questing and errant knights from the Middle Kingdoms to the location. They yearn to enter the forests depths and emerge with a story and proof of heroic deeds and actions. When the knights return, sometimes they carry the heads of great wolves or bears, while others appear with other trophies of a less certain origin. There are tribes of Feralian elves that inhabit the deeper forest who have all but removed themselves completely from the rest of the world and live exclusively within the forests borders. These elves paint themselves in mimicry of the skins of animals and live a feral and savage existence close to the land that sustains them.
Suffice to say, any who return from the depths do so with the haunted look of someone who has ventured into a place that is not part of the human lands and is forever changed by it …
Count of Caerlyn
Once using the anscestral home of House Tawe the Count of Caerlyn has moved into his own Fortress built deep in the heart of the forest. The ethrin elf, Lord Rhin of House Tamara now occupies Caerlyn Court, and has made it the centre of the county. Representatives from the seven ethrin clans have been sent to start the process of emancipation for all ethrin elves, after a political maneuver by Lord Tyton Riance, who some elves herald as a visionary, and some nobles revile.
No other house in the Kingdom of Elland has provided more to the war effort than the brave warriors, mages and priests of House Fenix. In turn, recognition by the throne has been noticeable with the move of their entire household from the Deepmoor Barrons to one of the most prominent locations in the Kingdom outside of Ironmark; the Winter Palace, a fortified homested in the forest of Caerlyn.
In the South East of Deepmoor, within the Ashbriar Swamps, lies the ill fated fife of Ashborn, ancestral home of House Fenix. To this day the defenders of Haryn’s wall and neighbouring Redmoor keep a wary eye on the barren lands of the beleaguered house and trust in the reptilian beastkin of the swamps to keep watch from within their swamp home.
The lands of House Fenix were found deep within what was known before the Days of Fire as the Ashbriar Forest. The castle of Ashborn, standing proud above the forest canopy, watched sentinel over the trade routes between the Kingdom of Elland and the Republic, as well as the coastal routes to the ports that trade with The Sisters. As a minor house, Fenix ultimately owed their fealty to the Counts of Deepmoor and diligently did their duty protecting the caravans and merchants in the area for centuries.
Then came the Days of Fire. As change ravaged the lands of the Kingdom, waters began to rise in the Ashbriar Forest, turning them into a swollen and corpulent swamp. Enemies began to descend on the Southern Marches from all sides. The dread fleets of the Undead sailed from the east, refugees and rogues flooded in from the old republic and the orcish hordes crossed the great river and invaded from the south.
The kingdoms forces, attacked on all fronts, were barely able to hold back the tide. Spread thin, the forces of Haryns wall were unable to stop a large force of Undead infiltrating the Ashbriar Swamps and attacking the castle of Ashborn. That night a full half of House Fenix were destroyed in the attack, the invaders somehow managing to bypass the castles defenses and slaughtering those within, including the Lord Fenix, Antony Corvus Fenix the ‘Old Pheonix’ and his eldest three sons.
An ill-fated attempt was made to retake Ashborn by a small conjoined force of Fenix retainers and Canine Legion, under the fourth son Capus Quartus Fenix. This force disappeared into the Ashbriar Swamps and was never seen again. General Lupus of the last legion has so far not allowed any further attempts to recapture Ashborn with his forces, as the legion scouts that watch the area report the remains as lifeless and empty, although travelers passing there still occasionally disappear without a trace.
House Fenix remained another tragedy of the Days of Fire, until the call went out for volunteers to join the expeditionary force to the strange land of the Vale. The fifth son of the Old Pheonix, Marcus Quintus Fenix, answered the call with the surviving members of his dislocated house. Under Lord Marcus’ leadership House Fenix soon became the back bone of the Kingdom forces in the Vale. As the fame of their exploits spread, so did their success. Soon the minor House and its leader Lord Marcus were being spoken of in the court of the King itself.
In the two years since the first expedition many glorious and dire events have befallen the House. The troops of House Fenix stood at the fore front of every major victory and defeat within the Vale, including the infamous Red Ritual, the attacks of Ambush Alley, the fights on Heckling Hill and the Battle of the Barrier. The favoured of the Father Lord Marcus was finally killed by the Khanate assassins on the eve of the anniversary of the night of blood. Under Lord Marcus’ command, no other group collected more resources for the war effort then House Fenix. A feat accomplished with the blood and dedication of the warriors of House Fenix, rising the once austere minor House from its humble origins to a celebrated and famous organization.
The tradition of success was continued by Lord Marcus’ successor, his cousin, Lord Tristan Secundus Quo-Fenix. Under the Quo-Fenix family the House was finally rewarded for its service with a position as steward over all of Caerlyn, a county located in the North West of the Kingdom. But not before Fenix ritualists preformed powerful magics on the swamps to counteract the corruptions of the Days of Fire, forcing the swamp to retreat and a new forest to begin to emerge.
Under Count Tristan and his brother Chaplain Antonios, the House experienced a time of unparrelled success. After routing out the heretics within the Duchess’ camp, the forces of the Northern Alliance beat back the Khanate to their very camp. On the offensive now, House Fenix managed to score many key victories. Armed with the blessing of the Father, House Fenix routed a besieging host of Undead five times their number, almost unaided in the fight. The Undead resource scavengers were scoured from the paths of the vale in a series of ambushes and skirmishes, even managing to march on the gates of the Khan’s camps itself. Finally, in a historical attack, House Fenix were able to permanently dismiss several Undead, destroying their corrupt souls for good.
The success of House Fenix has not just been limited to within the Vale. With the fame of Fenix increasing with every venture, so has their ranks, with all kinds of individuals being attracted by the fortunes of the once humble House. The armies of the House have stood alongside The Lion Guard and other notable Kingdom units in the majority of engagements with the Khanate hordes across the Kingdom, including the battles in and around the city of Greymere. As well as undertaking their own campaign to retake the town of Peppercorn in the Deepmoor Barrens.
This time of victory finally ended in an engagement that saw House Fenix and its allies engage the entire Khanate force alone. The fight would see to the deaths of most of House Fenix present in the Vale and its Lords. The deceased were mourned as heros and the new Lord and Lady Fenix, the twins Romulus and Rema, were summoned to take command.
Once again their war cry will be heard echoing around the valley of the Vale, bringing fear to the enemies of the Kingdom.
‘From the fires we are born, from the ashes we rise.’
An old an illustrious noble house. It lies dormant until the rightful heir comes foward to claim their land.