Umjaden

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Umjaden, Umajadish, Umajadii

History

After the fall of the Pileusian Empire in 3799 PN, Charomedes, a half-celestial Enchanter rose to power in the province of Jaden. He used enchantment magic to charm his way into the governorshipof the southeastern Empire. When the Emperor committed suicide in 3801, Charomedes moved swiftly, establishing a new power center in Jaden and eventually declaring independence from the disintegrating Pileusian Empire.

Jaden was a frontier province, and had been heavily settled by a mix of Elves, Men, Half-Celestials and Aasimar. They were settled here by the Pileusians in the hopes that they would emigrate to the Sea Elven colony on Tymenas. Instead they stayed in Jaden, to the annoyance of the local Stone Giants. They were tolerated because they kept the numerous Shivan in the north and Orcs in the south at bay with their sheer numbers.

After Charomedes declared independence as the Kingdom of Jaden, he set out to cleanse the surrounding countryside and make the region safe for his people. He assembled a Council of powerful spellcasters and fought at the forefront of his armies - driving the aggressive Shivan and Orcs before him, turning their tribes upon each other, and generally wreaking havoc in the name of good. Jaden expanded rapidly for the next fifteen years.

At the battle of Malong in 3784 Charomedes was ambushed and captured alive by the Shivan, and turned over with most of his Council to the Rakshasa Revene (said to have ten heads). Revene imprisoned Charomedes and forced him to watch via scrying pools as the Shivan overran half his Kingdom. The ordeal drove Charomedes insane. Not content with merely breaking him and driving him made, Revene tortured Charomedes further, eventually killing him and his Councilors in unspeakably horrific fashion and burying their dismembered bodies in the ashes of the ruined capital.

The Shivan left to conquer the rest of Jaden - but were doomed by their own atrocities. The tortured spirit of Charomedes did not remain dead. He rose again as a Wight, along with his companions, and attacked the Shivan. Hundreds were slaughtered and turned to Wights themselves. Charomedes targeted the Shivan clerics and destroyed them first - leaving the soldiers and Rakshasas alive. Terrified of the walking dead, the Shivan would stay in Jaden no longer- more afraid of the Wights than their own dread rulers. They fled.

For a thousand years, Charomedes and his Council hid and plotted. They were not ordinary Wights - because of the nature of their creation, and their crusading war to defend lost Jaden, Charomedes and the Council were something greater. Even those powerful Shivan they had assassinated and turned were something stronger than a normal Wight. At first, Charomedes stayed true to his mission, defending what was left of Jaden's mostly good population, and wreaking horrible vengeance on any who attacked his land. As time passed, however, Charomedes demanded more and more power and control - as he had by now outlived any mortal King of Jaden - and began to perform more and more questionable acts in the name of saving his people.

Finally, Charomedes took over. Many would not stand to be ruled by a Wight, and fled southward to the Kingdom of Astar, or further to the Isles of the Sea Elves. In 2039 PN, Jaden became a Kingdom ruled by the Wight Lords. Those who fled called it Jaden no longer - it was Umjaden, Lost Jaden.

The Wight Lords were more than three hundred Wights who had been created from priests, wizards, sorcerers, witches, oracles, and other powerful spellcasters. Serving them were more than two thousand wights - all loyal to Charomedes. Worse, his enchantments influenced the remaining population of Elves and Men - influenced them to follow Charomedes down his murderous path.

Patient, Charomedes slowly grew in power. He learned to create more Wight Lords - though lesser in power to his own dread lieutenants of the Council. Curious and ever-hungry for power, Charomedes began to turn more and more creatures into Wights. Men. Elves. Orcs. Shivan - of course - and more. Stone Giants. Storm Giants. Dragons.

Never his own people - Umjaden was always protected. But the enemies of Charomedes would serve him in death. But the armies of Wights grew. And grew. And grew.

Until Charomedes in his madness unleashed them on the world.

The invasion was horrible. In the name of 'protecting' his people, and revenge upon the Shivan who had murdered him two thousand years ago, Charomedes attacked everything that was not Umjaden. He invaded Gaer - despite the fact that the Orcs there had long ago given up their brutish ways and turned to good. He invaded Shivan - slaughtering thousands of their warriors, many of whom would kill themselves rather than be turned into Wights. He invaded Vangir and Corsairia and Evad and Maerx and Holdfast and Vraie, leaving a trail of destruction wherever his armies The Wight Lords attacked every kingdom of living things on the continent of Avantarra.

The holocaust was terrible. The Shivan call it only 'the great dying' when they lost three fourths of their territory and half their leaders. The Orcs of Gaer call it the war of thirty years - the time in which the Wights roamed the continent, slaying every living creature they found. Vangir suffered and nearly collapsed. The Dwarves of Evad held fast in their mountains. The remnants of the Pileusian Empire were nearly wiped out. The Corsairians sailed as far away as they could. Still the Wights came on. Giving battle was suicidal - few warriors could stand against the Wight Lords, and those who tried and failed added to the unquestioningly loyal ranks of their Wight army.

After twenty years, the mortal population of Umjaden wondered what threat could still exist. It seemed Charomedes was bent on conquering Avantarra in the name of revenge. So much as questioning the Wight Lords resulted in imprisonment - thousands were cast into dungeons for decades. Mortal folk soon learned not to question their Undead overlords.

Thirty years into the war, Charomedes' armies were still undefeated. The Wight Lords were more powerful than ever, served by thousands upon thousands of Wight minions. Umjaden was poised to wipe out any possible enemy on Avantarra. For that matter he could wipe out every living thing on the contient. Possibly the world.

In 299 PN, Chatalize intervened. A full solar eclipse was centered above Umjaden - and in this time in-between, the goddess of the Underworld acted.

At the climax of the eclipse, the bonds holding the Wights together were suddenly sundered. Nearly all of the lesser wights simply ceased to be - destroyed by the whiplash of divine power. Charomedes and his Council were driven to their knees - and cursed by the goddess herself.

When the eclipse ended, three hundred and three Wight Lords survived the wrath of Chatalize. Charomedes' army had vanished. Swiftly he tried to raise another - but nothing he or his Wights slew raised again as another Wight. Chatalize' curse had destroyed their power to raise more Wights.

Beaten, Charomedes fled the wrath of the living. Pursued by his foes, he and the Council retreated to Umjaden - where they fortified themselves. Protected now by legions of living troops, mad Charomedes and his Council haunt the caverns of Umjaden. Now they strive only to gain knowledge, collecting every arcane book and tome. Taking every captive they can find. Interrogating. Reading. Experimenting. Summoning aberrations and infernals and things that should not exist in reality. Seeking always a way to break the curse of Chatalize, and resume making the world 'safe' for Umjaden.

No traveller or citizen of Umjaden is safe from the clutches of the Wight Lords. Umjaden is bent upon invasion and domination of all Avantarra - and on breaking the curse of Chatalize.

Terrain

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Umjaden is a beautiful and fertile land. Much of the north is rain drenched mountains covered in thick hardwood forests. Many fast-flowing rivers lead to the sea. The southeast is the coastal plain, hundreds of square miles of fertile farmland. To the west, the land becomes rolling hills, with forest thickening approaching Gaer.

Summers are warm with frequent rains. The winters are cool, with snow in the mountains and occasional blizzards in the lowlands.

Umjaden was once a seafaring power, at least in the local area around the Astar peninsula. Four hundred years ago, Corsaira sunk their fleet during the war, and they have never recovered.


Culture

The common folk of Umjaden are reticent, quiet folk. For thousands of years their land was sacked by outsiders until they fell under the terrifying protection of the Wight Lords. Silence is the safest course.

Many of them actively aided the Wight Lords in their near-successful conquest of Avantarra; ready to extinguish all other life and rule the continent alone. This participation and their subsequent defeat is never spoken of today.

The Wight Lords are terrible, wrathful rulers who bend every effort of their Kingdom to their patient research. Those mortal leaders who serve them are slavishly devoted to their master's wishes.

The folk of Umjaden have accepted rule by powerful undead. During the war, the folk of Umjaden actively supported their undead rulers campaign to wipe out most intelligent life on Avantarra. This has caused a deep psychological scarring on the remaining mortal population; they feel cursed by Chatalize as well, an have no ceremonies for their dead.

In all but a few port an border towns, outsiders are viewed with deep suspicion, and are usually turned over to the authorities at once.

Primarily they dress in wool and linen. Umjaden dress is defined by high collars, long sleeves, and long, folded back cuffs. Long rows of buttons are also popular.


Language

Jadenar is the common tongue of Umjaden, and is spoken as a trade language across the continent. Shivan is spoken and understood in the north, but only as the language of the ancient enemy. Corsair is spoken in the coastal towns. Giant (Avantarran) is also understood in a classical sense; many ancient writings are written in that language.

Most languages of seafaring and traveling folk are known here; especially by the skilled interrogators of the Wight Lords.


Faith

The Wight Lords are often Dark Mishyans, though several have become priests of Phane over the centuries. Most common is worship of Brandt, for vengeance upon their ancient foes. The common folk have little public interaction with temples; there seems no point.

There are many secret shrines to Braeya, whom the people of Umjaden sometimes appeal to for mercy from their fates.


Chatalize is neither worshiped or mentioned. Any temples to her have been razed and evidence of them obliterated by order of Hjamarc, Dark Mishyan Wight Lord. Hjamarc is chief researcher in charge of breaking Chatalize's curse.

Government

Umjaden is ruled by Charomedes and his Wight Lords, plus a variety of generals, priests, wizards, and other lackeys who obey the orders of the Wights.

Mortal Governors still rule the day-to-day affairs of the people of Umjaden. The Wight Lords have no interest in the affairs of the people they claim to project.

The Governors control Umjaden's cities and towns through their Guardarms. These 'greyjackets' are known as being fair if strict police. The Wight Lords employ the black-cloaked Piquets to seek out subjects or persons they wish to investigate more closely.


Foreign Relations

Umjaden's Wight rulers prelude alliances with any nation.

They consider every living sentient on Avantarra an enemy. The Wight Lords hold an especial hatred for the Shivan.

Foreign powers and populations are seen as potential enemies, or potential sources of information about the Curse.


Military

Umjaden has a powerful, well equipped military, lavishly equipped with arcane spellcasters, led by the dread Wight Lords.

The army is organized into Squadrons; each being about eight hundred men. A group of five Squadrons is called an Army, commanded by a General or Wight Lord. Umjaden supports a dozen Armies most of the time, with the capacity to raise more from the living population should the Wight Lords feel threatened.

They have no navy.

Magic

Arcane magic is very common. Its study is encouraged by the Wight Lords; some even take mortal apprentices from time to time. Anything to break the curse. Divine magic is present, but far less prevalent than arcane studies. The common folk whisper that even the gods fear Charomedes.


Cities

Erfellin is the capital of Umjaden. This ancient city was once razed by the Shivan; Charomedes had it rebuilt. It is a dark shadow of its ancient self; built over the opened graves of Charomedes and his Council.

Girden Pass is the second city of Umjaden; a massive prison complex buried beneath the black basalt walls of the city. It is the lair of Hjamarc and his horrible laboratories.

There are more than thirty minor cities in Umjaden; scattered all about the countryside. Most are agricultural centers sheltered behind black walls.


Races

Most of the population are humans. There is a small enclave of Elves in Girden; another small community of Dwarves survive in the far west. Some Orc and Half-Orc prisoners are kept for manual labor. A few Stone Giants live in the remote hills, they are passive citizens at best, but still protected by the Wight Lords.

Shivan are hated and feared. Other races are tolerated if they are folk of Umjaden; otherwise they are considered enemies.


Classes

Arcane classes are common, as well as martial classes. Divine classes are more rare, though there are large number of Inquisitors. Bards are uncommon, and Monks unknown. Summoners are rare; not due to lack of interest, but because the Wight Lords keep imprisoning them for study.